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Looking for an entertaining, insightful, engaging speaker or workshop leader for your next training session or meeting? Contact me for pricing and my availability to speak to your group about: 

  • Iowa's Culinary History. Savor Iowa’s amazing food heritage! Iowa’s delectable cuisine is quintessentially Midwestern, grounded in its rich farming heritage and spiced with diverse ethnic influences. Dig in as I serve up Iowa’s tastiest traditions. From the chili-and-cinnamon-rolls phenomenon to Maid-Rites to the moveable feast known as RAGBRAI, discover the remarkable stories behind Iowa classics and savor a smorgasbord of other unique Iowa food traditions with my fun, interactive program. Relish the tantalizing tidbits you missed in history class! This program is based on my top-selling book "A Culinary History of Iowa: Sweet Corn, Pork Tenderloins, Maid-Rites and More" from The History Press. Click here to learn more about the Culinary History of Iowa book and order signed copies! 
  • Adventures Along the Historic Lincoln Highway in Iowa. Nothing says freedom like the great American road trip, especially when you cruise the historic Lincoln Highway in Iowa. Better known today as Highway 30, the Lincoln Highway revolutionized Iowa and America when the historic route was developed more than a century ago. If you’ve ever traveled on an interstate—or any paved road, for that matter—you owe a debt of gratitude to the visionaries who promoted the Lincoln Highway to connect the country. The incredible story of the development of the Lincoln Highway and its legacy today reflects a tremendous story of American innovation, community spirit, freedom and an amazing slice of Iowa history that will make you want to hit the road for your next Iowa adventure!  Click here to learn more about Darcy's book "The Lincoln Highway in Iowa: A History book and order your signed copy!
  • The Rest of the Story: How Libraries Grew Up with Iowa. The local library has played an essential role in daily life for generations of Iowans. With 543 public libraries, Iowa ranks 4th in the nation in the number of libraries, per capita. This wasn't always true, however. Learn the fascinating story of how Iowa evolved from a frontier state with no public libraries to a place where public libraries are a hub of the community. Did you know women played a pivotal role in getting libraries started in their communities, long before they had the right to vote? Would you believe some of the biggest names in architecture designed a number of Iowa's public libraries? Can you guess which small-town Iowa library was housed in a former jail for years? What Iowa library seems to be haunted? How are cake pans and backpacks helping keep Iowa libraries relevant to their communities today? If you can relate to the idea of the public library as a "place that doesn't belong to me, but feels like mine," don't miss this enjoyable, eye-opening program! 
  • Unleash the Power of Storytelling. If you want to reach more people and encourage them to support your organizaiton, you need to recognize 3 important truths: 1.) There are a lot of myths and misperceptions floating around about your company or organization. 2.) People are spreading stories (both true and false) about your organization every day, whether you know it or not. 3.) You have the power to influence these conversations. How? Share your stories. In this dynamic workshop, you'll discover the 5 big reasons storytelling is so powerful, the 3 biggest mistakes people make regarding storytelling, the 1 most powerful framework to craft clear, compelling stories, and the 14 most effective ways to share your stories. 
  • Iowa’s Lost History from the Titanic. What do an orphan train rider, a kidnapper, a missionary, a wealthy businessman, a wedding guest, a betrayed wife, a farmer and an immigrant recruiter have in common? All had ties to Iowa, and all were passengers aboard the ill-fated Titanic on the fateful night of April 15, 1912, when the famous ocean liner sank. There were a surprising number of first-, second- and third-class passengers with Iowa connections, although many of their haunting, poignant and sometimes shocking tales have nearly faded away. Join me on a remarkable journey as I bring these unforgettable stories from the “ship of dreams” back to life once more. Through masterful storytelling, I weave together a fascinating look at the maritime disaster from a totally different perspective than most people are accustomed to or have any knowledge of. During this spellbinding voyage, delve into the human drama intertwined with the Titanic epic, find out who survived and explore the aftershocks that continue to fascinate us more than a century after the Titanic sank. (Note: this program was inspired by one of my most popular blog posts ever.)
  • Beautiful Barn Quilts of Iowa​. In Iowa, barns and quilts are a natural fit! Quilts have long represented craftsmanship, resourcefulness, warmth, comfort, usefulness and tradition. Barns (and barn quilts) also reflect these values. In addition, every quilt—and every barn—has a story. In this fun program, discover the surprising roots of the modern barn-quilt movement, find out which Iowa county was the first to embrace this phenomenon and which region of Iowa is considered “the barn quilt capital of the world.” You’ll also hear many fascinating stories of the remarkable families and farms behind each unique barn quilt. 
  • Iowa’s Amazing Garden Stories: How Iowa Gardeners Changed the Course of History. Did you know that the Delicious apple, 4-H, hybrid corn, Earl May Garden Centers, Better Homes & Gardens and other innovations with state and national impact have their roots in Iowa? Darcy Maulsby, an author, historian and Iowa’s Storyteller from Lake City, drew many of these stories from her best-selling Iowa history books, including a Culinary History of Iowa, Iowa Agriculture: A History of Farming, Family and Food, Madison County, and more. She'll share these fascinating stories during a 1-hour program that's sure to inspire and entertain you, complete with her list of top gardens to visit in Iowa for your next road trip. 

