Keynoter Boehm Leaves Audience With Good Advice

William Boehm

William Boehm’s 2018 Nilsestuen Legacy Event keynote address was enthusiastically welcomed by 150 students and community members at the UW-River Falls Kinnickinnic River Theater this year. The event, seventh of its kind, is sponsored annually by the Ralph K. Morris Foundation and UW-River Falls. It was held March 22.

Boehm, a longtime executive with the Kroger Company and a board member of American Farmland Trust, said he and his wife had a pact about the importance of honesty in his work. “We said if I ever felt uncomfortable in the work environment about honesty, I would leave.”

He told the students the decisions they make in their careers won’t be any more difficult than those they make at UW-RF, “but they will impact more people, and if you don’t have a good moral compass now, you won’t have one later.”

He left them with three guidelines about how to approach their lives and careers.

“One, establish and follow your own moral compass, and respect the fact that we’re all in this together. Don’t put others in jeopardy by your own doing.”

“Two, don’t tolerate dishonest behavior on the part of others. Follow the TSA rule: ‘if you see something, say something.’” He added, “don’t support political candidates who themselves lie or allow others to lie.”

“Three, always seek the truth, the real truth….You cannot hope to find the truth if you do not deal in facts.”

Boehm lives in Kewaunee. Rod Nilsestuen, a UW-RF graduate and student leader, was secretary of agriculture in Wisconsin and a longtime cooperative leader.