Number CLVIII The Newsletter of Epsilon Sigma Phi  September 2021

 Gratitude for ESP
Peggy Compton, National ESP President

It is with great appreciation for the members of the ESP National Board, Executive Director team, National Committees, and you, the ESP membership, that I write this final newsletter article as your ESP National President. Throughout the past year, as I presided over National Board “Zoom” meetings, I made the deliberate effort to begin or close each meeting with a gratitude practice. This provided time for us as a Board of Directors – to think about and express our gratitude for the many blessings in our lives – the people, events, opportunities, and on some days, simply the sunshine! I believe (and the research would support) that our brief reflections of gratitude set the tone for productive, respectful and positive-outcome meetings. Should you care to read more, this white paper prepared by the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley is an interesting and thorough review of “The Science of Gratitude.” 

Why am I so grateful for having had this opportunity to serve? Because there are no finer Extension Educators or people than those who rise to and accept leadership roles in ESP. There was plenty of adversity thrown at us this year in our professional and personal lives and the epitome of Extension resilience showed through repeatedly. Not only did we “survive” the year, we thrived!

  • Professional Development Opportunities surpassed all previous years, including a series of seven national webinars and offering 40 concurrent sessions and 25 posters at the Annual National Conference.
  • An updated National ESP website was unveiled that includes a template for Chapter websites. This option means less maintenance for the chapter than a stand-alone site and creates an excellent one-stop shop for your membership. Contact the National Office to learn more and see an example chapter site.
  • A total of $37,000 was awarded to members in scholarships and grants!
  • The outstanding work of 44 ESP members and four Friends of Extension will be recognized during the Annual National Conference.
  • Registration for our Annual National Conference now stands at a record-breaking 320 registrants! Can’t attend in person? Consider the virtual option
  • Although initially membership appeared to be down slightly, as we returned to offices, membership dues payments brought overall membership numbers for the year to about 100 more than in 2020.
  • A rigorous process was completed to choose and sign a contract with TEAMTRI to be our new ESP Executive Director. TEAMTRI is a fully integrated leadership agency with a nationwide team providing association management, financial, marketing, creative, technology, event, program and member services. Watch for a more detailed introduction coming via email in the future. And for those headed to the National Conference you will have the opportunity to meet in-person key members of the TEAMTRI management team.
  • Board Members participated in many hours of planning and restructuring meetings beyond our regular Board meetings. We are poised to continue these discussions with our new Executive Director Team!

In closing, I want to express my most sincere gratitude for the opportunity to work with our ESP Executive Director Team of Greg and Becky Price. Although I could have completed this role without you, it would not have been nearly as productive or enjoyable. I wish you all the best as you retire (again) and have more time for travel, little league baseball games, and your next adventures.

Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”


Thank you all for allowing me to be part of your excellence this past year. I have grown personally and professionally in countless ways and I will be forever grateful.


Conference Registration Continues

Early bird registration set new records for participation. Regular registration is open until October 8, 2021.

Virtual program registration is available and includes three general sessions, the Ruby Luncheon and the Awards Program.

See the Conference website for more information.


Support and Honor the President on the Presidential Key

Submitted by the Resource Development and Management Committee

The outgoing president receives the wooden plaque Key carved by Art Redinger of Indiana and signed by conference attendees.  Art has made wooden plaque Keys for the President since 1993 and these were previously auctioned to raise money for scholarships.  The president was always expected to purchase the Key and some lively bidding would go on during the auction with members bidding with the idea of financially supporting the president in the purchase and in helping to support ESP in the president’s honor.  A couple times the president, their chapter and other members have raised over $6,000.

Currently, rather than having the Key as part of the auction, the President, their chapter, and other ESP members are encouraged to make a donation to the Development Fund in honor of the outgoing President.

Signing the back of the Key by members of ESP, an annual tradition to congratulate the outgoing president, went virtual last year. Because of the popularity and success of virtually signing the Key, we are bringing it back again this year.  You can sign your name and add a few optional comments at Sign the Key.  A publication with all entries will be presented to the President.

A benefit to members and to chapters is that the donation now counts toward the donor’s cumulative Key Level of Giving recognition.  While every member or chapter's circumstances are different, the RDM Committee encourages those who are able to make a donation of any amount to the Development Fund in support of continued professional development opportunities. Please consider making a donation as an honorarium this year to recognize a special mentor or person in your life, or in the life of your chapter.  If a member friend has passed, you can make a gift as a memorial.  Even the smallest amounts add up to make a big difference, and if you give $100 or more during registration or at the conference and you will receive the Conference Pin.

