Episode 30 | Behind the Scenes of CUWC

June 14, 2018

Show Notes:

In the final episode of Catch Up With Chuck, Chuck is joined by show producer and RFI Director of Communications Katelyn Ideus as well as show production specialist and RFI communications intern Katy Bagniewski.

They discuss goals, results and of course gratitude for our guests, listeners and the RFI team for this amazing experience! They also promote the new RFI podcast, Rural Futures with Dr. Connie!

Quick Links:

Full Transcript:

[0:10] Good morning. [0:11] Welcome to the Rural Futures Institute [0:13] at the University of Nebraska. [0:15] I’m Chuck Schroeder. [0:16] I’m executive director of the Rural Futures Institute, [0:19] and this is our final episode of this weekly gathering [0:23] with interesting people we’ve called Catch Up With Chuck. [0:27] Well, listen. [0:29] This has been a lot of fun, and my guests today [0:31] are the two people who actually came up with this big idea [0:35] to have this weekly get-together. [0:38] I am delighted to have Katelyn Ideus, [0:41] our director of communications and PR at RFI, [0:45] and our star intern, Katy Bagniewski, [0:48] who is our communications intern [0:50] who has been very much a part of this right from the start. [0:54] Ladies, welcome to the other side of the lens. [0:56] Yeah, thanks Chuck. [0:57] We’re a little nervous to be on this side. [1:00] I am so pleased. (laughing) [1:01] I am so pleased. [1:02] They’re gonna understand the trauma that I’ve gone through. [1:05] No, it’s been great fun. [1:06] Well listen, I’ve been around a little bit. [1:09] Since 1973, I was counting up on my fingers yesterday. [1:13] I’ve hired or been associated with [1:16] seven different communications directors, [1:20] dozens of communications professionals and interns [1:24] over the course of my career, [1:26] and I’ve had some really good ones. [1:27] I can say honestly that the two of you [1:30] are certainly in the very top tier of those [1:34] that I’ve had a chance to work with [1:35] in addressing audiences locally, nationally, [1:38] and even globally, since 1973. [1:44] I think that it’s fair to say, our audience [1:48] would very much like to know both of you better, [1:51] and know what makes you tick. [1:53] Katelyn, I’m gonna start with you. [1:56] You had a very interesting upbringing and life [1:59] that brought you to the University of Nebraska, [2:02] and now into a couple of really significant roles [2:05] within the university. [2:07] Tell us a little bit about– [2:08] Well sure. [2:09] You. (laughs) [2:10] Perfect.

[2:11] Thanks Chuck, and thank you for that compliment. [2:12] I agree totally on Katy, so I mean, it’s great. [2:16] No, well I was not raised in a rural community, [2:19] so a lot of people think that’s, you know, surprising, [2:22] since I’m the director of communications for RFI. [2:24] But kind of medium-sized cities, moved around a little bit. [2:27] Family ended up in Omaha, Nebraska, [2:30] and then came to the university. [2:32] I am a very proud University of Nebraska-Lincoln [2:34] College of Journalism graduate two times over, [2:37] for my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. [2:40] And then my career, I started out in communications [2:44] at an inner city downtown pediatric hospital in St. Louis. [2:48] And then when we moved back to Nebraska, [2:52] started at the university in online education, [2:54] and then here at RFI for a couple years. [2:58] I have to bring up my husband in this [3:00] because he is why now I am so passionate [3:02] and inspired by rural places, right? [3:04] I live in the country now. [3:05] He does farm part-time with his dad, [3:08] and then he’s a physical medicine specialist [3:11] in practice here in Lincoln, [3:12] and then he teaches internationally, as well. [3:16] But he really showed me how awesome it could be [3:18] to live in the country, so–

[3:19] Yeah, your tires roll on rural roads every day. [3:22] Every day. [3:23] That’s right. That’s right. [3:24] And we talk about that stuff around here. [3:26] Essentially, everyone that’s involved with our team now [3:30] has either deep rural roots, [3:33] or live in rural communities today, [3:35] and so it’s not an academic exercise [3:38] when we think about what helps to make [3:40] great rural communities and how we might contribute. [3:42] You know, it’s funny because I bring up [3:44] like we can’t get broadband (laughs), at our house. [3:46] It’s hotspots for us. [3:48] I did want to give a quick shout out [3:49] to Adams and Firth, Nebraska. [3:51] Yeah, yeah. [3:52] (laughing) [3:53] Yay for those two small towns.

