Advancing Women

Janice Berg
Manager, Technical Services, Cattle and Equine Business Unit
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 and has been in the animal health pharmaceutical industry since that time. She is currently the technical services manager in the Cattle Business Unit.

Trish Booy
Manager, Agriculture, Alberta South Commercial Community
BMO Bank of Montreal
Red Deer Alberta

Presentation Title: Working with Your Banker
Learn about Canada’s banking system, and how to make it work for you. Receive the practical information you need to build a long-term relationship with your banker, so that if the time comes that you need strong financial support, you will truly appreciate the relationship you have developed with your banker – a relationship that may mean the difference between turning your business around or closing it down.

Trish received her undergraduate degree from the University of the Fraser Valley. During her career with BMO so far, Trish has worked as a Mid-Market Commercial Account Manager in Abbotsford, BC, before transferring to Red Deer, Alberta to take on her current role. Trish has a passion for agriculture and enjoys being able to work as a farmer personally while also enjoying the business side of the industry in her role. As a woman in agriculture, Trish believes it’s important to participate in the industry and to be a mentor to other women who wish to break into the industry as well.

Susan Brown
Senior Vice President, Alberta & Northwest Territories Division and SVP Women’s Market
BMO Bank of Montreal
Calgary, Alberta

Susan Brown is Senior Vice President, Alberta & NWT Division, BMO Bank of Montreal, and is responsible for the services the bank provides to its personal and commercial customers at BMO’s branches throughout the Alberta and NWT Region. Susan brings 28 years of experience in the banking industry to her position, much of which has been spent providing services to businesses in a wide range of industries. Susan joined BMO in 1994 in Edmonton. She received her first executive appointment in 2001 as Vice President, Saskatchewan District. In 2004, Susan was appointed Vice President, Calgary District. In 2006, she was appointed as the Senior Vice President, successfully leading first the Ontario Regional Division and then the Southwestern Ontario Division. In 2014, Susan returned home to Alberta when she was appointed to her current role.

Sandra Carpenter
Marketing Manager
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Sandra Carpenter is a marketing professional who started her career in agriculture in 1992. With over 25 years’ experience in marketing management, customer analytics and market research, she has held senior roles in a number of organizations in the agriculture, financial services and market research supply sectors. Since joining Cargill in 2009, Sandra has used her experience to foster customer focused innovation, leading teams through the creation and launch of 4 new consulting services and 2 new price risk management solutions. She is a champion for the use of marketing analytics and practices to better understand customer needs, behaviours and attitudes, and, is particularly passionate about helping Cargill to deliver an excellent farm customer experience. Most recently, Sandra has had the opportunity to participate in a global farmer segmentation project, allowing her to employ her skills at a global level.

Natalie Chan
Vice-President, Human Resources
Richardson International Limited

Natalie Chan is Vice-President, Human Resources for Richardson International Limited. Natalie joined Richardson International in 2009 in the role of Director, Employee Development, became Assistant Vice-President, Human Resources in 2011 and was promoted to her current role in 2014. She oversees the strategic direction of all HR initiatives, ensuring alignment with Richardson’s business strategy. Prior to joining Richardson International, Natalie’s HR career has included diverse experiences within numerous industries, including financial services, telecommunications and professional services.

Jennifer Christie
Dealer Development Manager
John Deere Canada ULC
Kitchener, Ontario

Title of Presentation: Build Your Own Door
Jen once saw a billboard that read, “if opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” After always saying “yes” to opportunities that came her way, Jen realized sometimes the right opportunity is waiting for you to create it, so she did, twice! She applies the same mentality to her vision for agriculture’s future in Canada; some only see the risks and Jen strives to see the opportunities and create them.


As comfortable on the seat of a tractor as she is in a boardroom, Jennifer splits her time between her family’s 6th generation dairy and grain farm in Bruce County and developing marketing strategy with John Deere dealers across Canada. Based out of Kitchener, she enjoys the learning opportunities of working in today’s agri-business environment, and is an avid traveler, foodie and passionate “agvocate” on social media and beyond. Prior to her current role as a Dealer Development Manager with John Deere, Jennifer was a Territory Sales Manager in Ontario and the Canadian promotions lead for the global equipment leader. She has established relationships with many producers across Canada, enjoys challenging the status quo and is a strong advocate for youth, women and agriculture producers. Jennifer is establishing a women’s agri-business network in Southern Ontario, is a director and volunteer leader for 4-H Canada, and co-founded the Canadian Agri-Business Education Foundation. Chosen as one of the 2013 Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada by the Women’s Executive Network and The National Post, Jennifer has an Executive MBA from the Ivey School of Business at Western University and a Bachelor of Commerce in Agriculture Business from the University of Guelph.