 Donate Sign the Key


Welcome to Travis West, ESP National 2nd VP

Travis West, Alpha Eta Chapter / Ohio has been appointed as the next 2nd Vice President of the National Epsilon Sigma Phi Board of Directors. A member of ESP since 2007, Travis served as the North Central Region Vice President.  He served as Chair on the National Public Issues Committee and as the ESP National representative on the JCEP PILD Planning Committee. He also served on the National ESP Member Recruitment and Retention Committee and on the National ESP Scholarships, Grants and Recognition Committee. Travis served as President of Alpha Eta Chapter. Travis 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 Travis.


CELEBRATING the VISION! ---- $500,000

Submitted by Joanne Cavis, Resource Development & Management Committee

Picture this. . .  It’s Wednesday, October 27, 2021 . . . You’re walking down the hall in the DeSoto Savannah Hotel. . . and spy a red carpet. . . walk under a balloon archway . . . and enter the Celebration $500,000 ballroom. . . Ready to enjoy Southern hors de oeuvres and  cash bar beverages. . . while you peruse the silent and live auction items. . .  and enter your bids. . .   

Hear the stories about scholarship, grant and professional development recipients. . .   See the spectacular results. . .   Listen to the history of the Development Fund. . .   Learn about the difference that your contributions have made to your colleagues and the Extension profession since the vision began in 1985.  . . It’s what ESP is all about! 

Join us at 5: 00 pm and, Let’s celebrate success!!! $500,000!!!!


Please Donate Items for the Fundraising Auction

The 2021 fundraising silent and live auctions to benefit the Development Fund are scheduled for Wednesday, October 27, 2021 during the ESP National Conference in Savannah, GA.  The silent auction will be open during the afternoon with the live auction at 5:00 PM during the Development Fund Celebration of reaching $500,000 in donations.  The income from the Development Fund now provides over $40,000 annually for professional development programs for members. 

The ESP Auction is always an important part of the conference and provides a fun evening of member interaction, in addition to providing critical support for scholarships, grants, training and recognition awards.  Money raised by the auction is split 50-50 between the Development Fund and the Operating Fund to support ESP programs. 

Each chapter is encouraged to donate a basket, state product or other item.  Items that transport easily by plane are appreciated.

Silent Auction:  These items are suggested to be valued at least $30.  The items may be a craft, a collectible, a lesson, service, an outing, or something purchased or something old.  A gift certificate from a company who will ship the product to the buyer is easy on transportation.  Other ideas include homemade jams, jewelry, beverages, Christmas ornaments, books foods, and more.

Live Auction:  These items are suggested to be of higher value and may include state baskets, travel certificates, vacation getaways, handcrafted items (quilted items), bourbon, wine or wine tours, sporting tickets, unique state products, celebrity autographed products, a fun item that catches attention from bidders, and more.  Easy to carry items and gift certificates for items that can be shipped directly to the buyer are good for our travelers.

Be creative!  The main thing is to participate, bring an item and bid for other items.

Upon arrival:  Auction items should be carried to the Registration Area of the conference hotel on Sunday, October 24, 5 PM - 8 PM; Monday, October 25, 7 AM – 5:45 PM; or Tuesday, October 26, 7 AM – noon where Auction Committee members will receive them.

Shipping items:  Auction items can be shipped to:  ESP National Conference, Chatham County Extension, 17 Minus Avenue, Garden City, GA 31408.  Ship to arrive no later than Thursday, October 21, 2021.  Complete an ESP Consignment Form and include it in your shipment. For auction questions, please contact Cheryl Poppell via email at or 912-526-3101.

Please download and complete an ESP Consignment Form for each item in advance or on site to give a brief description and the estimated value of your item.  Include the donor/chapter name, email address for a receipt, phone number in case of questions, and brief but good description to be read by the auctioneer to attract interest.   A receipt will be provided later.  The description of the item will be particularly important for items used in the live auction so the auctioneer can tell the item’s story and value.


Branded apparel now available to order!

Daphne Richards - Chair, National Marketing Committee

The national marketing committee is excited to announce an opportunity for you to purchase special ESP-branded merchandise! This is a trial run, with just a few items for sale, including hoodies, polo shirts, and tote bags. If you will be at the national conference in Savannah, you may choose to have the items shipped to the conference with no extra shipping charge. If you are not planning to attend the national conference in-person, you may choose to have the items shipped to your home for a fee.