[3:55] Well Katy, you have a fascinating story yourself [3:58] that has rural roots. [4:01] You’ve done a lot of things in and around this world. [4:05] Tell us what brought you to this track [4:08] at the University of Nebraska.

[4:10] Yeah, so I am the youngest of three daughters. [4:13] Both of my parents came from rural backgrounds [4:16] in Wyoming and Wisconsin. [4:18] And then they chose to raise us in a little rural pocket, [4:22] what I call it. [4:23] It’s a small rural township outside of Rochester, Minnesota. [4:27] We hobby farmed, and my dad owned a few [4:30] rural small businesses that really acted as community hubs [4:34] for the people in our community. [4:37] And then my mom worked for first, [4:39] the male clinic, so she has a chemistry background, [4:42] but then decided that she wanted to teach. [4:44] And they’re both huge role models for me [4:47] in every sense of the word. [4:50] Rochester, Minnesota is a pretty urbanized place. [4:54] I went to school in the city, [4:56] but then lived in the rural community outside of the city. [4:59] I was actually one of the FFA members [5:02] who signed the charter for our chapter, [5:05] and I was really involved in 4-H, [5:07] and I had a strong ag background. [5:09] That’s really what led me to the university. [5:12] I was showing sheep at AKSARBEN in Omaha. [5:15] (phone ringing) [5:17] Woop. [5:18] (laughing) [5:19] That’s the first time that’s happened. [5:21] We’re live. [5:22] (laughing) [5:27] And we decided to come to Lincoln, [5:29] and I fell in love with it. [5:31] I’m an agricultural and environmental sciences [5:34] communication major, and I really care about rural too, [5:39] because of that. (laughs) [5:41] But I also think that rural roots aren’t needed [5:44] in order to care about rural places, because we talk about– [5:47] Absolutely true. [5:48] Rural and urban collaboration, but really, [5:50] that starts with the collaboration of thought [5:53] between the two communities and the two different [5:55] types of upbringings in order to push change in both places. [6:00] Absolutely right.

[6:00] I absolutely had to get the showing sheep [6:03] and AKSARBEN story in there, though, [6:05] ’cause it’s a beautiful part of who you are. [6:08] I think it is the breadth of your experience [6:12] is reflected in your work here. [6:15] I think it comes up. [6:17] Shows itself in the various assignments that you’ve taken. [6:20] Well listen, Katelyn, you and I started having conversations [6:24] more than a year ago about developing [6:27] a communications vehicle in and around [6:31] the Rural Futures Institute that was more than a newsletter. [6:37] I’ve written columns for house organ publications [6:42] in virtually every organization [6:44] that I’ve been in over the years, [6:45] and have always felt strongly about the need [6:48] for the chief executive to not just talk about [6:53] schedules of events, but really talk about [6:55] the real people that you’re engaging with and influencing. [7:00] That really kicked off a number of ideas, [7:05] and you came up with Catch Up With Chuck. [7:07] I want you to talk a little bit about [7:09] what you really hoped to accomplish on behalf of RFI. [7:12] I’ve just been having fun. (laughs)