Chef Lynn Crawford
Lynn Crawford Consulting Inc.
Toronto, Ontario

Title of Presentation: The Life Skills You Need to Succeed
Chef Lynn will talk about her aspirations, and how she became to be so successful in a male dominant profession. How did she achieve everything she has to date – what motivated her and inspired her to be as great as she is. How has she built her brand using media (social and otherwise) and networking.

Food Network Celebrity Chef and celebrated award-nominated cookbook author, Lynn Crawford has over 25 years of culinary experience. Lynn is the chef-owner of Ruby Watchco, in 2010, Lynn launched Ruby Watchco, a market inspired, Chef driven, restaurant in Toronto’s East End, which has garnered critical acclaim as one of the best restaurants in the country. Lynn opened in April 2015, her new restaurant “The Hearth” at the Pearson International Airport Toronto; featuring her flavourful creations. Lynn was the formerly executive chef for the Four Seasons Hotel in both Toronto and New York.

Chef Lynn has starred in the popular Food Network Show, Pitchin’ In. The show, followed Lynn as she visits farmers, growers, and fishermen across North America in search of the freshest and best ingredients. Throughout her journey, she takes on any challenge, relying on locals to show her how it’s done. Lynn’s dynamic hosting and the series was nominated for a Gemini Award in 2010, 2011 and 2013. The show spawned Chef Lynn’s first best-selling cookbook (2012) Pitchin’ In: More Than 100 Great Recipes from Simple Ingredients. Her second best-selling cookbook, At Home with Lynn Crawford, was released in September 2013. Simple, real home cooking that's full of great flavour is the secret to Crawford's favourite everyday recipes that she serves at home.
Chef Lynn has made regular television appearances on programs such as Iron Chef America, Top Chef Masters Season Five, Restaurant Makeover, Top Chef Canada and currently a resident judge on Chopped Canada. In addition, she is the Chef Ambassador for Egg Farmers of Canada.

Chef Lynn Crawford has teamed up with Waterview Market to create a signature line of delicious sauces and marinades that pair perfectly with the best shrimp in the market. This new line of delicious shrimp features six flavours that will delight any discerning palette.

Chef Lynn Crawford has some big plans for 2015, including a new cookbook and TV show “The Great Canadian Cookbook”.

Leona Dargis
Fly Higher Inc.
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory

Title of Presentation: Let Adversity Become Authenticity
Women are strong beings who persevere through many challenges in life. Listen to Leona as she shares her personal story of taking unimaginable change and turning it into your authentic self.

Leona is an accomplished motivational and inspirational speaker whose speaking engagements have not only taken her across North America but the world. Her story began in rural North Eastern Alberta. She is the eldest of five daughters who were raised on their family farm consisting of 7,000 acres of cropland and a 4,000 head feedlot. Together they learned the values of hard work, perseverance and gratitude. After the sudden passing of her parents in 2007, Leona and her sisters carried on their legacy in continuing to operate the farm business all while supporting each other to pursue their dreams. Earlier that same year Leona graduated from Olds College with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Agribusiness. Her leadership role in representing the next generation in agriculture is global. Her past commitments to organizations like the Canadian Young Farmers Forum and the Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth have awarded her one of three prestigious Canadian Nuffield Scholarships in 2011. This enabled her to study the topic of succession planning and farm diversification around the world. She traveled to countries such as: India, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Her most recent trips to Africa gave her a hands-on experience on the importance of subsistence farming and education, which she treasures most. She leads by setting an example and will share her stories that exemplify how to take unimaginable change, adapt to it and succeed.

