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!

Natalia Amiel

Senior Policy Advisor, Programs Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa, ON

Workshop title • Supporting Women in Ag through Government Programming

Presentation overview: This workshop will provide a snapshot of funding opportunities available, including through the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership. Participants can expect to share their personal experiences and hear stories about applying to agricultural Programs.

Natalia Amiel is a Senior Policy Advisor working on Gender-Based Analysis Plus within Programs Branch at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). AAFC supports the Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector in many ways. From the farmer to the consumer, from the farm to global markets, and through all phases of producing, processing and marketing of farm, food and agri-based products. As agriculture is a shared jurisdiction in Canada, the Department also works closely with provincial and territorial governments in the development and delivery of policies, programs and services.

Cindy Benning

Leadership Consultant,  Esséré, Dutton, ON

Workshop title • BRAVE™ Decision Making

Workshop overview: Cindy will be using a model that relies on alignment of the head, heart and guts to assist in decision making.   Cindy will also explain the ways that ego and past experiences can create blockages when making decisions.  The workshop will allow participants to practice using the model.

Cindy has spent 30+ years in the Pharmaceutical Industry in various roles and in various leadership positions.  In parallel with her highly successful career, she lived a tumultuous personal life mainly due to choices related to relationships with men.  She spent years doing self-discovery work to learn more about herself and why these divergent lives existed.  When she retired from her career job in 2021, she knew it was time to share her story and so she wrote a book.  Her story is one of self-discovery as well as how that journey has led her to develop insight into what types of virtues are needed for leaders of today and tomorrow. It is Cindy’s hope that by sharing her story, she will inspire others to learn more about themselves and see that standing solid in your true self and living aligned with your values brings an incredible feeling of freedom and joy.

Luce Bélanger

Board Member, Chicken Farmers of Canada, Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier, QC

Presentation title • Why Not Me?

Presentation overview: The benefits of having women on Board and why we doubt ourselves as women. I work differently and it brings a different perspective on some decision making, different but as good and as valuable as any other proposition. I think women have a different thinking process and it is an advantage to any organization.

Luce is a chicken farmer from Saint-Gabriel-de-Vacartier a small municipality north of Quebec City.  She has been farming since 1999 when she bought her father in law’s broiler operation.  She has a degree in animal science from McGill University and an MBA in agribusiness from Laval University.  Born and raised in a suburb of Montreal, she did not have any background in agriculture before going to McGill.  Since then, she has been highly involved in local and provincial board within the UPA (Union des producteurs Agricole).  She is a director at Chicken Farmers of Canada and sitting on an executive position since March 2022.  She is also part of the executive committee at les Eleveurs de Volailles du Québec.

Luce has always been involved in helping her community.  She was a volunteer librarian for 8 years at the local library and was a volunteer firefighter and first responder for 16 years.  In 2014 Luce successfully completed her officer’s course and became a lieutenant for the fire department.  She was in charge of the whole division of the first responder.

She is the proud mother of two daughters and two grandchildren.

Dr. Caroline Brookfield

Speaker, Veterinarian, Artful Science, Calgary, AB

Presentation title • The reluctant Creative: 5 Effortless Habits to Expand Your Comfort Zone

Presentation overview: The pace of change in the world has accelerated beyond our ability to adapt. Our default tried and true formulas are not working like they used to. Creativity is the prerequisite to innovation, and the antidote to languishing in 2023.

Dr. Caroline Brookfield is a Reluctant Creative. She is a veterinarian, author, speaker, stand-up comic, and mom. Faced with a false ultimatum of art or science, she chose science. Does that sound familiar? If you’re a “left brainer” like Caroline, you might share the belief that creativity is for artists, kids and grandmas, and somewhat ancillary to more important goals. Feeling snubbed, eventually Caroline’s creativity demanded attention like a cat at dinnertime. She learned how to integrate her creative and scientific sides, realizing the importance of both, and that you don’t have to choose. Caroline is passionate about helping you to identify your own barriers to individual, everyday creativity, so that you can speak up, stand out, and build a uniquely satisfying future for yourself. Caroline presents balanced evidence, with easy to understand and actionable takeaways, kind of like a keynote mullet: Fun up front and data in the back. You can also learn how to balance rigor with creative expression to survive the gusting winds of change, with a smile on your face. Caroline received honors for her veterinary degree from the Ontario Veterinary College, is a certified level 2 Creative Problem Solving facilitator, and holds a Certificate of Professional Management from the University of Calgary. She is always up for a challenge, like learning guitar, rock climbing, getting her kids to eat vegetables, surfing, meditation retreats with sniper rifles. You know, the usual stuff. Caroline lives in Calgary, Alberta, where her lectures go unheeded by her family. The dog listens, sometimes.

