Cooperative Extension has a long history of being committed to leadership development for its employees. Some leadership opportunities, such as the National Extension Leadership Development (NELD), now LEAD 21, have been offered for participants from all regions at the national level. However, many leadership development opportunities have focused on the regional level.
For many years, the University of Arizona offered a very popular Winter School, which attracted participants from many states to the warm Arizona winters for leadership development and renewal. After years of hosting Winter School, the University of Arizona decided it no longer had the staff resources and time to continue hosting Winter School, so Colorado State University rose to the occasion of providing leadership development training in the summer in beautiful Estes Park. This opportunity continued for a few years and then Colorado State University became home to the National Extension Leadership Development (NELD) Program, so the Western Region had to collectively decide how to provide continuing leadership development opportunities for Extension faculty and staff.
To address the need for introductory level leadership development in the Western Region, and to compliment and prepare participants for the NELD program and other national leadership development opportunities, the Western Directors chose to develop a leadership experience for program deliver level faculty and staff. Extension Directors each nominated one person, often someone who had participated in NELD, to meet in Phoenix, Arizona, in January 2000, to propose a leadership development plan for the Western Region. With direction and coordination from Lyla Houglum, Oregon Extension Director, the group met in Phoenix, AZ, to begin discussions about the future. Included in the initial planning were: Deborah Young, Arizona; Judy Barth, Colorado; Arlinda Nauman, Idaho; Dave Sharpe, Montana; Jaime Castillo, New Mexico; Scott Reed and Tom Gallagher, Oregon; and Guy Denton, Utah. This group formed the core of the first Planning Committee for the Western Extension Leadership Development (WELD) Program, with Scott Reed from Oregon serving as Chair of the initial group. Additional members added to the original planning committee included: Sheryl Stanek, Alaska; Linda Manton, California; Marlene Rebori, Nevada; Curt Moulton, Washington; and Carol Whitaker, American Samoa. This group laid the plans for a two-session, 18-month, Western Extension Leadership Development experience for “interns” from each Land-grant institution in the Western Region. Recruitment for WELD I occurred in the fall of 2000.
WELD I and II
With Deborah Young from Arizona as Chair of the Planning Committee, the first WELD I class was held in San Diego, California, in March 2001. This class had 35 interns representing 11 western states. The capstone WELD I Seminar 2 was held in Post Falls, Idaho, in June 2002, with Judy Barth from Colorado providing leadership for the Planning Committee, and 34 interns completing the WELD I Program.
Based on the successful completion of WELD I, positive evaluations from intern participants, and continuing support from Western Region Extension Directors, recruitment for WELD II occurred in the Fall of 2002, with Arlinda Nauman from Idaho serving as Chair of the Planning Committee. Twenty-six interns from 11 states participated in WELD II. The first session for WELD II was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, in April 2003, and the capstone WELD II Seminar 2 was held in Park City, Utah, in June 2004, with 24 intern participants completing the program. New WELD Planning Committee members for WELD II included: Linda Tannehill, Alaska; JoAnne Skelly, Nevada; Steve Burr, Utah; Doug Stienbarger, Washington; and Steve Schafer, Wyoming. In June 2004, Western Region Extension Directors reviewed the WELD II evaluations and innovative projects, and recommended the leadership development training program be continued, with interns for WELD III recruited in Fall 2004. Linda Manton from California was selected as Chair of the Planning Committee, and new Planning Committee Members included: Christopher Jones, Arizona; Wayne Nishijima, Hawaii; Dan Clark, Montana; and Reynaldo “Rey” Torres, New Mexico.
Submitted by Arlinda Nauman, Idaho
Chair, WELD II
Twenty-eight interns from 11 western Extension States began their WELD III journey in April 2005, with Seminar 1 held in Phoenix, Arizona. This class of interns was diverse in terms of disciplines, job titles, agents (county-based), and specialists (campus-based). The diversity of the class was important to its success. By June 2006, when WELD III Seminar 2 was held in Portland, Oregon, WELD graduated 24 interns, as four interns did not complete WELD III due to resignations from their Extension position, transfers to other units/states, and for some other personal reasons. Based on the evaluations conducted at the capstone Seminar 2 in Portland, 100 percent of the interns felt the WELD goals established at the beginning of the 2005 program were met, and several of the interns reported they had become involved in new leadership roles.
