Sarah Aubrey selects Gracen Jarrett, of Washington, IN as Summer Marketing Intern 

 

A.C.T. Aubrey Coaching & Training Principal, Sarah Beth Aubrey, is excited to announce the summer marketing intern Gracen Jarrett of Washington, Indiana. "Gracen and I have known each other for several years and I've already watched her grow into a successful young leader in agriculture," says Sarah.

 

Gracen will be a sophomore at Purdue University double majoring in AgriMarketing and Animal AgriBusiness. On campus, she is involved with the Purdue National AgriMarketingAssociation (NAMA), is the Events Coordinator for the Rising Professionals Program, serves as a Purdue Ag Ambassador, and is a member of her sorority, Chi Omega. This summer she will take on several tasks for A.C.T. including marketing and promotion of Sarah's Championship Drive series books, designing and writing content for a website and blog update, and supporting the launches of Sarah's new virtual executive coaching programs and Indianapolis-based leadership development training programs. “I have looked up to Sarah as a professional role model for a very long time. I am excited to have this opportunity to learn as much as I can from her this summer,“ says Gracen. Gracen will work both remotely and at the Monrovia, IN-based offices of A.C.T. She will also travel with Sarah to meetings and events around the state, networking with professionals in the industry.

 

"I'm really looking forward to Gracen's enthusiasm and new ideas this summer," Sarah adds. "She's the kind of emerging professional the agriculture industry needs and that we're proud to retain in Indiana."

 

A.C.T. Aubrey Coaching & Training is wholly owned and operated by Sarah Beth Aubrey and is a boutique firm that seeks to facilitate progress and navigate change for clients especially in agriculture and rural development. Sarah is an executive coach, speaker, and author. 

Posted on June 6, 2017 .

Imposter Syndrome

Recently, within earshot and full view, a colleague mocked me and I’d like you all to read about it. 

Because I don’t want to sway your opinion of the incident, I’m not going to share the gender of the mocker; I'll improperly use pronouns throughout (they/their) and give the person a title - aptly, Mocker.

Mocker was sitting right across from me at a banquet table - a table filled with six of my clients. Yes, Mocker was (sort of) keeping their voice down and (sort of) acting covert as they mocked what I do professionally to a couple of other people. As I was attempting to carry on a normal conversation with two of my clients, I endured seeing (in peripheral view) Mocker bobble their head from side to side in an apparent imitation of how I speak (frankly, Mocker looked more like they were having a medical emergency, but that’s just my opinion) and I heard Mocker, in tones only lightly muted by the din of a busy event, imitating my voice in a high-pitched, silly-sounding way, that wasn't much like how I actually sound. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t surprised that Mocker disrespected me, but was surprised that Mocker would do so in a way I could witness and do so to other colleagues. Perhaps Mocker thought I would not notice OR perhaps my noticing was just what Mocker wanted. I really don’t know. Actually, what Mocker wanted isn’t really any of my business - Mocker is free to demean anyone they like at any time. But, being insulted by a professional colleague is not the jist of what I’d like to share. What I want you to read is more about the conclusions I’ve come to since. 

Enter a little something nasty and undermining called ‘The Imposter Syndrome’. 

Perhaps you’ve read about this concept, one New York Times writer, Carl Richards, said was defined as long ago as 1978, citing psychologists, Pauline Clane and Suzanne Imes. “(They) described it as a feeling of “phoniness in people who believe that they are not intelligent, capable or creative despite evidence of high achievement.” While these people “are highly motivated to achieve,” they also “live in fear of being ‘found out’ or exposed as frauds.” (Richards, 2015 https://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/26/your-money/learning-to-deal-with-the-impostor-syndrome.html?_r=0.).

Richards brings up another aspect that high achieving people feel at times. "I think part of the impostor syndrome comes from a natural sense of humility about our work. That’s healthy, but it can easily cross the line into paralyzing fear. When we have a skill or talent that has come naturally we tend to discount its value.”  

AHA! Here we go - this topic is getting meaty now because I’ve brought up the ‘humility’! Of course! Good little country girls don’t put themselves out there too much and certainly don’t ever, EVV-VVA speak out of turn when the big boys are around. Yeah, whatever, that’s never been my style. Still, something was plaguing me-what was the big deal?  I had more thinking to do. 

My executive coaching practice has grown exponentially in the last several years and I’m confident about it. I suppose I sometimes feel the Imposter Syndrome Ghoul sneak up and whisper icily: ‘You’re just Sarah Beth and who ARE YOU to do this?’ But, that little monster doesn’t plague me often. In fact, peers frequently describe me as confident and I know that about myself. Yet, Mocker’s little head-bob-silly-voice routine troubled me well into the night. When I woke up, I found myself thinking about it again and late that day I wrote (and deleted) a more scathing version of this blog. So, was I just pissed? Yes, I was. But, was that all? I had to admit to myself, it wasn’t. I was bothered by it. I spent some time in the last week decoding why and my answer was waiting for me in the mirror.  Executive Coach, Tonya Leigh (www.tonyaleigh.com), shares that sometimes what people say that hurts or irks is actually a message we’re ripe to receive. Hmmmm. I’ve been in such a growth mode that I’ve been wondering how I will invest the time to keep getting better at the craft and serving clients to the best of my ability. While I’m not lacking confidence in being able to do the work, I realized the over-achiever in me was yelling at me to do more and more or I wouldn’t be good enough. As difficult as it is to admit, that attitude won’t serve anybody. 

Interestingly, many people suffer boughts of Imposter Syndrome and we seem to have triggers that cause it. According to researcher and author, Valerie Young, (The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women), “Articles about the imposter syndrome invariably cite the fact that numerous studies have found no difference between men and women.” Richards also points out that in working with his executive coach he learned that many famously confident people experience Imposter Syndrome including presidents, actors and authors, and just about any high-achieving person YOU KNOW. Perhaps Mocker had just hit one of my little Impostor Syndrome triggers. Zinger! 

Mocker isn’t the first person to question my work in Executive Coaching. Frankly, more men friends and acquaintances have raised the question about Executive Coaching to me personally than women. These guys would be surprised to know that I have more male than female clients and have since I started. It was actually a male that first said to me, ‘Sarah, you are a coach, this a great and natural profession for you.” Thank you for saying so, Sir, your comment meant a lot. 

Before you think I’m off my rocker and just ranting, I want to point out that Mocker actually did me a fine little favor. I stated in my previous Manifesto Post that I intend 2017 to be my BEST YEAR YET. Doing so will require growing, getting better for my clients, doing better for my husband and family and treating myself better, too. Richards added a point in his Times article that I’d like to impart on all of you. "We know what the feeling is called. We know others suffer from it. We know a little bit about why we feel this way. And we now know how to handle it: Invite it in and remind ourselves why it’s here and what it means.”

For me, apparently it means that when an impolite peer imitates you as you look on, take a moment, analyze what it means (or doesn’t) and LET IT GO. Which leads me back to why I didn’t want to reveal the gender of Mocker; Imposter Syndrome is real for both. Betcha that’s why, Mocker, men and women really need and value having an executive coach. In fact, for many of my clients, I’m proud to say that excellent coach is me. 