Andrea Chantree

Rural Response Counsellor, Family Transition Place, Orangeville, ON

Workshop title • We Need to Talk About … Abuse Experienced by Women

Presentation overview: Woman abuse is a shadow pandemic. Communities need to work together to avoid social, health, and economic impacts.  Learn more about the harms of abuse and your role in helping end violence against women.

Andrea has been in the social services field for 26 years after having graduated from a 3 year Child & Youth Worker program at Humber College. She has worked in various schools supporting youth struggling with mental health issues. Andrea has spent the majority of her career working in Domestic Violence and Homeless shelters, supporting women and children fleeing violence, and managed the crisis line that operates 24 hours a day. She has worked alongside Social Workers and Child & Youth workers advocating and supporting these families to live lives free of violence. Andrea continues to keep current with her education by attending trainings annually. For the last 25 years, Andrea has worked with Family Transition Place in various roles. She has worked in the shelter which provided a safe place for women and children fleeing violence to managing the Crisis line that operates 24 hours a day. Andrea currently works in the Rural Response Program providing free, domestic violence services to reduce barriers for women impacted by violence or abuse who reside in rural Dufferin County. Andrea has supported individuals providing crisis counselling, safety planning, abuse education (including the impact of trauma, oppression, separation, grief/loss, poverty and mental health challenges) and advocacy.   Andrea lives and works in the same community she grew up in. She is very familiar with the barriers women face in a rural community and works to advocate and provide the much needed support women often need but struggle to access. Andrea follows an anti-oppressive and feminist framework and uses a client-centered therapeutic model of support. She draws from the resilience and hopes her clients have to assist and encourage them in moving forward in a life free of oppression. Andrea believes the Rural Response Program is vital to the community and sees this opportunity to educate and advocate for women who are often times feeling hopeless and lost. Andrea enjoys reading, travelling and sewing and is an animal welfare advocate. She also works part time in her family’s  three- generation beekeeping business.

Anneke Donkers-Stickney

Owner, Stickney Poultry Farms, Elora, ON

Presentation title • Building Personal Growth Through a Poultry Barn Build

Presentation overview: Building for the future involves more than a foundation and four walls. It includes overcoming everyday challenges and learning self-discovery while building a personal foundation.

After graduating with Honours from the University of Guelph-Humber in 2007 with a Bachelor of Business Administration and a diploma in Small Business Management, Anneke Stickney embarked on a career in the banking industry. But when the opportunity arose to purchase the family farm, she jumped at the chance The egg farm, located near Elora, Ontario was started by Anneke’s parents John and Anne Donkers in the 1980s after the couple immigrated to Canada from Holland. In 2012, Anneke purchased the farm, and in 2020 & 2021 she made the transition from Conventional to Enriched housing. Anneke, along with her 4 children, Alexander 10, Blake 9, Colton 7 and Dawson 5, demonstrate their passion of providing hard boiled eggs to over 40 schools in her county. The program delivers healthy school snacks and also provides an opportunity to share with students the facts about how their food is produced. Anneke’s passion for the egg industry is reflected in her commitment to the Egg Farmers of Ontario, where she has been a Zone 7 Councillor for the past 10 years. She is also an active member of AG Women’s Network (AWN) and serves on the board of directors as treasurer. In 2019, she was one of the Ontario Young Farmers Representatives, which allowed her to grow her passion and lead her receiving 2021 Top 4 under 40 Canadian Poultry Producers. In 2020, Anneke took on a new challenge of transitioning her existing farm to a newly built enriched facility. The transition laid the foundations to her future both personally and professionally has opened doors for opportunities to give back to the industry that she is proud to be a part.

Michelle Durnin

Owner, Durnin Farm and Ranch Wear, Auburn, ON

Presentation title • Kicking Limiting Beliefs to Build a Business

Presentation overview: Michelle will discuss how she went from someone who had never aspired to run a business to now exploring multiple entrepreneurial pursuits, including building a women’s workwear brand with zero experience. She will discuss the tools that have helped me to change my beliefs, how important it is to see other women in business, and what she has  learned in this process so far.

