Category Archives: Conferences

Recognize your colleagues and partners through award nominations

Photo of hands on top of one another in a team huddle with the text overtop of the hands that reads, "Recognize your colleagues and partners."

Who is the first person or group who comes to mind when you think about outstanding work and meaningful impact? Do you have someone or a group in mind? Good. We’ve got plenty of ways to recognize them at our annual Fall Extension Conference. I know you’ve seen the emails about how to nominate a person or group, but I wanted to take a minute to talk about the “why” behind the awards. Results of a survey of members of the International Public Management Association for Human Resources in the U.S. and Canada show that employee recognition is a powerful and important tool in creating a thriving climate within an organization. When we take time to value and recognize each other, it creates a foundation for collaboration, gratitude and innovation. We believe that it’s also an essential organizational practice to recognize partners who have played influential roles in our strategic initiatives. This is our way to give back to them and recognize all that they have done for us. Gratitude is key to relationship building.

One more thing I wanted to mention about award nominations – you don’t have to work on it alone. There are several questions that need thorough answers so that the committee can fully understand the breadth of the nominee’s impact, so teaming up and splitting up the work can produce a great result.

Last of all – just a friendly reminder about deadlines. Please send a quick email to msuedir@msu.edu to let us know whom you’re nominating and a sentence about why by the end of today. Miss the deadline? That’s okay, send us your idea anyway. As long as your nomination is turned in by June 1, the awards committee will be able to consider it. Happy nominating!

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Filed under Awards, Fall Extension Conference, Partnerships

MSU CEC Team treated like rock stars in Nebraska

Mark Thomas, Kay Cummings, Andy Hayes, Khurram Imam, Micah Loucks, and Frank Gublo pose for a photo in front the Loop Brewing Co. brick building.

MSU Extension Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities (CEC) From left to right: Mark Thomas, Kay Cummings, Andy Hayes, Khurram Imam, Micah Loucks, Frank Gublo. Photo courtesy of Andy Hayes.

This week, we’ll hear from Michigan State University (MSU) Extension educator Andy Hayes sharing about the Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities (CEC) Team’s experiences in Nebraska:

Our MSU Extension CEC Team traveled to McCook, Nebraska, to participate in the state’s first CEC conference. Patterning their conference after our successful Michigan model, the Nebraska Extension team added their own flair and expertise and created an outstanding entrepreneurship conference.

MSU Extension team members Frank Gublo, Mark Thomas, Kay Cummings, Micah Loucks, Khurram Imam and I traveled to the conference and also gave breakout session presentations on a variety of entrepreneurship topics.

Approximately 80 people from 40 Nebraska communities participated. After hearing excellent keynote speakers in the local restored vintage movie theatre, participants attended breakouts around town in a wide range of businesses such as shoe stores, coffee shops, antique furniture stores and jewelry stores.

Nebraska Extension team members were so appreciative of the multi-state partnership between Michigan and Nebraska and our coaching and guidance; and participants were grateful that we traveled all that way to attend and participate; we truly felt like rock stars. And McCook is a cool town – the perfect setting for the team’s first conference.

Some of us even ventured out to the plateau at 5:30 a.m. to watch the mating dance of the prairie chickens. (Honest, you can’t make this stuff up!) It was seriously cool, and the scenery while watching the prairie wake up with the sunrise would make anyone want to live there.

While en route, we picked up a traveling companion from the University of Minnesota Extension, which made the trip even better. We ate beef in a local restaurant in York, Nebraska, and had time to tour the Food Innovation Center on the Nebraska Campus. All were truly impressive.

A great trip, and what makes it even more perfect is that we probably learned way more from our partners in Nebraska than they did from us.

Thank you, Andy, for sharing the stories from your trip. We’re thrilled about the positive impact that you and everyone on the CEC Team are having on the people of Michigan, and we’re proud that your ideas are spreading nationally.

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Filed under Conferences, Economic development, Entrepreneurial, Partnerships, professional development

Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference in Detroit

Each spring, educators from Michigan State University (MSU) Extension with support from MSU AgBioResearch and the Michigan Brewers Guild host the Great Lakes Hop and Barley Conference. For the first time, this year the conference was held in downtown Detroit. March 2-3, over 300 agricultural producers, processors, vendors, brewers and others attended, coming from 15 states and multiple countries. The conference offered both basic and advanced sessions for hop growers, and a barley session and malting tour for both growers and brewers.

Kevin Riel, Owner of Double ‘R’ Hop Ranches, Inc. and President of Hop Growers of America, stands at the front of the room at a podium giving a presentation to a ballroom filled with seats and participants.

Kevin Riel, Owner of Double ‘R’ Hop Ranches, Inc. and President of Hop Growers of America, addresses a near capacity crowd at the 3rd annual Great Lakes Hop & Barley Conference in Detroit, MI. Photo credit: Rob Sirrine.