Chantelle Donahue
Vice President, Corporate Affairs
Cargill Limited
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Title of Presentation: Life - It's All About Choice!
Chantelle will share the journey she has had to get her to this point in life - including some of the challenges faced and how she overcame them. Growing up on a farm in Biggar, Saskatchewan she never thought it would be possible to be a mother, wife, farm-owner and Vice-President. She will share what she does to continually try and juggle it all.

Chantelle Donahue is the Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Cargill in Canada. She oversees government/regulatory relations, industry relations, media relations and corporate social responsibility. The role is based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Chantelle’s responsibilities extend across Cargill’s 14 business units in the areas of beef, poultry, malt, grain handling and port services, animal nutrition, canola processing and others.
Chantelle brings 16 years of experience to her current role.  Previous roles include supply chain and general management at Prairie Malt Limited, merchandizing for Cargill Limited and various roles which focused on agriculture research.

Currently, some of her board involvement includes: Board Member Farm Products Council of Canada, Co-Chair of the Grains and Oilseeds Roundtable, Co-Chair of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops, Past-Chair of the Canada Grains Council, Advisor for Advancing Women in Agriculture Project, Director of the Cereals Canada Board, Vice-Chair Barley Council of Canada, Member of the Western Grain Elevators Association Management Committee, Director of the Canadian National Millers Association, Director of the Malting Industry Association of Canada, among various others.

Chantelle has a Bachelor of Commerce Degree (with Distinction) from the University of Alberta, where she obtained a double major in Marketing and Agriculture Economics.

Along with her husband Greg, Chantelle operates a grain and oilseed farm in Biggar, Saskatchewan. She is the proud mother of her daughter, Abigail.

Bonnie DuPont, M.Ed, ICD.D
Senior Corporate Executive, Energy and Agricultural Industries
Calgary, Alberta

Title of Presentation: The Learning Journey: No Maps Included
Move out of your comfort zone, test the limits of your abilities and absorb the wisdom around you.

Ms. DuPont is an experienced senior executive, having served in both the grain and the energy industry. Her most recent position was as Group Vice President with Enbridge Inc. in Calgary, a role in which she had accountability for the Corporate Resources function. This portfolio included Information Technology, Public & Government Affairs, Human Resources, Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility.

Before joining Enbridge, Ms. DuPont had 20 years of executive experience in both energy and the Canadian grain industry. She served with the Saskatchewan Power Corporation and with two of the heritage grain companies that eventually formed Viterra Inc. (VT:TSX)

Ms. DuPont brings significant Board experience to her role. She served as a Director of the Bank of Canada from 2006 to 2012 where she chaired the Human Resources and Compensation Committee, and served on the Executive Committee.. She served on the Board of Viterra Inc, where she chaired the Safety, Health and Environment Committee from 2008 until the company was sold in 2012. Ms. DuPont also serves on the boards of SilverWillow Energy, Bird Construction and NavCanada.

Ms. DuPont has a long history of service to the University of Calgary, commencing in 1989 when she was appointed by the late Murray Fraser to sit on a Blue Ribbon Committee studying the issue of sexual harassment on the campus. She served on the Management Advisory Council of the Haskayne School of Business from 1990 to 2010 and served as chair of MAC in 2004-05. Ms. DuPont founded the Enbridge Undergraduate Mentorship Program, and saw the expansion of that program to include graduate students at the Haskayne School of Business. She was named one of the Top 40 Alumni from the University of Calgary in celebration of the University’s 40th Anniversary in 2006. In February 2011, Ms. DuPont was named Vice-Chair of the Board of Governors of the University of Calgary.

Ms. DuPont served on the Board of the Calgary Petroleum Club and was the President of that organization in 2007-08. She also served on the Campaign Cabinet for the Banff Center Capital Campaign and has served as a Committee Chair with the United Way of Calgary.

