Friday, July 30, 2010

Toys & Tools for Leadership - Group 2

During a 2010 Agricultural Media Summit (AMS) session, Steve Drake, of Drake and Company, gave a presentation titled “The Toys and Tools of Leadership and Success,” and group members from Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University and the University of Wisconsin River Falls worked together to determine the three most important “toys and tools” utilized by Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT): Balance, bouncing back, and thermostat/thermometer.

When our group sat down and began brainstorming ideas, it was difficult to narrow the tools down to three because the presentation proved that all 14 “toys and tools” were important in all settings and aspects of life. Eventually, we decided on the three that best exemplified our experiences at AMS and in college.

The first tool we chose was balance. As students in college, we have to be balanced during all aspects of our life, including activities through school, professionally, and socially. AMS is often the first time for many ACT members to interact with business professionals and it is important for them to act professional and genuine. Students need to prove to professionals that they are willing to engage in conversation and learn about what their company or organization has to offer. ACT members are young business professionals seeking future internships or job opportunities, and keeping the tool of balance in mind while participating in networking allows us to remain mentally and emotionally steady.

Another important tool to utilize is bouncing back. ACT members receive a great deal of criticism throughout their lives. However, when ACT members receive bad criticism, it is important to bounce back, remain positive, and not let it delay them on their path to reaching their goals. A prime example of bouncing back as an ACT member at AMS would be not getting the networking opportunity from the professionals, such as internship information, that they may have wished to receive otherwise. Additionally, when an ACT member enters the ACT Critique and Contest and doesn’t place, they should be motivated to work harder for the following year and use the constructive criticism they received.

Lastly, the third tool chosen from Drake’s “Toys and Tools of Leadership and Success,” was: Thermostat/thermometer. Drake pointed out that thermometers tell the temperature whereas thermostats control the temperature. Many times in life one can just live with the surroundings around them, or they can choose to be the change. At AMS, our group realized that setting the standard, or setting the thermostat, and choosing to network with everyone, starts with our own initiative. Drake made a good point during his presentation, “It’s not necessarily who you know, but it’s who knows you.” If ACT members work hard and set the thermostat they can catch the attention of others and prove that they are leaders.

The three tools chosen from Drake’s “Toys and Tools of Leadership and Success:” Balance, bouncing back, and thermostat/thermometer, will help ACT members and students alike gain valuable leadership skills and bring them one step closer to succeeding in their endeavors.
A big thank you to Steve Drake and his insight provided from his presentation “Toys and Tools for Leadership and Success.” It proved to be an invaluable experience where we all learned something and how to apply it to our own lives.

Submitted by Brandi Lattimore and McKenzie Watkins of Texas A&M University, Sarah Wilson, Sarah Raber and Faith Jurek of Texas Tech University, and Nerissa Retz of University of Wisconsin River Falls.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What’s a C-Clamp Got to do With It?

In the session Tools & Toys of Leadership and Success with Steve Drake from Drake & Company, we learned the importance of being mobile, agile and hostile.

  • Drake presented unconventional items as metaphors for growing as a student professional and leader. Although he presented 14 unique toys and tools, our group selected five tools that we felt really spoke to us.
  • The tennis ball represented bouncing back from adversity. In any situation, you need to be able to quickly change gears and regroup.
  • The hockey puck taught us speed and how to react or adjust. Drake used his experience as a varsity ice hockey player to explain how professionals needed to constantly reevaluate to gain success in any program or endeavor.
  • The tape measure can be used for many things, but instead of emphasizing the big things, Drake used this tool to show even the small things matter.
  • The signature Drake & Company duck illustrated how we should be calm on the surface, but paddling hard underneath. Our group really identified with this metaphor as an under-emphasized aspect of the professional world.
  • The stopwatch reminds us to have an agenda. Drake pointed out that he always starts his meetings at odd times, such as 11:44 or 10:01 to encourage timeliness and models the same by ensuring meetings do not overextend. Agenda planning prevents wandering aimlessly without purpose.

At the end we were asked to examine which tools we found most important. Our group found it interesting that none of us chose the same tools.

Also in the session, Drake emphasized the importance of thanking those who offer their time to your success, so we would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude for Mr. Drake’s time and the lessons we learned from his toolbox.

Submitted by Kelsey Fletcher, Lauren Greaves, Chip Nellinger, Harlen Persinger, Jack Pitzer, Jolee Liepman

Why Conventional Wisdom is Bad for Good Photography

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Redesign on a dime

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Miss a session today? Check out the archive

Despite some technical difficulties, I managed to record a two of the sessions today and one on Sunday.

