The Journey with Sisters in Ag

At the recent Advancing Women in Agriculture Conferences in Calgary and Niagara Falls, I had a chance to bring 900+ Sisters in Agriculture messages of hope, humor and help. I listened to stories and answered questions. And of course, I got to be the student, learning from other presenters and hallway interactions. I treasure both the mission of these leadership events for women in agriculture and the conversations with their extraordinary creator and event planner, Iris Meck.   Here is some of what I shared and learned.

Dear Sisters in Agriculture:

  • We don't need to pretend. Being authentically you for whatever stage of life you are in or experience you are having makes you relatable. It brings out the strength of your vulnerability. It draws resources to you that might cheer you on or be helpful. One attendee shared with me, "I'm here because I needed a friend."  Another attendee related her need for safe support as she took on a new role as CEO.  All are worthy.
  • Look for commonality.  We can always resort to small talk; it makes conversation easy.  But what if when we meet our Sisters in Agriculture we talked about lessons learned, a stumbling block, something that's working well or dreams for the future?   Teachers come in all ages with diverse backgrounds. Listening with ears, mind and heart allows us to find common ground.

I love this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, "Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people."  It is the need to grow and learn that is a common bond for idea sharing.

  • We don't have to shout who we are, but we need to know who we are.  In the process of achieving, we don't need to become hard, but we need to become strong.  Once you know your strengths you know the foundation which holds you up to take new risks. Once you know your strengths, you know the best you might offer others.
  • Remember, it's a journey.We often see others we admire at the end of the specific journey. They're now the manager of the family business, the owner of a company, or the leader of an organization or initiative.  We see them as accomplished and confident. We wish we were more like them. Yet most of those women also cried, were frustrated, heard "no," or had to start over.  They continued onward with a belief that better or wiser next steps might give a better result. They often turned to others to help them chart their path.

As Sisters in Agriculture, we reach out for and need appreciation, celebration and education. We want role models, mentorship and friendship. There are women in agriculture who need you and who you need. So, in the busyness of the end of the year work and holidays, let's be thankful we have each other. I want you to know, I am thankful for all of you who are part of my authentic journey.

Jolene Brown is a farmer, professional speaker, author and champion for the family owned business. She's from West Branch, Iowa, USA, and travels worldwide sharing leading-edge best practices that have the power to increase productivity, profitability and peace of mind. Her passion combined with her fun-filled spirit and valuable information brings humor, hope and helpful ideas to the people of agriculture. Jolene's books, "Holy Crap! I Married a Farmer!" Joy-filled Lessons Connecting Our Sisters in Agricultureand Sometimes You Need More Than a 2x4! How-to-tips to successfully grow a family business are available online at  For more information and to check out her speaking availability, contact her at

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