Tasha Giroux
Regional Vice President, Commercial Financial Services
RBC Royal Bank
Calgary, Alberta

As Regional Vice President for Commercial Financial Services in Alberta & Territories, Tasha leads a team of professionals providing multifaceted financial services and superior advice for commercial and agriculture clients.
Through diverse industry specialization, RBC’s commercial financial service professionals deliver a differentiated client experience. They provide a complete range of services to meet each client’s specific needs, from sophisticated cash and treasury management services, to all forms of credit solutions.
After 23 years with RBC, Tasha brings in-depth experience and understanding of financial services, business management and performance, and superior client service. She’s held a range of leadership roles, most recently as Regional Operating Officer for RBC’s Alberta and Territories market. Tasha was intricately involved in the development of the bank’s global diversity strategy and social media policy. She is currently co-leading a dynamic mentorship program for women in leadership in Alberta and the Territories.
Tasha holds an MBA from Dalhousie University, a Certificate in Human Resources Management from University of Winnipeg and her Personal Financial Planner designation. She is an active community volunteer and has served on the Board of the YWCA of Calgary and the Alberta Advisory Committee for We Day. Outside of work, Tasha enjoys running and spending time with her husband and two children Zachary, 18 and Mackenzie, 14.

Dianne Finstad
Communications Specialist
Red Deer, Alberta

Master of Ceremonies

Dianne Finstad is a broadcaster and reporter who specializes in agriculture and rodeo coverage. She’s spent over thirty years bringing stories to light through television, radio, and print. 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 ag conferences and dairy shows. 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 and speaking work on a freelance basis, and is a regular contributor to publications like Canadian Cowboy Country and Canadian Rodeo News.

Sandy Hansen-Wolff
AgVenture Feed & Seed Inc.
Sandy Hansen-Wolff Speaking and Consulting
Richmond, Minnesota

Presentation Title: Growing Against the Grain
The best way to create innovative change is to challenge the boundaries that keep us complacent. Hear how Sandy has grown her business and the plans she has for raising fellow entrepreneurs to ignite the fires in their own business and personal lives.

Sandy owns and operates AgVenture Feeds in Watkins, MN and also is a speaker and consultant who speaks to a wide variety of audiences locally and nationally. Sandy began her speaking and consulting work as a result of her own experiences in being thrust into entrepreneurship in 2003 when her young husband of one year died of Leukemia. Although always an entrepreneur at heart in her childhood and previous careers, she was left to manage the ownership and management of her late husband’s feed company, AgVenture Feed & Seed Inc. The then-insurance agent took over these responsibilities although she knew very little about the feed business. Sandy was determined to keep the business going despite industry pressures and challenges with the business that was then near bankruptcy. More than a decade later, Sandy remains as the owner of AgVenture, a now thriving business that has grown exponentially, while she also shares her passion and expertise through her speaking and consulting work.

Sandy’s tenacity to see things through and dreams of a restored and vibrant business kept her going. Sandy’s story of personal tragedy and leadership in the midst of crisis became a platform for speaking and working with leaders and groups in a variety of sectors. She speak to businesses, employee groups, faith communities, and women’s groups, and was as well as continues to be featured as a keynote at many conferences, special events, motivational seminars and the like.

Sandy currently lives in the Richmond, MN area with her husband Terry, two step daughters and the family cat. She spends her free time traveling, exploring the outdoors, reading, running, and volunteering for a variety of groups as well as serving on a variety of boards. Her greatest joy is enjoying time with family and friends, hard work and a true dedication to the simple things in life that are her greatest gifts.

Carol Kitchen
President and CEO
UFA Co-operative Limited
Calgary, Alberta

Presentation Title: Going the Extra Mile: Creating Opportunities in the Ag Space
There are key ways to create growth for yourself and for others in the agriculture space. Taking the time to go the extra mile will benefit you and others in the future.


Carol Kitchen is a proven leader who has grown up in and dedicated her career to agriculture. She has more than 23 years of co-operative, finance and leadership experience in businesses related to agricultural production. Kitchen graduated from the University of Illinois as a certified public accountant in 1991. After two years with an international accounting firm, Kitchen returned to agriculture by joining a regional cooperative, Growmark, and in 1998, she joined one of the largest co-operatives in the world, Land O’Lakes.

Over the next 16 years, her positions with Land O’Lakes included senior vice-president of Corporate Strategy and Business Development; the VP responsible for international growth; and the business controller. As the leader of the Global Dairy Ingredients division, Kitchen anticipated the demand for food safety and traceability. By persuading producers to open up their operations, Kitchen expanded the value chain. Under her leadership, Land O’Lakes built and grew trusted supplier relationships with companies like Nestle, Hershey, Mars, Frito Lay and Kraft.

