AHDB’s AgriLeader Forum was held on February 7 and 8, 2023 and gave farmers the opportunity to learn from industry experts. Attendees were provided with tools and techniques to help develop their business and supported in accessing mentors, developing plans and managing teams.
The event, at the Crown Plaza Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon, hosted around 100 levy payers from all four sectors, with delegates told to expect rapid change and advised on strategies for managing this.
The opening session saw panellists Matt Phelan (founder of The Happiness Index and part-time beef farmer), Elizabeth Buchanan (an organic beef farmer from East Sussex, non-executive Defra board member and Special Adviser to Waitrose, Saputo UK and McDonald’s) and James Rutter (the Chief Creative Officer at frozen ready meals company COOK) discussing the benefits of mentorship, having positive people to support you, having a long-term plan to guide decision making and making the plan come to fruition.
Delegates later heard from Dan Sodergren, a TV and radio regular, who shared his views on the future of the work. He said that the industry should be focused on digital change and transformation, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), and the opportunities this can afford.
The evening session heard from Katy Daley-Mclean, England’s World Cup-winning rugby captain, who spoke about her career, as well as emphasising the importance of having passion for your work and emotional intelligence to understand the needs of the people you work with.
Day two benefited from the engaging presence of performance coach, Jamil Qureshi, who talked about making connections, developing networks and building alliances. His advise was that leaders should acknowledge and praise activities rather than outcomes: “Yes, the result might be great, but what’s important is how the outcome has been achieved and how you can tap into this for future success,” he said.
A significant theme of the conference was the importance and value of people – teams, colleagues, staff and managers – and the benefit diversity can bring to your business. All speakers stressed the need to listen to your people, provide feedback to them, engage them in the business and to bring them along the journey with you.
Over the course of the two-day event, delegates also benefited from free health checks (physical and mental wellbeing) and massages provided by nurses and a masseur, funded and organised by the Warwickshire Rural Hub.
Tim Rycroft, AHDB Chief Executive Officer, called for everyone who attended the AgriLeader Forum to be an ambassador for it and an agent of change within others. He also recognised the work of his colleagues in delivering such a successful and motivating event, picking up on one of the conference’s messages: “One of the big themes has been how leadership is about celebrating people’s success, thanking them and acknowledging them.”
To find out more about AHDB’s AgriLeader programme and to get involved, visit: ahdb.org.uk/agrileader.