[7:15] Hey now, hey now. [7:15] You had a real job around this thing. [7:17] Well, it’s great. [7:19] I mean first and foremost, the real aha moment, [7:21] Theresa Klein was huge in that aha moment. [7:23] I mean, she and I really talked a lot about, [7:25] I mean, obviously Chuck, one of your biggest strengths [7:27] is how dynamic you are as a speaker. [7:30] And so we were like, we’ve got, [7:31] I mean we’ve gotta get you beyond the page or the email. [7:34] You know what I mean? [7:35] That’s where your strength lies. [7:38] That’s what led us to, okay, how can we do video? [7:40] And then really for our small team here at RFI, [7:43] it’s how do you create a bigger impact? [7:46] And a huge way to do that is online. [7:49] We knew that at that time, our strongest network [7:52] was really our Facebook network. [7:54] Right. [7:55] And then we also knew that it really had to be frequent, [7:59] and that over week, over week, over week [8:02] was really how we were gonna build something. [8:04] And so all of that kind of came together [8:06] into a Facebook Live show, and we chose the name [8:10] Catch Up With Chuck, not Mustard with Chuck, right? [8:12] (laughing) [8:13] We’ve gotten a lot of jokes about that. [8:15] Yeah, yeah, yeah. [8:16] We get it. [8:18] We also, I think, a really big piece of it [8:20] is we wanted it to be really accessible. [8:23] The real goal was to be able to pull together the RFI nexus, [8:26] and you talked about this in your very first episode. [8:29] That faculty, and researcher, student, community leader [8:32] in a way that’s really comfortable and conversational. [8:35] What’s so great about Facebook Live is [8:37] it really allows you to do that. [8:38] The phone can ring, and you will be fine. [8:40] (laughing) [8:41] Right. [8:42] It’s much more casual, and real, [8:43] and authentic and genuine. [8:44] And so that’s kind of how it all came together.

[8:48] I didn’t really have numeric objectives. [8:51] I’ve never done a 30-week Facebook Live show before. [8:55] But we have had almost 80,000 minutes [8:57] of view time on the show. [8:59] We’ve had 100,000 unique viewers [9:02] over the course of 29 shows, [9:04] and those metrics were pulled last week, [9:06] so maybe they’re way higher now. [9:08] I mean, I think I’m happy with that. [9:10] I think we’ve reached a scope that I’m happy with. [9:13] Katy, I mean, you guys talk about it too.

[9:16] Sure, well I just have to say for me, [9:19] it was that discipline of every week, [9:23] and you stressed that from the start. [9:26] This thing is pretty easy to do for three weeks. [9:29] It’s a little tougher for 30. [9:31] But to continually be thinking about [9:35] what are we trying to accomplish here? [9:37] And bringing in interesting people, a variety of people, [9:40] so that to me, has just been a great fun. [9:44] Yeah, absolutely. [9:45] Well Katy, you’ve been credited appropriately, [9:48] with the production and promotion of [9:50] this program week, to week, to week. [9:53] I want you to talk a little bit about, [9:55] again, you’re a professional in your own right. [9:58] Absolutely. [9:59] I want you to talk some about the strategy [10:01] that you tried to employ with this. [10:05] Different program every week. [10:07] Trying to reach those audiences. [10:09] Talk a little bit about how you did that.

[10:11] Yeah, so I think one of the really cool things [10:14] about this show is that we got to get guests [10:16] from all kinds of backgrounds. [10:18] And that gave us an opportunity to target [10:20] specific people to push our content out to. [10:25] We had people in the university, [10:26] pushing that to the university. [10:28] Entrepreneurs pushing that all around the country [10:31] to other entrepreneurs. [10:33] That was really important to me when I was creating [10:35] the promotion kinds of tools for this, [10:37] and creating the clips, and being strategic about [10:39] what we included in all of that. [10:42] But then also, just recognizing that we’re giving people [10:46] a platform to talk about their passions [10:48] and about the opportunities, challenges, issues in rural, [10:52] and how they can connect to viewers and people [10:55] who want to engage back with us.

[10:57] Sure. [10:58] Well, you all need to know that Katy is an entrepreneur [11:01] in her own right, already. [11:03] You’re very early in your career, [11:05] so talk a little bit about your career plans.