In April 2015, Kitchen became the CEO of UFA. UFA is an agricultural co-operative created in 1909. Today, the co-operative has more than 110,000 members who rely on UFA for agricultural and petroleum products and services delivered through a network of 35 Farm and Ranch stores and more than 110 fuel locations. UFA also owns a chain of 15 outdoor-outfitter stores, Wholesale Sports. Annual revenue for the co-operative tops $2 billion.
Kitchen imprints certain values on every organization she leads. Customers are the reason we exist. Talented people—challenged and rewarded well—are the key to our success. The business of agriculture has the responsibility of feeding the world.

Her results and approach have been widely recognized. Kitchen is an alumni board member of the Carlson Business of Business, where she earned her M.B.A. Kitchen is one of 12 leaders at Land O’Lakes chosen to participate in the Centre for Creative Leadership’s "Leadership at the Peak" program. And in 2013, the Women in AgriBusiness Summit named Kitchen Female executive of the year.

Kitchen; her husband, Jim, and their son, Jack, reside in the Calgary area.

Kay Kuenker
Entrepreneur in Residence - Purdue Foundry
Past Dow AgroSciences Vice President,
Government Affairs, Public Affairs & Sustainability
Indianapolis, Indiana

Presentation Title: Food and Agriculture – Ripe for Women
Why women are needed and naturally suited to address issues and challenges in the ag industry? Kay will discuss the potential women have as well as opportunities throughout the food and ag value chain.

Kay Kuenker is Vice President, Global Government Affairs, Public Affairs and Sustainability for Dow AgroSciences (DAS). She was named to this position in July 2014. In this role she is responsible for leading the development and execution of an overarching strategy to enable DAS’ regulatory and commercial success through its advocacy, acceptance and governmental and industry affairs efforts.

Kuenker joined The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) in 1986 as a math modeler focusing on reactor design, pharmacokinetics and environmental risk assessment. She became part of Dow’s agricultural business in 1988 with roles focused on manufacturing plant optimization for agricultural chemicals.

In 1989, she relocated to Indianapolis and became leader of the Research and Development’s Modeling and Information Sciences Lab. In 1997, Kuenker was named leader of the Global User Services for Dow AgroSciences Corporate Information Systems. She joined the Plant Genetics and Biotechnology organization in 1999 as a Project Success leader for corn and subsequently held a variety of commercial jobs including marketing specialist, licensing leader for Corn Traits and Germplasm as well as global business leader for Corn and Sorghum. In 2005, she relocated to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to serve as the Regional Commercial Unit leader for Canada. And in 2007, she again returned to Indianapolis and was named global leader, New Business Platforms, where she was responsible for accelerating the development of new growth businesses, including new ventures and non-core crops as well as technology out-licensing. In 2011 Kuenker was appointed Global Leader, Dow AgroSciences Europe, Middle East and Africa. As part of DAS’ Corporate Management Committee (CMC) she was responsible for DAS’ EMEA strategy and growing the DAS business in this region.

Kuenker is a member of the Executive Committee of the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA). She has recently been named as a board member for BioCrossroads, and for Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI. She has previously served on various boards including the Food and Ag Governing Board for Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Purdue University Burton Morgan Entrepreneurial Center), Executive Committee for the National FFA Foundation and CropLife Canada.

Kuenker received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in mathematics from Central Michigan University.

Mary Manhas

Vice President, Cash Management, Alberta & NWT Division
BMO Bank of Montreal
Calgary, Alberta

Presentation Title: Working with Your Banker
Learn about Canada’s banking system, and how to make it work for you. Receive the practical information you need to build a long-term relationship with your banker, so that if the time comes that you need strong financial support, you will truly appreciate the relationship you have developed with your banker – a relationship that may mean the difference between turning your business around or closing it down.

Mary received her undergraduate degree in business from Vancouver Island University. During her fourteen year career with BMO, Mary has become known for the wealth of experience she has in both retail and commercial banking. She is also known for her collaborative approach to leadership which has allowed her to develop strong cross-functional relationships with colleagues in all lines of business.

