Advancing Women About the Conference Registration Sponsorship

Our goal was to bring women in agriculture together with powerful speakers to discuss, share and collaborate on women's opportunities in leadership. Many participants appreciated the "tell it how it is" frankness of the speakers as they gave their success story. Although the day was long, each speaker was inspiring, motivating and gave great tips and recommendations to make tomorrow more successful than today.

The energy in the room was unbelievable. Ladies from across the ag sector attended – producers who are involved in farming operations, partners and owners of ag retail outlets, members and management from ag societies and associations, employees of ag companies and government officials – were all in attendance. Friends who are separated by miles had the chance to re-establish long time friendships. And new contacts were made every minute. Several mother daughter teams attended which showed the vested interest in carrying on the leadership role to the next generation. It was exhilarating for all!

At the end of the day, evaluations showed that the speaker program was of value to all delegates. The program was long, yes, but worth it many said. Many delegates thought there were great take away points, great tools and advice to put into use, and great stories that reinforced that we all can meet our goals if we believe in ourselves.

Karen MacNeill
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Alison Sunstrum

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Courtenay Wolfe

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If you'd like to contact Iris Meck Events please call 403-686-8407 or by email at or visit our website at

Fran Burr
Assistant Vice President Marketing
Cargill Limited
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Presentation Title: Beyond Gender
Fran will share her optimism for women pursuing careers in agriculture. By sharing the journey she is on in her career in agriculture and describing her past experiences, other women will be encouraged to pursue a future in corporate agriculture.

Fran has been involved in the agri-food industry for many years and has acquired extensive experience in product marketing and sales. Currently she is responsible for Marketing Cargill's AgHorizons business unit in Canada. Prior to joining Cargill she was a Vice-President in the agri-food division for a global agricultural market research firm. Earlier experience included operating her own agricultural consulting business and sales and product management with Monsanto in Canada. Fran holds a B.Sc. in Agriculture from the University of Manitoba.

Senator JoAnne Buth
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Presentation Title: Building a Leader, One Opportunity at a Time
Senator Buth will discuss the opportunities she took in her career path in agriculture and what prepared her for her current leadership role.

Senator JoAnne L. Buth was appointed to the Senate on January 6th, 2012 by his Excellency Governor General David Johnston, upon the recommendation of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper. She represents the Province of Manitoba and currently sits on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry and the Standing Committee on National Finance.

Senator Buth is an agriculture professional who is committed to a sustainable and profitable Canadian agricultural and food sector. She believes Canada has an obligation to use its natural agricultural endowments and skills to support Canadian farmers and ranchers in the production of safe and nutritious food for Canadians and the global community. She is a strong advocate for global food security, with a focus on women farmers in the developing world.

Senator Buth has spent most of her professional life in Agriculture and has served on many agriculture advisory committees in private industry and government. She was the President of the Canola Council of Canada from 2007 to 2012 and served as the organization's Vice President from 1999 to 2007. Under her leadership the Canola Council dealt with several international trade issues, made significant contributions to canola research and marched closer to its target of demand and production of 15 million tonnes of canola by 2015.

She has extensive experience in management, serving as a weed management specialist and then manager of several sections at the Soils and Crops Branch of Manitoba Agriculture and a research and development manager at DowElanco Canada Inc. She also worked as an information officer for the Agriculture Canada Research Station in Winnipeg. Senator Buth holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Winnipeg and a Master of Science in Entomology from the University of Manitoba.

Jo Campbell
President and Founder
Jo Campbell Coaching
Lumsden, Saskatchewan, Canada

Event Master of Ceremonies and Opening Comments: Grow a Magnificent Life!

Jo Campbell is a Certified Life Mastery Consultant, a highly trained specialist in transformative life success principles. She offers corporate, individual, group and teleseminar coaching and workshops. Jo applies her dynamic attitude to every aspect of her life. She truly believes, "Anyone can achieve health, wealth, happiness and success when guided by a great coach who inspires you to Live the Life You Love".

