Advancing Women

Clare Beckton

Executive Director
Centre for Women in Politics and Public Leadership, SPPA
Nepean Ontario

Presentation: Women Entrepreneurship and Risk
Clare will speak about the findings and recommendations of the study examining how women entrepreneurs look at risk and what it means for financial institutions and entrepreneurs.


Clare Beckton BA LLB MPA is the author of Own-it Your Success, Your Future, Your Life. Clare is Executive Director of the Centre for Women in Politics and Public Leadership. She is a former senior executive in the Government of Canada including roles as head of agency for Status of Women Canada and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Aboriginal Affairs Justice Canada. Clare taught law at Dalhousie university and published a number of articles on the Canadian Charter of Rights and freedoms. She is a recipient of a Fulbright scholarship and Littauer fellowship, studying at Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2004-2005. She serves on a number of boards including the Harvard women's Leadership Board and UNICEF's 25th team. She has been recognized by WXN as one of Canada's 100 most powerful women along with other recognition for her leadership. She blogs for the Huffington Post and is a sought after speaker.
Website -
Twitter - @ownit_clare
LinkedIn - clarebeckton

Janice Berg

Director, Veterinary Services
Merck Animal Health
Kirkland, Quebec

Dr. Berg graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan. She worked in a mixed animal practice in southern Alberta for five years and then became the staff veterinarian at a large agri-business operation with the primary focus being feedlot herd health and clinical research. In 2005, Dr. Berg joined Schering‑Plough Animal Health as a Technical Services Veterinarian in the cattle business unit. She has been in the animal health pharmaceutical industry since that time. She is currently the Director of Veterinary Services for Merck Animal Health.

Marie-Hélène Budworth

Associate Professor
School of Human Resource Management, York University
Toronto, Ontario

Title of Presentation: Networking for success: Lesson from social science research
Becoming a savvy networker is a critical skill for success. Are you making meaningful connections with others? Is your network 'built' for success? And are you able to realize the value from your connections? Dr. Budworth and her colleagues recently completed a social network study of women's careers in the agriculture sector. In this talk she will share the key findings of this research focussing on practical, evidence based guidance for success negotiating both in business and in our broader lives.

Marie-Hélène Budworth is the Director of the School of Human Resource Management, York University. She is an award winning professor and researcher who publishes internationally in academic journals. Her research has been profiled in print media as well as broadcast media throughout Canada and the US. She pioneered the development of the negotiations education program in HRM at York University. She teaches regularly at all degree levels from undergraduate to doctoral studies as well as within the Executive learning programs. Her current research projects are in the area of employee motivation, influence, and learning.

Tara Conway
Vice President, Commercial Bank
BMO Bank of Montreal
Brantford, Ontario

Workshop Speaker

Title of Presentation: Working with Your Banker
Tara will be part of the BMO workshop of speakers giving you tips and practical information on how to build a better working relationship with your banker.

Tara Conway is most proud of the many different careers she has held, all within Bank of Montreal. Tara began her career as a teller in Drumbo, Ontario. In her 19 years at BMO, she has worked in various roles within personal and commercial banking, Including many roles in sales and a short time in Headquarters. In her current position as Vice President, Commercial Banking she is accountable for financial services the Bank Provides to its Commercial and Agriculture customers within the Brantford - Simcoe Markets. Tara leads a team of ten Commercial Account Manager. Many specialize in financing a widerange of agriculture clients engaged in primary production. Agriculture customers represent more than 60% of the portfolio did Tara is accountable for. She is a very passionate leader with a strong focus on employee engagement. Knowing did the employee experience impacts the customer experience, Tara Strives to Ensure all her employees reach Their full potential.Tara has to MBA from Dalhousie University, and is a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers. She is a director on the national board for BMO Pride and is the Treasurer for Nova Vita, a Domestic Violence Prevention Centre in Brantford.

Amy Cronin
Cronin Family Farms
Bluevale, Ontario

Title of Presentation: Walking the Tight Rope
As a passionate agricultural enthusiast, Amy works to balance a large family, a growing farm business on both sides of the border, and extensive community involvement and industry leadership. Holding it all together requires energy, a fantastic support system, and a belief in collaborating to make things better.