Meghan J. Meger

National Bank Private Banking 1859, Western Canada
Calgary, Alberta

Originally from the small Alberta town of Edson, Meghan entered the business world at 17, gravitating naturally toward banking. From the start, her mentors noticed her strong leadership and remarkable customer service skills, signs of a great leader in the making.

Having earned the designations of Personal Financial Planner (PFP), Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Registered Trust & Estate Practitioner (TEP) from the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners in London, England, Meghan rose to key positions in major financial institutions in Canada where she has worked to continually reinvent and improve the client experience.

From 1996 to 2015, Meghan’s mandates were far reaching. She developed a nation-wide strategy for ultra-high-net-worth clients and actively participated in the implementation of private banking services, always fostering a grassroots approach to her long-tenured client relationships. Her talent has been recognized frequently through numerous performance awards from her employers.

As President of Western Canada's Private Banking 1859 team at National Bank, Meghan brings almost three decades of direct experience serving affluent families and enterprises. Passionate about the client experience, Meghan aims to launch Private Banking 1859 in Western Canada, focusing on National Bank's solid reputation and her team's in-depth knowledge and wide-ranging skills. In addition to working with specialized experts, she teams up with flexible professionals who have a “big-picture” vision of financial services, whether it involves tax planning, investment strategies, or insurance solutions.

Outside of her professional activities, Meghan is a member of the Alberta Rehabilitation for Brain Injury's Board of Directors, an organization that provides services and support to brain trauma victims and their families. As well, she regularly participates in charitable activities within her community.


Stephanie Partridge

Vice-President, Commercial Banking, Alberta South Commercial Community
BMO Bank of Montreal
Calgary, Alberta

Presentation Title: Working with Your Banker
Learn about Canada’s banking system, and how to make it work for you. Receive the practical information you need to build a long-term relationship with your banker, so that if the time comes that you need strong financial support, you will truly appreciate the relationship you have developed with your banker – a relationship that may mean the difference between turning your business around or closing it down.

Based in Calgary, Stephanie Partridge is the Vice President of Small Business and Cash Management at BMO. Her extensive experience has been developed over her years of serving as a branch manager at four different branches in three different cities in two different provinces! Stephanie received her undergraduate degree from the University of Waterloo and is currently working on her MBA through Athabasca University. She is the proud owner of two Alaskan Malamutes, and enjoys riding her horse, Hazer.

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.

Dana Sachvie

Senior Administrative Assistant, Corporate Affairs
Cargill Limited
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Dana Sachvie has been with Cargill Limited since 2007 and is the Senior Administrative Assistant in the Canadian Corporate Affairs department. Dana has a well-rounded portfolio which includes experience and knowledge in the corporate environment regarding Cargill’s entities, business units, and industry customers.

Prior to joining the Corporate Affairs team, Dana worked in Cargill’s Canadian Law department assisting with large mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. She was part of the litigation management team with an interest in employment law. She is a college graduate with a diploma in the Legal Assistant program. Currently Dana is furthering her education and is enrolled in the Human Resource Management program at the University of Manitoba.

Outside of work, Dana enjoys traveling, gardening, golfing and spend time with her husband Darren and their 2 children, Kara and Carson.

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: What Does It Take to Get Ahead in These Stressful Times?
How do we manage stress? How do we retain our resilience? This session will help you to prioritize your life goals.

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.

Lynda G. Taylor
Regional Vice President, Commercial
BMO Bank of Montreal
Edmonton, Alberta

Lynda Taylor is the Regional Vice President Commercial for Alberta North & NWT with BMO Bank of Montreal. Lynda joined the Bank in 1990 and progressed through roles in commercial finance and retail banking in Toronto and Calgary. In October 2007 she was appointed Vice President for Alberta North & NWT, located in Edmonton, Alberta and in September 2011 moved to Winnipeg as Vice President Manitoba and NorthWestern Ontario. Lynda was pleased to return to Edmonton in 2013 as Regional Vice President.

In her current role, Lynda is responsible for Executive leadership of a commercial banking team of over 150 employees, including both front-line and mid-office teams, with a territory from Camrose, AB to Yellowknife, NWT. The team is accountable to maximize growth, profitability and customer experience.

Lynda has been active in the community during her career; including board positions with the Rotary Club of Edmonton Glenora and previously with the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. She has also been involved with the United Way in both Edmonton & Winnipeg.

