Chief Executive Officer for ISA

(Photo: Iowa Soybean Association)

Executive Insights: Traditions Matter

December 14, 2021 | Kirk Leeds

I'm big on traditions. Celebrating them rekindles memories that are special and significant. Traditions enable me to immediately recall earlier days and simpler times. They provide much-needed joy, peace and normalcy, all of which will be especially needed this Christmas.

A fondness for simple traditions at the Leeds' home is rooted in my childhood. As one of 10 children, resources were scarce and spent wisely. Bling, lights and presents were limited. Christmas was about singing carols and gospel songs (Silent Night was a favorite), attending candlelight service, and enjoying great food, conversation and togetherness.

Fast forward to today, and traditions remain more important than ever. My wife Kim and I have added a few, including an annual viewing of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Best of all, we have new members of the family to help us celebrate traditions with even greater joy and purpose (have I mentioned how great it is to be a grandpa?!).

ISA CEO Kirk Leeds

Traditions matter to the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) because we’re a family, too. Like your farm and business, we succeed and face challenges together. We remember those who passed this year due to COVID. Our lives have been forever altered due to the pandemic. These are tough times. But Christmas is a timely reminder of what matters most in our lives.

Our annual leadership awards are also an important tradition for ISA. Every January, we gather to recognize those who provide exemplary service to the association and soybean industry. We’ll do so again Tuesday, Jan. 25, when we gather in downtown Des Moines for the 2022 ISA Leadership Awards Banquet sponsored by West Bank.

Recognition is due for the many ISA farmer volunteers offer so much of their time and talents to advance the goals and mission of the association. Our program year that concluded in September was a banner one for ISA. A highlight was the addition of 1,120 new farmer members. Out of respect for our farmer leaders’ time, the association has a tradition of limiting their need to engage over the holidays. We expect a lot from our volunteers, so some “soybeanfree” days are especially welcomed this time of year.

Gathering with family and friends for Christmas and New Year’s celebrations has taken on added importance. Be in the moment this holiday season. Enjoy good food and time with family. Sing loudly. Celebrate traditions and make new ones, too. Hug family members a bit tighter. Relish the chance to see Christmas through the eyes of children and grandchildren.

Rest assured that ISA will hit the ground running in 2022, driven to deliver for Iowa soybean farmers.

From the Leeds’ home to yours, Merry Christmas and best wishes for a prosperous New Year.