Congratulations to Marsha Boswell!

Another fantastic professional development seminar is now officially in the history books. I hope all who attended were able to recognize a number of valuable, relevant, invignorating take-a-ways. Following the dynamic programming, the 2016 Communicator of the Year (COTY) was named. It is with great pleasure I share this year’s COTY winner is Marsha Boswell, director of communications for the Kansas Wheat Commission, in Manhattan, Kansas.

Marsha is a 1998 graduate of Fort Hays State University and then went on to earn her Master of Agribusiness from Kansas State University.  

Marsha has been the director of communications with the Kansas Wheat Commission and the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers since January 2014.  She also coordinates communications activities for the Kansas Wheat Alliance.  Previously, Marsha was a public relations specialist for Kansas Wheat from 1999 to 2008. Most recently Marsha lead her team through the development of three new websites, new logos and branding campaigns, and implementation of a monthly magazine, Rediscover Wheat.

Justin Gilpin, CEO of the Kansas Wheat Commission, nominated Marsha and shared that she is considered an effective communicator and a leader among her peers--not only in Kansas--but in other states as well.  In the nomination Justin wrote, “As voices on behalf of Agriculture becoming fewer it is extremely important to leverage resources and bring people together to communicate the vital role farmers play in feeding the world, and Marsha is a vital member to the Kansas Wheat team. Her creativity was highlighted when she undertook rebranding of the Kansas Wheat logo and messaging with the recently completed Kansas Wheat Innovation Center in Manhattan, Kansas. 

Marsha has served on the board of the Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom.  She also serves on the planning committee for the Women Managing the Farm Conference and Kansas Farm Food Connection.  She has even been known to promote Kansas Wheat products on WIBW-TV with local celebrity Chef Alli. Marsha has been an IABC/Topeka member since 2008 and currently serves on the board as co-chair of membership.

Congratulations, Marsha! I’d like to also say thank you to each of you who were part of a nomination submitted this year. Past-president, Keri Renner, and chair of the 2016 COTY awards process, indicated there were a number of outstanding nominations.  I believe this serves as testament to the hard-working, talented members of IABC/Topeka.

A couple other quick membership notes to pass along. First, to wrap up our strategic planning initiative, the final 3-year chapter strategic plan will soon be posted online and hard copies will be made available at the May professional development lunch. As you read the plan, please evaluate what unique contribution you can make to extend our heightened level of engagement beyond planning and drive to actionable results.

Second, we will soon be preparing to transition to a new board year. If you have interest in serving on the chapter board or a committee, please reach out to Tracey Stratton, President-elect, to learn of the exciting opportunities available.

Lastly, IABC World Conference is just around the corner in June in New Orleans. If you are looking for a truly meaningful professional development opportunity at a reasonable price, this is a great conference and our very own Janie Rutherford has been part of the conference planning this year.

I hope to see you at the May 4th luncheon at Helping Hands Humane Society. I believe we are all in for a special program.

Lisa Ignoto
IABC/Topeka, President