Connecting Young Nebraskans Summit in York Oct. 28 to Include More Than 225 Leaders Statewide

Futuring, coaching, sharing, managing—the list goes on for the 2016 Connecting Young Nebraskans (CYN) Summit, a time for young professionals throughout the state to come together to network and explore solutions for themselves, their organizations and their communities.

Hosted by the Rural Futures Institute (RFI) at the University of Nebraska, the summit entitled “Creating Life Balance” will be held at the Holthus Convention Center in York, Neb., Oct. 28, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. More than 225 participants are anticipated, and 51 communities are already represented. Details and registration are available at

CYN is an ongoing statewide network of more than 750 professionals between the ages of 21 and 40 that works to connect people in rural communities to each other, professional development training and community leadership resources.

“What we have accomplished with Connecting Young Nebraskans is at the core of the work of the Rural Futures Institute in that it creates a space for community leaders to come together to share ideas and opportunities in an environment that is dedicated to facilitating action-oriented discussions,” said Chuck Schroeder, Executive Director of RFI. “This summit in particular will be an incredibly valuable use of time not only for the participants, but for their employers and rural communities as well.”

The summit agenda was led by RFI coordinator Kayla Schnuelle and created in conjunction with a steering committee of CYN representatives throughout the state. The keynote will be delivered by Lisa Gunderson, certified reality-based leadership coach from Dakota Dunes, South Dakota.

Coffee shop discussions will provide space for networking, idea generation and thoughtful reflection, and Nebraska leaders from Albion, Benkelman, Broken Bow, Grand Island, Hastings, McCook, O’Neill, Ord, York and more will provide professional development breakout and power-up sessions.

RFI Chief Futurist Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild will help attendees explore trends, emerging technologies and inclusive leadership that will innovate community engagement. Schroeder’s remarks will highlight the importance for rural communities nationwide to focus on developing young leaders.

“I have greatly enjoyed collaborating with the Connecting Young Nebraskans steering team to help coordinate the 2016 Summit,” said Rhonda Veleba, Towne Centre Coordinator for the York Chamber of Commerce. “The steering team brings a wide variety of backgrounds and ideas that will make the summit a well-rounded experience with broad topics, innovative ideas and powerful energy. I’m very excited for this statewide event to take place in York this year.”

Transformational Agricultural Systems Leader Paul Genho to Provide Leu Lecture Oct. 31, Presentation Nov. 1

Agricultural systems expert Paul Genho will visit the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to share insights into the beef and agricultural industries as well as lessons in leadership and entrepreneurship from his 50 years of experience in acquiring and managing agricultural properties worldwide.

Dr. Genho will provide the 2016 Leu Distinguished Lecture Oct. 31 from 3-4 p.m. at the UNL East Campus Union and an evening presentation and reception Nov. 1 from 7-9 p.m. at Hardin Hall. Both events are free, and the public is encouraged to attend. Details, including registration for the Nov. 1 event, are available at

This visit is made possible by UNL’s Center for Grassland Studies and Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program in partnership with the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska.

“These presentations are important opportunities for university students, faculty and staff, as well as business and community leaders, to not only learn from a beef and agricultural expert who is known the world over, but to gain important lessons about what innovative entrepreneurship and leadership looks like in practice,” said Chuck Schroeder, Founding Executive Director of the Rural Futures Institute (RFI). “Dr. Genho will inspire us to embrace and encourage change and find innovative solutions that are required to move our enterprises and rural communities forward.”

Dr. Genho is a Visiting Professor at the University of Florida and independent consultant for various agricultural firms. Throughout his career he served as Chairman of the Board of AgReserves, Inc., vice president and general manager of King Ranch and manager of Deseret Ranches of Florida. He has held numerous leadership positions within the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, scientific, agricultural and academic communities.

The Leu Lecture Series seminar entitled, “Fifty Years: Looking Back, Looking Forward,” is made possible, in part, by a gift from the Frank and Margaret Leu family to the University of Nebraska Foundation. In his comments, Dr. Genho will present five big ideas affecting the beef industry in the future. The ideas were garnered from his five sons who are deeply involved in the beef supply chain from production through processing and merchandising. These ideas will provide a framework for moving the industry forward.

“We’re delighted that donations such as that from the Leu family allow us to bring someone of Dr. Genho’s stature to campus,” said Martin Massengale, director of the Center for Grassland Studies.

During the Nov 1. presentation, “The Future of U.S. Agriculture in a Global Market,” Dr. Genho will draw from his experience as a systems thinker, manager and leader, to provide perspective about the role of U.S. agriculture in a competitive and ever-changing global market. His experience in pulling together unified management systems that assure healthy landscapes, enterprises and people will frame the discussion.

“Dr. Genho’s ability to connect the lessons of the past with anticipated future transformations in the beef business will make for an invigorating and thought-provoking discussion,” said Tom Field, director of the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


About the Center for Grassland Studies
The mission of the Center for Grassland Studies is to implement focused, interdisciplinary research, educational and service programs and activities that emphasize the role of grasslands as a natural resource and conservation measure and that enhance the efficiency, profitability, sustainability, and aesthetic value of grasslands, wetlands and turfs.

About the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska
The Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska leverages the talents and research-based expertise from across the system on behalf of rural communities in Nebraska, the U.S. and around the world. Through a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, the institute encourages bold and futuristic approaches to address critical rural issues. It works collaboratively with educational, business, community, non-profit, government and foundation partners to empower rural communities and their leaders.

About the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program
The Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program is focused on helping transform the resources of our nation’s strength in agriculture into the next big idea. An idea that will solve a problem. Open a new door. Fill a hungry stomach. Create a new product. Grow more food with fewer resources. The Engler Experience empowers enterprise builders. Our job is to provide the skills, inspiration and fortitude to make that happen.