[11:08] Yeah, so I am very fluid. [11:12] I swear, my career plans change every month. [11:15] But I really want to be telling stories [11:18] for the rest of my life. [11:20] I love video, but I also have found a love [11:24] for just web content and social media content. [11:29] And so I enjoy helping people tell the stories [11:33] about the causes that they’re passionate about, [11:35] and then also telling the stories [11:36] about the causes that I’m passionate about. [11:38] Sure. [11:39] So, whatever way I can do that, I really try to. [11:42] Whether that’s a freelance gig, [11:44] or finding a place in a nonprofit after graduation, [11:48] much like I have here at RFI, [11:50] then that’s kind of what I’m interested in.

[11:53] Well, it’s been our good fortune to have found you [11:55] and have had your interest in what we’re doing. [11:57] Well listen, Katelyn, you’re clearly emerging in this world [12:02] as a really sophisticated communications professional. [12:06] You’ve talked a little bit about the measurements [12:09] that you’ve applied to Catch Up With Chuck. [12:14] I wonder if you can talk a little bit about [12:16] what you’ve learned in the process of this last year [12:19] with this little gig, and lessons [12:21] that might be valuable to other organizations [12:23] that are thinking about this kind of thing. [12:26] Yeah, absolutely. [12:27] Well, I’ve prepared three. (laughs) [12:29] I think there are a million. [12:30] I mean, don’t you think? [12:32] Yeah.

[12:33] We’ve just learned a lot within the platforms themselves, [12:35] and all these little tips and tricks. [12:36] But the three that I would focus on right now [12:38] is the first one is just, what’s the point? [12:42] I mean, we talk about this all the time, [12:43] is what’s the point? [12:45] Who’s your audience? [12:46] What value are you looking to provide, [12:49] and what call to action do you want them to take? [12:51] I think you really do have to go into [12:53] any communications kind of tactic [12:56] that you do with those fundamentals in place. [13:00] We knew that, and we knew how the point was really for us, [13:05] is our message was really that collaboration, [13:07] that bringing the people together [13:08] around really complex topics. [13:11] The other one was just keeping it simple, right? [13:13] I mean, you talked about it earlier [13:16] when we were doing this week, over week, over week, [13:18] and so keep the simplicity for me, came in organization. [13:21] We had just a Google sheet that housed all of our episodes. [13:26] It allowed us to see that we were getting the mix of people [13:28] that we were aspiring to. [13:30] Our metrics were in there. [13:32] We came up with a really good flow [13:34] of responsibilities and roles. [13:35] I mean Chuck, you owned the content of these, [13:38] and that was huge because I mean, [13:40] just for everyone’s capacities, so thank you. [13:42] I mean, and then I was the one that was [13:45] kinda behind the camera, and Katy in production, [13:47] so that was really, really important. [13:49] The other thing I would say is… [13:52] Oh, in terms of equipment, we’re literally doing this [13:54] with a tripod and an iPad. [13:55] You needed to say that. [13:57] Folks who think we’re in a fancy studio, [14:00] and lights everywhere. [14:01] It’s pretty much the fluorescent lights [14:03] that they put in 40 years ago, and an iPad. [14:06] Which was a key reason why I loved that Facebook Live, [14:09] ’cause I felt like we could get away with this. [14:11] Sure. [14:12] That brings me to the last one, is just, just start. [14:14] Just try it. just do it. [14:16] I mean, I honestly didn’t think we’d make it to 30 episodes. [14:21] I don’t know. [14:21] I’m thrilled that we did, and you just have to start. [14:24] Sure. [14:25] That is the great lesson, I think, in so much of life. [14:31] Just do it. [14:32] Well, and I stole it from Tom Field. [14:33] He told me that last week. [14:34] (laughing) [14:35] Just so you know. [14:35] I thought it sounded so familiar. [14:37] (laughing)