Lynda received her Bachelor of Arts, Administrative and Commercial Studies, from the University of Western Ontario and she completed her Masters of Science in Management with a Major in Finance and Management at Boston University.

Elysia Vandenhurk

COO and Red Seal Chef, Sales and Marketing
Three Farmers Products
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Title of Presentation: Being a Young Influencer in an Industry Full of Experts
Elysia will discuss how she got involved with Three Farmers and the challenges that she faced transitioning from a high-paced, adrenaline driven kitchen environment to a business and sales role at a start-up enterprise. She will describe some of the lessons learned in working alongside a sibling as well as describe the communication skills required to become an influencer to more experienced individuals in our industry.

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.

Natasha Vandenhurk

Three Farmers Products
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Title of Presentation: A Discussion about the Hardships of Initiating a Start Up While Growing a Young Family and the Importance of Investing in Personal Growth
Natasha will discuss the motivation that drove her to accept the position and role of getting Three Farmers Products up and running. She will discuss the challenges she has faced in running a young and growing company while growing a family at the same time. Natasha will also discuss the ongoing challenge of growing her skill set to keep up with the growth of the company and distributing her time between the day to day needs of the company and the time required to plan the long term growth of the company.

Natasha Vandenhurk is CEO and part owner and daughter of one of the farmers at Three Farmers Products. Natasha began her venture at Three Farmers at the age of 24 after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Saskatchewan. She and her team at Three Farmers are focused on creating natural, healthy foods and retailing these foods through health stores and specialty shops across Canada. Natasha was faced with the challenge of getting start-up company off the ground at a very young age. She faced an industry that she had very limited knowledge about and was tasked with marketing and selling a brand new category of oils that was completely unknown to the industry. These challenges forced her to become a very effective problem solver and efficient decision maker.

Bev Yee

Deputy Minister
Alberta Agriculture and Forestry
Edmonton, Alberta

Title of Presentation: Canola, Cattle and Clearcuts... Lessons in Leadership
Supporting women in leadership is something I care a lot about. In this session, I would like to share my story and the lessons I have learned about how to be a successful leader.

Bev Yee was appointed as Deputy Minister of Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) on October 23, 2015. In this role, Bev is responsible for leading the department of Agriculture and Forestry in support of the Minister in promoting strong, competitive and sustainable agriculture, food and forestry industries.

AF's mission is to provide the framework and services necessary for Alberta’s agriculture, food and forestry sectors to maintain, build and expand domestic and international markets for our agriculture, Agrifood and forestry products and services through a partnership approach with industry, strategic partners and key stakeholders. Among other things, this includes: promoting appropriate safe food production and processing practices throughout the supply chain; enabling the industry to innovate, create and capture value, and build competitive capacity by meeting consumer and public expectations around the environment; facilitating collaboration to enable resilient rural communities; and managing and protecting Alberta's forest resources through effective and efficient wildfire management, sustainable forest management, and maintenance of the health of our forests.

Prior to her appointment as Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Bev has been with the Government of Alberta for over twenty years, joining Municipal Affairs in January of 2015. Prior to that, Bev spent the rest of those twenty years in the Environment portfolio where she was, most recently, Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of Integrated Resource Management Planning, as well as Alberta’s Stewardship Commissioner. Also, before joining the GoA, Bev was a high school physics and biology teacher.

Advancing Women in Agriculture on YouTube!
"I just wanted to send you a note to again say congratulations – you are making such a difference with this conference. It was absolutely amazing."
- Chantelle D., Winnipeg, MB

"Very interesting, uplifting and motivating conference that is amazing for young women who often question their decision to enter this industry. This conference smashed all doubts."
- Melissa D., Olds, AB

"Speakers were fantastic. I am leaving here motivated and excited to grow."
- Ebony P., Rose Valley, SK
Thank you to our Advancing Women 2016 - West sponsors for being the champions for women in the ag industry.

Thanks to Our Sponsors
Along with our high profile industry speakers, select "Speaker Sponsors" will have a chance to address the conference and share their inspirations and ideas.

Speaker Profiles

Home About the Conference Registration Sponsorship
Home About the Conference Registration Sponsorship