Michelle Durnin wears many hats, including: wife, farmer, podcaster, agronomist, and workwear designer. She grew up on a cash crop farm in Ancaster, Ontario. After graduating from the University of Guelph with a Crop Science degree, she spent several years working in agronomy and sales roles but struggled to find her fit within the industry. Wanting to provide more value to those in the ag industry, she started a podcast, Prosperity Ag Out Loud. Little did she know, this small step in building something on her own terms was the beginning of her path to entrepreneurship. Over the last few years she has learned to take risks, dream bigger, welcome failure, and (slowly) value her worth. She is now building her two businesses, Prosperity Ag Consulting, where she provides independent crop consulting,  and Durnin Farm and Ranch Wear, a women’s workwear brand. Through Durnin Farm and Ranch Wear, she is working to bring confidence and a sense of community to other women in agriculture.

Dianne Finstad

Moderator/Program Host, Red Deer County, AB

Master of Ceremonies

Dianne Finstad used her southern Alberta farm roots to build what’s become a long communications career in television, radio and writing; covering agriculture and rodeo. She’s based in the Red Deer area and is honored to have been part of the AWC family from the start. Dianne serves on the board for Lakeland College, and is a past board member at Westerner Park. Along with Emceeing, announcing and writing stories, you can find Dianne on RFD-TV Canada and The Cowboy Channel Canada with her show called Frontline Farming Canada.

Cristina Hambly

General Manager, Co-Owner, Gwillimdale Farms Ltd. Bradford, ON

Presentation title • From High Heels to Steeltoe

Presentation overview: Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” This quote from Thomas A. Edison has stuck with Cristina since she became a farmer, and hasn’t changed even now after 29 years fully dedicated to farming. Women in general  have an incredible capacity of adapting and overcoming adversity.

Raised between Venezuela and Italy, Cristina was always exposed to farming practices, growing vegetables, and grapes, as well as raising animals and cash crops.  Cristina earned her degree in Law, specializing, and working in Corporate and Personal Injury law until coming to Canada in 1994.  Agriculture came back into her life in 1995 when she married into the Hambly family and made the decision to fully dedicate herself to the operation, working along side John as the 4th generation, and raising 3 children as the 5th generation. Today, Cristina is the General Manager and co-owner of Gwillimdale Farms, one of Ontario’s largest grower, packer, shipper of root vegetables. Growing carrots, onions, potatoes, beets, and parsnips on over 5,000 acres, primarily based in Bradford Ontario, and in New Liskeard, Ontario.

Emily Harringa

Regional Marketing Manager, Case IH, Pleasant Hill, IA

Panel Speaker

Panel Discussion • 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?

After earning an Organizational Communications B.A., Emily’s 20+ year career has been spent in Marketing, Communications, Marketing Communications, or Marketing adjacent positions, working with ag equipment dealers, end-use customers, global & domestic factories, and cross-functionally with internal partners. In 2014, she completed the M.B.A. Executive program with the University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Management. Her professional history created opportunities to travel to China, Germany, Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil, among many other destinations. Her South American travel became frequent enough that Emily’s skillset (for a time) included learning to speak practical-use Brazilian Portuguese.

Emily’s passion can be distilled down to a single word – creativity. Surrounding herself with creative professionals, engaging in creative problem-solving, and building creative content and campaigns that drive results is what gets her out of bed every morning. Imagination with purpose and manageable metrics are must-haves in anything that demands her time.

The Des Moines, IA area is home to Emily and her family: husband Ryan, son Daniel (17), daughter Chelsea (14), and dogs Winston (American Bulldog mix) and Luna (Great Dane). What little free time life affords her, Emily spends with her family and occasionally attempting to golf. She does not claim to be a golfer, but she will golf.


Cheryl Haskett

Founder & CEO, Udderly Ridiculous Inc., Bright, ON

Presentation title • City Girl to Agriculture Entrepreneur and Advocate

Presentation overview: Cheryl takes us inside the journey, challenges and triumphs of going from career woman to agriculture entrepreneur. Cheryl has created 2 award-winning agri-businesses (in the midst of a global pandemic) as an extension of her husbands 185 acre goat dairy and crop operation and is going to share what it takes to keep going, to find joy and to thrive in the midst of adversity.

Special Information Session

Topic • What Nuffield Canada Can Do for You.

Topic overview: Hear from 2 Nuffield scholars about their experience and what Nuffield can mean for your organization, your own personal success.


Cheryl Haskett is a corporate facilitator, speaker and the founder of Udderly Ridiculous – an award-winning goat milk ice cream company and Udderly Ridiculous Farm Life a multi award-winning agri-tourism destination located in Bright, ON.

Cheryl is a 2024 Nuffield Canada Scholar, and her research topic will examine the growth and impacts of agri-tourism on primary agriculture, tourism and the community. The project will aim to offer a framework for agri-tourism in Canada to offer a consistent definition, criteria and standards of practice.