Mocker, maybe you should hire a good coach. Sounds like Imposter Syndrome may have affected you this winter, too. 

XOXO, Sarah Beth Aubrey out! (Drops mic, steps off soapbox for today!)  

Posted on January 30, 2017 .

MANIFESTO: Less but Better; Why 2017 Will be My Best Year Yet!

Cheers to the New Year, everyone! Annually, I set goals but have a tendency to keep them rather private. However, read on for my now-public Less but Better in 2017 Manifesto. I urge you to consider what will be essential for you in 2017, too.

In 2015 I began to read and study on the topic of less but better from a variety of sources. Most notably, I identified with the word “essentialism" from a book written by Greg McKeown aptly called, Essentialism, The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. I have used this in speeches, used it with coaching clients, and talked about less but better as criteria for success measurement in my strategic planning sessions with company execs. However, I am here to admit that while I have implemented some of the principles behind less but better the client that has seen the least success with this is, well, me. Somewhere along this last fall (or was it even as early as July?) I began to feel the weight, yes a physical weight at that, of having done a poor job of keeping the less but better theory in check. My travel schedule seemed excessive, my preparation for events and people felt rushed, and in general I started too feel tired, a tad grumpy, and when I dared to really study my visage, I looked like, well, shit. No women likes to look in the mirror one day and admit this. Certainly not me.

So, what’s the problem? I asked myself this question during Cary and I’s annual pilgrimage to the Cayman Islands recently. 
Am I out of gas because I don't like my professional life? No, not at all-I have found a niche that serves me and I enjoy serving-I haven’t been this happy professionally, ever. 
Am I not happy with my home life? Certainly not! Cary and I are solid. In fact we celebrated 15 years with matching tattoos of our wedding date. You can ask and we’ll both proudly show you. 
Am I just destined to watch my face wrinkle and droop right off my neck, giving into the sands of time and the sobering fact of having now entered my 40’s? Lord No! I shall fight back! I shall fight back!

As I analyzed these questions, my first response to myself was: “Pull yourself together, Sarah Beth, and for God’s sakes don’t let anyone know you’re discombobulated!” And, I still agree, it is time to put on the Sarah Cloak and go out and achieve. Yet, I have decided to approach my aims differently in 2017; I am striving for a better balance of less but better. My goal is to monitor my less but better meter. Some examples: If I take on too many projects, I’ll feel out of balance, but if I do excellent, rewarding projects that really support my clients, I’ll feel in balance and proud. If I don’t travel enough, I’ll get cagey and bored, but if I’m gone too often, CA will start getting irritated and I’ll feel guilty about not helping enough with the farm and the cows. If I stay up too late at business receptions or working on overdue projects (i.e. too much vino and not enough quality sleep), well, ladies-we know what happens to our faces, don’t we! So, I shall monitor that (and promise my esthetician that I will see her more regularly and wash my face every night)!

As I mentioned at the start of this article, I do set goals every year, usually financial goals and a list of things I want to accomplish or achieve. I’ve still got that list to keep to myself. However, I’d like to share with the reader (if anyone actually gets this far!) my less but better goals for 2017.

Less worrying or staying up half the night creating to-do lists and drafting speeches or remarks in my head and more praying with faith that God has got this.

Less complaining (about external things) and less criticizing (myself) and more compassion.

Less cussing and more using words that are interesting.

Less fear of critisism and more writing dedicated to the Championship Drive series-I promise my readers TWO books this year!

Less eating (of everything!) and drinking (of wine and coffee) and more water and green tea.

Less avoiding tough conversations with family more being there for those that need me or that I need to see.

Less self-importance and ‘busyness’ leaving me out of time for relationships and more calling friends, mentors, and peers that I haven’t seen in a while or that I want to reconnect with and as such more lunches, coffees, and dinner dates just because I want to enjoy a friend’s company (without agenda).

Less procrastinating and more running just for the fun of it with less emphasis on being a great runner (which, I am most assuredly not and won’t ever be the gazelle I picture!)

Less feeling groggy and puffy-eyed and more self-imposed bedtimes and quality sleep!

Less time worrying if it is the right move and more time creating programs and opportunities to serve the clients I believe I am called to serve.

Less time dilly-dallying on social media and more time reading the great authors!

Less spending (on myself-oh, clothes and shoes, how I love, thee….) and more time giving to others-of me and my things (Alert: Marie Kondo-style close clean out ahead!)

Less time working and more time in the barn and being with you, Cary Aubrey.

Cheers to 2017-the best year yet! xo, Sarah Beth Aubrey

Posted on January 2, 2017 .

Hoosier Cattle Farmer Pens Novel About Show Industry

By SUSAN BLOWER

Indiana Correspondent

MONROVIA, Ind. — Just as she has invented a unique career for herself, agribusiness consultant and coach Sarah Beth Aubrey may have invented a new genre in fiction with her latest book, the novel Championship Drive.

“The concept is about the ups and downs in showing livestock and a series of romances,” Aubrey told Farm World. “Amazon labeled it ‘cowboy fiction.’ A friend called it a ‘showmance,’ and I just love that.” 

As the title suggests, the heroine, Savannah Morgan, is trying to attain a national title with her Hereford cattle. The term “championship drive” refers to the final round in which the best in each class compete for the grand champion title. At the same time, 25-year-old Savannah is trying to manage a small cattle farm in Indiana she just inherited.

“’Championship drive’ also refers to the conflicts in showing, breeding and selling livestock, the showmanship and sportsmanship. I love the competitive spirit, the fellowship, responsible breeding, the efforts to help others. As livestock people, we understand and value that,” Aubrey said.

She knows something about her subject. She and her husband, Cary, live on a small farm in Monrovia and exhibit purebred beef cattle throughout the United States. Aubrey is also owner of A.C.T., Aubrey Coaching and Training, specializing in leadership development and training.

“Winning is the goal, but some may never win titles. People may overcome difficulties, change and better themselves, be mentored, breed better stock, help someone. There are a lot of ways to win. When I was growing up, we didn’t have expensive stock, but I didn’t stop loving the opportunity to show, even with some bad days,” Aubrey said.

Savannah is not a perfect character. Her author said she sometimes makes unwise choices, can act bratty and spoiled as she “comes of age,” and yet is someone with whom the reader can empathize – not unlike her favorite character, Scarlett O’Hara, in Gone with the Wind. “It is completely fiction, but it is based on things I’ve been through or seen a friend go through. It comes from a place of what I know and themes relevant to the industry. I’ve had readers say they thought I was writing about them,” Aubrey said.

A former Farm World correspondent, she has also authored three nonfiction books: Starting and Running a Small Farm Business, The Profitable Hobby Farm and Find Grant Funding Now, which have paralleled her own career in the ag sector.

Having sold her grant funding business in 2015, Aubrey found herself with more time to devote to the novel she had been writing for years. “A lot of late nights I typed away on it. You can play with it so long and never finish. That’s the temptation. Novels are more personal; you’re putting yourself out there. My friends have read this one, while most of those who bought my business books are people I don’t know,” Aubrey said.

Another difference is that she chose to self-publish her novel, while the nonfiction books were produced by publishing houses (Storey Publishing and Wiley). The novel, released last spring, is 244 pages.

