Imagine how your life could be enhanced with a little inspiration, a bit of pertinent information, a few tips on how to handle issues and having the opportunity to network and share stories with like-minded women!

Meet the AWC WEST 2022 presenters to date!

Kristal Allen

Partner, MLT Aikins LLP, Calgary, Alberta

Workshop title • So You Want to be on a Board…

Workshop overview: Board diversity is critical to avoiding “groupthink” and enhancing organizational performance. Yet, women continue to be underrepresented on Canadian boards. If you’ve ever considered joining a board, join us for a discussion about how to apply your unique skills to an organization, and make an impact as a director.

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Panel topic: Agriculture is a broad and dynamic industry that is constantly changing. What can women do to be the most effective leaders in today’s environment?

With extensive education and experience in the sciences, and her former role as in-house legal counsel to a multi-national agribusiness, Kristal Allen brings a wealth of practical and industry knowledge when advising clients in the technology and agribusiness sectors.

Kristal returned to MLT Aikins after several years as senior legal counsel and chief privacy officer to a large public company with operations across the globe. Her practice focuses on the management, exploitation and commercialization of information and intellectual property assets and new technology. She has extensive experience with research consortium arrangements, technology development and commercialization agreements, intellectual property portfolio management, and both in- and out-licensing. Kristal is experienced in all areas of information technology, including software development and licensing, outsourcing and service agreements.

She also brings knowledge of risk management and policy development related to data sharing, electronic documents, information assets and privacy. She has advised both private and public sector organizations extensively regarding health, employee and customer information privacy matters.

Before becoming a lawyer, she held a variety of positions in areas such as technical marketing, regulatory and new product research and development for major life sciences companies, providing advice to producers, marketers and regulators. She has conducted research on an array of matters relating to biotechnology, transportation and international trade, allowing her to draw on previous experience in the life sciences and technology industries.

Jeanne Beker

Iconic Fashion Journalist & Host, Toronto, ON

Presentation title • Fireside Chat with Jeanne

Presentation overview: Join Dianne Finstad for a discussion with Jeanne Beker, one of the most influential women in the fashion industry – in Canada and around the world. From launching a television series to editor-in-chief, authoring 5 books, creating her own fashion lines, receiving numerous awards, named to the Order of Canada and Canada’s Walk of Fame to name only a few distinguished titles, Jeanne has a message for each one of us.

Jeanne Beker is one of the most influential women in the fashion industry—in Canada and around the world. A long-time celebrity, Jeanne speaks on how she rose to the top of arts and culture media as the iconic host of TV’s Fashion Television, along with what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

Jeanne started her professional “show biz” career when she was just 16, when she moved to New York to study acting, and to Paris to study mime. In 1975, she found herself in St. John’s, Newfoundland, covering arts for CBC radio.

Three years later, Jeanne landed a job at Toronto’s CHUM radio. In 1979, she helped launch the ground-breaking series The New Music, on CITY TV, which she co-hosted for six years. A founding member of MuchMusic, Jeanne continued to trail-blaze, and in 1985, launched the legendary Fashion Television, which she presented on in over 130 countries for 27 years.

A seasoned newspaper columnist and features writer, Jeanne was editor-in-chief of FQ and SIR magazines from 2003 to 2008; she has authored five books; and she is a frequent guest on myriad lifestyle shows.

Jeanne has been at the creative helm of numerous fashion lines under her own eponymous label, and since 2015, has been Style Editor for The Shopping Channel, where she currently hosts the series “Style Matters”.

Active with several charitable organizations, Jeanne received an honourary doctorate from St. Mary’s University, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Special Achievement Award from the Canadian Academy of Cinema and Television, and a Crystal Award from Toronto Women in Film and Television.

In 2014, Jeanne was named to the Order of Canada, and she was inducted into the American Marketing Association’s Hall of Legends in 2015. She also received a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2016, and an honorary doctorate from OCAD University in 2018.

Amanda Butt

VP of Operations, Supply Chain, and Human Resources, Moosehead Breweries Ltd, Saint John, New Brunswick

Presentation title • Bringing women back to beer

Presentation overview: For millenia, it was solely women who brewed beer, so how did we get to the current landscape of this industry and how do we bring more women back to brewing? This is the story of beer through the ages, and my own experience finding my place in beers rich history.

Originally from Newfoundland, Amanda holds a BSc in Biochemistry, and an MSc in Brewing and Distilling. What started out as a fun idea turned into a career spanning over 15 years – and counting. Amanda is an international brewer, having trained and worked in several countries for global breweries right down to regionals, and a few places in between. While most of her career has been spent directly in brewing, Amanda is now running operations, supply chain and human resources for Moosehead Breweries in New Brunswick – a brewery founded by a woman over 150 years ago.

Michelle Cederberg

Health and Productivity Expert, Live Out Loud, Inc., Calgary, AB

Presentation title • Energized for Excellence

Presentation overview: This engaging and funny keynote helps you recognize your own excellence in a bigger way, then shares strategies to boost energy, focus, and confidence so you can show up as a leader and strive for success in all you do.

For over 17 years, Certified Speaking Professional Michelle Cederberg has captivated audiences across North America with her empowering and humorous messages about how to set worthwhile goals, get energized for success, and live a bigger life.