WELD Planning Committee members for 2005-2006 were: Milan Shipka, Alaska; Chris Jones, Arizona; Linda Manton, California; Judy Barth, Colorado; Lynn Nakamura-Tengan, Hawaii; Barry Bequette, Idaho; Dan Clark, Montana; Staci Emm, Nevada; Rey Torres, New Mexico; Russ Karow, Oregon; Steve Burr, Utah; Doug Stienbarger, Washington; Stephen Schafer, Wyoming; and Paul Gutierrez, Western Extension Directors Liaison.
With approval and support from Western Extension Directors, WELD IV was launched with Steve Burr from Utah appointed as new chairperson to lead WELD into Class IV.
Submitted by Linda Manton, California
Chair, WELD III
Interns for the WELD IV program were recruited in the fall of 2006. For the first time, 31 interns from all 13 western states and American Samoa participated in the WELD IV Seminar 1, held in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in March 2007. Again, the diversity of interns, in terms of disciplines, job titles, agents (county-based), and specialists (campus-based), contributed to the success of the class. The capstone WELD IV Seminar 2 was held at Big Sky Resort, Big Sky, Montana, June of 2008.
At the conclusion of the program, 28 interns graduated from WELD IV (three interns did not complete the program due to resignations from their Extension position, transfers to other units/states, or for personal reasons). Based on the WELD IV End-of-Program and Follow-Up Evaluation conducted at the capstone Seminar 2 at Big Sky, a large majority of the interns felt the four WELD goals/objectives established at the beginning of the program were either “completely met” or “almost fully met.” Interns evaluated the content and value of both WELD IV Seminars as extremely high. As a result of Seminar 2, interns indicated they would change their leadership behavior. Interns indicated learning both leadership skills and more about other states’ Extension programs as being very valuable. In addition, many of the interns reported they had become involved in new leadership roles, not necessarily directly because of WELD, but many felt the WELD experience would enhance their leadership capabilities in their new roles.
WELD Planning Committee members for 2006-2008 were: Milan Shipka, Alaska; Chris Jones, Arizona; Linda Manton, California; Judy Barth, Colorado; Lynn Nakamura-Tengan, Hawaii; Barry Bequette, Idaho; Dan Clark, Montana; Staci Emm, Nevada; Rey Torres, New Mexico; Russ Karow, Oregon; Steve Burr, Utah; Doug Stienbarger, Washington; and for Seminar 1, Paul Gutierrez, New Mexico State University Extension Director and WELD Western Extension Directors Liaison; and for Seminar 2, Jim Christenson, University of Arizona Extension Director and WELD Western Extension Directors Liaison.
With approval and support from Western Extension Directors, WELD V was launched with Doug Stienbarger from Washington appointed as the new chairperson to lead WELD into Class V.
Submitted by Steve Burr, Utah
Chair, WELD IV
Although a total of 27 interns from 11 western states were recruited for the WELD V Program in the fall of 2008, 25 interns met in Denver, Colorado in late March and early April of 2009, to start their leadership journey with Seminar 1 (Unfortunately, two of Montana’s four interns were caught in a spring snow storm and were unable to attend Seminar 1). The capstone WELD V Seminar 2 was held in beautiful Park City, Utah, in mid-June of 2010, with 20 interns completing the WELD V Program.
Again, the cohort of WELD Interns exemplified a diverse group of Extension professionals representing county based educators, campus based specialists, a 1994 institution, and a cross section of disciplines and years of experience in Extension. Interns’ experience in Extension ranged from three to 27 years, averaging nine years. This diversity added to the rich discussions and interaction between the interns, planning committee members, and workshop presenters.