Amy Cronin is a mother of six children, hog producer, and a business owner in Huron County, Ontario. Amy and her husband Mike were chosen as the Outstanding Young Farmers for Ontario in March and for Canada in November 2015. Amy has been the Chair of the Ontario Pork Board of Directors since 2012, where she brings the wealth of her experience of the North American hog market to the table. She also served as Chair of the Ontario Agriculture Sustainability Coalition in 2012 and 2013; and actively participates in the Presidents' Council. Also, Amy is a Huron-Perth Catholic School Board Trustee, and is on the board of the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwestern Ontario. She is a graduate of both the Advanced Agricultural Leadership Program and Canadian Total Excellence In Agricultural Management Program. Amy's commitment to family, farm life and industry fuels her passion for producing safe, nutritious and highest-quality pork products.

Cynthia Crowley

Crovalley Holsteins
Hastings, Ontario

Title of Presentation: The "IT" Factor
Sometimes you may think that you haven't got "IT" until you realize that you had "IT" all along! Exploring the world of dairy farming and its adventures that helped me find my "IT" factor.

Graduating from the University of Toronto with a Commerce major and English minor, Cynthia had no prior knowledge of dairy farming. After working The Quaker Oats Company in the Finance Department, Cynthia resigned her position to take on a new career direction at Crovalley Holsteins, where she is Partner with her husband John. Quickly she realized that a different set of skills were going to be needed on the farm beyond her corporate training and she "diversified"! Serving on a number of boards over the years has allowed Cynthia to gain perspective of the challenges and opportunities faced by women in the industry. Cynthia's family farm has received a number of accolades and is recognized nationally and internationally in the dairy industry for production, genetics and showing. Cynthia remains optimistic and positive about changes in agriculture and enjoys seeing her four children, Christina, Justin, Ryan and Vanessa follow their passions in the industry. On a quiet Sunday afternoon, Cynthia enjoys a glass of wine, a good murder mystery novel and contemplating what she will wear to the barn for "the girls" on Monday morning #fashionfarmherforever.

Teresa Ann De Wetering

De Wetering Hill Farms
Stratford, Ontario
Past IT Professional
Past Certified Project Management Professional (PMP)

Presentation Title: Choices and where they lead you
In life, and particularly in mine, one has many career choices and opportunities. I have found that once the choice is made and you stick with it you will ultimately be on the right path to success. Most importantly is to keep true to yourself and your lifetime goals.

Teresa started her 20-year career in Information Technology (IT) after receiving her Business Information Systems diploma from Fanshawe College. While working in the life insurance industry, Teresa earned her Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario with complimentary studies at University of Melbourne, VIC, Australia. She transitioned to consulting project management roles working with leading software companies based in Australia, within the apparel and warehousing industries in Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

In 2000 she returned to the family farm and met her future husband Rich and together they took the opportunity to start their own family farm - a hog/cash crop and beef business in Perth County.

In 2008, Teresa helped start the Beginning Farmer Group - a lobby group on behalf of beginning beef & hog producers, and worked via the Ontario Federation of Agriculture on the issues; served on Ontario Pork Safety-Net committee and was the Perth County Pork Producer Association secretary for 2009.

She is proud to say that being a stay at home farm wife, mother and business partner to her husband is a career choice and for sure the most challenging and rewarding career she's ever had…not too mention never ending.

Dianne Finstad

Communications Specialist
Red Deer, Alberta

Master of Ceremonies

Dianne Finstad is a communications specialist with a passion for all things agriculture. She spent over thirty years as a broadcaster and reporter, specializing in agriculture and rodeo coverage. Raised on a ranch in southern Alberta, she was able to combine her 4-H inspired interests in communication and ag into an interesting career, which now takes her to exciting places like Advancing Women in Agriculture conferences. Based in Red Deer, she began her career at CKRD-TV and radio. Her program 'This Business of Farming' was a staple in many rural households around the province. She also worked at KG Country Radio, providing daily farm reports and regular rodeo coverage. As well, Dianne has MC'd at events ranging from Farm Credit Canada Forums to national dairy shows. She works as both a show announcer and rodeo reporter at the Calgary Stampede. Her work has received numerous awards, and she is an honorary member of the Alberta Institute of Agrologists and the Alberta Human Ecology and Home Economics Association. Dianne is currently doing agriculture, rodeo, writing and speaking work across the country.

