Our great lineup of speakers
Our speakers are industry leaders, market innovators and those passionate about creating success.
Imagine the goals you could achieve with a little inspiration, networking and insightful skills from women and men who’ve been there, done that and are willing to share what they’ve learned along the way.
Meet the AWC EAST 2018 presenters that we have lined up!
Country Manager, Vétoquinol N.A. Inc., Lavaltrie, Quebec
Presentation Title • A Career Path Story
Presentation Overview: Diane will discuss her career path including the decisions she had to make, the risks she took and the opportunities she captured along the way. Her story will inspire you for creating success and will motivate you to pursue what you believe in.
Born in Grand-Mère, in Mauricie, Québec, Diane Bourassa holds a bachelor degree of Administration, Accounting from l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. She obtained her CPA-CA designation in 1990.
After 3 years working as an external auditor at ERNST & YOUNG, she worked in the retail industry at COSTCO and LOBLAWS. Diane spent four years as Director of Finance for a third party logistics service provider METRO CANADA LOGISTIQUE before she came to VETOQUINOL – a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of Animal health products – in 2007. She first assumed the position of Director, Finance and Administration – where she had the opportunity to contribute her own expertise as a Chartered Accountant – responsible for all financial, IT and HR activities for Vetoquinol Commercial and Industrial Canadian Divisions.
In September 2011, she was appointed as the General Manager of Vetoquinol Canada. In 2015, she was designated to act as an Administrator of Vetoquiol N.A. inc., the first woman to ever hold such position within the Vetoquinol organisation.
Member of the Canadian Animal Health Institute Board of Directors since September 2012, she acted as Chair of the Board from September 2015 to September 2017 and is acting as Past Chair since September 2015.
Senior Manager Veterinary Services – Cattle/Equine/Genetics, Zoetis, Kirkland, Quebec
Women Talk Panel Speaker
Presentation title • Why wait for the knock? Build your own doors
Presentation Overview: Despite being a city kid, Melodie Chan travelled down an unlikely pathway right into the heart of agriculture. Join her as she takes you through a journey where self-awareness, curiosity and courage all played an important role to help her get to where she is today.
Dr. Melodie Chan grew up in the greater Vancouver area as a city girl and fell in love with agriculture during her undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia. In 2002, she graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and pursued a career within the dairy industry. After completing an internship in Dairy Production Medicine at Cornell University, Dr. Chan worked at a mixed animal practice in Saskatchewan and then started her own dairy veterinary practice in Olds, Alberta. Dr. Chan is currently the head of Zoetis Canada’s Technical Services Team for Cattle, Equine and Genetics.
Dr. Chan is a past-president of both the Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners and the Canadian Association of Bovine Veterinarians. In 2014, she was named as one of the honorees of Vance Publishing’s 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Award Program which recognizes people making a significant contribution to America’s food system. More recently, Dr. Chan received the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) Industry Award in 2016 that formally recognizes a CVMA member for their contributions to the advancement of veterinary medicine.
Dr. Chan has a passion for helping people to succeed by sharing knowledge that will improve animal health management, animal welfare and food safety.
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.
Director, IWF’s Center for Progress and Innovation, Independent Women’s Forum, Alexandria, Virginia
Presentation Title • Modern Agriculture in the Culture of Alarmism
Presentation Overview: Julie will discuss how the culture of alarmism is a barrier to agricultural progress and the modernization of the food system. She will examine the factors that contribute to the culture of alarmism: media, activists, junk science.
Julie Gunlock is director of Independent Women’s Forum’s center for progress and innovation. She is the author of the book From Cupcakes to Chemicals: How the Culture of Alarmism Makes Us Afraid of Everything and How to Fight Back.
Before joining IWF, Gunlock served as a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and on the House Homeland Security Committee, and on the staffs of Ohio Senators Mike DeWine, George Voinovich, and Tom Coburn. Gunlock has written about food and culture for the New York Post, the Washington Post, New York Daily News, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Times, National Review Magazine, National Interest Magazine, the Tampa Tribune, and Townhall.com and is a regular contributor to National Review Online, BlogHer and Huffington Post. She has offered political commentary on Fox News, TheBlaze TV and other networks and is a regular guest on local, regional and national radio programs.
