USPOULTRY’s Women’s Leadership Conference provided attendees with a slate of speakers to facilitate career growth and development among women leaders in the poultry and egg industry. Through the many individual stories shared, themes of understanding oneself, supporting others, and being mindful of self and others emerged as crucial aspects of leadership. The various sessions offered attendees an opportunity to explore, in depth, leadership skills that must be developed for success.
Krista Warn, leadership & organization development specialist at ADVISA, spoke about the distinction between actions and titles. She noted that, for someone to be a trusted leader, they must have the technical knowledge required as well as connective competence. Technical competence generates respect. Connective competence, defined as demonstrating care for colleagues and keeping their best interests at heart, generates affection. The combination of both traits results in trust. Trusted leaders can engage with employees by building relationships and a strong work culture, driving employee engagement, and ultimately, customer satisfaction and successful business results.
Dr. Alicia Walker, senior director of quality assurance and food safety for Wayne-Sanderson Farms, provided a “seasoned professional’s perspective” on profiles of women in the poultry industry. She commented on how important it is for women to support each other and noted that it is important to engage with others who would provide honest feedback and not be complacent in their careers. Walker relayed that self-advocacy is crucial for career success and fulfilment.
Continuing the profiles of women leaders, Dr. Katie Shamoun, House of Raeford Farms corporate veterinarian, spoke about her journey as a young leader in the poultry industry. She remarked that her graduating class had more women than men, and that this is a trend continuing across higher education. She further explored how women are gradually increasing their representation in the industry as well.
Cynthia Farrell, executive coach & leadership team whisperer at 110 West Group, shared with attendees how to improve their leadership skills. Her message of how to “find your voice and lead with ease” hinged on four central principles: being present, curious, courageous and real. Farrell said that it is important to be present in each situation and to “lose the baggage” of past experiences. She noted that understanding one’s own emotions and motivations, as well as identity, was recognized as a key part of leadership success.