Leanne Freitag

Ontario Regional Agronomy Lead
Cargill AgHorizons
Princeton, Ontario

Leanne Freitag grew up on a small pig and cash crop farm in Perth County. Despite being discouraged from going to school for agriculture, she did it anyway. She graduated in 2000 from the University of Guelph with a degree in Agronomy. Leanne has been with Cargill AgHorizons for 15 years and is currently the Ontario Regional Agronomy Lead. She leads a team of Agronomists across Southwestern and Central Ontario who deliver advice to farmers to help enhance crop production on their farm. She is passionate about agronomy, Ontario agriculture, and encouraging people to become part of this dynamic industry. Her first passion is her family of 3 young children and husband Derek. Leanne loves spending time in the great outdoors, and enjoys quilting, running, and reading when she finds the time.

Sheri Griffiths

Regional Vice President of Commercial Banking
Great Toronto Area – North
BMO Financial Group
Toronto, Ontario

Workshop Speaker

Title of Presentation: Working with Your Banker
Sheri will be part of the BMO workshop of speakers giving you tips and practical information on how to build a better working relationship with your banker.

Sheri Griffiths is responsible for Bank of Montreal's Commercial business in the GTA Region. Sheri brings over 25 years of extensive retail and commercial experience to this role. She has been with BMO for 15 years starting as a Service Leader in Scarborough then as a Branch Manager in Oshawa as well as in Scarborough. She left the Greater Toronto Division to be a Personal Banking Area Manager in 2007 and relocated her family to Stratford. She then moved to Chatham/Sarnia for her first Commercial leadership post in 2009 and was there 3 years before moving on as Vice President Commercial Banking for Windsor Essex 2 years ago. Previously she was with a trust company for 12 years where she started her career in banking as a Customer Service Representative. Sheri holds an MBA from Dalhousie University.

Tonya Haverkamp

Listowel, Ontario

Presentation Title: From Trucker School to Beauty School and Back to the Farm
Hear Tonya share the life skills she learnt as she took the "long trip around" from taking her career off the farm, only to come back to the farm – and she is proud she did!

Tonya operates and manages the barns of her third generation family egg farm in Listowel, Ontario. After growing up on the family farm, Tonya took several turns in her career and tried several career options only to find that they did not provide her with the environment she wanted. While attending school, Tonya was hired at Zehrs and she made it a career for 14 years in positions of great responsibility. An opportunity came up while at Zehrs to manage the family layer and pullet operation which she did part time for two years, before deciding to "come back" full time to the family farm. Tonya has been a delegate with the EFO for the past two years, loves to volunteer at fairs like the Royal Winter Fair, and has taken part in the CYFF and the EFC's Young Farmer Program. Tonya was selected to take part in the 'Who Made Your Eggs Today' campaign where she promoted eggs and World Egg Month by presented easy egg recipes on local news programs along with advertising across Ontario. Last year, she also spoke at the EFO's 50 anniversary. Tonya is very proud to be an Egg Farmer and couldn't imagine being anywhere else but back in the barns!

Trish Jordan

Director, Public and Industry Affairs, Global Corporate Engagement
Monsanto Canada Inc.
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Presentation Title: Advocating for Agriculture: Sharing your story with any audience
It's no secret that today, everyone is talking about agriculture, food and farming and everyone has an opinion that willingly gets shared, whether true or not. How do you speak up and share your story with media, family, friends and consumers & how can you do it confidently and in a non-confrontational way? Trish will share her tips for engaging in respectful conversations with people who don't always agree with you or may just not have the full context about modern agriculture.

Trish Jordan is passionate about agriculture, farmers and enhancing agricultural awareness with the non-farming public.

In her current role as Public and Industry Affairs Director with Monsanto Canada, she sits on Monsanto's Canadian Leadership Team and is responsible for providing strategic communications support to core business activities, media relations and issues management. Trish also manages Monsanto Canada's Grower Advisory Council, serves as Co-Chair of Monsanto Canada's Employee Diversity and Inclusion Council, and directs the company's recent efforts to engage with consumer audiences to share Monsanto's story, which is really a story about modern agriculture.