She lives in Virginia with her husband and three young, active, and perpetually hungry boys.
Bettina Hamelin, PharmD, EMBA
President and CEO, Ontario Genomics, Toronto, Ontario
Women Talk Panel Speaker
Presentation Title • The Rise of Women in Science and Business – Challenges and Opportunities
Presentation Overview: Bettina will speak to the tremendous opportunities for women in science and business based on her own adventurous and non-traditional career path. Always striving for continuous improvement, Bettina will describe what inspires her and how she has successfully pushed cultural, geographic and disciplinary boundaries in pursuit of her dream to make a difference in the world around her.
Bettina has more than 15 years of international experience in the pharmaceutical industry as well as 10 years of experience as a tenured professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy at Université Laval. Prior to assuming her current role as President and CEO of Ontario Genomics, Bettina served as Vice-President of NSERC’s Research Partnerships Directorate. She has also held a variety of leadership positions at Pfizer Canada. She is known for pioneering novel public-private partnership models, and breaking down barriers between federal, provincial and private sector stakeholders. Bettina holds a B.Sc. in pharmacy and a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Kentucky, U.S. and an EMBA in Healthcare from the UBC.
President, Hans Dairy Inc., Mississauga, Ontario
Presentation Title • A Career Path Story
Presentation Overview: Sarab will tell her story – the decisions she had to make, the risks she took and the opportunities she captured along the way. Her story will inspire!
Sarab Hans is the President of Hans Dairy Inc, a family business that focuses on providing authentic and natural dairy products to the South Asian community. Since joining, Sarab has been in charge of developing and manufacturing ethnic dairy products that provide a taste of home. Their current product lines are available in all the major Ontario retail grocers. In 2015, Hans Dairy relocated to a new 22,000 sq ft facility which gives them the space needed to expand the business on a national level and develop new and innovative ethnic offerings. Prior to joining Hans Dairy, Sarab worked in the investment banking sector for 6 years. She has a B.A. from University of Western Ontario and a M.B.A. from McGill University.
Manager, Special Projects – Next Generation and Women in Agriculture, Farm Credit Canada, Regina, Saskatchewan
Presentation Title • Leadership & Long Runs
Presentation Overview: Training and running a half-marathon is a lot like leadership, it’s a journey, there are twists and turns and you can’t always predict where the path will lead. Candace will share her insights on leadership through the story of a long run including three principles to living your best life.
Candace Hill believes in living a life on purpose and spreading kindness wherever you go. She’s been sharing her passion and energy for marketing over the last 20-years in various roles within the financial services and agriculture industries. She has worked in the agriculture industry for more than 10 years. Since 2012, Candace has been with Farm Credit Canada in agri-marketing roles where she has created content strategies, led the Agriculture More Than Ever cause, and is currently immersing herself in all things next generation and women in agriculture as Manager, Special Projects.
A passionate agvocate, Candace loves interacting with people coast-to-coast to help them share the real story about where food comes from and how it’s produced.
Candace is a wife, a step-mom, a runner, and a city-girl working in Canadian agriculture. She and her husband Ryan, live in Regina with their family.
Owner, K2Kinetics, LLC, Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Workshop Presentation Title • To Coach… or To Be Coached…? That Is The Question!
Have you ever wondered if you could benefit from a coach? Have you ever thought about being a coach? Coaching has been around for a long time, but there are many different definitions, styles and processes. How do you know a coach is a good fit for you? How can you tell a ‘good’ coach from one that’s not so good? Regardless of the end of the spectrum you’re on—coach or coachee—this workshop is designed to answer those questions. Coaching is all about helping people realize and achieve their innate potential by exploring the possibilities. Join us for a fun and insightful session!
Presentation Title • Leading Inside-Out
Presentation Overview: Each of us has an opportunity in life to lead. In its simplest form, this means leadership of ourselves, being aware and consciously choosing how we show up and conduct ourselves to get the best results from ourselves and in our relationships with others. In its more complex form, it is leading others, whether as leader of a project team, function, business division or company–family farm, for-profit or not-for-profit. The foundational underpinning of all leadership roles is self-leadership.