An in-demand speaker, author, coach and consultant, she believes that personal and professional success is directly influenced by how well we harness the physical, mental and emotional capacity we each have within us. She helps people boost that capacity, so they gain clarity, build confidence, and get the discipline to create the life and career they want.

She holds a Masters in Kinesiology, a BA in Psychology, a specialization in Health and Exercise Psychology, is a Certified Exercise Physiologist, and a Certified Professional Co-Active Life Coach. She truly combines mind, body and practicality to empower change.

Michelle is the author of three books. Her newest book The Success-Energy Equation, debuted as a bestseller in October 2020.

Roxanne Derhodge

Mental Health and Wellness Specialist, Roxanne Derhodge Consulting, Niagara Falls, ON

Presentation title • Mentally Resilient Leadership: Using Post-Traumatic Growth to Navigate Modern Day Stress

Presentation overview: Using Roxanne’s Mentally Resilient Leadership Training, attendees will leave knowledgeable and equipped to effectively deal with resiliency. They will have the capacity to build better relationships and thrive in a healthier workplace.

Workshop title: Leadership Awareness Strategies: ROR +

Workshop overview: The ROR + Program is designed to elevate a leader’s ability to enhance their capacity to connect with others. A leader’s understanding of their legacy story enables them to create their values alignment within their culture.

Roxanne Derhodge, M.Sc.ED.  is a registered psychotherapist specializing in individual, couples and family therapy with over 20 years of experience. A graduate of the University of Toronto and the University of Guelph specializing in Cognitive behavioural and family systems therapy. She was an Executive with the Largest Health and Wellness firms in North America for 15 years. She was able to utilize her expertise as a Psychotherapist to assist companies with their corporate strategies in Health and wellness. In addition to being a prominent Psychotherapist and Corporate Health and Wellness Executive, as a BIPOC leader, Roxanne has written an Amazon Best Selling Book “A Therapist Insider’s Guide on Relationships. She is a professional member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS) as well as a contributing member to the Forbes Executive Council. Roxanne speaks internationally to companies on mental health and wellness and what it takes to Create the Space for Positive Healthy Changes in their Organization. When leaders start to focus on “Return on Relationships”, the companies’ ROI takes care of itself.

Katelyn Duban

Farmer, Duban Farms Ltd. Entrepreneur, Wild Rose Farmer Inc., Host, The Rural Woman, Coalhurst, Alberta

Presentation title • Own Your Story: Inspiring Tales from Rural Women

Presentation overview: Katelyn Duban, host of The Rural Woman Podcast, shares the invaluable lessons learned from 100+ interviews with Rural Women and how to own your story in Agriculture.

Workshop session details to come!

Katelyn Duban, born and raised in Southern Alberta, Canada married into agriculture in 2016. At the time, it was not her intention to be an active member of the farm but quickly found a passion for the farm life. Katelyn continues to develop her skills as a grain farmer on and off of the field.

As an avid podcast listener, Katelyn found herself searching for a podcast that shared the important roles women in agriculture provide for the industry. When she could not find a podcast that met her criteria she began working on her own podcast. In the spring of 2019 she launched The Rural Woman Podcast.

Since then, Katelyn has shared the stories of incredible women involved in all parts of agriculture from farming, ranching, homesteading, agribusiness and beyond. With over a quarter of a million downloads from countries all around the world. Katelyn continues to share the importance of Women in Agriculture while sharing her own story through social media under the handle @WildRoseFarmer.

Amie Evans

District Manager Agricultural Services, TD Ag Services, TD, Yorkton, Saskatchewan

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Panel topic: Agriculture is a broad and dynamic industry that is constantly changing. What can women do to be the most effective leaders in today’s environment?

Amie Evans grew up on a grain and cattle operation near Yorkton. She began her banking career in 2002 working in a variety of positions before joining TD 13 years ago.  Amie is passionate about giving back and making a difference in her community.  She volunteers for several organizations and is also a proud member of TD’s Prairie Business Banking Women in Leadership committee.  Amie also served 3 terms on the Yorkton Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, including a term as President.  Amie is a 7 time winner of TD’s annual performance awards and is a past recipient of TD’s most highest honor, the Vision in Action Award, which is awarded to the top employees around the world who exhibit all of TD’s Guiding Principles.  Amie lives in Yorkton with her daughter and is currently the District Manager Agricultural Services for Saskatchewan and Manitoba North District.

Jolayne Farn

HR Manager, Van Raay Paskal Farms Ltd., Picture Butte, Alberta

Workshop Facilitator

Workshop title: Hiring for Success and Engaging the Right Partners

Workshop overview: When it comes to your business, you make the decision as to who completes your team, both through hiring employees and engaging key business partners. This session is designed to provide an enhanced understanding on how to navigate everyday employment challenges, most notably the talent shortage and the temporary foreign worker program. We will share first hand experience with the temporary foreign worker program and share best practices to how successfully engage and empower these employees from a retention lens. Our goal is to provide you with the tools you need to hire and engage your team for success.