Her career spans 21 years in management, marketing, public and media relations in national agriculture related businesses, associations and federal government. These include National Grains Bureau, Net Income Stabilization (NISA), Canadian Seed Growers Association, Canadian Western Agribition, Agriculture Canada, Alberta Wheat Pool (Ultra Bred - proprietary and public seed varieties), Value Added Seeds and Baker Lovick Advertising.

She has served on the Boards of Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, Regina Exhibition Association, Prairie Valley School Division and Heritage Nursing Home.

Jo has her Master's Adult Education and Counseling, BA Psychology and certifications in Life Mastery, Life Dream Building and Myers Briggs Personality Typing (MBTI).

She is a partner in a successful diversified crop and cattle operation.

Jason Dorsey
The Gen Y Guy®
Chief Strategy Officer
The Center for Generational Kinetics
Austin , Texas, USA

Presentation Title: Crossing the Generational Divide: New Solutions for Bridging Generations

Jason will expose new generational truths that directly impact leaders like you. He will share surprising data, first hand stories and step-by-step actions to drive communication, engagement, recruiting and more.

Jason Dorsey is The Gen Y Guy®. He has been featured as a generational expert on 60 Minutes, 20/20, The Today Show, The View, The Early Show and many more. What makes Jason different is his view that generations are not a box, but powerful clues.

An acclaimed speaker, Jason has received over 1,000 standing ovations from audiences as large as 13,000. His secret: he doesn't use PowerPoint. Instead, he makes generations interesting, entertaining, and actionable through personal stories and the latest data.

Jason wrote his first bestselling book at age 18. His newest books are Y-Size Your Business and My Reality Check Bounced! He also produced the acclaimed training DVDs Managing Across Generations and Insider Secrets for Selling to Gen Y.

When not on an airplane, Jason is at The Center for Generational Kinetics, where he is the Chief Strategy Officer. In this role, he reviews data from companies around the world. These insights help him to identify emerging trends early so you can too.

Jason won the Austin Under 40 Entrepreneur of the Year Award at age 25—one of the youngest winners ever.

Watch Jason explain why Gen Y is not tech-savvy here:

Linda Hohol
Corporate Director on Boards of Export Development Canada, NAV Canada, Ellis Don Construction, Canadian Western Bank
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Presentation Title: Women in Leadership Roles: Lessons from Being First
Linda will share lessons she learned as she rose to the very senior ranks of two major financial institutions in Canada, why the journey for women is not over and what we can do about it.

Linda retired on April 30, 2007 as President of TSX Venture Exchange, Canada's unique public venture capital market. During her 5 year tenure as President, she improved the reputation and credibility of the exchange, creating a strong national brand. Prior to this, Linda had a distinguished 26 year career with CIBC, 11 of which were in executive roles, including Senior Vice President Alberta and NWT, and Executive Vice President Wealth Management. In this capacity Linda oversaw the management of an $85 billion portfolio, including CIBC's mutual fund and private wealth management portfolios.

Linda has been a tireless community volunteer serving on Boards such as the Calgary Opera, Glenbow Museum, Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Calgary Olympic Development Association, Calgary Arts Development, and United Way of Calgary (Chair of the Board for one year). She co-chaired Calgary's 2006 United Way campaign, helping raise $50 million for the community.

Over the past 20 years, Linda has served as a director on many Boards including CIBC Trust, the Alberta Electricity Systems Operator, Alberta Health Services, Calgary Airport Authority, Canada Foundation for Innovation, ATB Financial, and the Alberta Balancing Pool, which she chaired.

She has been a strong supporter and role model for women, including serving on a committee reporting to CIBC's chairman in 1990. This committee helped remove the systemic barriers impeding women's progress in the Bank. For this Linda received YWCA Calgary's 1993 Woman of Distinction Award. She was the first female chair of the Alberta chapter of the Canadian Bankers Association and the first female member (active) of the downtown Calgary Rotary Club.

