Join us in the mile high city as we dedicate 48 hours
to elevating your digital influencer profile.


This retreat is designed to empower a small, intimate gathering of 20 rural influencers by allowing participants to truly connect, on a one-on-one basis, with influential brands, industry professionals, and other experienced rural influencers. We will share in each other’s vast knowledge and experience to help us all become the influencers we’ve always wanted to be. It’s a chance to relax and enjoy a true, one-of-a-kind, retreat experience.


platinum sponsorS






Leah Beyer

While farm life for Leah Beyer has entailed challenges that would cause most to head to greener pastures, the realities of life on her side of the fence fueled her zeal and resolve and further rooted her family on their Indiana farm. She connects with consumers on her blogs, Beyer Beware and Farmwife Drinks and sprinkles in her farm tidbits.

 Today, she continues to work in the agricultural industry for Lilly’s animal health sector, Elanco Animal Health. In her role as director of global digital communications, she guides the digital and social media team that implements the social media strategies, website oversight and social media listening for the business and education needs.


Stephanie Parker

Stephanie Parker is the founder of; a popular food and recipe blog with quick, easy and delicious family friendly recipes. Plain Chicken started as a creative outlet in 2007 while Stephanie was working as a Corporate Controller. In 2012, due to the success of Plain Chicken, she left the corporate world to focus solely on the blog. Stephanie has bachelor of science in accounting and MBA from Auburn University. She worked in corporate accounting/business for more than 19 years. Stephanie handles all the accounting and business transactions for Plain Chicken, Inc.. She will be sharing all her tips for running your blog as a business and giving you accounting tips that can save you on taxes! 


Rob Sharkey

Rob Sharkey, host of the Shark Farmer Podcast, is a 5th generation farmer and is raising the same crops on his farm his family did more than 150 years ago. Meeting his wife at age 16 at a 4-H dance they have been together ever since. Driven by the three F’s - faith, family, and farm - they are raising their four kids to have an appreciation for where their food comes from and the planning and work it takes to raise a successful crop.

On The Shark Farmer Podcast, Rob interviews his guest with his unique style of “sharkcasm.”

Cris Goode

Cris Goode is a social media strategist, speaker, facilitator and coach at All Goode Media, LLC., in addition to being the founder of two consumer focused food websites: Recipes That Crock and GOODEness Gracious.

Raised on a beef farm in southern Indiana, Cris has strong ties in the agricultural community and a passion for helping farmers connect with consumers. In 2010, she left her position as the Communications and Outreach Director for the Indiana State Department of Agriculture to grow her online presence and launch her business committed to bridging the gap between consumers and farmers. Since then, she has developed Indiana Soybean Alliance's Women Ag Blogger Support Program and has managed multiple influencer outreach programs for agriculture organizations. 

In 2013, Cris launched and today regularly serves up easy family recipes and information to millions readers while encouraging them to confidently connect to their food through her blogs, videos and social channels.

Cris believes every farm family has an incredible story to tell and is excited to assist you in reaching your online goals!


Keri Bonfili 

Keri Bonfili is a skilled PR partner with more than 15 years of experience developing successful public relations and communications programs for a broad range of consumer, fast casual, financial, restaurant, retail and technology brands that include: Adam & Eve, Belk, Bob Evans, Buy Buy Baby, CollegeAdvantage 529, Elmer’s, Honeybaked Ham, Huntington Bank, Krazy Glue, Stanley Steemer, Subway, TJX and X-ACTO. Keri earned her Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) from the Universal Accreditation Board and is an active member of the Charlotte chapter of the Public Relations Society of America.

Keri routinely generates national, regional and local media coverage for her clients in outlets that include:, BuzzFeed, Forbes, Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal and many others. 

Prior to transitioning to a career in public relations, Keri was a television news reporter and anchor in Nebraska, Iowa and Illinois. She currently is a board committee member for Loaves & Fishes Charlotte and is a volunteer for Dress for Success Charlotte.


Jessica Willingham

After studying journalism, communications, and English at Oklahoma State University, she went to work as the “designated writer” for in-house public relations teams, marketing groups, and international corporations. She’s collaborated with 3-man creative crews and companies with 50,000 global employees, and learned first-hand about the power of people-focused storytelling. 