“It is my first time self-publishing. It is liberating because you have complete control over the project. Self-publishers don’t do a lot for you; you select the services you want and you pay for them. I outsourced the editing and design,” Aubrey explained.

Self-publishing is gain-ing in credibility, she added, and the method gives writers greater ease and speed, creativity and control, as well as a larger percentage of the profits.

Aubrey said many male readers have enjoyed her “showmance” and asked for audio copies. Her next project will involve creating the audio book, and beyond that, a second book in a series that could include 3-5 works. “There’s enough interest. There’s a lot more to be told about the livestock seasons, what’s in our blood and the fun in the industry,” she said.

Aubrey said she is happy to be following her dreams, just as she writes about her characters’ pursuits of their own. “I am blessed to be involved in the ag sector and still in farming. It’s everything I could ask for.”

Characteristically, she will be teaching about what she’s learned as a published novelist in an upcoming class. For more details, readers can email Aubrey at info@championshipdrivebook.com To order a paperback or e-book, readers can search for her online at Amazon.com or visit her website at www.sarahbethaubrey.com

8/31/2016

http://www.farmworldonline.com/News/NewsArticle.asp?newsid=20495

Posted on September 4, 2016 .

Agribusiness Women - Consider Joining an Online Peer Group facilitated by me!

Connections That Count - Apply Now

Join the Interactive Online Peer Group for Women in Agribusiness this September! Farm Journal’s peer group program is launching its first online peer group program exclusively for Women in Agribusiness.

The peer group allows women from across North America to be a sounding board for each other and provide vital perspective, accountability and support to progress their careers and businesses.

Members will kick off with a one-day in-person launch meeting in Indianapolis. During the launch meeting the group will network, create individual and peer group goals, along with participate in a business development workshop.

After the kickoff meeting, members will transition to (6) two-and-a-half hour interactive web-based video conference collaborations over the course of the next calendar year. Video conference meeting will consist of an interactive workshop along with facilitated discussion with peers.

To learn more or register for this peer group opportunity email Lindsey Young atlyoung@farmjournal.com or call 888-605-7138

 

Posted on August 17, 2016 .

Nine Ways To Incorporate Values-Based Decision Making Into Your Career Choices

Written by Forbes Coaches Council

Values-based decision making means understanding what is most important to you and then incorporating this into your life on a daily basis. Knowing exactly what you believe also helps you make the decisions that naturally lead to a more fulfilling career.

But how can you adjust your priorities in order to shift to this approach? Below, we asked nine members of Forbes Coaches Council how to put values-based decision making into practice in order to lead a more fulfilling career. Here’s what they said:

From left to right: Mary Schaefer, Terry Schaefer, Christi Hegstad, Taylor Jacobson, Woody Woodward, Sarah Beth Aubrey, Jen Kelchner, Tara Padua, Belinda MJ Brown. All photos courtesy of the individual members.

From left to right: Mary Schaefer, Terry Schaefer, Christi Hegstad, Taylor Jacobson, Woody Woodward, Sarah Beth Aubrey, Jen Kelchner, Tara Padua, Belinda MJ Brown. All photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Own Your Own Authority

When a choice makes you uneasy, identify what value it is rubbing up against and why. I ask myself if the decision I’m trying on is based on truth and growth or fear and denial. The same action can hold different meanings for different people. You can gather opinions, but bottom line, your own gut will tell you what is value-based for you. This also helps you stand strong with unpopular decisions.   - Mary SchaeferArtemis Path, Inc. 

2. Keep Focused

Values-based decision making is the keel that keeps the organism (people, processes, procedures and practices) balanced, honest and moving forward.  When your values are well defined, fully understood by all, and emphasized regularly, decisions are made easily from within the framework employed.   - Terry SchaeferProfitable Family Business 

3. Pay Attention To What Makes You Feel Fulfilled

When you know your core values and consistently make decisions in favor of them, you’ll likely see your confidence, strength and purposeful productivity skyrocket. In my experience, decision-making out of alignment with core values is the main factor in disconnect, disengagement and a general sense of feeling “off.” Values clarification is not difficult and is definitely worth the effort.   - Christi HegstadMAP Professional Development Inc. 

4. Make A List

Make no mistake, a clear list of your top 5-7 one-word values is like a personal North Star. To identify your values, ask: What makes me angry? Who do I most respect and admire? What experiences do I think of most fondly? What celebrities do I love? Then follow up with the question: Why? Keep asking why until you find the root causes, and consider asking a friend for help distilling your values.   - Taylor JacobsonTeamPossible 

5. Don’t Confuse Societal Values With Actual Values

The challenge most of us face is discriminating our aspirational values from our actual values. At times, we pay lip service to socially desirable values that never quite manifest in our daily actions, causing confusion and mistrust. Making values-based decisions begins with taking the time to truly look inward to identify your actual values, so as to bridge the gap between your words and actions.   - Dr. Woody WoodwardHCI 

6. Are You Proud Of The Work You Do? 

I’ve been there — in a career that was outwardly successful and inwardly in conflict with my values. The words “values” and “ethics” aren’t synonyms. You work very ethically and may still not be aligned with what you truly value in life. If you’re feeling restless, this misalignment may be the case. Ask yourself, does this work, this success, or this daily activity make me truly proud?   - Sarah Beth AubreyA.C.T. Aubrey Coaching & Training 

7. If It Doesn’t Align, Don’t Choose It  

Values-based decision making requires you to really know yourself, what you stand for, what you’re passionate about, and your purpose. Knowing this allows you to set guardrails for making decisions. Ultimately you become aligned, happier, fulfilled and always on-track, which accelerates success in life and your career. You can’t make bad decisions with this model, as you always remain true to you.   - Jen KelchnerKelchner Advisory 

8. Name Values Before The Moment Of Difficulty

Tough choices are those in which our values come into conflict. Making values-based career decisions requires you to name those values prior to the moment of difficulty when your judgment is clouded. Having awareness of, and clarity about, your values — and their relative importance — allows you to use them as a lens to filter your decisions so they are aligned with your true north.   - Tara PaduaNextFem

9. Reassess Your Values Throughout Your Life

At each stage of our career, it is important to reassess our values based on our current place in life. What we valued at 20 is certainly not the same at 40 or 50. Making values-based decisions leads us to the right organization and the adequate environment to support our personal and professional growth. Choosing a role or a position aligned with our core values will propel us to effortless success.   - Belinda MJ Brown

http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2016/08/10/nine-ways-to-incorporate-values-based-decision-making-into-your-career-choices/2/#3aae6fec6cb3

Posted on August 16, 2016 .

14 Tips For Leading A More Effective Meeting

Written by Forbes Coaches Council

No one likes meetings for the sake of meetings. They disrupt workflow and leave you with the feeling that the organizer doesn’t appreciate your time. This begs the question, what can leaders do to run more engaging, effective meetings?