Of the twenty-five original interns who attended Seminar 1 in Denver, only 20 graduated at the conclusion of Seminar 2 in Park City, Utah. Due to retirements, personal obligations, and resignations, five interns did not complete the requirements necessary to graduate from WELD V. When asked in an end-of-program evaluation survey if the goals and objectives of the WELD program were met, seventy percent of the interns indicated they were either completely met or almost fully met. When asked about their overall experience with WELD, one intern commented,
Self-discovery was the best thing I got from the program. Once I understood myself better I could work with it and adjust the way I do things to get the best results from myself and others.
WELD V Planning Committee members for 2009-2010 were: Milan Shipka, Alaska; Chris Jones and Dan McDonald, Arizona; Shannon Mueller, California; Judy Barth, Colorado; Lynn Nakamura-Tengan, Hawaii; Dan Clark, Montana; Staci Emm, Nevada (representing 1994 Institutions), Amy Meier, Nevada; Rey Torres, New Mexico; Troy Downing, Oregon; Steve Burr, Utah; Doug Stienbarger, Washington; Duane Williams, Wyoming; and Jim Christenson, Western Extension Directors Liaison.
With approval and support of the Western Extension Directors, WELD VI launched in the Fall of 2010 with Milan Shipka, University of Alaska, serving as Chair of the WELD VI Planning Committee.
Submitted by Dan Clark, MT
Chair, WELD V
Twenty six interns representing Cooperative Extension Service organizations of 12 western states were recruited into the WELD VI program in the fall of 2010. WELD VI Seminar 1 was held in late February of 2011 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Las Vegas, Nevada. Seminar activities were held at the Hilton Garden Inn and at the Extension Lifelong Learning Center, including a team building activity on the Team Building Course at the Center. The WELD VI Seminar 2 theme was “Leading in Times of Change.” Seminar 2 was the capstone of WELD VI, and was held during early May 2012 in beautiful Jackson, Wyoming, using meeting space at the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service Teton County 4H Building with a half day side trip into Grand Teton National Park hosted by the Teton Science Schools and Wildlife Expeditions. WELD VI graduated 25 of 26 interns who began the program in 2010.
The cohort of WELD Interns exemplified a diverse group of Extension professionals with county or area-based educators and state specialists representing a broad cross section of disciplines and years of experience in Extension. Interns’ experience in Extension varied as there were 45% who had been with Extension for less than 5 years, 40% who had been with Extension between five and 15 years, and 15% who had been with Extension for more than 15 years. This diversity of Extension experience added to a rich mix of personality types among the interns, and led to excellent interaction and an exceptional learning environment.
End-of-program evaluation results indicated that 70% of interns felt their involvement in their innovative project was either a very good or a vital component of their WELD experience. Of the interns responding, 60% indicated they either will soon be or have already been involved in a new leadership role since enrolling in WELD, and that the WELD experience enhanced their ability to lead in Extension. When asked to provide a letter grade for the WELD VI program overall, 90% rated it either A or B. When asked to grade WELD VI Seminar 2, 100% of interns rated it either A or B.
At the conclusion of WELD VI Seminar 2, the interns were asked to contact their directors and supervisors to share their thoughts about their experience in the WELD program. The following is an excerpt from one of those communications to a director in Western Extension Directors Association.
just wanted to let you know just how much being a participant of the WELD VI class has meant to me both professionally and personally. I have taken so much from both weeks [Seminars 1 and 2] and the 15 month program that I must say this program is a necessity for any Extension Professional looking to increase their leadership capacity. Not only was I able to participate in several beneficial workshops ranging from generational differences to managing conflict in the workplace, but I was able to make numerous professional connections with colleagues from across the Western United States.
WELD VI Planning Committee members for 2011-2012 were: Milan Shipka, Chair, Alaska; Judith Barth, Colorado; Steven Burr, Utah; Dan McDonald, Arizona; Troy Downing, Oregon; Stan Jones, New Mexico; Marilyn Ming, Nevada; Dallas E. Mount, Wyoming; Shannon Mueller, California; Lynn Nakamura-Tengan, Hawaii; Carrie Schumacher, 1994 Land Grant; and Charles “Chuck” Gay, Liaison to Western Extension Directors Association.