Trish started her career in agriculture with Alberta Wheat Pool, a farmer-owned grain co-op based in Calgary. After 12 years in a wide-variety of communication-related roles with Alberta Pool, she had the opportunity to assume the position of Director of Resources and Communication with Canadian Foodgrains Bank – a Christian-based non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Winnipeg. She also worked for a brief period of time in advertising and media relations with the Canadian Wheat Board before joining Monsanto in January 2001.

She donates her time to a number of boards and committees, including Agriculture in the Classroom-Manitoba, the Council for Biotechnology Information, Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame and CropLife Canada's Advocacy, Communications and Trust committee. In 2013, Trish was honoured to receive the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her leadership in agriculture; advocacy for innovation and competitiveness; and her commitment to community service.

In her time outside of work, Trish is an avid competitive golfer and passionate curler. She also enjoys NFL Football, curling up with a good book, and spending time on the farm with her closest friends.

Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst

Executive Director
Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council
Ottawa, Ontario

Presentation: Breaking Barriers to Women Achieving Leadership Positions
The latest research findings will be presented on how best to support the advancement of women in agricultural leadership positions.

Portia MacDonald-Dewhirst is the Executive Director of the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC), a national, non-profit organization focused on addressing human resource issues facing agricultural businesses across Canada. Portia holds a Master's degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and has a wealth of experience in strategic Human Resource Management. Ms. MacDonald-Dewhirst is an active member of industry based Boards and is currently guiding the national Labour Task Force and the Agriculture & Agri-food Workforce Action Plan for the industry.

Sharon MacLeod

Vice President, Personal Care
Unilever North America
New York, New York

Presentation: Lessons from the Farm to the Corporate Boardroom

A seasoned business leader and marketer, over the last decade Sharon MacLeod led Dove's award winning Campaign for Real Beauty and Self Esteem Project in Canada, two initiatives that promote positive self-esteem in girls and women. As the Vice President of Unilever Personal Care North America, she is a business leader on Unilever's Global Personal Care Leadership Team responsible for the strategy of Unilever's leading brands such as Dove and TRESemmé.

As a Unilever Global Diversity Champion, Ms. MacLeod works on diversity programs with colleagues around the world and has taken a leadership role in shaping the agenda for diversity and inclusion at Unilever North America.

Sharon was recognized in 2014 with the Catalyst Canada Honours as a Business Leader, while the Women's Executive Network chose her as one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2013 and 2014.

Mary Lou McCutcheon

Vice President, Southwestern Ontario Agriculture
Royal Bank of Canada
Woodstock, Ontario

As Vice President, Southwestern Ontario Agriculture, Mary Lou McCutcheon leads a team of Account Managers serving Agriculture and Agribusiness clients. Southwestern Ontario's clients reflect the diversity of the Region with particular concentrations in dairy, poultry, hogs and cash crop.

Mary Lou has worked in business finance for over 15 years with a focus on Agriculture and Agribusiness. Her experience has also involved trade and agriculture commodity organization management.

With respect to community involvement, Mary Lou is a past president of the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame

Mary Lou and her family reside in Perth East.

Janice McDonald

The Beacon Agency
Ottawa, Ontario

Presentation: Women Entrepreneurs and Risk: A Force to Reckon With
Janice will provide an overview of findings and recommendations from our national study.

Janice McDonald is a trusted advisor and strategist. An award-winning serial entrepreneur, she has expertise in the music industry, apparel/accessories and start-ups. She has Leadership training from Harvard & INSEAD and was appointed to Women's Leadership Board at Harvard Kennedy School. She has many career achievements including driving the financial turnaround&re-branding of Women in Communications and Technology as Board chair 2013 to 2015. She is Chair International Women's Forum Canada Ottawa Chapter. WXN recognized Janice as Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2013, 2014 and 2015. She was awarded World of Difference 100 Award in Washington- International Alliance for Women & National Leadership Award- Canadian Women in Communications & WCT's Chairs Award of Distinction in 2016. A sought after speaker on Leadership and Entrepreneurship, she had a successful radio show for many years. Her TEDx talk has been viewed over 10,000 times and counting. Janice has B.A. Communications, M.A. Canadian Studies, certification from The Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution, ICD.D designation- The Institute of Corporate Directors and an M.F.A.from King's. She is President of The Beacon Agency It works with innovative brands to make the good they do count. She is an Advisor for Cornell Queens EMBA program & works with international executives on New Venture/Management Consulting Projects. She is a mentor in communications & business & serves on numerous boards. An Advisor for Sprott School of Business Carleton University, board member of & Ashbury College. She is Co-founder of