Jolayne Farn serves as an HR Manager with over 10 years experience in a variety of HR functional areas. For the past 8 years Jolayne has been working for Van Raay Paskal Farms Ltd.  Where she has provided knowledge and support in recruiting our Canadian work force but also hires through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program from Mexico, Russia, Ukraine and South Africa. As well as employee relations, performance management, polices and procedures, disciplinary action and termination process’s. Jolayne has previously supported two separate working groups. One for LMIA process’s and the other seeking and attracting workers to the agriculture sector.  Jolayne thoroughly enjoys the agriculture industry as it has been more than just a job for her. She is proud and passionate to be surrounded by so many diverse and hardworking individuals who collaborate and share the same vision and work ethic. ” We are providing the highest quality of food to feed the world.

Joanne Fedeyko

Founder, Canadian Women’s Network, Burlingame, California

Workshop title: How to pitch to investors

Workshop overview: When is the right time to build a network with investors and how do you start? What are common and critical mistakes Canadian companies make when pitching to investors? What are investors looking for – what impresses them – how do you market to them?

Joanne Fedeyko is the Founder & CEO at Connection Silicon Valley, an organization that helps accelerate Canadian startups from Seed to Scale, and the Founder of the Canadian Women’s Network (CWN), a community that connects Canadian founders to an influential network of US investors, mentors and executives to help them grow locally and scale globally.

Joanne is the Co-Founder and General Partner of Women’s Equity Lab (WEL) Silicon Valley, an angel investment fund with the mission to increase the number of female investors in early-stage startups. She is the Publisher of Disruption Magazine, an online publication with almost 100K subscribers that promotes and profiles Canadian tech leaders and innovation driving global change. Joanne is an Advisor to startups and a Founding Board Member of CELS (Canadian Entrepreneurs in Life Science) which provides accelerator programs for startups looking to expand and raise capital in the US.

Joanne hails from Alberta and has lived in Silicon Valley since 1999.

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.

Lori Free

Senior Director, Equity Diversity & Inclusion, Nutrien, Calgary, Alberta

Workshop title: Ageism in the Workplace

Workshop overview: This presentation will provide an overview of biases we see and experience in the workplace with older candidates and employees.

Lori’s move to the Equity Diversity & Inclusion arena was a natural career pivot as her foundational expertise building and leading Nutrien’s Talent Attraction & Sourcing Center of Excellence provided a stable anchor on which to continue to expand her knowledge and experience. With depth of experience and leadership in  long & short term strategy development, talent & diversity mapping/search, critical sourcing programs and implementation of essential hiring tools and processes, she has enjoyed many successful years of helping top organizations secure diverse and innovative talent to meet their strategic goals. Lori is passionate about creating workplaces that are respectful, inclusive and welcoming for every person. She believes that every individual should be provided with the opportunity to feel safe at work and to be supported in their career growth and success.

Christine Gillespie

VP, Transportation, Distribution & Logistics, Nutrien, Calgary, Alberta

Presentation title: Achieving Breakthrough Performance

Presentation overview: As women, we are often under pressure to achieve results that are even greater than the norm.  Christine will share her experiences in achieving breakthrough business performance while breaking gender barriers.

Christine Gillespie, ICD.D, MBA, B.Comm. (with Distinction), has two decades experience in agribusiness in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Ms. Gillespie is currently VP, Transportation, Distribution & Logistics, overseeing over $1 billion in freight and distribution spend for Nutrien, the world’s largest provider of crop inputs and services.

She has managed P&Ls in both the bulk commodity fertilizer business and the farmer-focused retail products and services business. Ms. Gillespie’s broad cross-functional background spans general management, operations, corporate development & strategy (including China, India, Africa & Europe), investor relations, marketing, and transportation.

Ms. Gillespie has served on the Boards of Nutrien’s European subsidiaries & JVs. She currently serves on the Boards of Calgary Economic Development and Highbanks Society. She is a former Board member of Neptune Bulk Terminals and Canpotex Bulk Terminals Limited. She is fluent in English & French.

Gina Grandy

Professor and Dean, Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) & Hill and Levene Schools of Business, University of Regina, Regina, Saskatchewan

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Panel topic: Agriculture is a broad and dynamic industry that is constantly changing. What can women do to be the most effective leaders in today’s environment?

Dr. Gina Grandy is Professor (Strategy & Leadership) and Dean at the Hill and Levene Schools of Business (University of Regina). Gina is the lead for the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub in Saskatchewan. She is co-author on Boosting Economic Growth: A Report on Women Ag Entrepreneurship in Saskatchewan. Her research on leadership, gender and women’s experiences at work and entrepreneurship, and stigmatized work has been published widely. She is active in the community with various initiatives and bodies that work to advance opportunities for equity deserving groups.

Andria Karstens

Marketing and Operations Manager, Digital Farming Solutions, Bayer Crop Science, Battleford, Saskatchewan

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Panel topic: Agriculture is a broad and dynamic industry that is constantly changing. What can women do to be the most effective leaders in today’s environment?

Andria has worked at Bayer Cop Science for the past 5 years, with most of that time spent in the Digital Farming Solutions organization, working with the FieldView platform. She is currently the Marketing and Operations Team Lead, where she covers everything from customer communications to commercial engineering requests. She has been involved with the GROW (Growing Representation and Opportunities for Women) Business Resource Group at Bayer since January of 2021 and became one of the cochairs in December. In her free time Andria enjoys outdoor adventures with her husband Dan and their dog Bullet.