With approval and support of the Western Extension Directors, WELD VII launched in the Fall of 2012 with the Chair of the WELD VII Planning Committee to be determined.
Submitted by Milan Shipka, AK
Chair, WELD VI
Planning for WELD VII began in August 2012, under the leadership of Dan McDonald (AZ) as Chair, and with Planning Committee members from 12 western states participating. Recruitment of interns commenced in the Fall of 2012, with 25 interns being recruited to participate in WELD VII, representing 12 western states. Seminar 1 was held in San Diego, CA, in February 2013. Over the four days of leadership training interns learned about leadership theory from presenter Judy Barth and working in a multi-generational work-setting from presenter David Remson. One of the most popular sessions over the years has been on the topic of conflict management, presented by Steve Daniels. This year we added a section on technology and leadership which was presented by Barbara Chamberlin. Each intern also completed the Human Patterns leadership style assessment tool and participated in one-on-one consultations with Heidi Dent and Candace Sawall who administer the assessment tool.
WELD VII Seminar 2 took place in June 2014 in Maui, HI, at the Makena Resort. During the 15 months between Seminars 1 and 2, WELD interns worked on their individual Innovative Projects and reported their progress to the WELD Planning Committee during their monthly conference calls. Twenty-three interns participated in Seminar 2 presenting the results of their Innovative Projects during poster sessions. In addition, each intern read a book on the topic of leadership, wrote a book review, posted their review to the WELD website, and presented on the highlights of the book during Seminar 2. Over the four days of leadership training, interns also participated in several workshops, which included: 1) Steve Daniels’ workshop on Conflict Management II; 2) Judy Barth’s workshop on Extension Ethics; and 3) Marina Piscolish’s, co-author of Reaching Higher Ground: Tools for Powerful Groups and Communities, presentation on the topic of change management. Twenty-three interns graduated from WELD VII.
An unsolicited comment about WELD came from one intern:
WELD taught me the importance of persistence as well as patience in trying to move a group of people away from what they are comfortable with and into projects that were more challenging and uncertain. WELD also taught me to be a better communicator, highlighting for me the importance of being precise and consistent in my communications with others. I’ve also come to see the value, through WELD, of reaching out and finding like-minded partners who can help me reach a successful outcome.
At the conclusion of Seminar 2, interns were asked to rate how the overall WELD program did at addressing each of the main goals of WELD.
- 94% reported that as a result of WELD they were able to “Develop awareness and appreciation of their own and others leadership styles and learn to apply appropriate techniques in working with diverse individuals.”
- 94% reported that as a result of WELD they were able to “Develop awareness and appreciation of their own and others leadership styles and learn to apply appropriate techniques in working with diverse individuals.”
- 85% reported that they were able to “Develop skills to help organization/groups effectively implement planned change.”
- 94% reported that they were able to “Develop skills to enable others to work together effectively.”
Planning Committee Members for WELD VII: Dan McDonald (AZ) Chair, Milan Shipka (AK) Past Chair, Rachel Endecott (MT) Secretary, Judy Barth (CO), Steve Burr (UT), Marilyn Ming (NV), Shannon Mueller (CA), Lynn Nakamura-Tengan (HI), Tiffany Woods (OR), Christina Turner (NM), Susan James (WY), Barbara Petty (ID), Carl Evensen (Liaison to the Western Extension Directors Association-WEDA).
With the approval of WEDA for a WELD VIII Program, Rachel Endecott will be the WELD VIII Chair and Shannon Mueller will be the WELD VIII Secretary.
Submitted by Dan McDonald (AZ)
Chair, WELD VII
Planning for WELD VIII began in August, 2014, under the leadership of Rachel Endecott (MT) as Chair, with Planning Committee members from 13 western states participating. Recruitment of interns commenced in the fall of 2014 with 32 interns being recruited to participate in WELD VIII, representing 12 western states and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
WELD VIII Seminar 1 was held in Tucson, AZ, in March, 2015. Over the four days of leadership development training, interns learned about leadership theory from presenter Judy Barth and working in a multi-generational work-setting from presenter David Remson. Steve Daniels presented a workshop on conflict management, and each intern completed the Human Patterns leadership assessment and participated in one-on-one consultations with Reed Altman and Rob Pulley who administered the assessment. Barry Bales presented on leading Extension into the next 100 years, and Allison Vaillancourt presented on power, politics, and influence.