  • Farm-to-Fork Adventures in Iowa Agriculture. If you eat, you have a connection to farming every day. Iowa has long been an epicenter of agricultural productivity and innovation. Darcy Dougherty Maulsby, who is part of a 5th generation family farm near Lake City, brings these stories to life through this dynamic program. To truly understand Iowa, you have to understand the culture of agriculture—the stories of the people of the land. In some ways, Iowa’s ag history is the greatest story never told. It’s more important than ever to rediscover this rich legacy, which influences so many aspects of daily life. Farming remains vital to Iowa’s economy and plays a critical role in key issues ranging from food security to conservation to water quality. Agriculture has shaped Iowa’s landscape and the rhythms of life, from the location of towns to the evolution of the world-famous Iowa State Fair to Iowa’s beloved culinary traditions like breaded pork tenderloins, sweet corn and more. Take a look inside this fascinating, dynamic world of crops, livestock and food-production technology. Join this remarkable journey of discovery that explores what it means to be an Iowan, the many ways rural and urban interests are intertwined, and what it’s like to be connected to a place and to feel a certain responsibility for the land and the people who live here. This program is based on Darcy's popular book Iowa Agriculture: A History of Farming, Family and Food. 

  • Stories from the Barn: The Evolution of an Iowa Icon​. Iowa’s classic barns reflect rural life, time-honored craftsmanship and tradition. Yet these essential American edifices are threatened as never before and are steadily vanishing from the landscape, due to the ravages of time, weather and neglect. Perhaps no one in Iowa today has visited more barns than Darcy Dougherty Maulsby, a long-time ag journalist and Iowa’s Storyteller. Darcy loves her family’s100+year-old, wooden-peg barn, which still plays a key role on her family’s Century Farm. In addition, Darcy has written about and photographed Iowa’s barns for nearly 30 years. Join her on a tour of classic barns across Iowa that have stood the test of time, from barns that still house livestock and hay to soulful structures that have been repurposed as country lofts, living spaces and vacation getaways.
  • Build Your Brand, Own Your Story, Grow Your Business. Any company, anywhere in the world, can copy just about everything about your business, except for one big thing--how you communicate. The way you tell your story to build your brand is THE most valuable asset you have in today's fast-paced, competitive business environment. What if I told you your storytelling skills can become the ultimate differentiator that help you succeed and make you the obvious choice for customers and prospects? This is a no b.s. seminar. I use real-life examples from small, mid-sized and large companies I've worked with during my 20-year writing and marketing career to show what works, and what doesn't, to fine-tune your storytelling skills. You'll learn 1.) the two biggest reasons why company's branding efforts fall short, 2.) the one key question you must ask to know if your storytelling and branding are effective (hint--it has nothing to do with numbers), and 3.) the top 5 ways to build your brand faster by sparking more conversations, which lead to relationships, which lead to trust, which leads to sales. 
  • Writing to Make a Social Statement. How did we get so rude? What can you do about the troubling trend of demonization, which involves a shift from debating issues to attacking people? Plenty! Drawing on my experiences as an author-preneur, Farm News columnist and Iowa’s Storyteller, I'll tap into my 20-year writing career to share my top 10 essential tips for success when writing to make a social statement—along with the one fatal error to avoid. I've applied these proven strategies from my columns and Des Moines Register op-eds to my testimony before the U.S. Senate Small Business Committee in Washington, D.C. I'll help you 1.) discover the most surprising way to clarify your beliefs, 2.) find the most effective ways to write with a distinctive voice that amplifies your impact, whether you’re crafting essays, blog posts, social media posts, op-eds or letters to the editor 3.) become a force for good who can influence and inspire others. 
  • "Ag Stories that Don’t Suck: How to Tell Your Story with Style." I'm Iowa's Storyteller, and this program blends practical, proven lessons from the field of my 20+ years of experience as an ag journalist working with cattle producers, farmers and other business pros across Iowa. Learn what works--and doesn't work--to tell your story effectively, whether you're in a debate with someone at the local coffee shop or you're doing a media interview. There's humor, too, with the shocking story of why you don't want to be like "Hernia Guy." Rediscover the lost art of storytelling and not only make a positive difference now, but leave a legacy for the future of your rural community. 
  • Writing and Marketing Boot Camp. Ready for an extreme writing makeover? In this fast-paced, hands-on workshop, I share top tips on how to communicate more effectively in print and online.