Jenny Ose
Manager, Ag& Turf, Canadian Sales Region
John Deere Canada ULC
Grimsby, Ontario

Jenny Ose is based out of Grimsby, Ontario where she leads the A&T Sales team for all of Canada. Together with her team, Jenny focuses on delivering profitable and sustainable Market Share growth, developing our channel partners through scale and optimization, and supporting our customers to achieve favorable Customer Experience metrics across the lifecycle of our products and solutions.
Jenny has worked for John Deere for 21 years in a variety of roles and locations. She has experience in all Ag & Turf segments: Turf, Small Ag, and Large Ag. She has held positions of increasing responsibility in Product and Factory Marketing; with the Hay and Forage product line globally, Small Tractors in Augusta, Georgia, and Harvesting Equipment in Zweibrucken, Germany. She led the Strategic Marketing organization at the John Deere Sales and Marketing headquarters in Indaiatuba, Brazil.

Jenny held a number of field, sales, and operations positions: Territory Customer Support Manager, Territory Sales Manager, Dealer Development Manager, and Division Sales Manager. She led the development of the US & Canada Sales Operations group, which supported the Enterprise Critical Initiatives on Large Ag & Small Tractors, Business Analytics, Strategic Planning, the 2018 Ambition, and a Sales Support team.

Jenny earned a Bachelor's degree from Augsburg College and a Master of Business Administration from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Jenny and her husband Shawn enjoy traveling to new places as well as spending time with family at familiar places like Jenny's family farm in Thief River Falls, MN or their vacation spot in Florida.

John M. Paniccia, CPA, CA, CBV
Business Advisory & Succession Planning - Central Canada
BMO Wealth Management
Toronto, Ontario

Workshop Speaker

Title of Presentation: Working with Your Banker

John will be part of the BMO workshop of speakers giving you tips and practical information on how to build a better working relationship with your banker.

John is an experienced business advisor and brings a broad base of technical and business planning experience to BMO Wealth Management. John offers individuals and business owners expertise in business succession, transition, sale, M&A, insurance and valuations for the purposes of wealth planning and transfer.

John has over 15 years of experience primarily in the Big 4 professional services firms, as well as experience in a family owned private business. Within professional practice, John has lead a significant number of complex business valuations and business advisory engagements for private and public companies involved in a variety of industries in connection with M&A, corporate reorganizations & income tax planning, shareholder disputes, corporate finance activities, as well as succession, tax & estate planning for private business owners.

John holds an Honours Degree in Business Administration from the Schulich School of Business, York University, and is a Chartered Accountant (CPA, CA) and a Chartered Business Valuator (CBV).

Sophie Perreault
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
Farm Credit Canada
Regina, Saskatchewan

Presentation Title: 5 Things I've Learned About Leadership
A well-known quote about leadership reads "what got you here won't get you there." In her presentation, Sophie explains how her approach to leadership has changed through her time at FCC – and how those changes have impacted the way she shows up at work every day.

Sophie Perreault is Executive Vice-President and COO at FCC. Her extensive knowledge base, infectious sense of humour and limitless energy make for an insightful, enjoyable audience experience. She's keen to share her insights about Canadian agriculture, finance, business and leadership – or any other topic close to her heart – to the benefit of all around her.

Sophie has an agricultural economics degree from Laval University and has been at FCC more than 20 years. She started as a Relationship Manager and moved on to leadership roles in lending and non-lending areas – a career path that gave her a deep understanding of agriculture financing. Sophie's remarkable ability to learn on the fly has been put to the test: she has taken on and excelled at several previously undefined roles, including leading a major transformation of IT systems. She was VP of Operations in Quebec, VP of Enterprise Integration and Innovation and most recently VP of Agribusiness and Venture Capital. Outside work, Sophie is a board member for the Regina Food Bank.