In 2007 Linda was appointed by the Premier of Alberta to a three person Task Force. The Task Force made fifteen recommendations to improve the governance of provincial agencies, boards and commissions. Fourteen of the fifteen recommendations were accepted and formed the basis for the recently proclaimed Alberta Public Agencies Governance Act.

Linda currently sits on the Boards of EllisDon Construction, Export Development Canada, NAV Canada and Canadian Western Bank. She chairs and has chaired many Board committees.

Linda received a Certificate for Meritorious Service from the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons (2003), a Paul Harris Fellowship Award from Rotary (2003), the Haskayne School of Business Distinguished Business Leader Award (2005), SAIT Honorary Degree in Applied Technology (2005), and the Alberta Centennial Medal for Community Service (2005).

Dr. Karen MacNeill
Copeman Healthcare Centre
Calgary, Alberta

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Presentation Title: Running on Full: Strategies for managing the demands
of multiple roles

Women wear many hats and work hard to manage the multiple roles of leader, employee, volunteer, parent, partner, and friend/family member. If not strategically managed, this juggling act can 'drain the tank' and lead to issues with performance, health, and well-being. Karen will speak to the strategy in balancing a career and relationships. She will talk about recognizing the warning signs, and developing strategies on how to restore energy in order to manage the demand of multiple roles.

Dr. Karen MacNeill is committed to helping individuals, elite athletes and leaders reach their full potential through consultation, workshops, and presentations pertaining to personal growth, performance excellence, and leadership effectiveness. She is a registered psychologist at Copeman Healthcare Centre, and a Performance Consultant who works with Olympians, professional athletes, leaders and teams to reach optimal levels of performance. Karen has first-hand knowledge of the attributes required to achieve and sustain this peak performance. She competed in sport at the international level for over a decade, and has worked with high performance athletes and Olympians since 1998, attending the Winter Olympics in 2002 and 2010 as Performance Consultant. She also has worked with Fortune 500 companies, helping their teams manage operational pressures and balance the demands of multiple roles. Her action-orientated and collaborative approach allows her clients to stay focused on task and execute in demanding, ever changing contexts. Karen holds a Ph.D. with a specialization in Performance Psychology, and was awarded Avenue Magazine's "Top 40 under 40" award in 2010.

Shirley McClellan
Scholar in Residence, Rural Department
University of Alberta
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada

Reception Guest Speaker

Shirley was born in Hanna, Alberta and attended school in Cereal and Red Deer and currently farms in New Brigden with husband Lloyd and son Mitchell. Her daughter Tami is a school teacher.

From 1975 to 1987, Shirley was a coordinator for the Big Country Further Education Council, member of the Board of Directors for the Alberta Association of Continuing Education and the Canadian Association for Continuing Education, as well as a representative of the Minister's Advisory Committee on Further Education and the Minister's Advisory Committee on College Affairs.

Shirley was first elected in by-election on November 23, 1987. She was re-elected to a second term on March 20, 1989 and appointed Associate Minister of Agriculture. On February 24, 1992, Shirley's portfolio was expanded and she was appointed as Minister for Rural Development. Later that year was appointed Minister of Health and re-elected to a third term in 1992.

In 1993, she was appointed Minister of Health, as well as Minister responsible for the Wild Rose Foundation. Later that year she was given the responsibility of Minister responsible for the Alberta Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission and Minister responsible for Seniors Advisory Council for Alberta.

In 1996, she was appointed Minister of Community Development and was re-elected for a fourth term on March 11, 1997 and reappointed Minister of Community Development. In 1999 Shirley was appointed Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relation and member of the Agenda and Priorities Committee and the Standing Policy Committee on Finance and Intergovernmental Relations.

