January 27, 2022 
Mark Twain Council of Governments Workshop
Virtual Workshop – using the Idea Friendly Method

March 7-8, 2022 
PowerXchange for the National Rural Electric Cooperative
Association,  Nashville, Tennessee
Idea Friendly Workshop

March 11, 2022
Community Futures Manitoba and Saskatchewan Virtual
Keynote Using Idea Friendly to Create Youth Entrepreneurship

March 24, 2022
Iowa State University Closing Presentation - Retailing, Entrepreneurship, & Small Business
Innovative trends and actions for rural retailers

April 3-8, 2022 Onsite Visit Colorado
Four counties: Elbert, Lincoln, Kit Carson, Cheyenne

April 28-29, 2022
Minnesota Brownfield Conference
Keynote Speaker – Filling Empty Buildings

May 11, 2022 webinar for Cooperatives First.
How to be Successful at Economic Development Without Blowing the Budget.

June 2, 2022
EDAM Conference, Brainerd, MN 
Keynote Speaker – Filling Empty Buildings

June 23-30 Five Counties in Montana
Onsite visit

July 25-29 La Junta CO 
Onsite Visit with Agritourism Workshop
and Chamber BLT Keynote

September 13-15, 2022 WV Brownfields Conference & Main Street/On Trac Training 
Keynote: Filling Empty Buildings and Lots

September 22 Montana
Reimaging Rural Idea Friendly virtual workshop

September 27, 2022 Webster City, Iowa
Panel for Iowa State University design students

October 6, 2022, University of Idaho
Workforce Solutions Roundtable

October 25, 2022
Rice Lake Community Getting Action Ready
Closing keynote – using the Idea Friendly Method

November 15, 2022
Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission
Keynote - using the Idea Friendly Method

February 6-9, 2023
Swift County, Minnesota
Onsite Visit

In Planning:

November 25, 2022 Visit with Fred Lucas from Grous Partners in Lisbon, Portugal  

Watch Parties with Montana Team (and all members invited)
Jan. 11, 2022: Trends
Feb 15, 2022: The Future of Retail
Mar 15, 2022: Finding More Volunteers
Apr 12, 2022: Placemaking Your Parks, Trails and Water: Building Community Stewardship
May 11, 2022: Bringing Life and Activity Downtown
and June 14, 2022: Zoom Towns


Deb NRECA 79 (Time 0_01_17;04)
EDAM preso
Bozeman Trail group

Highlights of 2021:


Each month we wrote, shot and recorded videos. Our focus was community in 2021. You can take a look at our site:


  • An interactive workshop on how Cooperatives engage in Community for Montana Council of Cooperatives Annual meeting
  • Looking Forward: Rebuilding your Local Economy for British Columbia
  • Closing keynote at Midstates Conference
  • Filling Empty Buildings at StandUp Rural America in West Virginia
  • Survey of Rural Challenges Results for NRECA in Minneapolis and Las Vegas
  • Building Up New Leaders/Engaging Young Families, using the Idea Friendly Method for Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque
  • Idea Friendly for Saskatchewan Economic Development Alliance(SEDA)


  • North Carolina Webinar series
  • Idea Friendly Webinar for Rural Summit Wisconsin
  • Moving Forward for Valdez, AK
  • First Friday for Kansas State Research and Education
  • Filling Empty Buildings for Texas Rural Funders

Embedded Community Experiences: 

  • Delaware County, Iowa
  • 5 Counties in Montana, part of a 2 year project
  • Lincoln Highway Corridor in Iowa
  • Missouri Council of Governments Region


  • Shop Local Campaign Building for Newcastle WA
  • 2 year project with 5 Counties in Montana
Deb portrait
Deb at conference in LA
people at dinner table


January 11, 2021
Montana Council of Cooperatives Annual Meeting
Keynote: An interactive workshop on how Cooperatives engage in Community

February 2, 2021
North Carolina Webinar Series
Downtown After 5

March 10, 2021
The Summit “Economic Revival: Charting a Path Forward for British Columbia Communities”
virtual keynote: Looking Forward: Rebuilding your Local Economy

April 6, 2021
North Carolina Webinar Series
Get More Customers Together

April 8-9,2021
MidStates Conference
Closing Keynote

April 27-29, 2021
Standup Rural America
Charleston, WV
Keynote Speaker

May 3-6,2021
Embedded Community Experience in Delaware County, Iowa

May 12, 2021
Idea Friendly Method for Your Town Webinar
Rural Summit Wisconsin

May 17-23, 2021
Embedded Community Experience
5 County Region in Montana

May 26,2021
Community Building in Your Small Town Webinar
Rural Summit Wisconsin

May 27, 2021
Valdez, AK Webinar Series begins

Moving Forward

June 7-10, 2021
Embedded Community Experience in Lincoln Highway Corridor, Eastern Iowa

