Rural Futures with Dr. Connie
Summary: Exploring the intersections of technology and what it means to be human. A podcast for achievers to expand their perspective for social justice, economic growth and leadership through the lenses of exponential change, disruptive leadership and the evolution of humanity. Guests include futurists, business innovators, mavericks and researchers who are smashing barriers for the sake of a thriving rural-urban future. Hosted by Dr. Connie Reimers-Hild, associate executive director & chief futurist at the Rural Futures Institute at the University of Nebraska.
Connie Reimers-Hild, Ph.D., host of the Rural Futures Podcast, takes the hot seat in this bonus episode of our show! Dr. Connie serves as interim executive director and chief futurist of the Rural Futures Institute (RFI) at the University of Nebraska. During this episode, she shares her approach to leadership, her vision for RFI, her recent experiences traveling the world to provide the voice of rural, acceptable metrics to measure rural thriving and rural economic development of the future.
We welcomed the executive directors of our University of Nebraska (NU) sister institutes — the Buffett Early Childhood Institute, the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute and the National Strategic Research Institute — to talk with Dr. Connie, asking them to approach their area of expertise through our lenses of future-focused leadership, rural-urban collaboration and high-touch, high-tech.
Shining a light on women in agriculture, Marji Guyler-Alaniz, founder and president of FarmHer, talks about the future of gender, diversity, leadership and entrepreneurship with incredible authenticity. She dove into her passion of photography to create the media and events company that now highlights and inspires women in agriculture across generations via a television show, podcast and in-person events. She talks with Dr. Connie about pursuing a dream from a rural community to create national awareness.
Matt Dennis understands the reality of the agricultural economy, the need for creative thinking for thriving rural communities and the grit it's going to take to lead into the future. As co-founder of Handlebend Copper Co., Matt creates exquisite copper mugs and ships them worldwide. Dr. Connie is energized by Matt's call-to-action around female workforce potential, embracing Handlebend's digital presence and his leadership style that starts with empowering and listening to others.
We are navigating a critical juncture in our economic future, says Christiana McFarland, Research Director at the National League of Cities (NCL). It is clear that urban areas are attracting incredible growth, but in the big picture, this is not sustainable. Intrigued by Christy's work in the published report, "Bridging the Urban-Rural Economic Divide," RFI Chief Futurist Dr. Connie, draws out Christy's thoughts around the rural-urban "divide," accessible leadership and rural-urban collaboration.
Two female futurists talk humanity with tech, water infrastructure, empowerment of women and new generations. Deborah Westphal, CEO of Toffler Associates, is an engineer by training and an evolving leader who recognizes that individuals' hopes, desires and strengths can further organizations, even in exponentially changing technology environments. She and Dr. Connie explain how our rural-urban, male-female, boomer-millennial inter-dependencies are assets to build upon.
Amber Pankonin, Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Communicator, consults with farmers and producers about how to message and brand their products to not only resonate with consumers, but to create healthier lifestyles. She talks with Dr. Connie about the challenges and solutions thanks to increasing access to information while passionately encouraging collaboration and individualization. Amber has created a community through her recipe site Stirlist.com and her podcast Healthy Under Pressure.
Dr. Connie is proud to host Howard Liu, M.D., Director of the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN), to address the critical area of mental health care access for rural communities. As one of the only organizations of its kind in the U.S., BHECN works as a skunkworks to solve a wicked problem — a critical shortage of mental health providers in the highest underserved areas of the state. He also addresses the signs and signals of mental health illness we should all be aware of.
Referred to as the "architect of the future," Thomas Frey, corporate consultant, international speaker and creator of the Da Vinci Institute, makes predictions and asks bold questions to generate ideas and actions for the future. In this episode, he and Dr. Connie dig into the technologies that will bring rural and urban together; underpopulation versus overpopulation around the globe; and the evolving roles of leadership and higher education.
Dr. Connie gets down to business on this episode with Ali Schwanke, Founder and CEO of Simple Strat, a growth marketing agency headquartered in Lincoln, Neb. Ali shares some insights for businesses to amplify their voice. She states what it's going to take to create a culture for female entrepreneurs — starting with them finding the time between running a business and life's demands to talk. And she challenges all of us in the Midwest to own the misconceptions and start telling our story better.
In the Season 2 premiere episode, nationally known rural broadband researcher and RFI partner Roberto Gallardo, Ph.D., Assistant Director at the Purdue Center for Regional Development, passionately challenges rural communities and national leaders to take action for digital parity, and not just in terms of logistical technology — but also in mindset.
In the Season 1 finale of Rural Futures Podcast, Dr. Connie goes solo, discussing the future of women and gender. She explores the future-user concept with her 11-year-old daughter, shares her personal background, provides context of women's ability to succeed professionally in the United States and offers her immediate advice to professional women of all generations, but with a special focus on Gen X.
Growing up on a ranch in Nebraska, Seth Derner has a deep passion and appreciation for nature, agriculture and rural communities. He is also the co-founder and co-CEO of Vivayic, a learning solutions design company that helps organizations reach their human potential. With a clear sense of purpose and an explicit admiration for the human brain and the role of technology to unleash it, Seth shares actionable insights, advice and lessons learned that entrepreneurs will certainly appreciate.
Foresight is a key characteristic of leaders of the future. In this episode futurist Dr. Andy Hines discusses how leaders can incorporate various futuring strategies to bring people into the future with optimism. Andy is assistant professor for the University of Houston's graduate program in foresight. His openness to possibilities make him a maverick across industries—from exploring the future of RV parks to the future of communities large and small to the future of waste.
Rural healthcare access, overall wellness and the future of hospitals are consistently present challenges in the national narrative. In this episode, John Roberts, Executive Director of the Nebraska Rural Health Association, weighs in on these areas, and the opportunities of the future. For example, did you know rural hospitals are penalized for wellness centers? Rural healthcare providers earn the same level of outcomes but at 4 percent less cost than urban counterparts? Mobile tech could be the future.