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Coverage on AWC VIRTUAL 2020

January 14, 2021 • Facing up to harassment in agriculture

Women shine a light on sexual harassment as they tell their stories of what they have faced while working at farm shows. | File photo, The Western Producer

“After four years of working in agribusiness, Kathryn Sarauer still feels uneasy sharing her experiences with harassment at agribusiness shows.

Before leaving her job as a sales representative for a farm implements dealer, Sarauer started wearing a wedding ring when going out to work her booth. She isn’t married, but Sarauer says she received less unwanted attention this way….”

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January 5, 2021 • Editor’s Column: New year, new tools. How to drive your success in 2021

Financial advisor Sherry Watty says women need to continue to educate themselves and not let anyone tell them they can’t do something. They need to follow Michelle Cederberg is a health and productivity expert and professional coach. She gave a virtual presentation at the 2020 Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference last November about her Success-Energy Equation, which is meant to help drive higher levels of success. Photo: Supplied / Grainews

“Happy New Year! And, welcome, 2021! I have never looked forward to a new year more than this one.

It’s the end of December and I’m thinking about what’s ahead. I love this time of year because it’s full of potential and good intentions. It’s the time I consider what I want to achieve over the next 12 months and what I want to improve in both the personal and professional areas of my life…”

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January 5, 2021 • Farm women encouraged to make their stand

Financial advisor Sherry Watty says women need to continue to educate themselves and not let anyone tell them they can’t do something. They need to follow their passion, she says. PHOTO / SUBMITTED – Country Life in BC

“CALGARY – More than 75,000 farm operators in Canada are women – about a third of all farm operators in the country – but they’re seldom speakers at farm leadership conferences and relatively few attend such events.

“It became apparent there was a strong need for women in every sector to hear and learn from the experience of successful women,” says Iris Meck, owner of Iris Meck Communications in Calgary.

Six years ago, after bringing a group of farm women together, Meck launched the Advancing Women in Agriculture conferences to help grow leadership skills among farm women. Eleven conferences later, she’s still targeting women engaged in activities from farming to finance and food processing.”

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January 1, 2021 • Let’s get real about mental wellness on the farm

“Nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the agriculture industry continues to demonstrate resilience and reliability. It’s on my 2021 agenda to continue to talk about this achievement publicly to continue to educate those outside agriculture, but I’m also marking the beginning of a new year celebrating the growing normalization of talking openly about mental health within agriculture.”

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December 24, 2020 • Finding a seat on the board

People who want to be board directors should harness their passion and interest to find the right fit on industry and community boards and committees. | Getty Images photo via Western Producer

How does someone begin to become a board member? Start at the top, said Trish Tetz, an agricultural manager for the Bank of Montreal.

“In my experience, one of the very best ways that you can learn about a board is by speaking with a director,” she said during the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference held online last month.

“If that goes well and you’re really intrigued, call the executive director. Ask to sit down for a coffee and just quiz them.”

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December 21, 2020 • Don’t put your networking on hold because you can’t meet in person

“You won’t be able to schmooze at events and conferences this winter, but it’s still important to network.

However, it’s not easy, said Darlene McBain, who used to travel frequently in her job as manager of industry relations for Farm Credit Canada.

Trying to build a network at her computer during the lockdown just felt robotic, McBain said during a presentation at the recent Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference, which was (of course) held online.”

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December 21, 2020 • Leadership effectiveness critical to farm success

Kelly Dobson (right) speaks to the virtual Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference on November 24, joined by friend Brent Van Koughnet. Photo: AWAC video (screenshot) – Manitoba Co-operator

“Technical competency and a good work ethic are no longer enough to be a successful farmer. Farmers need to develop personal and leadership capacity, Kelly Dobson told the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference.

Hard work and skill are “actually the minimum standard,” said Dobson, a certified executive coach with Leadershift, and a farmer from Fairfax, Manitoba. “Who do you know in ag who doesn’t work hard?”

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December 15, 2020 • Why investing in women in agriculture makes sense

“Mentorship, capital venture funding and technology are three key areas that have shaped Alison Sunstrum’s life.

The CNSRV-X (Conserve-X) founder and CEO shared some of her insights into building ethical agriculture based businesses during the recent virtual Advancing Women in Agriculture conference…”

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November 24, 2020 • Advancing Women In Agriculture Conference Underway

“This year the two-day event has gone virtual and is attracting over 600 women from across Canada, the U-S and around the World.

For many women trying to find a balance between career, family, community and life on the farm can be a challenge.

Shelby Corey was one of the presenters on Tuesday and focused on “Three Things to Know to Avoid Burnout.”

She says the first thing is to know your passion.

“Ever since I was a little girl I have been passionate about Agriculture. Everything that I do today is connected in one way or another to Agriculture…”

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November 18, 2020 • Agenda set for Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference

“(Calgary) – The agenda for the upcoming virtual Advancing Women in Agriculture conference is set.

One of the speakers for the upcoming conference is Michelle Cederberg, who will discuss how to find a good work-life balance to help with your energy levels, which will allow you to fulfill more of your goals.

Glacier FarmMedia Conference Director Iris Meck says they are keeping to a theme that has served them well in the past.

“It’s going to follow our usual presentation path of talking about financial management and independence, communication, networking, advocacy, and just gathering all the tips and tools you need to increase your confidence and to build your leadership skills,” Meck said.

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July 6, 2020 • Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference moving to virtual format in November

While COVID-19 has taken away the ability to meet in person at the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conferences (AWC) in 2020, organizers of the well-known gathering announced they will hold a virtual conference with new ways for women in agriculture to connect.

“Our past conference attendees have told us there is power in gathering – to share experiences and learn from each other,” says Iris Meck, Director of Conferences for Glacier FarmMedia, and organizer of AWC. “COVID-19 has created so much uncertainty and changed so many in-person plans this year that it made us more determined to find a way to reach out to our community of women in ag.”

The new AWC 2020 Virtual Conference will take place on November 24 & 25, 2020. Conference attendees will be able to participate in online sessions featuring a wide variety of speakers on mental health, managing stress, running a farm business, advocacy, developing communication skills and more. There will also be opportunities to participate in live Q&As, visit virtual booths, chat with company representatives and get special conference offers from sponsors.

“We’ll have the same superb quality of speakers and information that women in ag have come to expect from our conferences,” says Meck. “With our new virtual conference format, women in agriculture have the choice to access the conference sessions from wherever it works for them – whether on their mobile devices or a computer.”

Meck says that AWC virtual speaker sessions and sponsor information will be available until December 31, 2020 for those registered attendees who wish to view the sessions and chat discussions but may be unable to attend during the designated conference days. She notes that a virtual format also allows producers beyond Canada to register and connect with other women in ag at the conference, something that she has been asked about in the past.

“Connecting with others passionate about agriculture across geographical boundaries has always been an important part of our conferences,” says Meck “In today’s world where so many women in ag are facing uncertainty and constant change, we wanted to provide a platform for women in ag to connect with their community, find encouragement through guest speakers and build the skills they need to run their businesses and thrive in life.”

The Advancing Women in Agriculture Virtual Conference platform is being developed and registration will be available soon. More information on the speaker program can be found at the AWC website

June 19, 2020 • Calgary startup program launches agriculture stream

Haskayne School of Business: Congratulations to AWC Virtual 2020 speaker Alison Sunstrum who has joined the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) – Rockies’ Ag Stream as a Founding Partner and Fellow. Alison is helping launch a mentorship program to help grow seed-stage science and technology-based startups in the agriculture and food space across the Prairie provinces and around the world.

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