Hayley Hesseln

Department Head, Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK

Workshop 1:

Workshop title • Leverage your emotional skills to make better decisions

Workshop overview: Recognizing and managing your emotions is essential when it comes to success in your personal and professional life. Learn how to hone emotional skills to develop emotional self-awareness and decision-making.

Workshop 2:

Workshop title • Manage yourself through change

Workshop overview: Change is inevitable in life, yet some find it difficult while others embrace it.  This session will help you to identify your preference for handling change and how to communicate better with others.

Hayley is an executive coach and co-founder of EI Advantage and the Department Head and Professor in Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Saskatchewan. She has a PhD from Colorado State University in Forest Economics and is a Certified Executive Coach and member of the International Coaching Federation.  Hayley teaches agricultural economics, offers executive coaching, and has developed courses for clients in industry and government to develop emotional intelligence and leadership skills.

Candace Hill (she/her)

Manager, Brand Planning and Advertising Services. FCC, Regina, SK

Presentation title • Midlife + Midcareer: Navigating the magic and the messiness

Presentation overview: Life if filled with twists and turns. Some you see coming, others jump out and knock you off your feet. Candace will share three principles she lives her life by that have helped her to navigate the journey and find joy.

Candace Hill is the Manager, Brand Planning and Advertising Services at FCC. She leads a team of strategic marketing professionals who champion the FCC brand, supporting business results while building relationships with customers and partners across the country.

Candace has worked in marketing for over 24 years in various roles within the financial services and agriculture industries. Since 2012, Candace has been with FCC in agri-marketing roles where she’s created brand and media strategies and led the development of the FCC women entrepreneur strategy. She is a passionate supporter of the agriculture and food industry.

Coming from rural roots, she is now an impassioned advocate for bridging the urban/rural divide and driving change within the broader agriculture innovation ecosystem in Canada.

Helen Hirsh Spence

CEO, Top Sixty Over Sixty, Woodlawn, ON

Presentation title • What’s Age Got To Do With It?

Presentation overview: Did you ever wonder why age gets such a bad rap? It’s because of ageism, the only remaining “ism” that is socially acceptable and omitted in most diversity initiatives. With the hundred year life being a 21st century reality, however, the multigenerational workforce is becoming the new norm and a strategic imperative for Canada’s economy.

After 50+ years in schools, as both student and educational leader, Helen’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning has never waned. Using her leadership experience as a jumping off point, she became a newly minted social entrepreneur in her late sixties.

Helen is a well-respected and sought-after thought leader who has appeared in several major national media outlets, on television, podcasts, and radio. She advocates, writes and speaks about age diversity in the workforce, intergenerational connection, and how to mitigate the damaging impacts of ageism on individuals, society and economies.

Among hundreds of applications, her company, Top Sixty Over Sixty, was selected as a semi-finalist for the prestigious Canadian Innovators and Entrepreneurs Awards. She is often invited as a panelist to speak about ageism as it relates to elder abuse and mental health. In the summer of 2022, she was asked to become faculty for Advocis’ summer professional development conference and she was welcomed into Living, Learning and Earning Longer, an award-winning collaboration with the World Economic Forum, Organization for the Economic, Co-operation and Development and the American Association of Retired Persons.

Her reputation as an expert in the “age” space has earned her invitations to speak at conferences and to participate on advisory boards for start ups. She serves as a board member locally, nationally and internationally, and mentors youth and newcomers to Canada. She is passionate about maximizing potential at every and all ages.

Keely Horan

Rural Response Counsellor, Family Transition Place,  Rural Response Program, Orangeville, ON

Workshop title • We Need to Talk About … Abuse Experienced by Women

Workshop overview: Woman abuse is a shadow pandemic. Communities need to work together to avoid social, health, and economic impacts.  Learn more about the harms of abuse and your role in helping end violence against women.

Keely has been involved in the social services field since 2002, working in various capacities, such as, Early Childhood, Infant Development, Addictions, Child Welfare, Child and Family Play Therapy ( Psychotherapy), Mental Health and Domestic Violence. Keely follows an anti-oppressive, trauma informed, person-led approach where the person is supported to lead their own care and treated as a person first.

Currently, Keely works with Family Transition Place’s Rural Response Program (RRP) providing free, domestic violence services to reduce barriers for women impacted by violence or abuse who reside in rural Dufferin County. Within this role Keely has supported individuals by providing counselling, case management, safety planning, abuse education, advocacy and systems navigation support.

