NDFU sets women’s leadership conferenceIn an effort to promote the development of women in leadership roles, North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU) is holding the inaugural Women In Leadership Development (WILD) conference in Jamestown on Sept. 21-22. “Our biggest goal is to help empower women to become more involved in their communities and in organizations,”
By: Brian Willhide, The Jamestown Sun
In an effort to promote the development of women in leadership roles, North Dakota Farmers Union (NDFU) is holding the inaugural Women In Leadership Development (WILD) conference in Jamestown on Sept. 21-22.
“Our biggest goal is to help empower women to become more involved in their communities and in organizations,” said Carla Edinger, member operations coordinator with NDFU. “Surveys across the state show that women — younger women especially — want to become involved, but they don’t necessarily know how. And that’s what we at North Dakota Farmers Union have been trying to educate on for years.”
Along with motivational speakers, a professional trainer from Fred Pryor Seminars will provide communication tips for women to build their speaking confidence.
Breakout sessions covering a variety of topics such as how to get elected to a board and parliamentary procedures are included as part of the conference as well.
“We hope this is something that will resonate with our audience. Everything taking place at the conference is tailored toward women,” Edinger said.
Women are a vital voice in communities across the state, according to Elwood “Woody” Barth, president of North Dakota Farmers Union.
“We’d ideally like for women to step up and be leaders, especially board members,” he said.
Edinger said she is hoping for about 150 to 200 women at the WILD conference.
Partnering with JC
In addition to a packed conference program, participants will also get a taste of food from one of the most requested restaurants in Washington, D.C.
Brett Reay, the new chef at Jamestown College this semester, has been working with the D.C.-based restaurant Founding Fathers to recreate popular recipes specifically for the WILD conference.
“This is some of the finest food produced with family farm products that’s served at one of the best restaurants in Washington, D.C.,” Barth said. “Hopefully giving them a taste of what Founding Fathers and our other restaurants have to offer will continue to strengthen the message about North Dakota Farmers Union.”
Founding Farmers is owned by NDFU and was opened in 2008 to bring fresh farm-to-table American inspired food and drink to a modern, eco-friendly environment. A second restaurant, Founding Farmers Potomac, was recently opened in Potomac, Md., and a third restaurant called Farmers, Fishers & Bakers is set to open in D.C. this fall.
Barth said 95 percent of what is made at the restaurants are U.S. family farm products.
He said Founding Farmers is one of the most popular eateries in all of D.C.
“They’re serving about 8,000 people a week and it was recently rated the No. 1 restaurant for OpenTable Reservations in D.C.,” he said. “Vice President (Joe) Biden, a number of senators like Diane Feinstein and Olympia Snow and all kinds of people have been there to eat.”
In conjunction with the partnership with Jamestown College, NDFU hosted a small gathering on the JC campus on Tuesday for local members of the media to taste-test some of the foods that will be offered at the WILD conference. Menu items included roasted tomato soup, shaved pork sandwiches and Snickerdoodle cookies to name a few.
The WILD conference begins with a pre-conference party at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21, at the Quality Inn & Suites in southwest Jamestown.
Scheduled events on Saturday, Sept. 22, include a keynote address from Jesse Veeder — a University of North Dakota graduate, musician and guest speaker on Prairie Public Radio — in addition to a panel discussion, breakout sessions and a speech from North Dakota U.S. House Democratic candidate Pam Gulleson.
Edinger said all women are welcome to attend and may register for online at www.ndfu.org/wild or by calling 800-366-8331, ext. 127. The cost of the conference is $89 which includes lunch.
Sun reporter Brian Willhide can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org