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Our experts are ready captivate and engage your audience through our extensive list of topics and formats. Let us be a part of your next conference, workshop or team meeting.

Speakers & Topics

Melanie Wilt, APR

Founder and CEO, Shift•ology Communication

Melanie (Flax) Wilt is an expert PR consultant and communication coach who has led communications for state and international organizations in food & agriculture and aerospace. As an accredited PR professional (APR), she is well-versed in all aspects of public relations, but is expert in the practices of community relations, media relations and crisis communication. Wilt is a passionate advocate for agriculture and has pioneered applying neuroscience and virtual experiences to industry communication. In addition, she is a gifted science communicator whose teaching methods apply to health, education and manufacturing’s most difficult communication and business challenges. Wilt was named “40 Under 40” by the Dayton Business Journal and received the Young Professional Achievement Award from the Ohio State University’s College of Food, Ag, and Environmental Sciences. Shift•ology Communication, was named Small Business of the Year by the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce and has won numerous awards for its work by the Public Relations Society of America and the National Agri-Marketing Association. 


Authentic Voices Spokesperson Training Workshop

Do you ever feel like the more you talk about the technical aspects of your science-based job, the less people listen? Nobody wants a lecture, but they love to learn when the content is meaningful and useful to them. Using the science of communication, Melanie will help you build rapport with your audience, simplify complex messages, and create a valuable, intellectual idea exchange. Whether you’re doing a television or newspaper interview, interacting with others online, or presenting in the boardroom, the science-based communication skills will translate to your leadership being more confident, proactive and authentic.

  • Be Confident – We will break down the basics of being a spokesperson, including knowing your role, audience, information and environment.
  • Be Proactive – Get ready to own your messages based on real-life scenarios and a powerful formula that works every time. Your leaders will learn the process of message mapping to empower you to prepare for any interview, social media post or presentation you may encounter.
  • Be Yourself – This session will allow your leaders to better understand their personal brand, and how your own unique characteristics and traits can be brought to each interview in a genuine way.

Apply all aspects of our Authentic Voices Spokesperson Training in a one-on-one coaching environment led my Melanie Wilt.

Reach out to us for more details! We’re happy to share.

Reach out to us for more details! We’re happy to share.

Not to be mistaken with another plea for teamwork, Getting to “We” is about building a culture that embraces individual responsibility and accountability for the whole organization. This program provides practical tools to help employees go from seeing it as “your” business to viewing it as “our” business. This presentation tackles the problem of employees feeling separated and unimportant, and requires transformation employee by employee. The discussion will help leaders change their emphasis from individual gain to one of shared responsibilities and opportunities. And, leaders will learn seven changes management can put in place to inspire this cultural change. This program will involve participants in hands-on activities and discussion and is best for a 90-minute timeframe. Getting to We is based on the career research and teachings of Dr. Bernard Erven, professor emeritus at The Ohio State University. 

Reach out to us for more details! We’re happy to share.

Reach out to us for more details! We’re happy to share.

Dan Toland

Director of Virtual Experiences

Dan Toland has worked for and with farm organizations for more than 15 years to enhance agricultural advocacy and education efforts through digital platforms. He has grown Shift•ology Communication’s Virtual Farm Trips® program from a single trip for one client to a platform that provides customized LIVE virtual experience to nearly 1 million students across the country and counting. A graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in agricultural communication, Dan has received the Young Professional Achievement Award from OSU’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Alumni for his influential work in agricultural advocacy.


Using live video chat technology, Shift•ology Communication’s Virtual Farm Trips program connects students across the country, from remote parts of Alaska to the boroughs of New York City, directly with farmers of all varieties for unscripted, unfiltered and unrestricted live farm tours and conversations from the comfort of their classrooms. Participants will take a LIVE Virtual Farm Trip, learn what’s involved in the program and how Shift•ology provides the structure and platform to help its partners hit the ground running with highly successful Virtual Farm Trip programs.