Dr. Marla Shapiro MDCM, CCFP, MHSc, FRCP, FCFP, NCMP

Medical Contributor to CTV’s Canada AM and Medical Consultant for CTV News
Toronto, Ontario

Presentation Title: Aging Well – can we defy aging or are we just looking better?
Strategies for healthy aging will be reviewed in this engaging presentation.

Dr. Marla Shapiro is one of Canada's most trusted guides to personal health and well-being. A warm, compelling, and compassionate speaker, she gives practical advice on developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Shapiro offers specialized talks on women and family health care and discusses the pressing issues at the forefront of today's news.

Dr. Marla Shapiro completed medical school at McGill University and trained at the University of Toronto for her Masters of Health Science in Community Health and Epidemiology. She trained in Family Medicine and is certified by the Canadian College of Family Practice. She concluded her specialty training in Preventive Medicine and Public Health, receiving her Fellowship from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. She holds a Fellowship in Family Medicine and is a North American Menopause Society credentialed menopause specialist.

Since 2000, Dr. Shapiro has been the Health and Medical Expert for Canada AM. In addition to her weekly appearances on Canada AM, Dr. Shapiro is seen regularly on CTV News Channel and as the medical consultant on CTV National News. In 2012, she hosted CTV News Channel’s Dr. Marla & Friends, a weekly series examining the most current and news-driven medical topics and stories. In addition, Dr. Shapiro has contributes topical, medical investigative documentaries for CTV’s W5, Canada’s most-watched documentary series. In 2003, she began hosting Balance: Television for Living Well, a refreshing daily health and lifestyle show seen across North American households.

In 2015, Dr. Shapiro was named a member of the Order of Canada, for contributions as a family physician and trusted source of health information.

Dr. Shapiro has written a regular column for the Globe and Mail. She currently writes her weekly blog on the website. Dr. Shapiro is the Founding Editor of ParentsCanada Magazine.

Additionally, Dr. Shapiro is a member of several committees and advisory boards including the Board for the Canadian Foundation for Women and Health, Research Canada and The North American Menopause Society. She was on the original Board of The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer having stepped down after 6 years.

Dr. Shapiro was honoured at the 150th Bayer Anniversary among 22 leading scientists and researchers for her work in Women's Health and contraception, and she was also named one of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women by Women of Influence Magazine in Canada. In 2011, The Israeli Cancer Research Fund honoured Dr. Shapiro at their Women of Action Luncheon for her personal and professional dedication to supporting innovative cancer research. She was the recipient of the 2010 Peter R. Newman Humanitarian Award in recognition of an exemplary commitment to the welfare of individuals or the community, at home or abroad. Dr. Shapiro was the recipient of the 2005 Media Award from the North American Menopause Society for her work in expanding the understanding of menopause. She won the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada/Canadian Foundation for Women's Health Award for Excellence in Women's Health Journalism in 2006 for her documentary, Run Your Own Race. The documentary was written, presented and co-produced by Dr. Shapiro, and won numerous industry awards including the New York Film Festival and the Columbus International Film and Video award.

Dr. Shapiro received an Award of Excellence from the College of Family Physicians of Canada for her lifelong commitment and dedication to family medicine in 2008. As well she was awarded the Excellence in Creative Professional Activity in 2008 by the University of Toronto, Department of Family and Community Medicine.

Her national best-selling book, Life in the Balance: My Journey with Breast Cancer, was released in Fall 2006.

Marci Shimoff

#1 NY Times Bestselling Author and Transformational Leader
San Anselmo, California

Title of Presentation: Happy for No Reason
In this dynamic presentation, you’ll learn breakthrough methods to raise your happiness set-point. Along with hearing moving, real-life stories of people who are Happy for No Reason and the latest research findings on happiness, you’ll walk away with practical tools you can use right away to experience a greater state of deep and authentic happiness.

Marci Shimoff is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, a world-renowned transformational teacher and an expert on happiness, success, and unconditional love.

Her books include the international bestsellers Happy for No Reason and Love for No Reason. Marci is also the woman’s face of the biggest self-help book phenomenon in history, as co-author of six books in the Chicken Soup for the Woman’s Soul series. With total book sales of more than 15 million copies worldwide in 33 languages, Marci is one of the bestselling female nonfiction authors of all time.