When you take the time to make meetings useful to those attending, engagement happens naturally. You can take this idea a step further by starting the meeting with an “attention-getter” and ending with specific action requirements for each person. According to members of Forbes Coaches Council, here are several more ways to successfully facilitate a meeting people want to attend:

From left to right: Sarah Beth Aubrey, Jada Willis, Mike Ambassador Bruny, Laura DeCarlo, Elizabeth Saunders, Sally Fox, Robyn Hatcher, Brett Baughman, Mary Schaefer, Tania Fowler, Michelle Tillis Lederman, Jane Hundley, Chris Robinson, Jen Kelchner. All photos courtesy of the individual members.

From left to right: Sarah Beth Aubrey, Jada Willis, Mike Ambassador Bruny, Laura DeCarlo, Elizabeth Saunders, Sally Fox, Robyn Hatcher, Brett Baughman, Mary Schaefer, Tania Fowler, Michelle Tillis Lederman, Jane Hundley, Chris Robinson, Jen Kelchner. All photos courtesy of the individual members.

1. Assign Pre-Work

Far more specific and effective than an agenda alone is assigning pre-work. Using pre-work regularly, managers will encourage preparation and engage employees. Pre-work can be simple: Ask participants to provide key solutions, suggestions or examples before the meeting that can be aggregated and presented live. Then the in-meeting discussion is richer and likely more efficient.   - Sarah Beth AubreyA.C.T. Aubrey Coaching & Training 

2. Adopt An “Everyone Plays” Mentality

Sick of being the only one talking for an entire meeting? Assign relevant roles, topics or updates that each participant (or most) can share with the group. With participants taking more of an active role, they are much more likely to pay attention and also feel empowered by the new responsibility. This can also be used as a professional developmental activity. It’s a win-win.   - Jada WillisWillis Professional Services 

3. Make The Meeting Actionable

Send people the agenda and anything else they can read before the meeting so you can use the meeting to focus on what actions and decisions need to be made to move things forward.   - Mike Ambassador BrunyNo More Reasonable Doubt 

4. Cater To Different Learning Styles For A Winning Meeting

A successful team is made up of individuals with different strengths, talents and learning styles. When you lead a team meeting, taking those different learning styles into consideration can create an inclusive and participative environment. So don’t just talk and hit auditory styles, but instead also supply visuals, opportunities to interact and contribute, and ways for participants to stretch.   - Laura DeCarloCareer Directors international 

5. Invite Fewer People 

Limiting the meeting attendees to those who most need to be there will be double time saving for your staff. They don’t have to spend time in a non-essential meeting, and they can spend more time on essential work. Plus, it allows you to run more efficient and focused meetings with just the key stakeholders.   - Elizabeth SaundersReal Life E 

6. Treat It Like A Performance

Whether you’re thinking street performance (huddle) or full play (strategic planning), take a cue from performers: Think about your audience, practice ahead of time, remember set-up, plan your beats (items), and vary them so people don’t get lulled by the droning repetition of similar discussions. Engage others. Build suspense. Allow for conflict. Never bore.   - Sally FoxEngaging Presence 

7. Open With A Bang

Start with a focused “attention getter” that will put your meeting in context. Before going over agenda or thank yous, ask a provocative question, state an interesting statistic, quote someone or tell a story. Make sure these connect to the “why” or bottom line of your meeting and address “what’s in it for them.” This will wake up the creative part of listeners’ minds and lead to more engagement.   - Robyn HatcherSpeakEtc. 

8. Collaborate

Whenever I run a meeting, the first thing I do is get everyone involved. Before I even create the structure for my meetings, I will reach out to my audience and ask for suggestions of topics they want to cover. This gets everyone prepared for the meeting and provides me with valuable ideas for my material. You will experience higher engagement and even head off potential issues before they arise.   - Brett BaughmanThe Brett Baughman Companies, Inc. 

9. Give Everyone Time To Think

When you ask questions in a meeting some people need more time to think than others. I use this tactic when I have a question and want give everyone the opportunity to be heard. I ask attendees to take 1-2 minutes to jot some notes on how they would answer my question. I may even ask them to be prepared to be called on. I hear from more people and get a greater variety of responses.   - Mary SchaeferArtemis Path, Inc. 

10. Make A Real-Time Agenda

Meetings are usually boring. Ignite the energy and what matters to people by asking, “What is most important to you right now in terms of team success?” Go around the room and have each person share their thoughts in 30 seconds or less. Write them down and have the team decide in what order the ideas have the most leverage, and then map out what it will take to accomplish them. Listen.   - Tania FowlerInterplay Coaching 

11. Start With The End In Mind

At the beginning of any meeting, make the objective for coming together crystal clear. Usually one sentence rather than a lengthy agenda will suffice. Try, “At the end of this meeting we will decide… .” Or, “We are here to generate and evaluate options for… .” Add boundaries of time for each step in the process. Starting with the single objective will greatly increase the likelihood of achieving it.   - Michelle Tillis LedermanExecutive Essentials 

12. Always Review Decisions

Meetings include exploratory conversations, yet not everyone may know that information or have the responsibility to evaluate, assess and conclude. Any conclusions made need to be explicit to everyone there. Before adjourning each meeting, ask, “What did we decide today? Did we decide anything new? What is left on the table to decide later?” Get obvious clarity.   - Jane HundleyImpact Management Inc Coaching and Training 

13. Start And End On Time

No one likes their schedule blown, including you. When you start on time and end on time consistently, people know what they can expect, and it shows that you respect their time as well. If there are pressing issues with individuals, arrange additional one-on-one meetings with those specific individuals. Always start and end on time.   -Chris RobinsonR3 Coaching 

14. Create A Parking Lot

Create a “parking lot” for items that arise that should either be discussed offline individually or at another meeting. This will help you stay on track to your agenda, be respectful of everyone’s time at the table, and allow you to remain in control of the meeting. Parked items can be sent out via email as action items post meeting or added to the next meeting agenda.   - Jen KelchnerKelchner Advisory 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2016/06/30/14-tips-to-lead-and-facilitate-meetings-more-effectively/2/#44bb262e1cd0

Posted on August 16, 2016 .

Forbes Coaches Council Members Publish Exciting New Books

Written by Demitra Fields

June 3, 2016

"The Introvert Entrepreneur" and "Championship Drive" are the newest books by authors Beth Buelow and Sarah Beth Aubrey.

This week, we’re celebrating two Forbes Coaches Council members who recently published new books.

1. The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms by Beth Buelow

Beth Buelow, founder of The Introvert Entrepreneur, published a guide to help introverts harness their natural gifts and entrepreneurial spirit. From navigating the challenges of networking and self-promotion to developing leadership skills, The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms offers fresh insight and valuable advice on how to create a successful business without compromising personality.

The book features interviews with introvert entrepreneurs like Chris Guillebeau, Jadah Sellner, John E. Doerr, Bryan Janeczko and many others.

2. Championship Drive by Sarah Beth Aubrey

Sarah Beth Aubrey, executive coach and principal of A.C.T. Aubrey Coaching & Training, recently published her first novel, Championship Drive. The author of three previous books, Sarah was inspired to write Championship Drive by her past experiences raising and showing cattle. The story narrates a young woman caught between keeping her farm and winning a national show while unexpectedly falling in love with an older man.

Championship Drive is available through all major booksellers on ebook and paperback.

https://forbescoachescouncil.com/blog/2016/06/03/forbes-coaches-council-members-publish-exciting-new-books/?inf_contact_key=8625f98c23dfffbef66bd99c55d16e960b95b5532f55bd8bf4ac8b600ce28b2a

Posted on August 16, 2016 .