Find them here:

I'll be streaming sessions tomorrow as well. I'll post any slides or materials from those sessions when available.

Don't forget to follow the stream on Twitter: #AgMS

Extreme Makeover: Resume Edition

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Selling and Publishing Your Book

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Millennials Among Us

As you prepare to participate in the 2010 Ag Media Summit, consider that about 10 to 15 percent of our attendees are students; most members of ACT. And probably another 10 to 20 percent are 32 or under... meaning about a fourth to a third of our attendees are Generation Y or Millennials.

So, what does this mean?

Thought I'd post a couple of other blogs about Generation Y ... just to refresh your memory:

  1. Who are the Millennials (great stats from Flowtown)
  2. Millennials are Trend Bellwethers.
  3. Generation Z pegged before it even comes of age

And, for the Boomers among us... there is still hope per this commentary from Nielsen:

Look forward to seeing you in St. Paul!

Steve is presenting Tools & Toys for Leadership & Success at 10:15 a.m., Tuesday, July 27. Although the topic is being promoted for ACT members, students of all ages are encouraged to participate. We plan to Tweet/Blog from the session!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thanks to our sponsors:

Find out who's coming to St. Paul for Ag Media Summit

More than 550 people have registered for Ag Media Summit, July 24 through 28, in St. Paul, Minn.

Want to know who's going to be there? AMS Pre-conference Registration List.pdf

Still need to register? Click here...

The Crowne Plaza Hotel is sold out! Contact Diane to be put on a waiting list. The overflow hotel is the Hilton Garden Inn (651) 291-8800. It's just three blocks from the Crowne Plaza at 411 Minnesota St. Ask for the Ag Media Summit rate of $125.

To see the entire program and general information: AMS Program

Can't attend the largest gathering of agricultural media professionals in the country? Then you should watch it online:

Select sessions on Monday and Tuesday, July 26 and 27, will be broadcast live online.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Live Streaming Sessions: Publication Redesign on a dime

Tuesday, July 27
10:15 – 11:45 a.m.: Publication redesign on a dime – Julie Ellingson, Scarlett Hagins

You want to give your magazine, newspaper or newsletter a new look. But time after time you talk yourself out of it because of time or cost. A redesign doesn’t need to break the budget, but can pay big dividends in providing a fresh new look to re-engage current readers and to entice new ones.

Julie Ellingson of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association and Scarlett Hagins of the Kansas Stockman guided their publications through complete redesigns. In both cases, the staff size is small and the budget even smaller. Both publications earned the Livestock Publications Council James Flanagan Award for Most Improved Publication. Julie and Scarlett will share their perspective on how the process began and how the redesign was successfully implemented.

Want to take in all the information you can from Ag Media Summit, but can't attend in person? Join the conversation live:

Live Streaming Sessions: Extreme makeover: resume edition

Monday, July 26
2:30 – 4:15 p.m.: Extreme makeover: resume edition – Lisa Bryant

Lisa Bryant brings her experience as a career consultant for the largest department at Oklahoma State University to help demolish your fears and build your resume.

Start construction with a blueprint of your past leadership and experience. Break ground to design a solid framework with the basics including font choice, structure and overall appearance. Engineer a firm foundation with a discussion of the various elements to include on your resume. Strengthen your resume with the right word choice. Decorate with the little things that make you sell. Landscape with the best references for the job at hand. Learn to be your own best realtor to market your dream resume to close a deal on the job you want. Finally, “move that bus!” View and critique various resume models to improve your neighborhood. Get the most from this session by bringing your resume for a quick critique.

Can't attend the conference? RSVP to watch the session live online:

Live Streaming Sessions: Why conventional wisdom is bad for good photography

Tuesday, July 27
3:15 – 4:30 p.m.: Why conventional wisdom is bad for good photography — Eric Grant

Eric Grant is director of public relations for the American Angus Association, where he oversees all aspects of the organization’s communications, advertising and public relations programs. A 24-year veteran in livestock photography, Grant has served a wide array of publications, organizations and advertising agencies including Farm Journal Media, Range and American Cowboy.

In this session, Grant will discuss how conventional approaches often prevent photographers from seeing opportunities, taking risks and capturing fresh and innovative perspectives in their photography. He’ll share several simple steps that anyone can take to improve their photographs immediately, and bring home the photos they need to make their publications more interesting.

More about Eric:

Can't make it to St. Paul for Ag Media Summit? Watch Eric's workshop live online. RSVP to