The conference incorporated elements that are unique to the area. For example, Dan Carmody, president of the Eastern Market Corporation, described Detroit’s increasing demand for local food and craft beer. Another Detroit highlight for participants was the evening reception held at the Detroit Beer Company. Participants left rave reviews of the location and the experiences that they had.

The conference is an important way to support all of the participants in the growing craft beverage industry. According to the national Brewers Association, Michigan ranks sixth in the United States in the number of craft breweries, and the industry creates an economic impact of $1.8 million. MSU Extension is proud of our educators who are at the forefront of education and working with this evolving industry.

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Speaking of our educators, we’d like to send a huge thank you to the conference planning committee, made up of Ashley McFarland, Erin Lizotte and Rob Sirrine, and Scott Graham from the Michigan Brewers Guild. Also, thank you to MSU Events Management (Betsy Braid and Megghan Honke) and MSU county-based staff members Annette Kleinschmit and Michelle Coleman, who helped behind the scenes.

As soon as it’s posted, I’ll link to Rob, Ashley and Erin’s news article about the conference so that you can read more about all of the opportunities that participants had, the tours and the speakers.

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Filed under Agriculture, Agriculture and Agribusiness, Conferences, Farming, Hop & Barley

Reflections on Fall Extension Conference

I hope that you found this year’s Michigan State University (MSU) Extension Fall Extension Conference (FEC) exciting and inspiring and that you had a chance to meet new colleagues. I enjoyed my chance to connect with you on Tuesday morning. I hope that you were encouraged. Saying “yes” and putting yourself outside of your comfort zone in times of need will open doors and build trust in your communities. Reaching out and finding out what your colleagues are doing across your district and across the state will build a foundation of collaboration that you can tap into in times of need.

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What did you think about our Extension celebration? We were so honored to have our Friend of Extension and Key Partner recipients with us, as well as special guests from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. It was great to have the MSU PomponTeam kick off the event with high energy and Spartan spirit. After dinner, we had the unique opportunity to learn about the life of Temple Grandin through a performance of pieces from the new musical “Temple.” Dr. Grandin is a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, a world-renowned autism spokesperson and a livestock industry consultant. The performance showcased  the talent of Michigan high school students along with musical theatre and dance students from the MSU Department of Theatre.

For a chance to hear Temple Grandin speak and learn more about her work, listen to her TED Talk. The theme of her talk is that the world needs all kinds of minds and that it is important that our society value each person’s mind. This is true in our work with families, youth and communities. This is also true in MSU Extension: each of us has a unique mind and set of skills we bring to the table every day, and our organization needs every one of us. We need each of our minds, especially when our communities face a crisis, such as the water emergency in Flint. It is important that we realize the importance of collaboration and the strengths that our colleagues have to offer, and bring everyone together to create a multidimensional response.

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Congratulations and thank you again to all of our key partners and staff award winners. It is important that we take time to honor the work our colleagues and partners are doing to advance our mission and outreach across the state. Our fantastic MSU Extension Communications Team is working on press releases for our Friend of Extension and Key Partner award winners, and I’ll update this post with a link to each once they’re published.

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Thank you to our FEC committee, volunteers and the MSU Extension Events Management Team for all of their hard work to put together a meaningful conference.

Photo of everyone on the Fall Extension Conference Committee.

Thanks to our Fall Extension Conference Planning Committee!

We hope to continue to make improvements and incorporate your feedback into designing FEC. Please make sure you fill out our FEC survey by Wednesday, November 9, so that your voice is heard about what to keep and what to improve.

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Filed under Awards, Fall Extension Conference, professional development

4-H program coordinator attends Expect to Connect workshop and makes a strategic connection

Last year, Jessica Hufford, Michigan State University Extension 4-H program coordinator in Gladwin County, made and built a strategic connection while she attended the Fall Extension Conference (FEC) Expect to Connect workshop and Michigan Capitol visit in Lansing.

During the workshop, Jessica enjoyed learning about the process of government on a more personal basis.

“I learned that we must be very intentional about making those connections with our representatives in government,” Jessica said. “They have a lot of constituents they are responsible to and I can help them to better understand by reaching out and providing them with info.”

Workshop participants were encouraged to try to make an appointment so that they could visit their representatives or senators as part of the tour. When Jessica reached out to Rep. Joel Johnson’s office, his scheduler said that he would not be available during the time frame, but Jessica agreed to meet with his legislative assistant and drop off materials.

When Jessica went to the office, it turned out that Rep. Johnson and his wife were in the office, and Jessica had the opportunity to speak with both of them.

She was able to reconnect with Rep. Johnson at the county fair and also with his wife a few weeks later at another county event.

“The little bit that I can do to inform them on what I am doing to help youth in the county will help them,” Jessica said.

Rep. Johnson is a supporter of the youth in the county and is a long-time buyer at the livestock auction. His support of 4-H has helped to keep Extension programs going in his counties.