Forbes Coaches Council Member Spotlight: Sarah Beth Aubrey, Principal at A.C.T. Aubrey Coaching & Training

Written by Forbes Coaches Council

May 25, 2016

"Is your work building your career — or stalling it?"

Forbes Coaches Council members come from a wide range of backgrounds. And with their wide range of experiences, they have a lot to share with clients and fellow members of the community. To help them share with an even greater audience, we’re profiling Forbes Coaches Council members here on the blog. This week: Sarah Beth Aubrey.

Sarah Beth Aubrey is the principal of A.C.T Aubrey Coaching & Training, an award-winning executive training service, and a sought-after speaker for Farm Journal Media, Executive Women in Agriculture Conference, the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) and more. The Indianapolis Business Journal named her on the “Forty Under 40” list in 2013, and she was honored on Vance Publishing’s “40 under 40 in Agriculture” in 2015. She is the author of “Find Grant Funding Now!” “Starting & Running Your Own Small Farm Business” and “The Profitable Hobby Farm: How to Build a Sustainable Local Foods Business.”

What inspired you to become a coach?

One day it just clicked. I’ve been in strategic planning since 1999 and have always loved the work with boards, steering committees or teams navigating change. A while back, I was doing such work for a client which I really enjoyed. They proposed that I come work for them. I was doing work in a role they were actively trying to fill, but I like flying solo. Besides, taking on the full-time role would have included a lot of operations, which was not my strength. Still, they pressured me to at least meet the other VPs and interview. I did, with the known caveat that I really wasn’t interested in a “job.” During the interview, I began talking the VPs through their challenges in filling the position. One of them thanked me and said simply, “Sarah, you’re an excellent coach for these kinds of transitions.” Since then, I’ve been working with them to develop executive coaching for managers and other key stakeholders! And, my own formalized coaching practice was born.

What one piece of advice do you find yourself relying on most? Why?

When I was first a sales representative, I hated my job. I hated everything about it — the location, the way the regional managers turned their heads at questionable practices, the way I felt slimy selling products that didn’t matter to me. It felt like a farce. Of course, other people (including those I respected) thought I’d scored a great gig for a first job and should be grateful, so I stayed with the company. But one day, I had a chance encounter with a peer a few years older than me. He asked, “Is your work building your career — or stalling it?” He suggested that I ask myself this key question in any situation. I was stunned at the question and its impact on me. I found a way to move on from the job and have remembered that advice many, many times over the years.

What is the biggest hurdle your clients face? What advice would you give others struggling with this issue?

Many of my clients are either entrepreneurs or large farm operators. They are the CEOs, founders or heirs of their organizations and family businesses. One common theme is that “it’s lonely at the top” for them. Because of competition concerns, a lack of trust in others in the business, or their own tendencies to be self-sufficient, it’s difficult for them to find someone to talk to. My advice for them is to find a professional peer group. I have seen the peer-group model create tremendous change in individuals that were once stuck on certain challenges or decisions. The guided, but genuine, feedback and accountability from someone else who has been in a similar situation can provide immense value.

https://forbescoachescouncil.com/blog/2016/05/25/forbes-coaches-council-member-spotlight-sarah-beth-aubrey-principal-at-a-c-t-aubrey-coaching-training/?inf_contact_key=595af7882f0d877a2fe7bd90ef72361ce846011d3370400035f4a31bd7f50ffe

Posted on August 16, 2016 .

Walk a Mile in (Her) Shoes

Welcome news! It’s a great time to be in agriculture, especially a women in agriculture, according to some sources, anyway.

 

Today more women are farming that ever before. USDA ag statistics reports that woman owned and operated farms in the U.S. has more than doubled since 1982 to nearly 1 million. According to an article published by agcareers.com in the May 2016 issue of  Agri Marketing, “we’ve seen tremendous growth in women’s interest in agriculture, women pursuing careers in the industry, and enrollment in agricultural collegiate programs.” Even as we continue to see consolidation, careers in both traditional areas such as sales and innovative fields like technology are still growing in agribusiness. It seems there is some confidence in the marketplace about professional agricultural jobs. In fact, agcareers.com also reported that in the Gender Roles & Equality survey they conducted in 2015 that 88 percent of women respondents ‘felt optimistic about their possibility to advance in the ag industry’; correspondingly, the results indicated that only about 56 percent said they were optimistic ‘outside the ag industry’. 

 

One word from the findings of this report struck me, however: confidence.

 

Confidence, or a lack of, is still a factor for many career women, regardless of industry.  I recently authored a report called the Role of Confidence for Women in Communications . I discovered that despite mentoring programs, company-sponsored training, and boundless leadership academies, executive women still feel misunderstood even if they like their chosen industry and believe there is opportunity for expansion. Agriculture is still a bit this way, too. We have our benefits: gals typically don’t wait in line for restrooms at field days, and we often have a healthy selection of guys to date when we’re younger. Fortunately, even the options for company shirts are starting to become more stylish! Besides, for many of us, being is agriculture is just part of who we are.  Yet, sometimes a gal just needs to chat it up with a girlfriend. We can take much from the camaraderie of people whose situations, concerns, laughs, and daily lives are similar to our own. That’s where I believe peer groups have a tremendous value in agriculture. I encourage you to look at a peer-to-peer network that is formal-such as Farm Journal’s peer networking groups (full disclosure, I facilitate a couple of these groups, so I am biased about their value!) including the ag women’s online peer group or Top Producer Executive Network (TPEN). You should also consider gathering informally on social media or in person as regularly as you can with friends and you own targeted network of peers and mentors.

 

The building of confidence is a factor that I’ve seen win business, advance careers, and improve professional relationships over and over. I’m not talking about being over-confident, arrogant, or boastful, either. Rather, as a professional that has the self-assuredness to know when a deal is mutually beneficial and ethical - and when its not- is a critical factor to career growth and personal contentment. While training is important and necessary, sometimes just knowing you’re not alone out there boosts confidence in a way nothing else can. 

 

Yep, sometimes you just gotta walk a mile (or an acre) in her shoes to understand. 

 

I welcome your contact: 

Sarah Beth Aubrey, owner, A.C.T. Aubrey Coaching & Training

www.sarahbethaubrey.com 

Posted on June 30, 2016 .

Have One Hour? Create A Strategic Plan On A Page

POST WRITTEN BY

Sarah Beth Aubrey

Executive coach, group facilitator, leadership training professional & founder of A.C.T.  Learn more:sarahbethaubrey.com.

I’m a process builder. Call me a process-a-holic. I’ve created processes for just about everything from simple templates for use after coaching sessions to complex cataloging for my wine collection. But really, I build processes because doing so is a practice that is repeatable and brings structure to any project. Besides, when the process doesn’t work anymore, it can be improved or discarded.

The process of getting to this isn’t always pretty. In fact, my “plan on a page,” a strategy that forces leaders to focus quickly and cast away their doubt in order to find a solution, was a concept initially based on desperation born of a deadlocked group on a deadline. As the hired facilitator, I was on deck to help this group reach a consensus and formulate a plan they could use. I divided the room into pairs and asked the pairs to examine five points and report back.