Kaitlyn Kitzan

Business Development and Operations Specialist, Discovery Farm, Glacier FarmMedia, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Panel topic: Agriculture is a broad and dynamic industry that is constantly changing. What can women do to be the most effective leaders in today’s environment?

Kaitlyn grew up on a mixed farm near Theodore, Saskatchewan and is still active on the family farm. In the spring of 2020, she completed her Bachelor of Science in Agri-business at the University of Saskatchewan. Kaitlyn is now employed by Glacier FarmMedia in their Discovery Farm and events portfolio.

She also serves as a Director on the Western Canadian Wheatgrowers and Cofounder and Strategic Development Director of Sask Girls United.

She had the privilege to attend a Junior Team Canada Mission to China in 2016 and to Peru in 2019 focusing on free trade for Canadian agricultural products. She represented Canadian agriculture in Des Moines, Iowa for the World Food Prize, travelled to Ecuador for a Me to We trip and El Salvador for a Global Citizenship experience. In the Winter of 2020, she travelled to India with the Canadian Foodgrains Bank on a Food Security Learning Tour.

Kaitlyn was honoured to be nominated for the Young Women of Distinction award in Saskatchewan.

You can find her working on the family farm, volunteering within the community, or advocating for agriculture.

Sandip Lalli

Sustainability, Finance, Risk & Strategy Senior Executive with Global Experience; the Former Executive Vice President and Chief of Staff to the President and CEO at Nutrien; Independent Board Director and Chair of Audit Committee, Royal Canadian Mint, Calgary, Alberta

Presentation title • Core Values and Future of Women in Agriculture

Presentation overview: Understanding your core values to navigate your career is essential to making any contribution. For women in agriculture to carve out careers that move the industry forward and deliver value in each interaction.

Sandip brings over 15 years in C-Suite senior management experience developing and driving corporate priorities and strategy, driving M&A, and working cross-functionally across value chains. She has worked globally across 36 countries and has strong experience with the agriculture sector being previously with Cargill Incorporated for over a decade. Sandip also brings a background in environmental, social, and governance (ESG), plant operations, supply chain management, global regulatory, internal controls, financial risk management and stakeholder relations.

Sandip holds an Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D) designation, a Doctorate and Master’s degrees in Business Administration and is a published thought leader on sustainability and purpose driven business. Sandip was granted a Fellow of Chartered Professional Accountant (FCPA) for achievements in her career as a Chartered Professional Accountant.

Sandip is an advisory panel member with Diversity in Sustainability (DiS) providing strategic advice, representing the wisdom of many lived and professional experiences to help DiS build an intersectional and intergenerational approach to their organization. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Royal Canadian Mint.

Roxane Lieverse

Director and Lead – Alberta, Agricultural Banking, Scotiabank, Calgary, Alberta

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Panel topic: Agriculture is a broad and dynamic industry that is constantly changing. What can women do to be the most effective leaders in today’s environment?

Roxane Lieverse, a farm kid from Beaverlodge, Alberta. She completed her undergraduate degree from McMaster University in Hamilton and her masters from Dalhousie University in Halifax. Today she is the Director and Lead of Alberta Agricultural Banking at the Scotiabank. Her career has been spent in the financial industry, including roles within capital markets, wealth management, private banking and retail management. In addition to a successful career working with a team of passionate agricultural bankers, Roxane is a wife and mother of a set of 5 year old twins. Outside of work Roxane enjoys cycling, skiing and being active. However, her greatest pleasure is to be back on the farm with her large extended family.

Natalie Loman

Client Relationship Manager, Scotiabank Agriculture Team, Lethbridge, Alberta

Workshop title: Hiring for Success and Engaging the Right Partners

Workshop overview: When it comes to your business, you make the decision as to who completes your team, both through hiring employees and engaging key business partners. This session is designed to provide an enhanced understanding on how to navigate everyday employment challenges, most notably the talent shortage and the temporary foreign worker program. We will share first hand experience with the temporary foreign worker program and share best practices to how successfully engage and empower these employees from a retention lens. Our goal is to provide you with the tools you need to hire and engage your team for success.

Natalie Loman comes from a grain farm in Bashaw, Alberta. Her grandparents farmed out there until she was 14 years old, at which time they sold the operation. Natalie finished school in Calgary and continued onto the University of Lethbridge, then to Holland to complete her degree study in Business Management, Majoring in Finance and Minoring in International Financial Management. Natalie joined the Alberta Agriculture Banking Team with Scotiabank as a Relationship Manager and has loved every minute of it. Natalie believes she found the best of both worlds working in finance and the agriculture industry, being surrounded by inspiring men, women and their operations. Natalie is dedicated to her partnerships and strives to help businesses grow and evolve the way they have always envisioned.

Tanya McDonald

Interim Vice President, Academic and Research, Lakeland College, Vermilion, Alberta

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Panel topic: Agriculture is a broad and dynamic industry that is constantly changing. What can women do to be the most effective leaders in today’s environment?