June 21-24, 2021
Embedded Community Experience for the Missouri Council of Governments

July 2, 2021
First Friday with Rick McNary
Kansas State Research and Education 
Resources and stories to support and nurture local and regional food systems

July 8, 2021
Live Q and A for Wisconsin Rural Partners 

August 23-29, 2021
Shop Local Embedded Community Experience in Newcastle, WA
dates still being verified

September 8, 2021
Newcastle WA Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting keynote
Collaborating for More Customers (virtual)

September 16-17, 2021
National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Regional Meeting 5&6, presenting Survey of Rural Challenges results, in person at Hilton Minneapolis, MN

September 29-30, 2021
National Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Regional Meeting 7&9, presenting Survey of Rural Challenges results, in person at JW Marriott Resort and Spa, Las Vegas, NV

October 16-23, 2021
Embedded Community Experience in 5 County SE Montana

October 28, 2021
Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque Keynote
Building Up New Leaders/Engaging Young Families, using the Idea Friendly Method

November, 2021
Mark Twain Council of Governments Workshop
Workshop – using the Idea Friendly Method

November 24, 2021
Saskatchewan Economic Development Alliance(SEDA) 
Keynote – Idea Friendly

December 6, 2021
Texas Rural Funders Monthly Meeting
Filling Empty Buildings

postponed Spring 2022
Minnesota Brownfield Conference
Keynote Speaker – Filling Empty Buildings

If this is something you’d like to talk about with me, just shoot me an email and let’s talk!

Looking back at 2020

My own Idea Friendly Story

Brendan Hoffman, international photojournalist from Kiev, Ukraine, was spending two months at my place. It was an artist residency giving him the opportunity to showcase his photos from the Ukraine War. It was a perfect opportunity for me to try out an Idea Friendly big idea. What if we had a temporary gallery in an empty building? Brendan was on board, as was Legacy Learning Boone River Valley.

A group of interested people gathered, discussed what was needed and began taking small steps to get it done. No committee meetings, just everyone doing a little something. An empty building, press releases, online marketing, outreach to Ukrainian communities, funds for framing photos, volunteers to greet visitors were just a few of the connections made and small steps taken.

It went off without a hitch. It was successful under regular conditions: great turnouts, promotion of the empty space (now full), and recognition for the artist. More surprising results were tied to the actual photographs. They showed the viewers that war can happen anywhere, and quickly. This area of the Ukraine was once just another group of small communities, living their lives day to day. Then one day armoured tanks rolled through their streets, bombings happened, many people died. War is real.


Each month we wrote, shot and recorded videos. After the pandemic began we switched to videos that focused on recovery. We also reduced the price to $5. You can take a look at our site:


  • Opening Keynote for TS Bank Economic Development Conference for Rural towns in Staunton, Iowa, Filling Empty Buildings.
  • Opening Keynote in Hannibal MO for North East Community Action Corporation (NECAC) Title
  • Annual Dinner Keynote in Rock Valley, Iowa The Future of Rural
  • Keynote for Small Business at Sequin TX The Future of Small Business
  • Spoke at Radically Rural Remote Take Your Empty Buildings off Furlough!
  • SMTulsa 8 Ways to get around the rules
  • Montana Extension presentation with Becky McCray Idea Friendly Method 
  • TMCN Virtual Conference – Seeing the Small Town Future
  • presentation to RCD in Hancock County Filling Empty Buildings and Lots

Student Work

  • Live Q and A with students in Idaho
  • Students in Grundy County, Illinois How to start a rural business



  • BCEDA Refilling the Business Pipeline
  • First Friday Kansas State Grow Your Own Entrepreneurs, Making Entrepreneurship Self Sustaining 
  • NRECA Community Development webinar series Save Your Town By Engaging Everyone
  • Master of Agribusiness (MAB) program at K-State The Future of Rural

Radio interview

  • Jackie Shireman of WBBA Radio in Pittsfield, Ill.
  • KHMO AM of Hannibal
  • Scott Hardy at WTAD Radio in Quincy, Ill

Recorded interviews posted on LinkedIn:

  • Ann in Idaho
  • Rob Hatch
  • Ted Kilmer
  • Pastor
  • Erica Pangburn
  • Mary Hodson
  • Andrew Button
  • Chris Casillas
  • CC Chapman


  • Ripley Ohio
  • Mt Ayr Iowa
  • 5 counties in Montana


  • Client in upstate NY
  • I meet regularly with Brook Boehmler, and we coach each other


  • #140Liv Co Hosted several episodes with Jeff Pulver
  • Spoke to Rotary about Art in Communities
  • Did a live Q and A on Our Town Matters
Day 2-113

Previous Speaking Appearances include:

  • Brownfields National Annual Training
  • NADO Annual Conference
  • International Economic Development Conference
  • TEDx Brookings
  • Western Area Chamber Executives Conference, Los Angeles
  • Radically Rural Conference, Keene, New Hampshire
  • Colorado Hospital Association Annual Conference
  • Michigan Association of Planners Annual Conference

Schedule for 2020

June 11, 2020
Tri-State Housing Summit
Hannibal, MO

September 4, 2020
Kansas State Extension
Grow Your Own Entrepreneurs
watch the video, just click here

September 17-18, 2020
SMTulsa Conference

September 24, 2020
Radically Rural Remote
virtual speaker

September 29, 2020
Webinar for Montana Extension

October 28, 2020
Texas Midwest Community Network Annual Conference
virtual Opening Keynote

November 2, 2020
Mt. Ayr, Iowa Embedded Community Experience

November 16, 2020
Rock Valley, Iowa Chamber Annual Dinner
Keynote Speaker

December 14, 2020
GEEK presentation, Grundy County, IL
interactive workshop with students

December 15, 2020
Watch Party with SaveYour.Town Members


Schedule for 2019

February 1, 2019
Kansas State Research and Education
Webinar: Marketing in a Small Town
available online after February 4

February 19 to 26, 2019
Sebring and Columbiana, Ohio
Embedded Community Experience

March 7-13, 2019
attending in Austin, TX

March 18-20, 2019
Nebraska Catalyst Program
Embedded Community Experience
York, Nebraska

March 28-29, 2019
Tulsa, Oklahoma

April 10-16, 2019
Paulding, Ohio
Embedded Community Experience

May 6-13, 2019
Clay County in North Texas 
Embedded Community Experience

July 1-3, 2018
Oblong, Illinois
Embedded Community Experience

July 4-5
Timberville, Virginia
Historical visit with Ned Overton

September 6, 2019
K State Research and Extension Webinar
Filling Empty Buildings

September 27, 2019
She Is Conference
Emmetsburg, Iowa

October 13-14, 2019
Missouri Community Betterment Conference

October 19-22, 2019
National Association of Development Organizations Annual Training
Reimagining Regional Development:
Building Capacity, Building Regions


October 28, 2019
Annual Celebration Legacy Learning Boone River Valley
“Who rides a bike from Canada to Mexico?”
Guest speaker Ben Weaver

November 20, 2019
Embedded Community Experience and
Idea Friendly presentation for small towns

Webster City, Iowa

December 11-13
Keynote for National Brownfields Training Conference 
Los Angeles, California

December 10-20, 2019
Cruise through Western Mexico
Everyone should take a vacation!



Wisconsin Rural Partners Summit
Keynote and Workshop
April 22-23, 2020

Northeast Community Action Conference
Hannibal, Missouri
June 11, 2020


SMTulsa Conference, March 26-27,2020
Sisseton, SD spring 2020

Other Speaking Appearances:

  • Rural X Summit
  • Misfit Conference
  • 140 Character Conferences – NYC,  Iowa, and Small Town
  • Regards to Rural Conference, Portland, OR
  • Michigan Small Town and Rural Development Conference
  • Mid America Chamber Executives (MACE)
  • The Future of Rural Conference, Klamath Falls, OR
  • Historic Preservation Summit Iowa
  • Iowa Byways
  • Women’s Business Conference, Kearney, NE
  • MidStates Economic Development Conference
  • Stuart, Iowa Chamber Dinner
  • Building Communities Conference, Surf Ballroom, Iowa
  • Rural Arts and Culture Summit, Morris Minnesota
  • Central Iowa Tourism
  • Southern Illinois Economic Development Conference
  • Western Iowa Tourism
  • Missouri Community Betterment Association Conference (twice)
  • Milbank, South Dakota
  • Monroe Economic Development Conference, Monroe, Wisconsin
  • Iowa Museum Association Annual Conference
  • Rural Business and Innovation Summit, Klamath Falls, OR
  • Rural That Works Annual Conference
  • Social Media Breakfast, Mason City, Iowa and Albert Lea, Minnesota

Embedded Community Experiences:

  • Akron, Iowa
  • Belle Fourche, South Dakota
  • Ritzville, Washington
  • Avon, Minnesota
  • Cold Springs, Minnesota
  • York, Nebraska
  • Rock Valley, Iowa
  • Bennettsville, South Carolina
  • Forest County, Pennsylvania
  • Ohio RCAP Project: Minerva, Carrollton, Columbiana, Sebring, Fostoria,  and Paulding, Ohio
  • Roscommon County, Michigan
  • Estherville, Iowa
  • Webster City, Iowa


  • Rural Economic Development Webinar – Blaine, Canada and Pro Learning Laboratory
  • SaveYour.Town Videos Monthly with Becky McCray
  • National Realtors Association Webinar with Tyler Abens
  • K State Research and Extension Webinar Marketing Your Small Town 
  • K State Research and Extension Webinar Filling Empty Buildings