Shirley was re-elected for a fifth term in 2001 and appointed Deputy Premier and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Vice-Chair of the Agenda and Priorities Committee and member of the Standing Policy Committee on Agriculture and Municipal Affairs.

She was re-elected to a sixth term on November 22, 2004, and appointed Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance and Chair of the Treasury Board and Vice-Chair of the Agenda and Priorities Committee.

Shirley resigned seat on January 15, 2007.

Shirley has been on boards for Penn West, Horse Racing Alberta, Covenant Health, and Olds College. On September 1, 2007 Shirley accepted appointment as Distinguished Scholar in Residence at The University of Alberta. Here she lectures in Agriculture and MBA programs. She is an advisory to the Provost of the University on Campus Alberta and advisory to the Dean of Agriculture on Research Strategies.

Shirley is a proud member of the 4 H Foundation of Alberta Board of Directors. She has an Honourary degree in Applied Sciences from Olds College and an Honourary Doctor of Laws degree from University of Lethbridge. Shirley is an Honourary Life Member of Northlands, an Honourary Life Director of Calgary Stampede, and was appointed Chancellor of the University of Lethbridge on March 16th, 2011.

Mary Morrissey
Life SOULutions That Work LLC
Simi Valley, California, United States

Morning Presentation Title: The Physics of Goal Achieving
Mary will walk you through the 5 steps for "Empowered Goal Setting"™ to greatly increase the speed, balance and precision in your results.

Afternoon Presentation Title: "The Magnificent Mentor"
Learn how to find, choose and enroll a mentor who guides you effectively while dramatically shortening the time required in achieving your success.

Speaker, best-selling author, and consultant for over three decades, Mary Morrissey's transformational talks and seminars have made her one of the elite teachers in the human potential movement. She is the president and founder of LifeSOULutions, an international company providing programs and products that transform dreams into reality.

Mary has spoken three times at the United Nations, facilitated 3 different weeklong meetings with His Holiness The Dalai Lama and met with Nelson Mandela in Cape Town, South Africa to address the most significant issues our world is facing.

Mary has a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology, and an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters and is the author of two best-selling books, No Less Than Greatness and Building Your Field of Dreams, which became a PBS special. She has been featured in the movies The Moses Code and Beyond The Secret.

As a highly sought after inspirational speaker, executive coach, and corporate consultant, Mary has 30 years experience of empowering individuals in achieving new heights of spiritual aliveness, wealth, and authentic success.

Gwen Paddock
National Manager, Agriculture and Agribusiness
Royal Bank of Canada
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Presentation Title: Your Financial Future by Design
A recent study revealed that Canadians with financial plans feel they are saving more, living well and experiencing higher levels of overall contentment in their lives.  Gwen will discuss why it's important to women to be financially literate and how having a plan can lead to greater financial and emotional well-being.

Gwen Paddock is the National Manager, Agriculture & Agribusiness for RBC Royal Bank. In her role, Gwen focuses on client strategy development for the Agriculture and Agribusiness markets. Born in Guelph, Ontario, Gwen was raised on a Beef Cow-Calf farm. As a youth she participated in 4-H and Junior Farmers. Her interest in Agriculture influenced her decision to attend the University of Guelph where she obtained a B.SC (Agr) with a major in Agriculture Economics in 1985. Following graduation, Gwen joined RBC in Chatham Ontario as an Agriculture Account Manager Trainee. Through the past 29 years, she has held positions in Account Management, Risk Management and Sales Management throughout Southwestern Ontario.  Gwen is a graduate of the Advanced Agriculture Leadership Program and is a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers. Community involvement includes Board Member of the Farm & Food Care Foundation, member of the Rotary Club of Guelph and past President of the Ontario Agri Business Association. Gwen and her husband Ron live in Guelph.

Angela Santiago
CEO, Co-Founder
The Little Potato Company Ltd.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Presentation Title: Raising a CEO
Angela will share the key impactful things that have occurred and continue to occur over her life that have helped her develop into a leader.