Ms. Tanya McDonald (M. Sc. Civil Engineering, University of Calgary; B.Sc. Science, Athabasca University) is a transformational leader in post-secondary administration. She currently holds the position of Interim Vice President, Academic and Research at Lakeland College. She previously worked as the Senior Executive Advisor, supporting the college on new initiatives in agriculture, research and advancement. Prior to joining Lakeland, Tanya worked for more than 16 years at Olds College in various positions throughout the advancement, academic and applied research departments, including several years as the Dean of Agriculture. She is passionate about agricultural innovation and education. Tanya resides in Olds with her husband. Tanya is very excited as she’s soon to be a Nana, as her daughter is soon to have a little girl of her own.

Jennifer Mercer

General Manager, Nutrien, Joffre, Alberta

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Panel topic: Agriculture is a broad and dynamic industry that is constantly changing. What can women do to be the most effective leaders in today’s environment?

Jennifer Mercer, General Manager, Joffre Nitrogen Operations, has been told she’s “an anomaly for an engineer”, is a leader who overcame having a high school teacher tell her she has an “independent thinking problem”, believes in teaching her two sons how to cook, budget, and do laundry are true “life lessons”, and knows every person has a bit of rocket scientist in them!   Jennifer is a professional engineer who joined Nutrien in 2012, after spending 15 years working in the Pulp & Paper Industry on both Canadian coasts.  She spent almost 8 years working at the Redwater Nitrogen Operation as the Capital Project Senior Supervisor and Maintenance Superintendent, prior to moving into the General Manager role at Joffre.  She graduated from Lakehead University with a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Chemistry & Biology, with a Mathematics minor, and a Bachelor of Engineering degree, in Chemical Engineering.  As a co-chair of WiNTER (Women in Non-Traditional Environments and Roles), Jennifer strongly encourages every opportunity for diverse perspectives, challenges her team to think outside the box, believes in having the empathy to think and contribute beyond just herself, and seeks out a platform to demonstrate we always have the time for everyone’s ideas.  Jennifer encourages and supports not only the people in the minority, but also grows and develops the people in the majority.

Amy Monea

Heard Wellness Through Horses &Rafter U7 Ranch and Wellness Centre, Carstairs, Alberta

Presentation title • The Journey of Heard Wellness Through Horses

Presentation overview: It started with a dream that just would not leave, the support of family and friends, and a much slower than anticipated process of building a business alongside a family and a farm. I will share some stories of how building the business has helped build me as a professional and person.

Amy Monea is a Therapist, Registered Social Worker and Rancher who makes her home with her family near Carstairs, Alberta. She operates an equine facilitated counselling practice called Heard Wellness Through Horses from Rafter U7 Ranch and Wellness Centre and is part of a small therapy clinic in Olds.

Her fascination with the benefits of horses and nature, love for community and rural living,  and passion for supporting people in times of struggle has often found her serving members of the agriculture community. Supporting people through the journey of motherhood is also something she is drawn to. She has a Master of Social Work degree and has been in the field of mental health since 2008 and in private practice since 2015.

Jenny Ose

Director, Marketing, John Deere, Olathe, Kansas, USA

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Panel topic: Agriculture is a broad and dynamic industry that is constantly changing.  What can women do to be the most effective leaders in today’s environment?

Growing up on our small grains farm in Northwestern Minnesota led me to John Deere and for 27 years I have worked in sales and marketing working with our John Deere Dealers, customers around the world, current and new product development, go to market activities and strategy. I love agriculture and everyday look forward to supporting our dealers and customers.

Meghan Pedros

Manager, Business Banking Programs, TD Bank Group, Toronto, Ontario

Workshop title • Show up as your BEST self by leveraging your personal brand through the art of networking

Workshop overview: The pandemic has undoubtedly left many feelings of uncertainty in the world, which can also affect our mental health and productivity as a result.  Now is the time to shift priority, focus on ourselves and how we “show up” everyday.   Join us as we identify basic but important fundamentals to build your confidence and enhance your personal brand through the art of networking.

Meghan Pedros is a career-oriented wife, mother, marathoner, mentor and brand ambassador with a passion for developing others through inspiration, mentorship and integrity.   Over her 17 year career with TD, she has held a series of progressive roles in Wealth Management, Retail, Direct Channels and Human Resources, to name a few.  In her most recent role, Meghan led the Canadian Banking Management Associate & Graduate Leadership Programs; which focus on developing general management and leadership capabilities across the organization. In her current role as Manager; Talent Acquisition, Meghan leads the diversity sourcing and recruitment strategy for our Business Banking Associate Programs across Canada.  With a passion for personal development and growth, Meghan plays an active role in supporting Women in Leadership and Diversity initiatives both internally and externally; advocating TD as a career choice for new graduates and a “Place to Be You”.

Melissa Reinhardt

Manager, Business Development, Farm Credit Canada, Red Deer, Alberta

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Panel topic: Agriculture is a broad and dynamic industry that is constantly changing. What can women do to be the most effective leaders in today’s environment?