WELD VIII Seminar 2 took place in May 2016 in Anchorage, AK. During the 14 months between Seminars 1 and 2, WELD interns worked on their individual Innovative Projects and reported their progress to the WELD Planning Committee during monthly conference calls. Thirty-one interns participated in Seminar 2, presenting the results of their Innovative Projects. In addition, each intern read a book on the topic of leadership, wrote a book review, posted their review to the WELD Web Site, and presented on the highlights of the book. Over the four days of leadership development training, interns participated in several workshops: Gregg Walker presented a session on conflict management; Judy Barth provided a workshop on Extension Ethics; and Dan Clark presented about leading from where you are.
Overall, WELD VIII Interns rated their WELD Program experience very positively. When asked to rate the extent to which the WELD Program achieved its goals, on average, 85% of Interns indicated WELD was excellent or good at achieving the following goals:
- Develop awareness and appreciation of their own and others’ leadership styles and learn to apply appropriate techniques in working with diverse individuals.
- Develop skills to enable themselves and others to develop and articulate organizational/group direction.
- Be able to enable the organization/group to effectively implement planned change.
- Develop skills to enable others to work together effectively.
Planning Committee members for WELD VIII: Rachel Endecott (MT), Chair; Dan McDonald (AZ), Past Chair; Shannon Mueller (CA), Secretary; Heidi Rader (AK); Judy Barth (CO); Lynn Nakamura-Tengan (HI); Christina Turner (NM); Frank Burris (OR); Steve Burr (UT); Mark Heitstuman (WA); and Jon Boren (NM), WEDA liaison.
- Over the course of WELD VIII, Heidi Rader (AK) replaced Milan Shipka (AK) and Frank Burris (OR) replaced Tiffany Woods (OR).
- Barbara Petty (ID), Seth Urbanowitz (NV), and Susan James (WY) also left the committee during WELD VIII. Because of these moves, Wyoming, Nevada, and Idaho do not currently have members on the WELD Planning Committee.
- For a WELD IX Program, Shannon Mueller (CA) will be the Chair and Christina Turner (NM) will be Secretary.
Submitted by Rachel Endecott
Chair, WELD VIII
Planning for WELD IX began in August 2016, under the leadership of Shannon Mueller (CA) as Chair, with participation of Planning Committee members from ten western states and Jon Boren as our WEDA liaison. Intern recruitment began in the fall of 2016 and ten western states each identified one to five interns for a total of 25 interns who made the commitment to participate in WELD IX.
WELD IX Seminar 1 was held in Spokane, WA, in March 2017. Prior to the Seminar, each intern completed a leadership assessment to identify strengths and areas for possible growth. Then, during the Seminar, the interns participated in one-to-one consultations to review highlights with Dr. Mitchell Owen, founder and COO of Mitchen Inc., who administered the assessment. Over the four days of leadership development training, interns learned about leadership theory and ethics from presenter Judy Barth, working in a multi-generational environment from presenter David Remson, and conflict management strategies from presenter Steve Daniels. Expectations for individual Innovative Projects were shared during this seminar and interns began to formulate their plans with input from Planning Committee members.
WELD IX Seminar 2 took place in April 2018, in Santa Fe, NM. During the 13 months between Seminars 1 and 2, WELD interns worked on their individual Innovative Projects and reported their progress to the WELD Planning Committee during monthly conference calls. Additionally, interns selected and read a book on leadership and wrote a book review that was subsequently posted on the WELD website. Nineteen interns participated in Seminar 2, where presentation of the results of their Innovative Projects was a focus. In addition to the Projects, each intern presented the highlights of their book review during a “gallery walk”-style exercise. Leadership development training continued with Steve Daniels returning to present another session on conflict management; Allison Vaillancourt discussing Power, Politics, and Influence; and Chuck Hibberd sharing thoughts on Real World Leadership: Finding ways to be opportunistic, real, and effective.