Angela Santiago is a mother of 4 and CEO of The Little Potato Company Ltd. Her time is in demand and well managed between kids, the office and numerous business trips to Europe, the US and across Canada. Family values have been the foundation of building her fledgling company from the first 1 acre crop to the emerging big produce supplier it has become.

Her education includes a Bachelor of Arts Degree from University of Alberta, preceded by a Business Diploma with courses in Mediation and Conflict Resolution at the Justice Institute in B.C. to round out the post secondary years. Then came her PhD in potatoes with a segue into a business with her Dutch father in September 1996. While discussing the farm life of his youth, her father Jacob introduced the idea of small potatoes. The family tie has not diminished to this day. Jacob in the field and Angela in the lead chair, The Little Potato Company Ltd. has forged ahead creating a niche market for a North American food staple.

Angela has seen the company grow from its beginning stages, washing spuds in a bathtub and a farmers market distribution to over 50 million in pounds sold. The Little Potato Company Ltd. holds the proprietary rights on all its varieties which are now sold through retailers and foodservice across Canada and the USA,

Market demand has dictated plans for expansion both of fields and production facilities. With over 4500 acres of small potatoes grown in regions such as Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia , PEI in Canada and California, Washington, Colorado, and Georgia in the USA and packing in Edmonton and PEI.

Alison Sunstrum

Co-CEO and Chief Technology Evangelist
GrowSafe Systems Ltd.
Airdrie, Alberta, Canada

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Presentation Title: Climb the corporate ladder, or build an elevator in your own building?
Alison will share her experience of 'building her own elevator' by kick starting, boot strapping, and sustaining a highly creative team of geeks and nerds on a mission to revolutionize the livestock industry.

As Co-CEO/Owner and Chief Technology Evangelist, Alison Sunstrum has led GrowSafe Systems from an Alberta "skunkworks" to a high tech Ag company operating globally. She holds patents for innovative technology and has presented and published articles on electronic data interchange, precision livestock farming and developing early stage technology ventures.

Courtenay Wolfe

Former President and CEO
Salida Capital
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Presentation Title: The Power of Networking
How do you effectively build and leverage your network to accelerate your career and achieve your personal and professional goals? Successful networking is a life skill that also builds credibility, leadership and influencing skills. Learn success practices, systems and tools that can help you incorporate this powerful skill into your busy schedules and daily lives.

Courtenay is the former President and CEO of Salida Capital LP. During her tenure, Salida was one of Canada's most established private investment management firms winning numerous prestigious performance awards in Canada, Europe and the United States. Courtenay is currently active in the area of venture capital and private equity. She is an avid board member and sits or has sat on numerous for profit boards in a diverse area of sectors from technology to agriculture. Courtenay is passionate and involved in the area of philanthropy. In 2009, Courtenay founded the Salida Capital Foundation. In 2010, Courtenay established a partnership with the William J. Clinton Foundation for sustainable agriculture and development in Africa. In 2013, Courtenay visited numerous countries in Africa with former President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton including touring the successful work they have done with farmers in Malawi. Courtenay was recognized as one of 2011's top 50 global Leading Woman in Hedge Funds. Courtenay is a member of the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO).

"I just wanted to send you a note to thank you for spearheading the amazing Advancing Women conference — this will prove to be a transformative event for many, myself included."

Lyndsey Smith

To read and view the complete coverage of the conference by Real Agriculture visit:
Read the Western Producer article from
the conference:
Women Crack Business Barrier
Read the Alberta Farmer Express article from
the conference:
It's no longer a man's world in agriculture
Thank you to our 2014 sponsors for being the champions for women in the ag industry.

Thank-You to Our 2014 Sponsors
Along with our high profile industry speakers, select "Speaker Sponsors" addressed the conference and share their inspirations and ideas.

About the Conference
Home About the Conference Registration Sponsorship