Check out the available items and place your orders here

Deadline to order is October 1, but if you want any items, PLEASE don’t delay! We anticipate (and hope) that a lot of you might want to order an item or two, and we don’t want to overwhelm our vendor, a small business in Oregon.

Your marketing committee hopes that you’ll order a shirt, a tote, a hoodie, or all three! Again, this is a trial run, and if successful, we hope to offer more branded merchandise in the future.

Hope to see you all in Savannah!


International Award Opportunity

Submitted by Nancy Kadwill, Global Relations Committee

Professional improvement, networking, scholarships, and leadership development are among the many benefits of being an ESP member. So is the opportunity to apply for recognition and awards programs. Why do this? Recognition is great for resume building, promotion dossiers, program recognition and simply saying “a job well done”!

The Global Relations Committee reminds you that there is an International Award for ESP. We have had great applications from extension professionals doing incredible work in many countries. For example, a recent applicant led efforts in China that introduced online bi-lingual learning modules to help smallholder farmers transition from subsistence to professional farming practices. Another has worked with empowering woman farmers to learn agricultural business management techniques. Others have developed and delivered 4-H Training Workshops for school teachers in Hungary and Honduras. These are just some examples of extension global outreach.

We realize that not everyone has the opportunity to travel, especially since COVID hit. Or maybe it is not in your job description. But, have you taught global issues locally, helped your chapter understand international opportunities, or assisted migrant/immigrant families to acclimate to your state? Have you authored materials used internationally in Extension programs (i.e. youth development; horticulture or agronomy; leadership; business or farm management models; or diet, health and wellness concerns)? Are you mentoring international students or professionals? If so, consider applying for the International Award in the future. There is a “World of Opportunity” awaiting you (every pun intended).


Elevate Extension Talks
Submitted by Public Issues Committee

2021 Topic: How have your innovative and creative approaches positively impacted your Extension work in the last year?

Length: Limit to 60 seconds or less

How to enter and win: Record the speech during the conference with the help of Public Issues Committee Members at announced times and location. Or record your own message prior to the conference and upload by October 1st.

For additional information and video upload options:

Impact of ESP Scholarships / ESP Members share their ESP Scholarship Stories

Alpha Lambda Chapter / Indiana received the Professional Development Grant

Six "Real Colors for Extension Professionals" workshops for Purdue Extension field and campus staff were offered virtually during March and April, 2021, with 88 individuals participating. The workshops included pre-workshop completion of the Real Colors Personality Type Test online assessment. During the workshops, participants learned more about the four personality types, and engaged in small group discussion with participants of the same color personality. Participants were able to explore more about the different color personalities on the Real Colors website, after they had completed the workshop.

Of those participants responding to the post-program survey, 97% agreed that the workshop was valuable to them, and they would recommend the workshop to a friend or colleague. When asked what they plan to do differently as a result of the program, participants responded:

*I hope to apply it in group/team settings to understand others.

*I am a manager, so I enjoy better understanding my team’s colors to better communicate with them.

*Look at everyone’s positive strengths instead of shortcomings that I feel those individuals have. I liked how the entire workshop looked at everyone’s positive qualities.

The funds from the ESP Professional Development grant provided 67 individuals with a complimentary online assessment. Twenty-one additional individuals participated, using professional development funds from other sources. In-kind costs included staff time to plan and facilitate the workshops. The virtual platform was provided by Purdue Extension.

Facilitators for the Real Colors for Extension Professionals workshops were Purdue Extension Educators were ESP active members Patty Keating, Samm Johnson, and Lori Bouslog; and Jeff Pell.

Alyssa Bowers, Alpha Delta Chapter / Florida received the Angus Professional Development Scholarship 

The Angus Professional Development Scholarship has allowed me to finish my Nonprofit Management Graduate Certificate with no out of pocket expenses. This program has already had such a huge impact on my career! I cannot thank ESP enough for allowing me to have the opportunity. Essentially this course has been a "mini" MBA with a nonprofit focus, so all courses are applicable to Extension work. The courses included Strategic Planning, Marketing, Financial Management, and Leadership Development for a total of 12 credits. Many of these topics were not included in my undergraduate or graduate degree but are essential to running an Extension program well. Marketing and Financial Management in particular offered a new perspective on topics I had little experience with, and I have already implemented some of the strategies in my county 4-H program. I have been able to network with countless nonprofit leaders in my area, and there is great potential for partnerships with 4-H. All of the courses have been project based, with a real program being developed for one of our nonprofit organizations. I will reap the benefits of this amazing certificate for the rest of my career, including as a leader and member of the ESP Urban and Culturally Diverse Audiences Affinity Group. I truly appreciate ESP for giving me this opportunity to participate in this program.