[14:38] Well listen, I just have to say folks, [14:40] that I have so much enjoyed the journey. [14:43] Every week seems like, oh my gosh, the best one yet. [14:48] We’ve been having conversations about [14:50] what were special episodes. [14:51] I think back, the early conversations [14:54] that I had with Tom Field, the director of [14:58] the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program. [15:01] With Lindsay Hastings who outed herself [15:04] as my daughter on this show. [15:05] (laughing) [15:06] Who is the director of [15:08] the Nebraska Human Resources Institute. [15:10] So many themes that they established, [15:13] we’ve repeated over and over with our guests [15:16] from such a broad array of backgrounds. [15:19] Certainly, the interviews with students [15:22] who demonstrated their passion for rural communities, [15:27] and some very sophisticated thinking about [15:30] their potential roles in rural communities, [15:32] and kids here again, who are already starting businesses [15:35] that will go back to rural communities, [15:38] and are gonna have an influence. [15:39] I think they were just great myth busters. [15:43] And then people like Bob Stowell, [15:45] who’s just been a transformational community leader [15:48] in his own right in ORD for generations. [15:52] Reshell Ray with the student engagement program here at UNL. [15:57] Phenomenal human being. [15:58] Dr. Helen Fagan, who is now on our team [16:02] in the service ship realm. [16:04] They just brought life perspectives [16:06] that I thought were so valuable, and I want to go back [16:09] and revisit those episodes time and again. [16:12] But I’m interested in hearing from the two of you [16:15] about episodes that you especially enjoyed.

[16:19] Well, my all-time favorite episode [16:21] was Garry Clark, just for the storytelling value. [16:25] In such an interesting, vulnerable, personal place [16:28] that he came from while telling his story. [16:32] And then also, I guess you can’t forget [16:34] about Shelley McKinley. [16:36] Oh yes, absolutely. [16:36] Incredible to have– [16:38] From Microsoft. Yeah. [16:39] From Microsoft to have on this little show. [16:42] I know, right? [16:43] (laughing) [16:44] And she was kinda jacked up about it. [16:45] I thought that was sort of interesting. [16:47] (laughing) [16:48] I agree. [16:48] Yeah.

[16:49] Well, I’m gonna totally cheat on this question, [16:51] because I mean yeah, it’s like every episode [16:54] had this special place. [16:55] First and foremost, I just want to thank our guests. [16:57] Huge thank you. [16:58] Oh my gosh, yeah. [16:59] Some even traveled to be here. [17:01] We did most episodes here. [17:04] I know Gladys from Lexington [17:05] was one that really stands out to me, [17:08] and she drove here to be a part of that. [17:10] And really, talk about the transformation [17:12] her community has gone through [17:14] and how passionate she is in action [17:16] that she and others are taking there, [17:18] which was really special. [17:20] And then yes, students. [17:22] I mean, Matt, Joe, Shelby, Brooke, Emily. [17:25] We just have had great students on here, [17:28] and they get some of the highest views. [17:31] These students do, so yay for you. [17:33] (laughing) [17:34] But then yeah, I mean taking it from those, [17:36] and then also on the other side we had Mike Boehm, [17:39] vice chancellor of the University of Nebraska [17:42] Institute of Ag and Natural Resources. [17:44] Sure. [17:44] For a really great university perspective. [17:47] Dave Rippe for a statewide perspective [17:49] of economic development. [17:51] And then Shelley McKinley [17:53] and Tim Griffin from Tufts, so thank you. [17:55] Oh gosh yeah, yeah. [17:56] To everyone for making this possible for us.

[17:59] And in saying that, you make me think of Tiffany Heng-Moss [18:04] the interim dean at CASNR, [18:06] whose perspective on students and service learning [18:10] I just thought was so powerful. [18:11] Yup. [18:13] Should we just rattle them all off? [18:14] (laughing) [18:16] Well listen, as we think about communications [18:18] coming from the Rural Futures Institute, [18:21] Katelyn, you are launching this week, [18:24] you and Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild, [18:25] our associate executive director ad chief futurist, [18:29] are launching a new vehicle that’s been a year, [18:34] I think at least, in the making. [18:36] And you’ve done lots of work wrapping up. [18:38] Talk about the broadcast. [18:40] Yes.

