For the next few years, Jolene chose
to receive no payment for her presentations because she did not want
her clients to pay for her speaker
“education” process. Then, she
began accepting payment for travel
expenses. Finally, after fellow speaker
Wayne Humphreys told her she clearly
was a “professional speaker,” she
began charging a fee.
Shortly after she made the transi-
tion, Jolene was scheduled to deliver
a presentation for the largest agricul-
ture organization in Iowa. The day
before her speech, a distraught local
olene attended the University of
Northern Iowa and received a degree
in education as a media specialist.
She used her degree to help teachers
use technology and other available
resources to enhance the classroom
experience. Eventually, though, she
left the job of teaching to work full
time on the farm with her husband, a
real Farmer Brown.
In the 1980s, farms were hit hard
by financial problems. Farmers were
going bankrupt, families were disintegrating, and the future looked
bleak. During this time, Jolene saw
a presentation by Lewis Timberlake,
CPAE. His program, which focused on
the topic of a positive mental attitude,
was delivered to a large group of farm
families. It touched Jolene deeply, so,
as many attendees do when they are
impressed by a speaker, she wrote
Lewis a letter and explained how his
presentation had affected her.
Lewis immediately contacted her
and asked if she would be willing to
share some of her agriculture expertise
as part of his program. She agreed.
Two weeks later, at the first presentation and with no experience speaking
to large groups, Jolene was terrified. In
fact, she was backstage vomiting into
a wastebasket prior to the program.
Then, when she was introduced, she
felt herself being pushed onto the
stage. She turned around and no
one was there. To this day, Jolene
is certain it was a divine force that
“shoved” her onto that stage and into
the speaking business.
farmer killed his wife, his farm manager, the president of the bank, and
then himself. Knowing the attendees
would have seen the media coverage,
Jolene immediately changed the focus
of her presentation to deal with the
very difficult issues of money, stress,
and suicide within the farming community. The presentation hit home
like no other program Jolene had
done. In fact, as she was leaving the
convention center, she was engulfed
by people from the media asking for
additional comments about the state
of the industry. As word of her message spread, demand for her programs
and services sprouted to a new level.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
Jolene has learned to combine a
fun-loving spirit, real-life stories,
and take-home value to meet the
many needs of the event planners
and audiences with whom she works.
When it comes to her specialty of
family-run businesses, she admits
that she often dictates rather than
mediates. An example of this is evident in the following tools she often
brings with her to both her family
When she was introduced, she felt herself
being pushed onto the stage. She turned
around and no one was there. To this day,
Jolene is certain it was a divine force
that “shoved” her onto that stage and
into the speaking business.