Melissa Reinhardt was born with a passion for agriculture, growing up on a cow-calf operation east of Calgary. Having been involved in the 4-H Community, multiple rodeo associations and raising beef, she learned lifelong skills that she continues to implement in her everyday life. After graduating from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor’s Degree in Agribusiness, she began her career with Farm Credit Canada (FCC) as a Relationship Manager. Her grit and determination to provide support and help better the Agriculture industry, both within her career and on the home life, excelled her career to where she is. Today, Melissa is the Manager, Business Development with FCC, and works with a diverse team of individuals all with an appreciation and passion for agriculture. She is a down to earth leader who believes that being authentic, staying curious, and showing some vulnerability is key to success, that and a little old fashioned hard work! Melissa resides with her partner Danny, on a cow-calf operation east of Red Deer and can often be found out chasing cows – whether its on the farm or at a local team roping jackpot!

Judy Riege

Connector – Coach – Educator, Connected Leaders, Calgary, Alberta

Presentation title • Leadership is a mindset, not a position:  let’s get fierce and fired up about the future.

Presentation overview: The future of leadership is fast, fired up and human:  clarity, communication and connection will be key to our shared success.  Our beliefs and behaviours of “niceness” will put the brakes on our ability to feel the power of acceleration and to realize just how much power we have to drive forward, be fierce and build confidence and commitment in ourselves and others to create value and realize results.

Workshop title • Connected Conversations:  from fables and frustration to clarity, commitment and confidence

Presentation overview: Communication is the connective tissue of businesses, teams and relationships.   Since none of us were born with the superpower ability to read minds, our ability to make visible the thoughts, ideas, opinions and needs in conversation is a critical skill that will keep you out of a perpetual cycle of frustration and unhealthy conflict or drama and into the flow of “7 levels of communication”.

Judy is a role model, a rebel, and real.  She is a connector, a coach, and an educator.  Judy is in the business of elevating leadership thinking and behavior from the classroom to the boardroom. She has deep experience in the art and neuroscience of emotional intelligence (EQ) and its impact on communication, curiosity, decision making, relationships, results, and resiliency in individuals, teams, and organizations.

Judy works with people of all ages helping them become the leader they were meant to be: educators and schools, Olympic and Paralympic coaches, athletes and sport leaders across Canada’s sport system as well as entrepreneurs and corporate executives across North America.

She is on a mission to change the world by creating CONNECTED leadership thinking and behaviour in our schools, sports, and workplaces.  She wants to inspire today’s leaders to up their game and create places for the next generation to learn, belong, grow, practice, play, AND make tomorrow even better than we can imagine.

Cassidy Rochemont

Client Relationship Manager, Scotiabank, Olds, Alberta

Presentation title • The Importance of Networking and Building Strong Relationships

Presentation overview: Cassidy shares her experiences and tips on how to make the most out of your time at AWC. A successful conference starts with your connections and we are here to help you create them.

Cassidy Rochemont is a Client Relationship Manager for Scotiabank Agricultural Banking. She covers the Central Alberta region, working with farmers and agri-businesses to develop individualized profiles and meet their financial goals. Through AWC, Cassidy started her career with Scotiabank by networking with her current manager. Flash forward three years and she continues to find success in her career, utilizing the skills she has learned through networking and building relationships.

Aside from her time with the bank, Cassidy is an active Board member of her local Chamber of Commerce and has spent previous time on other Boards.

Still early within her career, Cassidy knows first hand the challenges that individuals can face when kick-starting the next step of their life. Through networking, knowing what is in her “toolbox” and focusing on what counts in a relationship, she has navigated through these challenges and is prepared to face new ones.

An advocate for community leadership, personal development and supporting women in the Agriculture industry, Cassidy strives to share her experiences with those around her.

Stephanie Roediger

Canadian Pacific Railway, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Panel topic: Agriculture is a broad and dynamic industry that is constantly changing. What can women do to be the most effective leaders in today’s environment?

Stephanie has been working in the rail industry for over 17 years with Canadian Pacific.  She is currently the Director of Canadian Grain and is dedicated to partnering with our grain shippers to provide superior service and reliability.  She attended St. Cloud State University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management.  Following graduation, she started with Canadian Pacific in their HR department where she worked a variety of roles from union awards to recruitment and retention.  Stephanie transferred in 2016 to the Marketing & Sales team where she has worked with many different customers and commodities, with a focus in agriculture.  Stephanie is an active member of Canadian Pacific’s Women in Leadership Mentorship Program. This program is a volunteer program to help women with leadership and personal development, networking skills, and industry knowledge.  Stephanie has been the recipient of several recognition awards over the years including the 2019 CP Golden Spike Award for Marketing and Sales excellence, and the 2021 Railway Age Fast Tracker – 20 under 40.  She resides in Minneapolis, MN with her husband and 3 daughters.

Victoria Ross

CEO, Founder, AGRO SYSTEMS INC., Crossfield, Alberta

Presentation title • aGRO Systems Inc.

Presentation overview: Victoria will share the Origin Story of her company aGRO Systems Inc. The challenges and successes she has faced in its growth as a 20 year old woman with no credit and no idea what she was doing leading the charge.

Born and raised in beautiful Westwold, British Columbia, but moved to take on the world in Alberta. The brain child that started aGRO Systems from her grade 9 science fair experiment and amplified it into a business idea during her entrepreneurship class at the University of Calgary.