[18:42] We launched a Podcast. [18:43] It’s called Rural Futures with Dr. Connie, [18:46] and it’s across a lot of platforms, [18:47] but I would drive you to iTunes and Stitcher. [18:50] It’s also on our website. [18:52] What we’re really looking to do here is, [18:54] I mean, we’ve talked about a lot of these topics, [18:56] but there are some really polarizing national narratives [18:58] right now that deal directly with the impact, [19:01] and our mission and purpose as an institute, right? [19:05] It’s the rural urban divide, [19:06] the technology ethics and access, and this future of work. [19:11] These are the three kind of topical areas [19:13] that Dr. Connie has just such a, I mean, [19:16] just such a neat way as a futurist, [19:19] of digging in and being a realist about where we are, [19:22] but then also just a really strategic optimist [19:25] about where we can go. [19:26] And she really challenges everyone to think about, [19:29] okay, you can think about the future you need, [19:31] but how about we talk about the future you want? [19:34] What future do we want, and what future do we want together? [19:36] So she’ll talk to futurist, entrepreneurs, [19:38] business innovators, weekly. [19:41] We have got 10 episodes, I think, in season one [19:43] that we’re gonna be pushing out over the next several weeks. [19:46] Anything you want to add? [19:47] Katy’s a huge part of that one, too.

[19:51] Yeah, we have some very interesting guests, [19:53] and it’s been a whole new world, Podcasts, [19:57] a whole new world, so I’m really excited [20:00] and I’m really proud of what we’ve put together [20:02] in both shows. [20:03] Yeah, so there’s three episodes out right now. [20:05] So go listen and subscribe. [20:08] So sign up. Absolutely. [20:09] If you really love it, five star rating. [20:11] (laughing) [20:12] Awesome.

[20:13] Well, I just think it’s a terrific [20:16] forward evolution in really digging deeper [20:21] into these really complex issues that face rural. [20:25] Connie has such a capacity for that. [20:28] She’s experienced. [20:30] She’s a great scholar in her own right. [20:32] I think it’s gonna be fun to see that roll out. [20:36] I’ve already listened to the first couple of ’em, [20:38] and it’s the real thing, [20:39] so I encourage you all to sign up and think about that. [20:45] Well, where are we? [20:46] Everything’s going to pot here. [20:48] (laughing) [20:49] Well listen, I just want to say thank you [20:52] to Katy and to Katelyn for making this possible. [20:56] It’s been really a delight to [21:00] put these get-togethers together every week. [21:04] Frankly, with people I like. [21:06] I freely admit that I really didn’t reach out very far [21:11] to pick some knucklehead that I thought [21:13] would be a bad interview, [21:14] or that I really disagreed with. [21:17] These are people we liked, and I thought [21:19] that was my prerogative. [21:20] Most importantly, I want to say thanks to all of you [21:23] who have tuned in, and heard, and listened [21:28] to our message over these 30 episodes now. [21:32] I hope you found a few ideas that were intriguing. [21:36] I hope you were occasionally inspired, [21:39] maybe even amused once in a while. [21:41] Definitely today. [21:42] Some of the folks, yeah, [21:43] that we’ve had, and the conversations. [21:46] The experiences we’ve had right here live, in front of you. [21:50] But anyway, I’m unsaddling this pony, [21:52] throwing my gear in the back of my pickup, [21:54] and gettin’ on down the road here in just a couple of weeks. [21:58] So I just want you to know it’s been a fun ride. [22:01] I’ve enjoyed it, and I encourage you, once again, [22:05] to stay in touch with the Rural Futures Institute [22:08] through our website, through Facebook, Twitter, [22:11] Instagram, stitch whatever. [22:14] I don’t even, LinkedIn, some of these things [22:15] I know nothing about. [22:17] That’s how I got this white hair. [22:19] Thanks for watching.

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