Number CL The Newsletter of Epsilon Sigma Phi July 2019

President's Update
Mark Blevins, National ESP President

This newsletter is packed with great information about our excellent upcoming conference and National roles and responsibilities. Which brings me to my two simple asks for this newsletter, would you consider serving on a National Committee or board? and you're coming to the conference, right?

We have some great new officers coming on board as a few rotate off at conference. We're always looking for good candidates, and it could be you. If you're interested in serving on a national level, please be sure to get in touch with your regional vice president or any of the executive board members. Applications for national committees and roles are due the first of April, and are accepted at any time.

The annual conference is a pretty big deal. We have a lot of things going on there for recognition, for professional development, and things to benefit individual members as well as the organization as a whole. The meeting is in a beautiful location, and a great team is putting together all the pieces that make us all want to Go for the Gold! You won't regret it so register today.

We're working hard to make sure our structure and plans at the national level are what's best for the organization and our membership. The mid-year meeting was chocked full of really good dialogue and thought-provoking discussions about making sure we're ready for the next generation of members and ensuring that we are going in the right direction in new initiatives and current projects.

I am very proud of our board and our committees for the work they do and the accomplishments they have shown this year. 2019 has flown by for me so if you ever wonder about the commitment level of a national is a lot of work, but this year seems more like 6 months to this guy.

Thanks for what you do to make Epsilon Sigma Phi what it is. Your investments of time and expertise, as well as your generous contributions make this The Extension Professional's Organization. I'm proud to preside with you and so many other incredible professionals who are leaders in their own rights.

See you in Colorado!

2019 Conference - Registration is now open!! Early Bird Deadline is August 31, 2019.

Check out our Conference speakers, Opening Event and other exciting opportunities! 

Don't forget to make your hotel reservation when you register for conference.

2019 National ESP Conference Invitation
Abbie Salmon, National Professional Development Committee

On behalf of the Professional Development Committee, I would like to encourage you to Go for the Gold and attend our 2019 National ESP Conference! Our conference will be held October 14-17, 2019 in the beautiful Colorado Springs, Colorado. We will kick off our opening session at the Olympic Training Center and our Professional Development Committee has worked tirelessly to ensure that our professional development opportunities will have you thinking of Going for the Gold. Concurrent sessions will provide you with opportunities to reach peak performance in areas of organization, communication, leadership and much more! These sessions are certain to have something for everyone from the retiree to the new Extension professional.

Are you up for the challenge? Here is just a short list of what will be offered to help you Go for the Gold and Achieve Peak Performance at the 2019 National ESP Conference:

  • learn effective ways to recognize and reduce clutter both professionally and personally
  • receive innovative tools for strengthening stakeholder engagement in Extension programming
  • learn strategies to turn your retirement plans in gold
  • gain resources to better connect with key community partners
  • learn innovative ways to connect using text messaging
  • learn strategies to improve workplace culture
  • learn the Do’s and Don’ts of data through the innovative idea of Data Parties
  • gain information on best practices of working with and recruiting millennial volunteers

Welcome to our new National Board Members
National Office

Karen Reddersen,  Maryland Tau Chapter, has been elected as the next 2nd Vice President of the National Epsilon Sigma Phi Board of Directors. A member of ESP since 2012, Karen is currently serving as the Northeast Region Vice President and Chair of the National Scholarship, Grants and Recognition Committee.  She served as President of Tau Chapter, served on the National Public Issues Committee and served as ESP National representative on the JCEP PILD Planning Committee. Karen will take office at the National Conference in October. The 2nd Vice President begins a four-year appointment serving as President during the third year. Congratulations Karen!

The National ESP Board also welcomes two new regional vice-presidents. Both positions will serve a two-year term. 

Jeannette Rea Keywood joins the national board as the Northeast Region Vice President. She has been a member of ESP since 1996 and serves as the president of the New Jersey Alpha Xi Chapter since 2010.  Jeannette served on the Professional Development Committee and served as chair for the 2016 National ESP Conference.

The West Region Vice President position will be filled by Lorie Dye. Joining ESP in 2008, she is currently serving on the National Recruitment and Retention Committee. On the state level, Lorie has served as the Idaho Theta Chapter Treasurer and Secretary since 2015. She also serves as the state JCEP Treasurer. 

Congratulations to our two new regional vice presidents!


Support the Development Fund When you Register
David Ross, Member - Resource Development and Management Committee 

During registration for the 2019 National Conference, we encourage you to make a donation to the Development Fund.

