On June 22nd, the Iowa Co. WLL team will host its 5th annual conference for Iowa women landowners, in Brooklyn, IA. We asked one of the team members, Jennifer Ness, more about this highly anticipated event. Continue reading.
This is your 5th annual Iowa Women Landowners Conference. Can you tell us a bit about the history of the conference, why you’ve decided to do it initially and how it’s grown/evolved over the past five years?
In 2011 Iowa Land Sales approached the Iowa County WLL group about partnering to put on a Women Landowner’s Conference. The goal was to promote education and communication among family members, especially through estate planning, so that families aren’t torn apart during the transition process. Vince (owner of Iowa Land Sales) went through this personally and handled it professionally with his business every day. They realized there is a definite NEED to promote better communication throughout the transition process and approached Iowa Co. WLL because our mission statement and goals aligned with their objectives. The goal has always been education and local resources. Provided local experts so participants felt comfortable acting on what they learned. Estate planning is a two-step process. You can educate yourself on everything but nothing changes if you never act on what you’ve learned. This conference has been consistent on attendance numbers (around 100-120) each year but grown in recognition and outreach. Sponsorship and partnership requests are received each year.
What’s new/what are you especially excited about this year?
We are very excited to have FarmHer join us as the Keynote speaker this year. We are also confident the session on Trusts will answer questions for people that come up each year.
This is a very popular conference, with around 100 participants or more every year. What do you think attracts women to it and why do women return year after year? Who should attend/who is your target audience?
We have about 50 to 60 percent repeat attendees. We keep our topics relevant and timely and our registration costs low. We don’t make money on this conference, our goal is to break even every year and keep the costs to the participant as low as possible. We have put on a professional conference for 5 years now at about 1/3 of the expense most other conferences incur.
This event is co-sponsored by the Iowa Co. WLL team, along with Iowa Land Sales as a co-sponsor. What do you think WLL brings to women that is unique, either through this conference or your other WLL sponsored events?
Iowa land Sales (co-host/sponsor) is very accommodating. WLL recruits most of the speakers, we both brainstorm topics, we both have input in the schedule/breaks, WLL does the door prizes, registration (except for handling money) and decorating. WLL creates a Press Release and Iowa Land Sales creates the posters, brochures, promotes the PR, etc. Iowa Land Sales foots all the bills. WLL works the event. It’s a true partnership. Our WLL team has heavy input into speakers and topics each year but there is a lot of back and forth dialogue.
What I think we bring that is unique is that we prep the speakers to cater to a female audience. Men and women have different reactions when it comes to leasing, estate planning, etc. We really push and promote communication (which I think is a female characteristic). We use round tables to promote discussion among attendees, we include lots of breaks to enjoy food and network. We seek input every year on how to make it better and implement those suggestions so they know we listened.
More details and registration information for the conference can be found here.
2016 Iowa Women Landowners Conference.