The results were pretty miraculous. When forced to do so quickly and without the threat of speaking up, all small group findings were extremely similar, such that I was able to capture everything on one page. Seeing the consensus appear before their eyes, the committee’s barriers to action were eliminated.

Today, in my performance-based coaching and small business strategy practice, what I like about the concept of process is leverage, specifically the leverage of time and money. For example, the “plan on a page” process works for busy business owners or small teams by shortening — to one hour or less — the process of building a strategic plan. I’ve used this to help clients conduct the once daunting exercise largely on their own. After walking through the basics of crafting a plan on a page, the process can be repeated as often as needed. That saves money since an outside consultant isn’t required every time you want to update.

While I often teach the “plan on a page” process in seminars and on-site consulting, the structure outlined below can be used to help teams, committees and family business partners create a strategic plan — one that they will actually use — in one hour or less. Covering just five main points, I believe you can craft an effective plan that works.

How To Begin

The process is simple. Get situated to focus for an hour, grab your preferred writing instrument, and use the five steps described below, giving only 10 minutes to each. If you are with a group, either pair off or work independently before sharing.

1. Core Values

Start by listing what you value, jotting up to three independent ideals and any context for these values.

2. Future Vision

Keeping the values in mind, how do these key elements that matter inform what you want for the future? Is it different from today? If so, how? List no more than three sentences describing the business of the future.

3. SWOT Analysis

You’re really hustling now — and that’s the point. If you’ve done a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis before, you’re probably wondering how to get that done in 10 minutes. Stop wondering and start answering. List two independent items for each category and don’t get bogged down with flim-flam concerns or notions that “might” be of issue. Select items that are concrete.

4. SMART Goals

With half the hour remaining, turn to goal setting using the truly tried SMART method: specific, measurable, ambitious, realistic and timely. Again, if it seems like a stretch, it is. Select up to three goals and be sure each can be assigned SMART status to each. If you can’t, delete it. Concerned about the timeframe? Refer back to the future vision and work on incremental goals to get you there. Remember, you can always come back to this plan and that is the point.

5. Prioritize

Select one priority. I repeat, one priority. Many of us have the tendency to pluralize the word. I love what author Greg McKeown says in his book EssentialismThe Disciplined Pursuit of Less: “The word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years.” Stop making priorities plural. Now.

6. Accountability

You may not leave the room until you have set up accountability and follow through actions. Find an accountability partner with whom you’ll share the plan. Contact them now. Then, pull out your calendar and set a date to review it no more than 60 days into the future.

Big Plans Are Needed Too, Just Not Always

I’m not demeaning large-scale or highly involved strategic planning initiatives. In fact, I work on these, too. What I’ve found, however, is that sometimes generating too much information over too long of a timeframe results in flat out overwhelm. The strategic “plan on a page” process pushes participants to think, be decisive, and be honest about what’s really important. The “plan on a page” should be used, reviewed and updated. As such, it does fit in nicely with broader long-term initiatives as a way to keep the momentum going. So, don’t be skeptical. Give the process a try — it’s only an hour.

Posted on June 28, 2016 .

I just returned home from leading a couple of strategic planning workshops at the Tomorrow’s Top Producer Conference in Nashville, TN. I was so encouraged by the level of participation from young men and women in production agriculture. As an industry,we have a strong ‘pipeline’ of talent, even though we probably wish there were more interested, ambitious young people out there ready to farm. 

In my sessions, we worked through strategic planning using an abbreviated approach I like to call ‘Your Strategic Plan on a Page’. One participant mentioned that while he liked the process, he wondered if strategy was what he should spend his time on right now. I argue that strategy is always important-a lack of strategic direction leads to stagnation. But, don’t just take it from me, consider what The Wall Street Journal says in a recent special report. “The single greatest reason companies get into trouble is because CEO’s are bad at strategy,” writes Cesare R. Maindari for WSJ. He goes onto to mention that some companies might appear healthy -and may be performing well in other areas such as operational excellence and reacting to market conditions-but their failure to add strategy into the mix eventually leads to disaster. He calls this the ‘strategy to execution gap’. 

One way to improve strategy is to start at the beginning - with yourself! “Commit to an identity. Define one’s self by what one does, not just by what one sells,” Maindari says. 

In agriculture, this can be translated as  'define oneself by what one does, not by what one grows'.

I encourage you to think about the distinction between being a person or an operation that grows crops or raises livestock and being person or operation that does something. 

-Sarah Beth Aubrey, A.C.T. Aubrey Coaching and Training, can be reached at sarah@sarahbethaubrey.com or www.sarahbethaubrey.com

Posted on June 22, 2016 .

Strategic Planning-The Fast, Effective Method

By: Sarah Beth Aubrey

I’m prepping this week to connect with top agricultural producers that are (mostly)

under 40 in Nashville, Tennessee. While I’ll be presenting a session about how to

create a strategic plan on a page in one hour or less, I decided that any

www.agweb.com reader might like a recap of the process. If you’re looking to get

clear about your operation’s strategic direction, take a read below.

The process is a truly simple five steps. First, set aside about 60 minutes and divide

the following steps into 5-10 minute increments. Aim to push through and get just

the best ideas down on the page, even if you feel there is more you could add. If you

are part of a family operation with multiple decision makers, work independently

before sharing.

One-Core Values

Start by listing what you value, jotting up to three independent ideals and any

context for these values.

Two-Vision for The Future

Keeping the values in mind, how do these key elements that matter inform what you

want for the future? List no more than 3 sentences describing the business of the

future.

Three - SWOT Analysis

Conduct a fast SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis

related to the farming operation. List 2 independent items for each category.

Four- SMART Goals

Select up to three goals and be sure each can be assigned SMART (specific,

measurable, ambitious, realistic, and timely) status-if it can’t delete it.

Five- Prioritize

Select one priority. I repeat, set one priority. Stop making priorities plural.

For more information about this process, please visit www.sarahbethaubrey.com

http://www.agweb.com/article/tips-to-prepare-for-a-farm-strategic-planning-meeting-naa-megan-lamanna/

Posted on June 14, 2016 .

Tips to Prepare for a Farm Strategic Planning Meeting

JUNE 8, 2016 09:51 AM

By Megan LaManna
Farm Journal Media
Proofreader/Copy Editor

Strategic planning is essential for farm businesses seeking to improve and grow. Yet if producers fail to think through their agenda for a strategic planning meeting, the outcome can be inefficient and ineffective.

Instead, farm operators and their teams should ask themselves a series of three questions—and take three steps afterward—to achieve maximum success, advises Sarah Beth Aubrey, a farm business consultant and author who has simplified the process with her Strategic Plan on a Page approach.

“These questions are pretty simple, but if you take a few minutes on your own and with others in your operation to think through them, I think the process will go smoother and be more productive,” says Aubrey, who recently presented a Top Producer webinar on the topic of preplanning for strategy meetings. She will speak on strategic planning at the 2016 Tomorrow’s Top Producer conference June 16-17 in Nashville. A recording of her earlier webinar on the five pillars of strategic planning is available on AgWeb.com. 

