As someone who spent most of my career years living in New York City, I never imagined I’d find such a profound sense of belonging in the heart of Texas. But here I am, thrilled to share my experience at the recent GEAPS Leadership Conference, held at the Stockyards Station in Fort Worth. Here, a diverse group of independent thinkers came together, unified by a common goal: to drive positive change in our field.

The two-day deep dive into leadership, themed “Leading a Culture of Safety,” was an eye-opening experience. From insightful sessions on servant leadership to practical methods for safety training and conflict management, led by Ted Schick, a retired Naval officer with 26 years of teaching experience. The sometimes intense educational focus was complemented by some fun, including a memorable evening at Billy Bob’s and the Lonestar Chapter Golf Tournament.

What struck me most was how perfectly Texas embodies the essence of leadership. The state’s spirit—strong, independent, outspoken, and occasionally rebellious—mirrors the very qualities we aim to cultivate as leaders in the agricultural industry. It’s no wonder Texas was chosen as the venue for such an impactful event. A big thank you to Casey Abel who founded the GEAPS Lonestar Chapter and championed the idea of bringing the conference to Fort Worth.

Meeting and networking with like-minded individuals in this dynamic environment was more than just a professional engagement; it was a homecoming. The warmth, the camaraderie, and the shared passion for agriculture made me realize that I had found my community. I am grateful for the opportunity to grow and learn alongside such dedicated professionals. A big thank you to Casey.

Here’s to embracing the journey, wherever it takes us, and the people who make it all worthwhile.

Enjoy the read,

Kristin Joker

Editorial Director, GEAPS Media Group