Live video technology is a great way to connect students with farms without the prohibitive costs and biosecurity, safety and liability concerns associated with in-person field trips. Learn how to share your farm in an engaging, authentic way while giving students an unfiltered look behind-the-scenes of a real, working farm. This unpolished method builds transparency with future consumers. It’s like reality TV, but you get to interact with the actors! Attendees will learn what it takes to get a live virtual field trip program off the ground; best practices and tips for hosting, and the importance of providing the most authentic and transparent experience possible.

Attendees will learn:

  • Hurdles that must be overcome to host live virtual trips
  • Best practices and tips for planning, preparing and hosting live virtual field trips
  • Making experiences as authentic and transparent as possible for your audience

Experience how to elevate the classroom experience through LIVE Virtual Farm Trips®.

Shift•ology Communication will walk you through what a Virtual Farm Trip is and how your classroom can join or your organization can host! Learn how to utilize these FREE live or archived resources to showcase the diverse world of agriculture to your students. Walk away with ideas and activities from experts to maximize virtual experiences for your audience, and learn how to pursue localized live Virtual Farm Trips.

From livestock barns, combine cabs, specialty farms, processing facilities and more, Virtual Farm Trips has connected over 800,000 students across the country directly with farmers for unscripted, unfiltered and unrestricted live tours and conversations from the comfort of their classrooms, living rooms and beyond.

Sample a Virtual Farm Trip while learning how to find and utilize trips and resources in the classroom. Walk away with ideas and activities from experts to maximize virtual experiences for your audience, and learn how to pursue localized live Virtual Farm Trips.

Emily Bennett

Account Manager

Emily is the epitome of the well-balanced, organized communicator who puts her clients first. She expertly balances the strategic, creative and practical sides of every project, while staying on top of all the details. Emily is a life-long learner and has been promoted several times during her 10 years with Shift•ology, from intern to content coordinator to jr. account manager before assuming her current role of account manager in 2015. Aside from her role at Shift•ology, she also serves as the organic content editor for Dayton Mom Collective and Cincinnati Mom Collective.  


We know that a company or organization’s brand is pivotal to its success. The same can be said about a personal brand, too. No matter what season of your professional life you’re in, a strong personal brand is imperative to all facets of your career, including relationships with coworkers, growth opportunities and the ability to get things done. As Jeff Bezos once said, “Your brand is what people say about you after you leave the room,” and in this session, we’ll get to the root of what YOU want people to be saying about you by discussing the following topics:


  • The makings of a “personal brand sundae”
  • The how and the why of building and/or refining your personal brand
  • Personal vs. professional social media
  • Personal branding “must-haves”
  • Crafting your personal brand persona

We’ve all heard that content is king, but engagement is queen and the lady rules the house! In all seriousness, we know content is important to any marketing or communication program but how you share the content is key to reaching your audience where they are. Sharing the same old content to all of your platforms gets boring and stale, and isn’t effective. In this session, we’ll learn how to work smarter, not harder when it comes to crafting content and creating meaningful connection points with your audience. Topics to be covered include:


  • Reusing vs. repurposing content
  • Where is your audience?
  • 3-step approach to repurposing content
  • 10 ways to repurpose content

If your main goal while at work is to avoid any of those infamous The Office situations, then this session is for you. Communication can make or break a workplace and have a direct impact on employee productivity, job satisfaction and ROI for the company as a whole. In this session, we’ll explore common issues that arise in workplace communication, as well as the tools, insights and resources needed to overcome those challenges. Topics to be covered include:


  • Generational communication preferences
  • Types of workplace communication
  • Why your personal brand matters in a workplace setting
  • Communication tips and tricks
  • “What would you do?” exercise

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. TikTok. YouTube. Twitch. Snapchat. The list goes on and on of the social media platforms marketing-communication professionals need to be adept at managing in today’s day and age. While the platforms and algorithms may change on a constant basis, there are tried and true ways to become social media savvy. It’s not so much about the platform but rather the foundations around which you build your digital presence. In this session, we’ll cover the following topics:

  • PESO Model (paid, earned, shared, owned media) by Gini Dietrich
  • Social media marketing
  • Elements of a social media plan (goals, strategies, objectives and tactics)
  • Tips for writing your plan
  • Tools to bring your social media plan to life

Cassie Jo Arend

Account Manager

Cassie Jo Arend helps leading agriculture companies find creative and effective methods of communicating to reach their business goals and share their passion for agriculture. Prior to joining Shift•ology, Cassie Jo served for nearly 15 years as the Corporate Communications Manager for Cooper Farms, where she managed all internal and external communication for the turkey, hog and egg company. Cassie Jo helped Cooper Farms put together its first Corporate Social Responsibility Report, which many other companies are now modeling. In her role at Shift•ology, Cassie Jo provides PR counsel and social media strategies for her clients.


The average American spends over 7 hours looking at a screen each day. Engage your non-farm audience by meeting them where they are most of the time! Virtual experiences are agriculture’s opportunity to show our farms through live, unscripted interactions and provide an inside look at operations. We can engage in meaningful conversations, show the reality and practicalities of our farms, and provide access to those who otherwise might never visit a real, working farm. Learn the following from a panel of peers throughout the industry who have created successful live virtual experiences, including the original Virtual Farm Trips™ program:


  • The trends and future of virtual engagement 
  • Building trust through on-farm transparency 
  • How to plan and prepare for potential challenges
  • When virtual is more effective than in-person (and when it’s not)
  • Using virtual experiences to amplify outreach and prove ROI

Bring your questions, concerns and hurdles you face as we discuss the strategies, tactics and stories behind successful virtual farm tour engagement.

Sustainability can mean so many things, especially in agriculture and food production, so where does one even start when trying to report on their farm or company’s sustainability efforts? Cassie Jo Arend will help break down the many sustainability and social responsibility reporting approaches and help you find the approach that works best for your farm. In this session we will walk through the following: 

  • Determining your objective, categories of focus and key metrics
  • Separating what’s important to your customers/consumers vs. what’s important to you and why 
  • Gathering and sorting through all the information
  • Sharing the data in a way that resonates with your audience 

Following this presentation, attendees will be armed with the tools they need to start their own sustainability or social responsibility reporting.

Marin Smith

Creative Director

Marin Smith is a 12-year Shift•ology team member who brings a fresh perspective to every project as a visual communicator. As a brand and typography professor at Clark State College, she constantly stays up-to-date on her own design skills. In her role at Shift•ology, she is an expert in visual storytelling through infographics, branding and neuromarketing. 


Do we need to say more? If so, reach out to us for more details!

Reach out to us for more details!

Upcoming Speaking Engagements:

No Events

Want to learn more about these workshops and pricing?

We offer free and paid speaking opportunities, as well as customized workshops. Speaker fees are based on experience, length and content and range from $500-$5,000. Pricing examples:

  • Partnership programs for a mutual audience – Free
  • 1-hour presentations for small groups – $500 + travel
  • 1 hour presentations for large groups or keynote – $1,500 + travel
  • Workshops – $2,500-$7,500 + travel
  • Custom programs – To be determined
Chris HenneyExecutive Director, Ohio AgriBusiness Association

Shiftology has been a valued partner of the Ohio Agribusiness Association for over 10 years. Specifically designing and delivering a premier leadership program for our members that has both stood the test of time while also evolving with the times to ensure relevancy.

David WhiteAgricultural Association Event Coordinator/Meeting Planner

Shift•ology does a fabulous job of combining creativity and simulated experiences into its communication training program. Worth every penny – and then some!

Melinda A. WittenOhio Farm Bureau

Melanie and her team at Shift-ology are dedicated to delivering interactive and engaging content that empowers individuals to become effective spokespersons. Their training sessions provide a comprehensive approach that enables participants to create their own authentic messages. I highly recommend Shift-ology for anyone looking to improve their communication skills and become a confident and effective spokesperson.