This is a great example of how to form strategic connections. Make time to connect with your government leaders in their offices, even if you only have a chance to talk to their legislative assistants. Also, attend community events to keep solidifying your connections.

I hope that Jessica’s story encouraged you about attending the workshop and showed what the beginning of relationships building can look like in your own county and district.

For the second year in a row at FEC, we will be offering the Expect to Connect workshop and Capitol visit. I encourage you to seriously consider attending this workshop to learn tools to embark on making your own strategic connections. Make sure you register for your spot before they are all filled.

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Filed under Fall Extension Conference, strategic connections

Register for Fall Extension Conference 2016

I am pleased to announce that the Michigan State University (MSU) Fall Extension Conference (FEC) registration is open. The theme of the conference is Strengthening Our Focus: Living the Brand. I want to take a moment to encourage you to look over the outstanding content of the conference and make arrangements to join us. In an organization as large as ours, it is important that we have a chance to come together once a year to engage with each other, collaborate, grow and celebrate who we are and what we do.

The FEC is put together by a committee made up of your peers, with colleagues who represent our organization geographically and by type of Extension position. We set up the committee two years ago to make sure we created a conference that serves everyone.

With a focus on “Living the Brand: Strengthening Our Focus,” the FEC planning committee has built upon the success of last year’s conference and made some additional changes. Most noticeably, a reimagined Extension Celebration will take the place of the traditional Tuesday evening banquet. Please plan to join us for the evening as we celebrate our Key Partners and Friends of Extension, and enjoy a customized one-of-a-kind performance of the Wharton Center workshop piece “Temple,” which showcases the life of the famous Temple Grandin. Attendance at the Extension Celebration is part of your registration and there is no additional cost to participate, although we do ask that you RSVP to ensure accurate meal counts.

Some additional highlights that I hope will entice your interest:

  • MSU athletic director Mark Hollis as key speaker
  • A special guest appearance by Sparty
  • Workshops on the move and sessions to help with core competencies: Marketing and Quality Service, and Program Implementation and Delivery
  • A new workshop on the move designed for field and campus support staff
  • Multiple opportunities to learn about colleagues across the state – from videos to photo slide presentations
  • A chance to win a fantastic array of prizes by using the passport process
  • Q&A with Mark Burnham, MSU vice president for government affairs, and Heather Swain from Communication and Brand Strategy

With all the hard work and collaboration of the FEC planning committee and the committed events management staff, I think this will be the best FEC yet!

Make sure you register early and book your rooms before the spaces fill. Go to http://fec.msue.msu.edu/ to register, book rooms and find out more information about the conference.

 

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Filed under Fall Extension Conference, Uncategorized

Extension educators connect with federal decision-makers in DC

Julie Crick, Jodi Schulz and Holly Tiret traveled to Washington, D.C., the second week of July, to visit with legislators and staff of national agencies and to attend the National Extension Leadership Development (NELD) North Central Region session.

Julie, Jodi and Holly shared their Michigan State University (MSU) Extension stories with Reps. Dan Kildee and John Moolenaar, as well as with staff members of Rep. Justin Amash, Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Sen. Gary Peters.

Holly Tiret, Jodi Schulz and Julie Crick pose for a picture with Representative Dan Kildee.

Holly Tiret, Jodi Schulz and Julie Crick met with Rep. Dan Kildee. Photo courtesy of Rep. Kildee’s office.

Julie is an MSU Extension educator who specializes in leadership and educational programming expertise in natural resources with a focus on forest stewardship. Jodi serves statewide in areas of youth development and is a 4-H educator. Holly is an Extension educator who focuses on social-emotional health and well-being across the life span.

“We were able to speak about how our own personal passions transfer into the work we do in our areas of specialization and ultimately make an impact on those we program with in communities,” Jodi said.

“We were really focusing on programs we do locally (and) offered statewide,” Holly said. “(We talked) about how we work together to cross program and combine efforts to best meet the communities’ educational needs.”

Julie, Jodi and Holly shared that they felt prepared and empowered by MSU Extension’s encouragement to make strategic connections and because of the Expect to Connect materials on the Organizational Development Team website.

“Many thanks to everyone who worked on those!” Julie said.

During their time in Washington, D.C., they also visited with agencies such as the United States Department of Agriculture, the National Farmers Union, the Embassy of Tribal Nations and the Immigration Policy Center.

NELD is a professional development opportunity to strengthen leadership and effectiveness of Extension staff members. Each year, Extension administrators across the country are asked to identify emerging leaders who are working on a critical issue or will be assigned one in the future. These individuals are nominated to participate in the NELD North Central professional development opportunity. NELD hosts four sessions a year. The session in Washington, D.C., focused on leading in a shared-power world.

Holly said that the team took away significant information on themes of leadership from this conference such as the importance of relationship building, believing in yourself and public service, and inspiring your team.

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Filed under Conferences, strategic connections