Self-awareness, knowing our triggers, foreseeing and keeping our reactions in check and effective communication are critical for both personal leadership as well as leading others.
Kay Kuenker, retired global VP of Dow AgroSciences and now business owner, consultant and coach, will share 10 principles of leadership integrating these concepts.
Kay Kuenker, having retired from a 29+ year career at Dow AgroSciences (DAS), is in a year of transition! In mid year, she finished her Results Certified Coaching certification; she is in the process of establishing her consulting and coaching business starting her own company called K2Kinetics, LLC. She worked at Purdue University’s Foundry, as Entrepreneur in Residence from January through August coaching faculty and graduate students on the process to take their ag related technology ideas and intellectual property to commercialization; she became an adjunct faculty member for the MBA program at Butler University and taught there this past summer.
For the previous nine years, Kay served on the executive leadership team for DAS and held three different Vice President positions: Global VP Business Development, Commercial VP Europe, Middle East and Africa and most recently, Global VP Government Affairs, Public Affairs and Sustainability for DAS.
Kay 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. She held various positions in R&D and IT until 1999, when she joined the Plant Genetics and Biotechnology Organization as a Project Success leader for corn. Subsequently, she 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. In 2007, she again returned to Indianapolis and was named Vice President, Business Development. In 2011 Kay relocated to Europe where she held the position of VP Dow AgroSciences Europe, Middle East and Africa. She returned to US in mid 2014 and was named Global VP of Government Affairs, Public Affairs and Sustainability.
Kay is a member several boards including BioCrossroads, AgriNovus Indiana, IN State Workforce Innovation Council and the Women in Agribusiness Advisory Board. She previously served on the Executive Committee of the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA, 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.
Kay received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in mathematics from Central Michigan University. In addition to her coaching certification, Kay earned her Personal Fitness Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist Certifications through International Sports Sciences Association.
4-H Ontario, Brantford, Ontario
Presentation Title • 4-H: Learn to do by Doing
Presentation Overview: What 4-H can do for youth and you!
A mom of two and grandmother of two, Tammy enjoys volunteering with different organizations. Tammy served as a Girl Guide leader for 15 years, helped raise funds for the Kidney Foundation, worked closely with the United Church developing a community program in Eastern Ontario, and most recently went on two mission trips to Nebaj, Guatemala to help build a new hospital. She works full time as the bilingual event coordinator with Holstein Canada.
Tammy has a long history with the 4-H program. She served on the Ontario 4-H Council from 2012-2018 holding the position of President in 2016 and 2017. She also served on the Canadian 4-H Council in 2004-2005. A former 4-H Canada staff person, she was primarily responsible for organizing the 100th Anniversary celebrations held across the country and the global 4-H Youth Ag Summit. She was a 4-H Ontario staff for 6 ½ years and is a 12-year volunteer with Prescott 4-H Association, now sharing her experience with Brant 4-H Association.
Never having had the opportunity to experience 4-H as a member, she has participated and facilitated at many 4-H events, activities and programs locally, regionally and nationally, including Provincial Leadership Camp, Career Mania, Future Leaders In Action, Future Talk, GECO, Greenbelt, Discovery Days, Washington 4-H Conference, Members Conference and many, many more.
She truly believes in the 4-H motto of ‘Learn to do by Doing’ and continues to seek out new ways of living the 4-H motto every day.
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 • Stressed, Anxious and Depressed: Clarifying the Needs of our Agricultural Community
Presentation Overview: Dr. Marla will present the definitions of stress and burnout with an emphasis on stress management in the ag sector.
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 CTVNews.ca 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.
Sherry Waddingham, MBA, ACPC, PCC
President, Mindshift, Toronto, Ontario
Presentation Title • Don’t let unspoken gender rules get in your way
Presentation Overview: Men and women are very different. Men have different rules by which they work, communicate and make decisions. The challenge for women is these rules are not consciously communicated which leaves them operating blind. This session will uncover gender differences in the workplace and how to avoid the pitfalls that can hold you back.
Sherry is an Interpersonal Behaviour Specialist and the President of Mindshift a workplace communication consultancy. She works with organizations in the areas of interpersonal communication, gender differences in the workplace and leadership for women.