Marci is also a featured teacher in the international film and book sensation, The Secret and the host of the PBS TV show called Happy for No Reason. She narrated the award-winning movie called Happy.

President and co-founder of the Esteem Group, Marci delivers keynote addresses and seminars on happiness, success, empowerment, and unconditional love to Fortune 500 companies, professional and non-profit organizations, women’s associations and audiences around the world.

Marci is currently leading a one-year mentoring program called Your Year of Miracles. Her opening seminar has been heard my more than 70,000 people.

Marci earned her MBA from UCLA and holds an advanced certificate as a stress management consultant. She is a founding member and on the board of directors of the Transformational Leadership Council, a group of 100 top transformational leaders.

Through her books and her presentations, Marci’s message has touched the hearts and rekindled the spirits of millions of people throughout the world. She is dedicated to helping people live more empowered and joy-filled lives.

Linda Smart
Vice President Commercial & Agriculture Banking – Ontario
National Bank of Canada
Toronto, Ontario

As Vice President Commercial & Agriculture Banking – Ontario since November 1, 2012, Linda Smart ensures that all the operations of the business line serving commercial clients in the Ontario region run smoothly.

At the time of her appointment, Ms. Smart was Vice President Corporate Finance & Specialized Lending, a position she held since November 2000. She has been with National Bank of Canada since 1989 and has successively held the positions of Branch Manager, Commercial Account Manager and Senior Manager serving a full range of customers, from small to large corporations.

In addition to her professional activities, Ms. Smart volunteers with various community organizations, including Junior Achievement of Central Ontario and for the past four years has served on their Board of Governors.

Ms. Smart has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto.

Deb Stark
Deputy Minister
Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs
Guelph, Ontario

Presentation Title: From Telling Stories to Building Visions, Our Next Grand Challenge
Deb will open the conference with how women have a different vision for agriculture and poses the question: Should we create a collective message from women to government? Join us to hear Deb's thoughts on what we could be doing to increase our impact and model the inclusiveness we want from others.

Deb Stark is the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Over the years Deb has held several senior positions including Chief Veterinarian for Ontario, and Assistant Deputy Minister in both the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, as well as Chair of the OPSEU Pension Trust. In 2012, Deb was the OPS Amethyst Fellow at the Queen's University School of Policy Studies.

Deputy Stark holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph, and a MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University.

Katherine Surgenor
Senior Partner
Ogilvy & Mather
Toronto, Ontario

Title of Presentation: Personal Branding
How to create a personal brand to open up professional opportunities that could lead to a better job, better contacts for you and your company, personal and industry recognition and potentially influence people in a positive fashion.

Commodities Broker. Advertising Executive. International Farmer.

Katherine Surgenor began creating her personal brand more than 25 years ago. Her first job as a Commodities Broker laid the foundation for her award-winning, 23-year Advertising career at some of the world's top agencies. In turn, it is her advertising career that in many ways prepared her to become the owner of her family's olive orchards in Greece.

Katherine has a wealth of global advertising account management experience, across all channels, but her passion lies in business-to-business marketing – demonstrated in her lead roles on accounts as diverse as Air Miles for Business, IBM, BP, Government of Canada,, Microsoft, DuPont Canada Crop Protection and DuPont Pioneer Seed.

Today Katherine is Senior Partner at Ogilvy and Mather, one of the largest marketing communications companies in the world and the global Agency of Record for DuPont Canada Crop Protection and DuPont Pioneer Seed.

A much sought-after speaker, Katherine is also a highly-respected mentor and educator in the advertising industry. With a passion for learning and enrichment, she has developed leading-edge training courses at three different advertising agencies.

Katherine's personal brand is a product of her years in the financial and advertising worlds and now farming. She is a living, breathing example of how deep career satisfaction can lead to remarkable personal and professional opportunities.

Rory Vaden
Co-Founder of Southwestern Consulting and Self-Discipline Strategist
and Author of Take The Stairs
Southwestern Consulting
Nashville, Tennessee

Title of Presentation: Procrastinate on Purpose
Time is the one thing you can't get more of, isn't it? Walk away with actionable steps as New York Times Best Selling Author, Rory Vaden, teaches you how to Procrastinate on Purpose and truly overcome time management issues. You will learn how to multiply your time by investing time in things today that will give you more time tomorrow, why time management is not just logical, it's emotional, and how to take control of fear, worry and guilt so you can make better decisions. This is a presentation you will want to make time for.