She believes authentic, true-to-you content is the core of a sustainable, trustworthy brand. And that’s why she started Jessica Willingham Creative. 

Jessica is regularly featured in Being Boss, Spitfire Girl, Bustle, The Huffington Post, TIME, and Brit+Co.

Stacy Pearce 

A native of the wind-swept plains of southwestern Oklahoma, Stacy has been following her creative soul and love of design through life. She crafts marketing collateral in a way that makes sense for ongoing marketing purposes, while drawing in the viewer through creative design.

She's not interested in taking photos the same way as your cousin's aunt's new boyfriend. She captures your candid moments as they're seen through her carefully-crafted lens. 


Brooke Clay

From coordinating influencer programs to training top-tier customers, managing on-location events and launching global digital brands, Brooke has made a career of never telling the same story twice. After graduating from Oklahoma State University with a degree in agricultural communications and a masters in international agriculture, she made her home in digital strategy for rural businesses, growing brands, and ag agencies. Today she teaches ag-centered businesses and organizations how to engage with diverse online audiences.

Friday, September 29, 2017

11:30 a.m. // Back Porch Welcome Party

1:00 p.m.  // Partnering with Brands, Keri Bonfili
Do you have the content, connections and credibility to partner with national brands? Absolutely. Do you know who and what are brands looking for in influencers? Master brand publicist, Keri Bonfili, will walk you through the necessary steps to cultivate a rich relationship.

2:00 p.m.  // Business of Blogging, Stephanie Parker
From claiming your business name to write-offs, learn the ins and outs of treating your side hustle like a full-time business.

4:30 p.m. // Monetizing Your Business + Getting the Most from Your Ad Network, Cris Goode
You launched your digital presence with the simple goal of connecting with friends and family and now you’ve cultivated an engaging community of brand loyalists. Tapping into an ad network can bring added exposure and funding, but how do you choose an ad network? Learn how to monetize your blog and reward yourself for your time investment. 

5:30 p.m. // Hotel Check-In

7:30  p.m. // Dinner at Euclid Hall Bar and Kitchen

SATurday, September 30, 2017

8 a.m. //  Photography Workshop: Food, Stacy Pearce
Who says you can't have cake for breakfast? Grab your SLR and a fork because we have work to do.

9:30 a.m.  // Identifying your Audience, Brooke Clay
Once you’ve identified who you’re targeting, writing copy for your blog, digital ads, or social content becomes a less daunting.

10 a.m. // Creative Writing Workshop, Jessica Willingham
Brought to you by Bayer Crop Science
Brush up on concise writing, common grammar mistakes, and writing for search engines.

11:30 p.m. // Panel: Trolls Going to Troll, Brooke Clay
If you build it, they will come. Negative feedback is par for the course of curating an online community. Learn best practices from those who have weathered the storm.

noon // Lunch

1:00 p.m. // Photography Workshop: People, Stacy Pearce
White balance, Pinterest-level poses, and utilizing natural light to make you look a top-shelf photographer.

2:45 p.m. // Maximize Social Media to Drive Traffic, Leah Beyer
Funded in part by the Beef Checkoff.
When used strategically, organic and paid social content can drive traffic to your site in droves.

3:30 p.m. // Open Forum

5 p.m. // Return to Hotel

7 p.m. // Dinner at Denver Chophouse and Brewery

Funded in part by the Beef Checkoff.

SUNDAY, october 1, 2017

9 a.m. //  Brunch

10:30 // Panel: 
Setting Goals and Expectations, Discussion lead by Brooke Clay
Pace your goals and set reasonable expectations.

11:30 // Storytelling through Podcasts, Rob Sharkey
Podcasting can be overwhelming. How does story development differ from written word? Where do you start? What equipment or software do you need? The Shark Farmer will break it down in an easily-consumable format.

In addition to a jam-packed, 48 hour retreat, each participant will receive: 

  • Professional headshots provided by Stacy Pearce (worth $500)

  • Media kit review by Keri Bonfili (worth $500)

  • Access to the Rural Influencer Project Facebook group (Priceless, of course)

  • Swag bags (worth minimum of $250)

Class One


Meet The Rural Influencers

Representing four timezones and multiple agricultural commodities class one learned from subject matter experts to elevate their respective brands.