Victoria’s idea may have pivoted and transformed over the years but she has always stuck true to its vision to support farmers and the environment. In the last 3 years, Victoria has grown aGRO from a simple idea to a business now serving 33 local firms and 5 family farms. aGRO takes beer/distilling byproducts and upcycles them into livestock feed. The feed can reduce methane emissions in cattle by up to 20% and improve meat quality—while providing the craft brewing market with a reliable waste disposal service For aGRO, Victoria has participated in the RBC Fast Pitch Competition, Falling Walls Venture UALBERTA, and was of the top twelve student entrepreneurs in Canada at the Enactus 2017 Exhibition. Years following, she participated in the Trico Foundation’s Student Internship, and was one of the first women recognized for SHEInnovates, the Alberta Chapter, by UN Women.

Most recently, Victoria has represented aGRO at Trico Foundation’s 2021 YYC What’s Next Competition. Victoria is passionate about improving food production and distribution to make a more equitable world for all. She believes the men and women who put food on our plates do not deserve to question how they will keep the lights on in their homes.

Lauren Sergy

Communication Expert, Up Front Communication, Edmonton, Alberta

Presentation title • Commanding Confidence: How Women Can Build and Leverage Leadership Presence

Presentation overview: Leadership Presence is that “X Factor” that helps people command the attention and confidence of those they’re interacting with. In this session, you will learn the building blocks of Leadership Presence and how to strategically cultivate and use it in your working life.

Communication expert Lauren Sergy has helped thousands of people become more effective leaders by developing critical communication skills such as persuasion, public speaking, and executive presence. She has worked with clients and audiences in Canada, the US, the UK, and Europe including Cargill, KPMG, 3M, T-Mobile, Grant Thornton, and many more. Lauren teaches business communication courses at the University of Alberta. Her first book, “The Handy Communication Answer Book,” was featured on Library Journal’s Best Reference Books of 2017 list.  Her latest book, “UNMUTE! How to Master Virtual Meetings and Reclaim Your Sanity” is now available via all major online booksellers. You can learn more about her work at

Jane C. Schuette

Speaker, Jane Schuette and Associates, Inc., Watertown, Minnesota

Presentation title • The Power to Choose: Breaking the Myths of Personality

Presentation overview: We have the power to choose our values, attitudes, and behaviors. Too often we relinquish the power to choose by saying, “That’s just who I am!” Frequently, we are simply falling victim to childhood myths, misguided messages from others, or personality assessments.

Jane is a high energy, award-winning speaker and author. She melds humor with a collection of the most effective practices and tools designed to educate, energize, and inspire you to manage stress. Her audience is diverse – from global corporation employees to educators, from U.S. Armed Forces to women inmates. Jane has an infectious enthusiasm for helping audiences build brilliance and sail through the stormy seas of stress! Her first book, Building Your Brilliance: Move from Stressful Survival to Joyful Living, features a toolkit to help you manage stress and uncover your brilliance! Her series of Building YOUR Brilliance 5-Minute Journals helps you find peace within the storms of stress and navigate to brilliance in just 5 minutes a day. The original 5-minute journal is designed for your personal life, the Educator Reflection Journal is for teachers and school administrators, and The Accountable Leader is for people working in business organizations. Jane lives in rural Minnesota with her husband and is delighted to have her children and grandchildren nearby for plenty of play time in the exhilarating Minnesota seasons.

Kelly Smith-Fraser

Board Chair, AFSC, Red Deer County, Alberta

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Panel topic: Agriculture is a broad and dynamic industry that is constantly changing. What can women do to be the most effective leaders in today’s environment?

Kelly was raised on the family farm at Wimborne, Alberta. Poplar Haven Farms was a mixed grain and purebred cattle farm operated by three Smith families, which created a unique upbringing and togetherness that few experience. Shortly after she graduated from Texas Tech University, the families decided to divide Poplar Haven Farms among themselves, and Kelly’s family created their own ranch, NuHaven Cattle Co. Today, Kelly manages her family’s purebred operation, which specializes in show steers, Maine-Anjou and Simmental cattle.

Kelly’s father Gary motivated her to become involved in the beef industry, and she followed in his footsteps and became president of the Canadian Maine-Anjou Association. She also became a delegate for Alberta Beef Producers and eventually became the first female board chair in the organization’s 50-year history.

Enhancing youth opportunities has become a driving force for Kelly and she volunteers for the CAREERS: The Next Generation and the Canadian Cattleman’s Foundation boards. Currently, Kelly serves as the chair of the AFSC Board of Directors. She enjoys bringing a producer viewpoint to the AFSC board and believes in the AFSC Purpose: “Working together we grow and sustain the agriculture industry in Alberta.”

Kelly and her husband Scott loves helping their daughter Aubrey pursue her goals in showing cattle, barrel racing, and hockey. They enjoy golfing together and spending time at their fishpond—and Kelly has become known for her love of the Oilers and her dog. She is known for her humor and honesty in the boardroom.

Nicole Stelter

Vice President Agriculture Services Alberta, TD, Leduc, Alberta

Banquet Welcome Speaker

Nicole has always had a passion for Agriculture.  As an Olds College Ag Business graduate, Nicole wanted to combine her passion for Agriculture with her interest of finance.  Upon graduation, she was hired by TD Bank as an Agriculture Management trainee and over the last 25 years has been able to grow her career within the bank in Small Business, Commercial and Agriculture Lending.  Today, Nicole is Vice President of TD Agriculture for Alberta and enjoys leading a team that shares her same passion and commitment to Agriculture along with supporting the growth and sustainability of the industry.