During preplanning discussions, Aubrey says, you and your team should ask yourselves:

Are you committed to better planning?
In an operation where multiple people will be involved in the strategic planning process, Aubrey suggests having a discussion about how to make the plan work for everyone.

Will you use the plan and update it?
Easy implementation is among the goals of Aubrey’s one-hour plan. “A plan that is not looked at, and is not updated, and is not altered, and is not changed as things change, is not really worth it,” she says. When plans need modification, take the opportunity to monitor your progress and reassess goals.

With whom will you share your plan on a page?
Strategic plans are not secret and should be shared with those who support your operation. These people can provide feedback, ideas and accountability, and might include key employees, spouses, advisers and peers.

The planning process can include as many people as necessary, Aubrey says. Once you have identified those individuals, the next step is to finish your preplanning discussions by taking three steps.

Step #1: Get Input
Start asking questions that will help structure your plan. Peer advisory programs such as Farm Journal’s Top Producer Executive Network (TPEN), are a great way to begin gathering input, says Aubrey, who is also a TPEN facilitator. You can ask other peer group members what they have done in the past, what has worked for them and what they think are key factors to consider in a strategic direction.

Step #2: Assign Prework
If you are going to have a group planning session, Aubrey says,  ask everyone involved to first go through each of the five pillars of the Strategic Plan on a Page individually. The pillars are: core values, future vision, SWOT analysis, SMART goals and prioritization. She also recommends reviewing previous plans, mission statements, goals and financials.

Step #3: Block the Time
Send out a calendar invitation and require attendees to confirm their participation a few days in advance. “Make sure you block that time, make sure everyone is aware and confirm,” Aubrey says. She also recommends going offsite for your meeting to minimize distractions.

You can hear Aubrey present in-depth information about her Strategic Plan on a Page process June 16-17 at the Tomorrow’s Top Producer conference in Nashville.

http://www.agweb.com/article/tips-to-prepare-for-a-farm-strategic-planning-meeting-naa-megan-lamanna/

Posted on June 9, 2016 .

Forbes Coaches Council Member Spotlight: Sarah Beth Aubrey, Principal at A.C.T. Aubrey Coaching & Training

By: Forbes Coaches Council

"Is your work building your career — or stalling it?"

Forbes Coaches Council members come from a wide range of backgrounds. And with their wide range of experiences, they have a lot to share with clients and fellow members of the community. To help them share with an even greater audience, we’re profiling Forbes Coaches Council members here on the blog. This week: Sarah Beth Aubrey.

Sarah Beth Aubrey is the principal of A.C.T Aubrey Coaching & Training, an award-winning executive training service, and a sought-after speaker for Farm Journal Media, Executive Women in Agriculture Conference, the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) and more. The Indianapolis Business Journal named her on the “Forty Under 40” list in 2013, and she was honored on Vance Publishing’s “40 under 40 in Agriculture” in 2015. She is the author of “Find Grant Funding Now!” “Starting & Running Your Own Small Farm Business” and “The Profitable Hobby Farm: How to Build a Sustainable Local Foods Business.”

What inspired you to become a coach?

One day it just clicked. I’ve been in strategic planning since 1999 and have always loved the work with boards, steering committees or teams navigating change. A while back, I was doing such work for a client which I really enjoyed. They proposed that I come work for them. I was doing work in a role they were actively trying to fill, but I like flying solo. Besides, taking on the full-time role would have included a lot of operations, which was not my strength. Still, they pressured me to at least meet the other VPs and interview. I did, with the known caveat that I really wasn’t interested in a “job.” During the interview, I began talking the VPs through their challenges in filling the position. One of them thanked me and said simply, “Sarah, you’re an excellent coach for these kinds of transitions.” Since then, I’ve been working with them to develop executive coaching for managers and other key stakeholders! And, my own formalized coaching practice was born.

What one piece of advice do you find yourself relying on most? Why?

When I was first a sales representative, I hated my job. I hated everything about it — the location, the way the regional managers turned their heads at questionable practices, the way I felt slimy selling products that didn’t matter to me. It felt like a farce. Of course, other people (including those I respected) thought I’d scored a great gig for a first job and should be grateful, so I stayed with the company. But one day, I had a chance encounter with a peer a few years older than me. He asked, “Is your work building your career — or stalling it?” He suggested that I ask myself this key question in any situation. I was stunned at the question and its impact on me. I found a way to move on from the job and have remembered that advice many, many times over the years.

What is the biggest hurdle your clients face? What advice would you give others struggling with this issue?

Many of my clients are either entrepreneurs or large farm operators. They are the CEOs, founders or heirs of their organizations and family businesses. One common theme is that “it’s lonely at the top” for them. Because of competition concerns, a lack of trust in others in the business, or their own tendencies to be self-sufficient, it’s difficult for them to find someone to talk to. My advice for them is to find a professional peer group. I have seen the peer-group model create tremendous change in individuals that were once stuck on certain challenges or decisions. The guided, but genuine, feedback and accountability from someone else who has been in a similar situation can provide immense value.

Posted on May 31, 2016 .

Five Pillars of a Successful Strategic Plan for Farm Businesses

By Megan LaManna
Farm Journal Media
Proofreader/Copy Editor

Creating a business plan can seem like a daunting task, but when approached the right way, what once proved overwhelming can become manageable. One way young business owners can tackle this process is with the Strategic Plan on a Page approach developed by Sarah Beth Aubrey, a farm business consultant and author.

“It allows you to get to the places you want to go,” says Aubrey, who spoke during a recent Top Producer webinar on the subject. She will present Part 2 of her free strategic planning webinar series on May 26, and registration is now open. [You don’t want to] look back five years from now and think, ‘I never took the time to build and implement the things I wanted to do.”

Aubrey recommends keeping business plans somewhere accessible such as a wallet, mirror, truck dashboard or phone.

“If your strategic plan isn’t handy in one of those places, you’re wasting your time,” Aubrey says. “Why build something you don’t need? You’re too busy for that.”

Aubrey’s Strategic Plan on a Page contains five pillars necessary for any strategic business plan:

Core Values
Core values are the “why” behind a farm operation. They ensure your organization remains true to its purpose and mission. “If you can understand what you really have as a core value, the rest of the steps are a lot easier,” she says. “You can always relate it back to this one.”

Future Vision
There’s always tension between how things were always done and how things will have to change for future growth. Yet vision doesn’t take away from history or heritage; it allows you to create your own path, Aubrey says. Instead of thinking about the process as fixing something, think of it as deciding where you want to go.

SWOT Analysis
An analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) is one of the more tactical pillars in Aubrey’s Plan on a Page process. She recommends using Gallup’s StrengthsFinder as a primary assessment tool for articulating what your skillset is and where there are gaps. “Absolutely do not overlook this section,” she says.

SMART Goals
The goals you create for your operation should embody the acronym SMART, which stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. Don’t create goals for yourself just because you think you should, or you will never accomplish them, Aubrey says. If you have trouble coming up with goals, she recommends referring back to your strengths from the SWOT analysis.

Prioritization
Aubrey says “priorities” is a word that needs to be deleted from the vocabularies of business owners. “There are many tasks, there are many goals, there are many have-tos and to-dos, but do one priority at a time,” she says. Don’t squander your energy by working on too many projects at once. Instead, focus your energy.