Scholarships and Grants December 1 Deadline

Visit the Award Section of the ESP Website for a list of all scholarships and grants.


Call for Peer Reviewed ESP Connection Newsletter Articles

Submitted by: Jeannette Rea Keywood, NE Region VP and Professional Development Committee Chair

The Professional Development Committee welcomes ESP members to submit articles to be considered for publication in the Connection Newsletter. Articles will allow members to share programs, research, and/or professional development topics to heighten awareness of new, timely and innovative ideas.

Articles will be accepted on an on-going basis and will be peer-reviewed. All articles will be archived on the website. Recommended article length is 300 words or less. Longer articles may be considered with a cap of 450 words maximum. For more information regarding the call for newsletter articles requirements and to submit an article visit:

If you have questions, please contact Jeannette Rea Keywood, ESP Professional Development Committee Chair by phone (609-827-0199) or email (


ESP 2021 Webinar Series Ends in September

September 28, 1:00 PM ET: Conflict and You: How to Deal with It!

Presented by: Jamie Morris, Tau Chapter, Maryland

Conflict is natural in almost all interpersonal relationships, but the ability to manage oneself or the conflict is not. Learning how to recognize a conflict and our conflict signals as they arise can help individuals to choose constructive responses that can leads toward de-escalation and potentially a more positive outcome.

Register for this webinar on the 2021 ESP Webinar Series page.

Past webinars can be found in the ESP Webinar Library on the ESP YouTube Channel under the Webinar playlist.


2022 Membership Campaign Begins Soon

Submitted by Greg Price, ESP National Office

October 1 starts the beginning of the 2022 ESP Membership Campaign. You will be receiving your 2022 ESP Dues Invoice in your email box on October 1, 2021. (Except for a few chapters that collect dues through centralized systems or payroll deduction.)

This invoice will cover your dues for the 2022 year. Dues should be paid to the National Office or your chapter membership chair by December 15, 2021. Chapters must submit any dues collected locally to the National Office by February 1, 2022.

You will be able to pay your dues online with a credit card or by sending a check. The 2022 National Dues are $55. Chapter Dues are added to this amount and will be reflected in your invoice. 

If you are retiring and you would like to convert to Life Membership just submit a Life Membership Application and we will send you a Life Member invoice.

You can check your membership status and payment history by reviewing your online account. Just make sure you are logged in while visiting the ESP site and then click on your name in the upper right-hand corner.  

If your status is Lapsed, then we did not receive your 2021 dues this year. Lapsed Members will not automatically receive an invoice for 2022 on October 1.  If your status is Lapsed you should call or email the National Office for a membership invoice.  Please note that renewing members must have an active membership status for two consecutive years to be eligible for scholarships, grants and awards.


7 Tips for Meaningful Mentorship
Submitted by the Professional Development Committee

With so many organizations, stakeholders, policies, and procedures to navigate, Extension can be a challenging, albeit rewarding career path. Having supporters is a morale booster but a having a mentor is paramount.

Mentors can help facilitate networking with subject matter experts and foster scholarship and award opportunities. Mentors can also help faculty better serve their communities by providing avenues to meet critical stakeholders, open doors to funding streams and enhance marketing efforts. Here are seven tips for seeking out an exceptional mentor and for building a meaningful relationship that will reward both partners.

1. Seek out mentors that will add value to not only your professional life but also your personal life. Mentors should be open and honest people that want to understand your goals and be willing to get to know you on a personal level.

2. Seek out those in positions you see yourself pursuing in 5-10 years. These individuals will have a wealth of knowledge and be able to help you avoid some unforeseen pitfalls.

3. Don’t let friends and supporters be your mentor. Obviously, close colleagues can become good friends and they can help you in many ways, but that doesn’t mean they are the best at coaching you toward success.

4. Be ready to explain to your potential mentor why you’d like their guidance. What aspects of their career got your attention? Cold calling an expert in the field isn’t the best approach.

5. Let your potential mentors know that you understand mentorship is not therapy. It’s a time for you to listen and learn, not complain.

6. Demonstrate your willingness to learn and grow by doing the things recommended and relaying the results. You must put just as much effort into the partnership, if not more, to reap the rewards.

7. Keep your mentor updated on your progress and tell them about the wins – even the little things. It’s rewarding for the mentor to know they’ve helped you succeed throughout your career and not just at tenure or promotion.

Though mentoring can be key to finding success in any career, in Extension, mentoring is the key.


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

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