  • Savor the Classic Restaurants of Des Moines. With Italian steakhouses, the Younkers Tea Room and Stella's Blue Sky Diner, Des Moines's culinary history is tantalizingly diverse. It is filled with colorful characters like bootlegger/"millionaire bus boy" Babe Bisignano, a buxom bar owner named Ruthie and future president of the United States Ronald Reagan. The savory details reveal deeper stories of race relations, women's rights, Iowa caucus politics, the arts, immigration and assimilation. Darcy Dougherty Maulsby serves up a feast of these memories and remarkable stories through this program, which was inspired by her non-fiction book "Classic Restaurants of Des Moines and Their Recipes." Don't be surprised if you experience sudden cravings for Steak de Burgo, fried pork tenderloin sandwiches and chocolate ambrosia pie, à la Bishop's Buffet! 
  • Explore Amazing Madison County, Iowa. Mention Madison County, and many people think of the iconic covered bridges that have graced the landscape for more than 140 years. While Hollywood made the bridges famous, there are many more stories to share, thanks to Madison County's rich history and vibrant culture. These stories include unforgettable people who shaped America--the men and women of the Underground Railroad in Madison County; renowned scientist George Washington Carver; and social reformer Susan B. Anthony, who advocated for women's voting rights from the county courthouse in 1875. Madison County natives have also made their mark on the world. Marion Morrison, who became the movie star John Wayne, was born in Winterset in 1907. During World War II, Winterset native George Stout protected priceless works of art from being looted and destroyed by the Nazis. A visionary, steadfast spirit continues to thrive in Madison County, where time-honored values of faith, family, and friendship endure. Growing from its strong agricultural heritage, Madison County embodies modern Iowa, where charming small towns, family farms, thriving businesses, and innovative people reflect the best of the Midwest. This program is based on Darcy's non-fiction book Madison County

  • The Power of One: Lost Stories of the Granger Homesteads. How can you help people who are down on their luck? Sometimes it just takes one person who cares, along with a public-private partnership that's more of a hand-up than a hand-out. That's what I've gleaned from studying the almost forgotten story of the Depression-era Granger Homesteads housing and farming project in central Iowa, which was promoted tirelessly by Monsignor Luigi Ligutti in the early 1930s. The homestead project was designed to provide 50 modern homes and small acreages on 225 acres in Dallas County to help coal mining families better their lives. It was one of the most successful New Deal-era projects in the nation. largely because of a Ligutti, a parish priest who loved the people of his community and contended that “the proper use of the soil is the only permanent solution to the economic and social ills of the nation.” If you've ever driven on Highway 141 northwest of Des Moines, you've come face to face with the legacy of the Granger Homesteads project and maybe didn't realize it. Join me for the rest of the story!
  • Shoot! How to Improve Your Photos in 1 Minute. Wish you could take better photos for your social media sites, marketing materials and your family photo albums? I get it, because I've felt the same way about my own photos. One thing I've learned from years of photo-journalism and in-depth training is that you don’t take great photos; you make them. In this fun class (complete with plenty of visual inspiration), I offer my top 10, field-tested tips that are guaranteed to make you a better photographer, no matter what kind of camera you have--and that includes cell phone cameras. 

    Cherokee County Fair
  • Discover the Joy of Imperfection. Ever feel inspired -- yet a bit overwhelmed – when you look at all you want to accomplish? How do you put new ideas into practice to live your best life? I share tips and lessons learned about the joys of imperfection from my crazy, unforgettable adventures as Iowa's Storyteller, an avid home cook, part-time farmer, dog lover, community volunteer and author. 

  • Unlock the Secret History of Iowa. Think rural Iowa is just quiet little towns and farms? Think again. Take a virtual tour through Calhoun County, Dallas County and other fascinating regions across the state to experience the area’s rich history through the eyes of those who lived it, from presidents, entrepreneurs, renowned authors and sports stars to gangsters, bootleggers and other assorted characters. Whether you’re a native Iowan, transplanted Iowan or just curious about the evolution of small towns and farms in the Midwest, this program offers something for everyone.