Nicole is a 4th generation farmer, raised on a mixed grain and cattle farm in Nisku, Alberta and today operates a 1,500 acre grain farm in South West Edmonton alongside her husband.  She is the proud of the her family’s deep history and commitment to farming in Alberta,  as both her family and her husband’s family have been farming continuously for 124 years  and 102 years respectively.

Leah Weatherill

Managing Director & Team Lead, Western Canada Agriculture and Agribusiness, BMO Bank of Montreal, Calgary, Alberta

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Panel topic: Agriculture is a broad and dynamic industry that is constantly changing. What can women do to be the most effective leaders in today’s environment?

Leah currently leads a team of amazing BMO lenders serving the agriculture industry from BC to Manitoba. Her 20+ year commercial banking career has taken her across Western Canada and the UK, leading teams of bankers and managing a wide range of client relationships across many industries. She prides herself on providing exceptional service to clients while also managing risk for the bank, and she strives to create a collaborative and supportive work environment for her team.

Leah was born and raised in Calgary. She holds a Bachelor of Science, Honours degree with a major in Mathematics from Queen’s University. In her spare time she can be found exploring the outdoor beauty that the Prairies and Rocky Mountains have to offer with her husband and three children.

Celeste Wilson

Client Relationship Manager, Scotiabank Agriculture, Edmonton, Alberta

Workshop title: Hiring for Success and Engaging the Right Partners

Workshop overview: When it comes to your business, you make the decision as to who completes your team, both through hiring employees and engaging key business partners. This session is designed to provide an enhanced understanding on how to navigate everyday employment challenges, most notably the talent shortage and the temporary foreign worker program. We will share first hand experience with the temporary foreign worker program and share best practices to how successfully engage and empower these employees from a retention lens. Our goal is to provide you with the tools you need to hire and engage your team for success.

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Panel topic: Agriculture is a broad and dynamic industry that is constantly changing. What can women do to be the most effective leaders in today’s environment?

Celeste Wilson comes from a mixed grain and cattle farm in Southern Saskatchewan. After being highly involved in the farm throughout her childhood, she continued on to the University of Saskatchewan College of Agriculture and Bioresources to obtain a degree in Agriculture Business, Majoring in Agriculture Economics and Minoring in Agronomy. After working with BASF and Syngenta, Celeste switched courses and joined the Agriculture Banking Team with Scotiabank and has maintained a position there every since. Celeste is passionate about being a female leader within the agriculture industry, and enjoys working alongside motivated and hardworking women both inside and outside of Scotiabank. In the future, Celeste hopes to build a book of clients that are forward thinking, innovative, and proud to do what they love while feeding the world.

Donna Wytinck

Regional Grain Advisory Services Leader – Manitoba, Cargill MarketSense, Carman, Manitoba

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Panel topic: Agriculture is a broad and dynamic industry that is constantly changing. What can women do to be the most effective leaders in today’s environment?

Donna Wytinck has been working in Agriculture for almost 20 years and holds a B. Sc (Agribusiness) from University of Manitoba – go Aggies!  She’s worked with Cargill Ltd for 16 years, currently as the Manitoba leader of MarketSense, a farm consulting program dedicated to helping farmers make better grain marketing decisions.  Her 16 years at Cargill also include Grain Marketing Advisor, and crop input sales and grain buying.  Donna is an active member of the Cargill Women’s Network – CASC North American chapter, holding various leadership positions including Co-Chair.  This is a volunteer women’s resource group dedicated to help women rise to their full potential at Cargill.  Donna credits her career growth at Cargill to her participation in this amazing women’s chapter over the last 9 years and is incredibly proud to be part of the growth of diversity, inclusion and equity at Cargill.  Donna resides in Carman, MB with her husband and 2 children.  She’s an active community volunteer and truly enjoys camping, figure skating and gardening.

Kiera Young

Senior Vice President, Customers, Products & Services,  MacDon Industries Ltd., Winnipeg, Manitoba

Presentation title • Tales of a Prairie Girl:  Lessons in Living and Leadership

Presentation overview: Born and raised in rural Manitoba, Kiera ponders how her rural roots and have influenced her schooling, family and career.

As Senior Vice President at MacDon Industries Ltd., Kiera has overall responsibility for growth strategies, global sales & marketing, after-market parts & service, new product development and engineering. Kiera brings a wealth of experience to this position joining MacDon in 2015 as the Director of Design Engineering.  In 2018, she became Vice President of Product Development, where she has been responsible for growth strategies as they relate to product, partnership and acquisitions.  Prior to joining MacDon, Kiera held multiple leadership positions over her 17 year tenure at StandardAero, an aerospace maintenance and repair organization.  Kiera holds a B.Sc. in Engineering (Mechanical) from the University of Manitoba and has completed the Program for Leadership Development from Harvard Business School.  Kiera holds a Lean Sensei International Blackbelt Certification.  Having been involved in farming and the agricultural community throughout her life, Kiera also actively contributes to the operation of her husbands’ family farm in Southern Manitoba.