2018 General Session Presenters
Thursday, February 15, 2018
8:30 a.m. - Welcome Keynote
Marji Guyler-Alaniz, president and founder of FarmHer, is a lifetime Iowan and lover of photography. That love, combined with graphic design, journalism and photography degrees from Grand View University, an MBA from Drake University and an 11-year career in corporate agriculture working for a crop insurance company, led her to launch FarmHer in the spring of 2013. Through FarmHer she is updating the image of agriculture by showing the female side of farming and ranching, creating a community among women in agriculture and reaching out to young women interested in agriculture. In addition to the photography side of FarmHer, Marji has expanded the business to include an online community for women in agriculture, a weekly television show that airs on national cable network RFD-TV called FarmHer, annual events to inspire and inform young women about agriculture and a line of merchandise aimed at women in agriculture. Her work for FarmHer has been featured in an expanse of arenas ranging from public television and RFD-TV to USDA’s National Ag Day Celebration and O, the Oprah Magazine.
Noon - Lunch Keynote
Naomi Blohm is a specialist at helping farmers implement marketing strategies which complement their cash marketing strategies. She helps to manage overall weighted average price, allowing producers to maximize opportunity while minimizing risk. She is a sought after public speaker for both grain outlook as well as education of futures and options strategies. In addition, she is co-creator and presenter of Stewart-Peterson’s program “Women to Women: Educating Women about Farm Marketing.”
Naomi earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in Agriculture Business at the University of Wisconsin in Platteville. She has a Master of Science in Adult Education with an emphasis in Ag Economics, University of Wisconsin, Platteville, and a Master Certificate in Global Education, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.
7:30 p.m. - Evening Keynote
Renee Kelly started pre-med at Texas A&M before realizing that cooking was her true passion. She switched gears to attend the Art Institute of Houston and worked at country clubs and resorts before finally moving back to Kansas to start up her own catering company. After 11 years of catering, she opened her own restaurant, Renee Kelly's Harvest, featuring an approachable upscale farm-to-table menu situated in a historic neighborhood castle. Every dish she creates is prepared according to the seasonal twists and turns of the Kansas climate. Her goal for Harvest is to become a living, breathing example of sustainability in the community.
Friday, February 16, 2018
7:30 a.m. Breakfast Keynote
Allyson Perry joined The Center for Food Integrity in July 2009. Her roots run deep in agriculture, and she is passionate about building trust in the food system. She grew up on a farm and worked in the pork industry for 18 years in public affairs, government affairs and human resources, and she was a pork producer herself.
Allyson is a top-notch communicator who prides herself on creating win/win situations and exercising basic common sense in a world that’s not always logical. She is a former member of the Missouri Pork Producers and is on the executive board of the Agribusiness Association of Iowa—the largest association of ag retailers in the nation—having served as the first female chairperson.
In her spare time she sings in three choirs at church and serves on the leadership team for the chancel choir. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Noon - Lunch Keynote
Mary B. Lucas is an author, speaker and people connector. She is a renowned staffing industry leader with over 30 years’ experience. Currently, Mary serves as the Chief Talent Officer for Supplemental Health Care, where she and her team focus on creating solutions that enhance the talent experience.
Mary’s highly successful book, Lunchmeat & Life Lessons, is a motivational memoir and tribute to her father on how to bring out the best in yourself and others. The book’s momentum took off immediately after it was published in 2006 and its impact is felt around the world. Companies, professional organizations and universities invite Mary to speak to audiences to share her wit and wisdom. She has spoken to thousands of people at hundreds of corporate audiences, commencement addresses and professional meetings with one mission: to share life lessons that help people create meaningful connections and inspire themselves.
Mary makes her home in Kansas City with her husband, Scott, and their two sons. She is involved in philanthropic work with the American Heart Association as a living legacy to her parents who both died of heart disease.