To pivot is defined as to turn on or around a central point. Women who attended the 2018 MFU Women’s Conference at Fairmont Hot Springs delved into the term pivot and the bigger picture of what a pivot for change might mean for them. To help explore this theme the conference featured speakers from all walks of life with various perspectives, backgrounds and talents. Each workshop and presentation weaved together the theme of exploring the possibility of change, whether it be personal or professional. The event kicked off with speaker and author Rebecca Undem. Rebecca shared her story of leaving her job in banking to move back to the family farm to help run the family business. Rebecca’s mantra is to be bold and think BIG. Her presentation, “Living B.I.G in the Life You’re In”, made a perfect transition for the next day’s events which incorporated goal setting activities with a strong focus on networking and sharing challenges and triumphs. Saturday morning began with a focus on the leadership roles of the women of Montana Farmers Union with Cindy Palmer. Cindy and her husband Walter are this year’s Farmers Union Enterprise Leadership couple. Cindy shared a bit about her background in agriculture when she and Walter purchased a farm on the High-Line. The farm had changed hands several times. Cindy tells the story that shortly after purchasing the farm she overheard someone in the local grocery store talking about how they couldn’t believe the farm was sold yet again and implied that the new owners would go broke. 

“I got in my car and strangely that was the motivation that carried me for ten years, the confidence everyone had that I would fail,” said Cindy. “What the people in the grocery store did not know is that we didn’t buy a failed wheat farm, we bought a potato farm. My point is find motivation wherever you can.”

The day continued with a presentation by Karoline Rose of KRose Company who shared tips on social media marketing She also urged attendees to be a part of their communities as she shared her inspirational story of overcoming a major health setback.
A hands-on workshop led by strategist Colleen Rudio of Cascadia Business Development shifted the conference to an afternoon of goal setting. Colleen encouraged the women to pick an area of their life they want to change or enhance and focus on the steps necessary to meet their goal. “Find a space that makes you uncomfortable and work from there. It is then that you will see real results and personal growth,” said Colleen. At the conclusion of Rebecca’s workshop a panel of attendees shared their goals to the group. “One of things I keep hearing this weekend is finding that authentic place that we can discover,” said panelist Audra Bergman.

To wrap up the conference CrisMarie Campbell and partner Susan Clark of thrive! Coaching and Consulting discussed ways to use conflict in a healthy and productive way. They executed a workshop based on their book: The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Teams Competitive Advantage as an illustration of how to thrive in conflict. Each attendee went home with a copy of the book.

Feedback of the event was very positive. This is Jennifer Birkland’s second year attending the event. Jennifer said the highlight for her was hearing Rebecca Undem speak. “I liked her honesty,” said Jennifer. “She really spoke to everyone in the room. Often times as women we have an idea but don’t get the opportunity to put it on paper. This is a great way to do that.”

Charlotte Kelly & Cindy Palmer

 

For Chester resident Charlette Kelly the conference experience was a very positive one. “This is my first time to the conference and it has certainly given me a lot to think about.”
Stay tuned for information on the 2019 MFU Women’s Conference. A big thank you to all the speakers, special guests and women of Farmers Union for making this event such a success!