Rory Vaden is widely regarded in the media as one of the world's leading strategists on overcoming procrastination, increasing self-discipline and in helping people to do the things they know they should be doing that they don't feel like doing. His first book Take the Stairs was a #1 Wall Street Journal, and #2 New York Times bestseller that has since been translated into 11 languages. As an entrepreneur, Rory co-founded Southwestern Consulting™, which is now an 8-figure global consulting and coaching practice with more than 115 team members who have served over 7000 clients in 35 countries. Rory's insights have been featured on Fox and Friends, Oprah radio, CNN and in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc. and Success Magazine. Rory's own blog, social media outlets and podcast receive over 4 million impressions each month and Alexa just listed Rory's blog as one of the top 30 leadership blogs in the world. His new book Procrastinate On Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time was released last January and was an instant National Bestseller. Entrepreneur magazine recently referred to Rory as "one of world's leading productivity thinkers."

"Self-Discipline Strategist", Rory Vaden, MBA speaks to audiences around the world about how they can leverage self-discipline to achieve their goals in life. His book "Take the Stairs" is a #1 Wall St Journal, #1 USA Today, and #2 New York Times bestseller.

As an entrepreneur, he is the Cofounder of Southwestern Consulting™ a multimillion dollar global consulting practice with more than 70 team members that helps clients in more than 27 countries to grow their business and provide a better customer experience. Through a proprietary system of utilizing relevant data, time-tested principles, and implementing sales techniques that have been refined over 150 years by their parent company, Southwestern Consulting™ can teach anyone with a product or service how to sell more.

Rory's insights on overcoming procrastination and increasing productivity have been featured on Fox and Friends, Oprah radio, CNN and in Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Forbes, Inc, Success Magazine and many other media outlets. His articles and insights average more than 2 million views every month and he is the weekly host of a top 25 business news podcast called "Daily Discipline with Rory Vaden."

As a professional speaker, he speaks more than 150 times a year for some of America's best and brightest organizations including: Cargill, The Million Dollar Roundtable, P&G, Mass Mutual, True Value, YPO, Wells Fargo Advisors, Merck, Land O'Lakes, Novartis and hundreds more.

Connect on other social media, see Rory's appearance on Fox News, subscribe to his weekly podcast, and get more sales insights and inspiration all for free at

Elysia Vandenhurk

Three Farmers Products
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Title of Presentation: Getting Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable.
Choosing a path, making decisions and following through with them. Elysia will discuss how the choices/decisions that she and her business partner (sister) make for their company have impacted their growth, their brand, their professional relationships and of course their personal relationships. She will touch on some key lessons they have learned in making decisions inside and outside of the business and how they deal with the uncomfortable pressures, attention and judgment around their successes.

Elysia Vandenhurk is COO and part owner of Three Farmers and also a certified Red Seal Chef. She joined her sister at Three Farmers Products after practicing the culinary arts in Toronto under celebrity chef Susur Lee. Elysia's skills in the kitchen have proven to be invaluable at Three Farmers as they continue to expand their line of natural, healthy foods. Elysia has showcased their company and products on many national and regional television shows across Canada. Her role is to develop new value added agriculture products under the Three Farmers brand and distribute to the Canadian Natural Food Sector. She also heads up many sales and marketing initiatives to build relationships with consumers, business partners and influential people within the food industry.

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Advancing Women is created for every woman who wants to achieve success. Whether you are a crop, fruit, vegetable, dairy or livestock producer, own your own small or large ag business or in a career path with an ag organization or association - this conference is for you. Gain or hone the skills that will bring you success in your career, family life and community. Learn from those who have reached great heights in their career and life, and are ready to share the advice you may need on building life skills, financial independence and relationships in and outside the workplace. Looking for your dream job? Have the opportunity to network with women who have the same passion for agriculture as you do. Take the opportunity to listen, learn, network and grow. AWC is a one of a kind event. Register today. Be inspired for tomorrow.

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Discounted fares available from Air Canada for flights to Calgary to attend AWC East 2016. Book your flight and use the promotion code DGX4FXC1

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