Sherry’s desire is to create a more humane workplace experience by helping people understand each other and providing the tools to help them work better together. Her industry experience runs the gamut and she has worked in both the private and public sector.
Prior to starting her own consultancy, Sherry was a corporate executive and spent over twenty years inspiring people and building teams. She has held senior leadership positions in communications, marketing and strategic planning with some of the country’s top companies including IBM Canada, Cossette Communications Group, OgilvyOne Worldwide and Liberty Health.
Sherry holds an M.B.A. from Queen’s University and studied Psychology at Ryerson University. She is an alumna of The Judy Project (Leadership Forum For Executive Women) from the Rotman School of Management. She is a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation and a graduate of Adler International Learning/OISE, University of Toronto. Sherry is a graduate of Protrack Academy from the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS).
Sherry lives in Toronto, is an avid potter, gardener and animal lover.
Dr. Brynn Winegard
DrBrynn.com, Toronto, Ontario
Presentation Title: Boost Your Brain! Maximizing Motivation, Productivity, Functionality, Health
Presentation Overview: Learn the brain-based tips and tricks you need to know for higher motivation, productivity, and functionality in all you do.
Dr. Brynn Winegard is an award-winning professor, speaker, and expert. Brynn completed her formal education in Neuroscience, Psychology, Marketing, and Strategy (HSBc, MBA, PhD), coupled with over a decade in corporate marketing working for Pfizer Inc., Nestle Inc., and Johnson & Johnson Inc. While Professor Winegard retains positions as Faculty at Schulich School of Business, DeGroote School of Business, and University of Guelph, she has now dedicated herself to helping others through speaking about ‘Building Better Business Brains’ to groups, organizations and companies, stemming from her research, which combines business and brain sciences. Brynn combines real-world experience with frontier research to deliver impactful programming that will be sure to please audiences and elevate their daily business.
Clients are some of the world’s top companies and organizations. When Dr. Brynn isn’t speaking, she is a regularly featured expert in television, radio, and print.
Brynn is passionate about business, brain science, the intersection of business and brain science, speaking, dogs, golf, tacos, and travel.
CEO, Grape Growers of Ontario, St. Catharines, Ontario
Presentation Title • A Career Path Story
Presentation Overview: Debbie will share her story of politics to vineyards – the path she took, the opportunities she captured and the skills she has honed along the way to be recognized as a distinguished leader.
Since 2003, Debbie has been the CEO of the Grape Growers of Ontario, the official organization that represents over 500 actively producing growers of 17,000 acres in the province’s three viticulture areas: Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore and Prince Edward County. Embracing new technology and creating a focus on growing Ontario’s VQA wines is the culture embraced by the organization.
Debbie was actively involved in local politics for 36 years. Her political career began in 1978 as a local alderman for the Town of Grimsby, and in 1989 was elected to Regional Council. In 1997 Debbie was elected as Regional Chair for the Regional Municipality of Niagara, a position that she served for two terms. In 2014 Debbie decided to pursue other interests and did not seek re-election.
Debbie is the past Chair of the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation for the Province of Ontario (2004-2010), and was assigned by the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario, to the 2015/16 Provincial Review Panel for Ontario’s Land Use Plans, including the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, the Greenbelt Plan, the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, and the Niagara Escarpment Plan. Debbie joined the Premier in November 2017 on the Provincial Trade Mission to China and Vietnam.
Debbie currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Buffalo/Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority, McNally House and 2021 Canada Summer Games which will attract over 5,000 athletes and coaches to the twelve municipalities across Niagara during the summer of 2021, and provide a lasting legacy for the Region, Ontario and Canada. Most recently, Debbie was a member of the YMCA Board of Directors and a Co-Chair of the Pathstone “Mending Minds” fundraising campaign.
Debbie has been the recipient of many awards including the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce “Community Leadership Award” in 2013, the “Niagara Award” in 1998, the Niagara College “Board of Governors Award” in 2001 and the YWCA “Woman of Distinction” award in 2003. In 2015 Debbie was awarded the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation’s “Local Food Champion” award for her commitment to local food and her years of service to Niagara, and in 2017 Debbie was named a “Friend of the Greenbelt” for her work on the Provincial Review Panel.