Joe and Gerri Swiers, Bejou, MN, will receive special recognition for their commitment to leadership and their community at the Agassiz Leaders Awards Banquet on Saturday, March 29 at the University of Minnesota Crookston. They, along with individuals from sixteen other counties in northwestern and west central Minnesota will be recognized for their involvement.
Joe is self-employed doing post-frame construction of ag-buildings for storage and shops and has a small flock of sheep. He is also in a partnership with his brother in commercial hay, straw and trucking business Gerri is support staff for Mahnomen County Extension office. Previously she taught kindergarten at St. Michael’s School in Mahnomen. The family also owns 80 acres of cropland which is rented to local farmers.
Joe and Gerri are Mahnomen County’s representatives in the Red River Valley Emerging Leadership Program. They have been taking part in educational sessions along with other rural leaders since November 2013. Those sessions focused on personal leadership styles, communication, community leadership, legislative issues, shared vision, dealing with conflict, and facilitating effective meetings.
This is the thirtieth year the Emerging Leadership Program has brought together individuals from across the region for recognition and training seminars. There are now over 1,000 leaders in northwest and west central Minnesota who are alumni of the program! The program, which grew out of the King Agassiz Program of the Red River Valley Winter Shows, was developed in 1985 by a small group of people who felt there was a need to help individuals develop their leadership potential. It continues to focus on the belief that effective leadership can be learned and that leaders grow into positions of leadership, motivated by a sense of responsibility for themselves and their communities.
The Emerging Leadership Program is a program of the University of Minnesota Extension and the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. Major financial contributions for the program are made available through the Red River Valley Development Association and the West Central Initiative. Additional support for the program comes from ag producer groups, electric cooperatives, community businesses, and individuals in counties throughout northwest and west central Minnesota who contribute financially to the program each year.
Family and friends of Joe and Gerri, and program alumni, are invited to attend the March 29 banquet in Crookston. Tickets can be ordered from the Extension Regional Office~Crookston by calling 218-281-8696 -or- toll free 888-241-0781.