Know what it takes to plan for a great strategic planning meeting on your farm? Learn the essentials from Sarah Beth Aubrey during our free webinar May 26. Register for the webinar here. You can reach Sarah atsarah@sarahbethaubrey.com.

http://www.agweb.com/article/five-pillars-of-a-successful-strategic-plan-for-farm-businesses-naa-megan-lamanna/

Posted on May 27, 2016 .

The Gender Pay Gap Affects Farmers, Too

By Ben Potter

AgWeb.com

Social Media and Innovation Editor

The Wall Street Journal recently analyzed salary information for 446 major U.S. occupations. Women earned more than their male counterparts in seven of them. Farming was not one of them.

According to the research, female farmers earn on average 65% of what a comparable male farmer earns. Median earnings per year for a male farmer was $41,043 versus $26,594 for a female farmer.

Other notable gender pay gaps in the industry include:

  • ag inpsectors - 91%
  • graders and sorters, ag products - 74%
  • misc. ag workers - 73%
  • ag and food scientists - 89%
  • ag and food science techs - 90%
  • buyers and purchasing agents, farm products - 88%
  • first line supervisors of farming, fishing and forestry workers - 75%

Farm business consultant and author Sarah Beth Aubrey, says for farmers, this gap might be explained to a large degree by circumstantial situations.

“I would suspect that the pay gap could be related to both the fact that when compared to men, women farmers often have other family commitments that may preclude many from farming full time, thus preventing them from earning more,” she says.

Aubrey adds that it would be interesting to break out earnings information for new female farmers.

“Many small and niche farmers are venturing into non-traditional forms of agriculture, and from my experience, this niche farming market includes a lot of women leaving careers elsewhere to begin a life in agriculture,” she says. “As a new or small niche farmer, the income may naturally be lower, at least at first.”

Marji Alaniz, who heads FarmHer, an online community where female farmers can connect with one another, says women in agriculture have to work “harder, faster and smarter” to survive and thrive in the industry. She says she hopes women farmers continue to take pride in all that they do.

“Women in agriculture need to recognize that their work is valuable – and with value comes greater confidence in themselves and in their businesses,” she says. “

To view the interactive Wall Street Journal chart, “What’s Your Pay Gap,” visithttp://graphics.wsj.com/gender-pay-gap/.

To View Article Online: http://www.agweb.com/article/the-gender-pay-gap-affects-farmers-too-naa-ben-potter/

 

Posted on May 27, 2016 .

Calling All Women in Agribusiness - Consider Farm Journal’s New Peer Group - Exclusively For You!

Annual Program Structure


On-Site Launch Meeting: Midwest Hub Location To Be Determined 


Meet your group members and facilitator
Interactive business development workshop
Create individual and peer group goals
Evening network activity


Six 2-Hour Interactive Webcam Calls: 
Featuring workshop and peer group networking


45-minute workshop presentation on industry hot topic
Q&A with presenter
Facilitated discussion with peers

Suggested Topics
Strengths Finder and Assessment
Goal Setting for Achievement
Cultivating Personal and Professional Networks
How to be an Advocate
Strategic Sales- Selling Without Being Salesy
The B Word- Work Life Balance


Accountability and implementation of workshop concepts and goals from peers

 

And more...


Private social media and email platform for communication between meetings
Access to select Top Producer Executive NetworkTM exclusive webinars
Farm Journal Media magazine subscriptions
 

Launch Date Pending - Spring of 2016

Any Agribusiness Woman in US or Canada Welcome!

 

For more information, contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@farmjournal.com or by calling 888-605-7138. 

 

To reach Sarah Beth Aubrey, email sarah@sarahbethaubrey.com.

Posted on April 10, 2016 .

Is This The Year You Create a Farm Advisory Board?

 As family partnerships and farm corporations are now the norm today, you may already be thinking that adding more opinions to the farming operation is worse than receiving another holiday fruitcake. It might be the last thing you want to stomach this holiday season. However, presumably you’re seeking efficiency over the next couple of years and maybe even the opportunity to grow strategically. Do you have the expertise on board right now to help you consider and critically evaluate new opportunities as they cross your farm gate? Or, could you simply use someone objective (re: not related to you!) to sit down and talk with about your ideas? Finally, are you curious about how other industries manage their strategic goals? If any of these sound appealing, it may be time to consider building a farm advisory board. 

According to an article on fambiz.com (http://fambiz.com/category/board-of-advisors/), there are several possible reasons to set up on advisory board including:

  • Helping move stubborn projects forward
  • Gaining experience of outside advisors to supplement the family’s skills set
  • New ideas by thinking outside the box

These make sense, but how do you find and screen for the right fit? The authors of Strategic Relationships at Work, Wendy Murphy and Kathy Kram, suggest that building what they call a ‘developmental network’ as a way to uncover potential advisory board members over time. First, think about your own expertise and what you feel is truly lacking. Then, consider professionals and peers that you know who have been successful in business, whether they are in agriculture or not. Finally, consider your own goals. What are you seeking to do differently or better in the next one to five years? What challenges are you having difficulty overcoming? Are there ways you’d like to develop as a leader in your operation or within the agricultural industry? All of these goals can potentially be supported by the right advisors. 

Finally, advisory boards require networking and being willing to ask someone for their time and expertise. While most operations don’t pay for advisory members, doing so may work in some circumstances.

Remember don’t confuse an advisory board with your formal corporate board of directors; advisory board members do just that-they provide commentary and help you think through decisions-but they don’t have a vote or the final say. 

P.S. This week I’m in Chicago networking with agribusiness and farm women at Farm Journal’s Executive Women in Agriculture Conference (EWA). I’m giving a breakout session on this very topic entitled: "Peer Power: Steps to Building A Farm Peer Advisory Board". Check out the agenda here.

Posted on December 2, 2015 .

Calling all Women Ag Producers!

Nov 05, 2015

In agriculture we are already aware of our relative rarity as an industry sector. It’s a well-worn and oft-repeated fact that  farmers and ranchers make up less than 2 percent of the U.S. population. However, for some of us in ag, namely women actively engaged in farming, we’re even more like diamonds in the rough. Fewer than 30 percent of farmers today are women. Interestingly, though, that number is on the rise. According to USDA, woman-operated farms has doubled since 1982 to nearly 1 million.

 

With that in mind, this week I’m delighted to announce a brand new peer group program exclusively for women ag producers. I’m even more excited that I’ve been asked to facilitate this group. Farm Journal is now launching an Interactive Online Peer Group for Women in agriculture. This group is aimed at attracting women that are actively engaged in farming and are seeking to raise the value of their contribution to the operation, network with other women, and gain access to new concepts that can be implemented on the farm. To maximize the time available to busy women in agricultural production, this peer group will include one annual face- to-face meeting and six bi-monthly interactive webcam calls with themed topics. The group will launch with its first meeting on December 2, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.

 

For more information, contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@farmjournal.com or by calling 888-605-7138.

 

To reach Sarah Beth Aubrey, email sarah@sarahbethaubrey.com.

Posted on November 5, 2015 .