A donation ribbon is given to everyone who donates and for donations of $100 or more, a conference pin is given.

Show your spirit, wear all your past pins at conference! Use the link on the registration website to donate after you complete your registration.

Not going to the National Conference?

We seek Development Fund donations from all members. Please support your profession and give to provide professional development opportunities to new and all members to improve our professionals. If everyone gives even a small amount, we can reach our goal. Please give!

Go to Donate  and be sure to Log in.

Life members, in lieu of paying dues, please now support the Development Fund with an annual gift.

We are reaching our initial goal of $500,000 in donations after about 15 years of effort. The donations plus the earnings received have yielded about $31,000 in income to pay for professional development efforts each year. This is an important part of our annual budget.


2019 ESP National Recognition Recipients

Congratulations to the following recipients who have been selected by their peers for their outstanding work in and dedication to Extension. These individuals will be recognized at the 2019 National Conference in Colorado Springs, CO in October. For a complete list of winners go to 2019 Award Recipients.

2019 Distinguished Service Ruby Recipient

Epsilon Sigma Phi’s most prestigious level of recognition, the Distinguished Service Ruby award, is designed to recognize outstanding leadership, innovative thinking and sustained exceptional performance across a lifetime of career service in Extension. It is a great honor to recognize Patricia Dawson - Oregon Gamma Chapter, as the 2019 Epsilon Sigma Phi Distinguished Service Ruby award recipient.

For more than 33 years, Patricia Dawson has devoted her Extension career to delivering high quality educational programs and resources that meet the needs of colleagues and constituents at the local, state and national level. Recognized nationwide for her innovation and visionary leadership, she has served in countless roles including National ESP President. Numerous organizations including ECOP/APLU, National County Commissioners Association as well as ESP have honored Patricia for her professional accomplishments.

Friend of Extension Recipients

Professional Business Leader
Rick Strickland, Wisconsin 

Rick Strickland, the Cancer Health Disparities Initiative Program Director, has developed a strong relationship with UW-Extension. By his overseeing the development of an education program to address rural cancer disparities, over 10,000 Wisconsin residents have increased their knowledge about cancer basics, screenings, and prevention. Through this collaboration, over 70 facilitators have been trained in Wisconsin. Strong community ties developed through Mr. Strickland's ability to lead the CHDI staff and to make personal connections with Extension educators throughout Wisconsin.

Georgia EMC, Georgia

The Georgia Electric Membership Corporation or Georgia EMC has been a continuous supporter and asset to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension program areas of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Georgia 4-H. Georgia EMC is a non-profit utility that serves approximately 4.4 million residents in the state of Georgia, which provides a safe, reliable, and affordable electricity through forty-one EMC companies. Across Georgia, the EMC is a true friend which can always be called upon to support local, district and statewide programs as we grow Georgia from the ground up.

Extension Volunteer/Lay Leader
Ann Porter, Kentucky

As a former Family and Consumer Sciences teacher in Mason County, Ann Porter knows the value of not only FCS in the communities, but Extension as a whole. Her son grew up active in 4-H showing livestock and even became a 4-H Agent in Bracken County for a few years. Growing up on a farm in Dover, KY, her family fully utilized the services offered by the Extension Service. As an Extension Homemaker member of 50 years, she has fully dedicated her life to volunteering for Extension. 

2019 ESP National Conference Online Silent Auction!

Last newsletter we shared a bit about the new online silent auction – - platform we’re using for this year’s conference in Colorado Springs. This real-time, dynamic system can be used by anyone with a computer or smartphone. We’re hoping that those of you who are not able to attend the conference will still support the event and organization by participating in the auction. Here’s what an item looks like:

Some of the great features of this online auction include: 1) You’re in control as the bidder and can place your starting bid and incremental bid up to your max, 2) The system will let you know when you’ve been outbid and give you the option of increasing your bid so you’ll never have to guess if you’re high bidder or not, 3) It encourages participation from all our membership, 4) There is a “donate” button so if you’ve given all your amazing items to Goodwill, or you just don’t want to go through the process of entering an item, you can still contribute, 5) You can pay directly online via PayPal or credit card and skip standing in line to pay, and 6) We’re expanding the way we’ve always done things to be more inclusive and engage new technology!

We will share more in the September newsletter when we actually launch the auction and ask for you to enter items. It’s as simple as filling out a Google Doc form and uploading a photo or two of the item. We hope you’ll participate and give us feedback on what your experience is.