Zoom webinars were scheduled along with the monthly Innovative Project updates to maintain contact with the interns between seminars. The topic of the first Zoom webinar was Trust, Thought Diversity, and Achieving Goals presented by Shane Burgess, Vice President for Agriculture, Life and Veterinary Sciences, and Cooperative Extension, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Director of the Arizona Experiment Station at the University of Arizona. The second webinar was a Lunch & Learn with the topic of Owning Your Brilliance presented by Melanie Meador and Nancy Kepner from Crafted Leadership. These webinars were recorded so they could be shared with interns who were not able to participate on the scheduled dates.
Evaluations: The following is a summary of the evaluation results from WELD IX when interns were asked to assess their overall experience. Eighteen respondents out of the 19 interns who completed the WELD program responded.
We asked interns to assess their leadership ability before and after participating in WELD. 29% of respondents indicated their ability before WELD was either very good or excellent, while 78% responded that their ability was very good or excellent after participating in WELD.
We asked interns to rate WELD on the following outcomes:
- WELD stimulated me to think (66% strongly agree)
- WELD motivated me to learn more (66% strongly agree)
- WELD motivated me to do something different (66% strongly agree)
- WELD motivated me to talk about this with my colleagues (44% strongly agree)
We asked interns to give WELD a grade: nine interns gave the program an A, seven a B, and one a C.
We also asked WELD interns to provide comments about their overall WELD experience. Here are a few:
A lot of what we did reinforced and validated my leadership style and gave me more confidence as a leader. It was so good to gain insight and to be able put my own style into words, as well as to recognize my strengths in order to use and improve on them…sort of a personalized roadmap.
Learning to understand the journey of developing leadership is not an immediate fix but a long road of twists and turns.”
I really appreciate having a chance to build my professional network. I have studied leadership before so some of the content was a refresher, which is always good to have. For folks who have never studied this topic, this is a very valuable experience for learning new skills.
Most meaningful and useful were the sessions where we interacted with each other and the conversations we had outside of the formal presentations (at dinner, on the bus, walking from place to place, etc.) as a result of what we had learned or discussed – those that related to our own personal experiences and situations.
Planning Committee: Shannon Mueller (CA), Chair; Christina Turner (NM), Secretary; Heidi Rader (AK); Dan McDonald (AZ); Judy Barth (CO); Lynn Nakamura-Tengan (HI); Pat McGlynn (MT); Frank Burris (OR); Steve Burr (UT); Mark Heitstuman (WA); and Jon Boren (NM), WEDA liaison.
- In July 2017, Shannon Mueller and Jon Boren reached out to states who were not represented on the Planning Committee to request participation on the monthly conference calls with no obligation to send the member to the WELD seminars. We believe it is important for all western states that have traditionally participated in WELD to maintain their connection to the program and enrich the planning process by contributing new ideas and networks. Wyoming, Nevada, and Alaska do not currently have members on the WELD Planning Committee.
- Over the course of WELD IX, Heidi Rader (AK) resigned; Jayme Grzebik replaced Lynn Nakamura-Tengan (HI), and Nav Ghimire replaced Barbara Petty (ID) who had resigned during WELD VIII.
- For WELD X, Christina Turner (NM) will be the Chair.
- We are discussing the possibility of inviting one of the interns from WELD IX to serve as a member at large on the Planning Committee to better engage with the recent experience of the intern cohort.
Submitted by Shannon Mueller
Chair, WELD IX
Planning Committee Members for WELD X: Christina Turner (NM), Chair, Elizabeth Sparks (AZ), Shannon Mueller (CA), Nav Ghimireo (ID), Patricia McGlynn (MT), Teresa Dean (NM), Frank Burris (OR), Andree’ Walker Bravo (UT), Mark Heitstuman (WA), Kim Reaman (WY), and Jon Boren (NM) WEDA Liaison.