After a long flight home Friday night, I have had a couple of days to reflect on the the First Annual Conference for Executive Women in Agriculture and here are my conclusions:
- American Agribusiness should be proud of the women who are active in running a farm or an agribusiness. Based upon the women that I met at the conference, these farms are in very capable hands.
- Management of a farm operation from a women's perspective seems to be more about active communication between management and the employees. In my observations of most farm operations, one of the things most lacking is communication. Farm management still requires there to be a boss, but equally important is letting the employees know what the boss needs to happen and these women can do a better job of this, however, if us men engage our right side of our brain more often, we can catch up.
- The newer generation coming up is very comfortable with having a woman as a boss and for a lot of our younger male farmers and employees out there, the idea of work-life balance is extremely important. The days of expecting our male employee/managers to work the hours that us "older" management workers are used to and expect are most likely gone. We find this to be true in our CPA firm also.
- From a speaker standpoint, I found the conference very enjoyable since the women attending my two breakout discussions were extremely competent with their questions and actually asked them. I have spoke at a couple of conferences where there were only male attendees and there were times when I was not sure if I would get any questions (although if I am talking on taxes and farming, I always get questions). It was very easy to get feedback from the women and this helps maintain a very vibrant give and take.