Women Leading the Way in Agriculture

By   |   May 29th, 2015   |   0 Comments

This past April, I had the pleasure of attending the “Advancing Women Conference: Life Skills for Leadership, Women in Ag Conference” in Calgary, Alberta. Almost 600 delegates attended from all over Canada and the US and included producers, ranchers, small business owners, corporate agribusiness representatives and association representatives among many others! To say I left this event inspired is an understatement! With a speaker line-up that included the very talented and engaging Debbie Travis and Alanna Koch, the Deputy Minister, Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture, delegates were given the opportunity to hear from female leaders both within agriculture and from other industries.


There were some common themes and messages that came from many of the speakers which resonated specifically with me. As a woman working in the agriculture industry that comes from a different background, I was very intrigued to hear the messages and stories of the various career paths of these very powerful and diverse women. I think the biggest message from all the speakers was “authenticity”. All speakers stated that they have seen women try to be something they are not in order to fit in or be successful. The best way to be successful is to be a success as yourself. Woman bring a different perspective and skill-set to many work scenarios and the key to success is embracing and utilizing these assets!


Some very interesting points were brought up by Alanna Koch, who I found particularly inspiring. Her talk was focused on how to be an effective leader/manager:

  1. Be an Inspiration – regardless of your job title/position
  2. Encourage Engagement – everyone needs to feel valued in their work, so encourage that in your colleagues and recognize everyone’s work
  3. Be Vulnerable – it’s ok to show both strengths and weaknesses
  4. Communicate! – employees need to know the “why” in a lot of decisions that affect them. Be fair and honest.
  5. Be Accountable – acknowledge mistakes and move on
  6. Walk the Talk – be the change you want to see
  7. Culture and Values – a company’s culture and values really affect an employee’s job satisfaction.
  8. Appreciation – people need to know they are appreciated. This is a feeling and not an action and can be formal or informal.

With more women in leadership roles in agriculture than ever before, having the opportunity to share experiences and learn from others is invaluable. Stay tuned for more from AgCareers.com regarding Women in Agriculture!

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