BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — The Young Dairy Leaders Institute (YDLI) kicked off Phase I of its Class 12 program February 15 – 18, 2022. Over 50 young adults working in the dairy industry gathered in Fort Worth, Texas for the leadership development conference. YDLI is the cornerstone program of the Holstein Foundation.
The theme for YDLI Class 12, Drive to Thrive, encompasses participants’ passion for personal and professional growth and using their skills to impact the dairy industry. Holstein Foundation Programs Manager Jodi Hoynoski says she saw this in action throughout the week.
“There is so much that impresses me about the participants in YDLI, but I think the biggest thing is they’re saying, ‘I want to be a better leader.’ They’re putting themselves out there, they’re making themselves vulnerable, and I think that is so impressive,” Hoynoski said.
Class 12 participants ignited their drive to thrive during the three-day conference through engaging sessions focused on interpersonal communications, team culture, growth mindset, agricultural advocacy, and more. The top-notch line up of presenters included Kelli Vrla, CSP, CVP, CCSP, Road Warrior for Workplace Engagement; Galen Emanuele, president of Shift Yes; and Paul Vitale, motivational speaker and trainer. As participants stretched their skills during the workshops, they enjoyed building connections with fellow dairy industry professionals.
“One of the common things I hear from YDLI graduates is their excitement about the network that they developed while they were here at YDLI. In this class, we have participants from over 20 states, Canada and Puerto Rico, and probably in a lot of cases they’re making new friends for life,” Hoynoski said.
The presentations wrapped with a session focused on effective storytelling led by Michele Ruby, communication consultant and Holstein Foundation board member. Participants applied what they learned during practice sessions throughout the conference and will continue to draw on their new knowledge as they set personal development goals and plan community outreach projects during Phase II of the program.
“Everyone is so amazing and inspiring in their own way. Everyone is trying to do their part from where they are in the industry. You have people that are on the farm, you have people that are in the service industry, and you can see how everyone is really trying to play their part from where they are in the industry to try and make it better, preserve it, and really work toward communicating that. I feel like I’m going back with renewed energy into my passion projects,” says Kritzia Lopez Arvelo, YDLI Class 12 participant from Camuy, Puerto Rico.
Mary Knigge was also recognized as the 2022 YDLI Distinguished Alumni Leader. Knigge completed Class 6 of YDLI and is currently the Vice President of Government Relations for the Dairy Farmers of America. She says YDLI exposed her to different careers in the dairy industry and cemented her passion for working with and for dairy farmers.
Holstein Foundation’s Young Dairy Leaders Institute is a nationally recognized three-phase leadership and communication skills development program for young adults working in the dairy industry. YDLI’s three-phase approach ensures participants develop and implement leadership skills to real-life scenarios.
Thank you to our generous YDLI Class 12 sponsors including Allflex Livestock Intelligence and Merck Animal Health, the CHS Foundation, Holstein Association USA, and Zoetis at the platinum level. On the gold sponsor level are Cargill, Dairy Management Inc., Hoard’s Dairyman, Farm Credit, Farm Credit Northeast AgEnhancement, Land O’Lakes, Inc., and Northeast Agricultural Education Foundation, Inc. Rounding out the sponsors were Total Dairy Solutions & DeLaval at the silver level and COBA/Select Sires and GEA Farm Technologies, Inc. at the bronze level.
Applications for YDLI Class 13 will be due August 1, 2023. Young adults interested in attending can sign up to be notified when applications are available www.holsteinfoundation.org/YDLI/ydli.html.
–Holstein Association USA, Inc.