  • Girl Power! Lost Stories of Iowa’s Amazing Women. From entrepreneurs to entertainers to educators, remarkable women throughout our state’s history have played key roles in shaping the Iowa we know today. Join Darcy Dougherty Maulsby, Iowa’s storyteller, as she shares the forgotten history of noteworthy women who are featured in her books, including “Dallas County,” the “Culinary History of Iowa” and “Calhoun County.” 

  • Setting the Record Straight: How to Speak Up for Your Industry. In today’s fast-paced world of instant communication and social media, people today are drowning in information and starving for knowledge. I offer practical tips on how to cut through the clutter, combat misinformation and help your message resonate with your target audience. (Hint--it all revolves around sharing powerful stories well told.) 

    Wisconsin Dairyland Speech

  • Confessions of an Ag Journalist. Any writer can tell you that some of the most interesting, unforgettable and sometimes bizarre stories don’t end up in print. Come along behind the scenes in the day of a life of a writer on the backroads of Iowa, where you have to be prepared for anything. I'll also share insider tips I've learned through her colorful career, including the “ABCs” to better writing.

  • Get Yourself in a Jam (in a Good Way!) Want to impress family and friends with your culinary skills? Making simple, delicious homemade jam is easy will make you feel like a major league home cook. Jam isn’t just for toast, however! I'll show you plenty of ways to use your homemade jam in a variety of goodies, from classic cookies to a fabulous chocolate torte. 

** Other classes are available on request. Tell me what you're thinking! For more information on program lengths, pricing and more, click here to contact me. 

Here’s What Others Are Saying

“Thanks for bringing your storytelling workshop to Independence! It was great to have practical, meaningful training we can use to strengthen our impact and tell our story. One of the staff members and I were talking about the training this morning. She is involved with a writing group, and she loved your suggestions. She said she is going to rework a story she is doing now because of the A-B-T story structure you shared. Your fee was well worth the benefit we will get. Hopefully we will cross paths again soon.”   

---Laura Blaker, Independence Public Library director


"During her program "Shoot! How to Improve Your Photos in 1 Minute," Darcy provided a super practical how-to of some simple tips and tricks that can work with for any photographer, whether they're shooting with their cell phone out in the field or staging an elaborate display of their goods inside. One attendee at our Practical Farmers of Iowa annual conference wrote the following on their evaluation: 'This was the best presentation of the day. Very clear, very organized, engaging speaker. Most practical ideas and help I got all day. I think this presentation will make the most difference to my business this year. Tons of takeaways!'"

--Liz Kolbe, horticulture and habitat programs manager, Practical Farmers of Iowa 

“Darcy is an engaging and energetic public speaker. Her presentation on Iowa's rich culinary heritage appealed to our audience by addressing Iowa through its food history and cultural influences. Guests walked away with a better understanding of Iowa and the impact of the state's diverse population on the foods we enjoy.” 

--Jennifer Cooley, education & outreach manager, State Historical Museum, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs


"Thank you so much! It was wonderful to meet you. I've heard wonderful comments about your presentation and had many thank yous for your great program! Keep up the good work for the positive impact of promoting Iowa history and Iowa's image."

--Mary Kay Johnson, adult service coordinatorNorwalk Easter Public Libary  


"Thank you for the wonderful program! You are a great, enthusiastic speaker--you should consider doing it for a living. :) It's gotten so much positive feedback, I can't wait to have you back again."

--Carole Dailey, circulation librarian, Shenandoah Public Library 

“It was a pleasure to welcome Darcy Maulsby to the Carnegie Cultural Center in New Hampton. Darcy is a wonderful speaker, and we’ve heard such positive comments following her “Adventures in Iowa’s Culinary History” program. We had so much fun discussing Iowa's culinary history, including sweet corn, pork tenderloins, Maid-Rites and more. Thank you for the informative, gripping presentation, Darcy. People are still talking about it here in Chickasaw County!” 

--Jill Eike, director, Carnegie Cultural Center, New Hampton, Iowa 

“Writing transcends all genres, and Darcy Maulsby brought that to the table at the 8th annual Montezuma All-Writers’ Conference on Sept. 16, 2017, with her presentation on finding and writing good stories. Darcy was engaging, and her presentation was informative. Our attendees walked away with information that will help and inspire them on their writing journeys.”