National Conference Optional Monday Tours

Have you ever been to Pikes Peak? What about the Garden of the Gods? How about visiting America's only mountain zoo? See the Military base and planetarium? Even a micro-brew walking tour. Check out the exciting conference tours being offered on Monday, October 14 at National ESP Conference. Be sure to sign-up when you register before they sell out!!


2019 ESP National Conference Sneak Peek
Mark Platten, Conference Co-Chair

In past newsletters, hopefully we’ve enticed you with the 2019 ESP Conference venue in the historic Antler’s Hotel in downtown Colorado Springs; invited you into our natural wonders through our pre-conference tours; appealed to your intellect with our keynote speakers; and wowed you with our opening event at the Olympic Training Center where you’ll get to meet athletes who may compete in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan and see behind the scenes where visitors aren’t allowed to venture!

If that isn’t enough to get you to click on the “Register Here” link on our ESP homepage, then I don’t know what would sway your decision. Wait, I have an idea. What if I told you that your plus one to the opening event at the Olympic Training Center only has to pay $40 to participate in all the evening events and dinner? I can tell you that my wife has attended half a dozen opening ESP events and we paid double that on most occasions. We are able to do this because we were able to get a fixed cost for the location and the meal is being catered in. Soooooo, if you were using the excuse that I would love to attend, but my plus one would feel left out…here’s your chance to shine! We hope to see you in a couple of months.

Olympic Training Center


Updates from the MRR (Membership, Recruitment and Retention) Committee
Beth Claypoole- Chairperson

Our last meeting was on Tuesday, June 25 and we had lots to discuss! First, we would like to congratulate the 19 Chapters that submitted applications for recognition through our Chapter of Merit and Chapter Recognition programs! Our committee reached out to their colleagues in each of the regions and we were so excited to see an increase in participation from last year. We have already received positive comments on the new application form and that by completing the application, it gave the opportunity for chapter leadership to see ways to improve their chapters.

We look forward to seeing everyone at the National Conference in Colorado Springs this fall. The MRR Committee will have a poster that outlines the chapter recognition process and provides ideas for you on how to make your chapter more active and alive!

In addition, we are working with the Marketing Committee on the agenda and activity for the New Member/Life Member Reception on Monday night of the conference, prior to the opening event. We will still have the official “Mentor/Mentee” activity – look for sign ups with your registration – and we will also have an activity to help everyone match themselves up with someone who may have information and guidance that you need to be successful.

We will also be reaching out to all conference participants to help recognize and network with new and life members. Stay tuned to this great “get to know you all” activity!

As always, if you are interested in more information about the MRR Committee, please reach out to Beth,, and we can get you on the email for our committee meetings – no committee membership required!


ESP Data Security
Greg Price, ESP National Office

We work hard to protect your personal data with ESP. On June 11, you may have received an email from “Wild Apricot by Personify” about online data. This is the company ESP has selected to manage our online membership data. Your ESP Board spent over a year evaluating and selecting an online vendor to manage membership. We are very pleased with the service and we continue to monitor all policies of the vendor.

Credit card processing is done through AffiniPay, a highly regarded payment processing company. None of your credit card information is stored with Wild Apricot or ESP.

Additionally, we use another vendor called Wufoo by Survey Monkey to collect online data through our online award applications.

Here is what you need to know:

Wild Apricot and Wufoo

  • Uses high level security. All our ESP web pages use the “https” prefix.
  • Does not share your information.


  • Uses the highest level of security and meets all banking standards for processing payments
  • Does not share your data or credit card information with anyone including Wild Apricot and ESP.

Epsilon Sigma Phi – National Office

  • We manage all the data stored within our Wild Apricot Membership Management system. We do not have access to credit card information.
  • We do not share your information with anyone outside of ESP.
  • We do not allow our ESP email lists to be used by anyone except ESP business.

Information we DO Share

  • Your name, address, email, member profile, and dues payment history is available to your ESP Chapter Officers.
  • By default, your online membership profile is visible to any fellow member of ESP. One must login to the website to view a member profile.
  • By default your name and email address only are visible in the public ESP Directory without logging in.
  • While most of our university emails are public record, we still strive to protect this data. Due to our directory page design and the fact that only 50 records may be viewed at a time, the harvesting of bulk emails from our system would be difficult.
  • In your member profile privacy settings, you can change what people see. For example, you could make your email address only visible to members or visible to no one.

If you have any questions or concerns about our management and protection of your data, please let us know.


This newsletter is a publication of Epsilon Sigma Phi, Inc. - The Extension Professionals' Organization

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