--J.O. & Debbie Parker, publishers, Our Front Porch Books


“Darcy is an enthusiastic presenter who makes her listeners feel right at home with her. The examples and stories in both her photography tips in her “Shoot! 1 Minute to Better Photos” presentation and “The Culinary History of Iowa evening program” were interesting, easy to follow and successfully drove home her points. She gave us a perfect blend of entertainment and education at the right time in our three-day workshop. We even used one of her recipes (Iowa Ranch Salad) for part of our dinner menu prior to her culinary talk. When asked the next day how they enjoyed Darcy's presentations, our workshop participants erupted into a rousing round of applause and approval.”
- Jean Vaux, co-director, Cedar Falls Christian Writers Workshop


"I loved Darcy's Culinary History of Iowa program, as did everyone else at the Terrace Hill Tea and Talk. Thank you so much. I was 58 years old when I moved to Iowa in 1995--and now, in my 81st year I am still learning about my adopted state. Darcy makes Iowa history come alive, and its relevance becomes the embodiment of 'Iowa nice.'" 

Elvin McDonald, botanist and ambassador emeritus, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden 


“Darcy has been a workshop speaker multiple times for our 4th-12th grade youth to help them learn about ag advocacy. She does a very nice job engaging youth and helping them recognize that they have a story to tell and they can respectfully speak up for agriculture. We have even had students who've attend Darcy’s class start their own blogs!”

--Lisa Berkland, youth development specialist, Iowa State University Extension, Beef Bonanza coordinator 


“Like Darcy, I enjoy home cooking and Iowa history. So much can be learned about the history of a state by learning about regional cuisine and studying old community cookbooks. I’ve been fortunate enough to accompany Darcy on several “food adventures” as we traveled to different parts of state in search of unique regional fare. 
Yes, I truly believe food can be a destination!  Darcy’s love of Iowa is contagious! In the fall of 2016, she did a presentation and book signing at my Enchanted Acres pumpkin patch. This fall I invited her to attend a farm to table workshop at Enchanted Acres and write about the experience. I greatly admire Darcy for the way she uniquely combines her passions of cooking and history. Her unique writing style allows readers to be entertained while they’re learning. That’s a special gift! Thanks to Darcy’s book, there are historians who have a new appreciation for uniquely Iowa foods and home cooks who have a new appreciation for Iowa history.”

--Shannon Latham, owner of Enhanced Acres pumpkin patch and vice president of Latham Hi-Tech Seeds  who is quoted in this Daily Iowan article on Darcy's program at Prairie Lights bookstore in Iowa City during Prairie Lights Live 



"We had Darcy Maulsby speak on the Culinary History of Iowa and she was fabulous! Everyone enjoyed hearing about the places and foods from around the state that are unique to Iowa. She is super friendly and incredibly knowledgeable. Loved having Darcy here. I highly recommend her!"

--Kari Ringelberg, adult program coordinator, Sioux Center Public Library

Darcy Maulsby Iowa author Culinary History of Iowa

“It was our pleasure to have Darcy here to speak about "The Culinary History of Iowa." The audience really enjoyed connecting to the past through their own food stories and the stories Darcy shared. All guests I spoke with had very positive comments and said they had a lot of fun. The audience also found Darcy to be a very engaging presenter, and they liked how her talk allowed them to be part of the program through conversation. For our museum specifically, Darcy's program allowed our guests to think about the tradition and history of some favorite Czech and Slovak treats, and about the role they played in developing Iowa’s culinary identity. Darcy talked about food traditions from other immigrant groups to Iowa, and special “Iowa-only” dishes, both of which built up the shared heritage of our state. Thank you so much, Darcy, for spending your evening with us." 

--Sara Jacobmeyer, former director of programs, National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 


"When the Forgotten Iowa Historical Society decided to host their first-ever event, we knew we needed to have the best possible speakers. Darcy Maulsby certainly met and exceeded our expectations. Her presentation was not only well delivered and fascinating, but audience participation was great with her topic (Iowa's Culinary History). Darcy is more than welcome at any future Forgotten Iowa Historical Society events. If you're looking for a top-notch presentation at your event, I'd highly recommend her." 

-Daniel "Ray" Wetherell, founder, Forgotten Iowa Historical Society 


“Darcy’s dynamic workshop at our cooperative communicator’s conference was a hit with the entire audience. Her communications “boot camp” provided a useful course on effective writing, with social media marketing training and photography tips rounding out the presentation. Attendees left with new abilities and solid reminders that they can immediately put to use. Plus, Darcy’s fun and approachable style is a crowd pleaser. No matter what industry you work in, Darcy’s marketing and communications workshop would be a valuable training experience.”

-Katie Thomson, senior communications specialist, Dairyland Power Cooperative (La Crosse, Wis.)