Keely has a rooted connection with the efforts made by the Rural Response Program. She herself grew up and continues to reside in a rural, farming community, learning very quickly about the barriers that women in rural, isolated, communities face when requiring support. With lived experience, Keely brings a professional and personal passion and insight to her work and approach.  She not only seeks to provide equitable services for women in the rural areas (specifically those impacted by abuse and violence) but, aims to empower, strengthen, and educate individuals to find their internal and external wellness and hope.

Keely holds an Under Graduate Degree in Women Studies & Sociology, Early Childhood Education Diploma and Certification in Child and Family Play Therapy and has a Masters of Social Work in process.

Coming from rural roots, she is now an impassioned advocate for bridging the urban/rural divide and driving change within the broader agriculture innovation ecosystem in Canada.

Dr. Stephanie Lam

Research Associate, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON

Special Information Session

Topic • What Nuffield Canada Can Do for You.

Topic overview: Hear from 2 Nuffield scholars about their experience and what Nuffield can mean for your organization, your own personal success.

Born and raised in Ontario, Stephanie grew her passion for agriculture when she studied beef cattle research at the University of Guelph, completing her PhD in beef genetics and genomics. Her experiences led to working in Lacombe, Alberta at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada studying meat science, which helped her learn the challenges and priorities across the whole value-chain. From there Stephanie worked for Genome Alberta, a not-for-profit organization that connects partners and accelerator programs that will lead to agriculture and agri-food industry and producer benefits. As a researcher by training, she actively served the community by helping new researchers in agricultural science build communication and leadership skills. Currently, she works as a Research Associate with Angela Canovas at the University of Guelph in beef cattle genomics.

Stephanie is a 2022 Nuffield Canada Scholar and her topic of research is ‘Genetic and genomic approaches for sustainable beef production’.

Sherry Lees

Vice President Finance, Grain Division, Parrish & Heimbecker, Winnipeg, MB

Panel Speaker

Panel Discussion • 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?

Sherry grew up on a grain farm in Southern Manitoba with deep family roots in Agriculture.  Earning her Bachelor of Commerce (Hons) degree and later her Chartered Accountant designation articling for PricewaterhouseCoopers, she quickly gravitated to the agricultural clients of the firm.  This lead to a 30+ year career in the Ag industry moving through various roles to today where she works as the Vice President Finance for Parrish & Heimbecker.  A mom to two adult children and two fur babies, Sherry and her husband live in a lake community to the east of Winnipeg where she enjoys many outdoor activities year round.

Kasia Maves

Associate Financial Advisor/Mutual Fund  Investment Specialist, Rob Webster Insurance Inc/ Co-operators, Eganville, ON

Workshop title • Protecting the Legacy; The farm today, tomorrow & for future generations

Workshop overview: Kasia will be talking about all the life stages of your business and farm. When raising kids it’s said “It takes a village.” It’s the same for building your business. Putting together a strong base and maximizing your network are so important. No farm is an island and although you can make it on your own, taking it to the next level means connecting yourself with the right people.

And let’s face it, no one wants to work forever, growing your legacy and planning for how to pass it on to the next generation is also a crucial factor in how you will operate. Kasia knows how to get you there and the tools you will need to prosper. Join her, join the village.

Kasia Maves studied Business Administration at Algonquin College and has parlayed that into a 10 plus year career in the insurance industry. She continues to expand her roles in the field.

Specializing in farm and commercial insurance she started to see clients need help in a more holistic way. She moved forward to get her LLQP license and mutual fund license. Kasia is an Associate Financial Advisor, a Mutual Fund Investment Specialist, and Certified Financial Planner with Rob Webster Insurance Inc, The Co-operators. She helps her clients through financial literacy and resiliency by providing financial solutions through both property and casualty insurance, life insurance and wealth management products.

Kasia is a wife and mother of three who was born and raised in Renfrew County and continues to live in the rural area. She is also an avid volunteer and believes in giving back to her community. You can usually find her at the rink or the ball diamond with her 3 children! She sits on the board for both Renfrew Minor Hockey and Renfrew Minor Ball in many different roles.

She’s looking forward to seeing everyone this fall!

Anne Miner

President, The Dunvegan Group, Woodstock, ON

Presentation title • The Platinum Rule – Training for personal and work life, how to adapt and communicate with each other

Presentation overview: The Platinum Rule, “Treat Others The Way They Want To Be Treated” is far more effective than the Golden Rule we were all taught. Identify your own profile and that or others with the tools from this workshop; adapt your behaviour and see your relationships thrive!

Anne Miner is an International Speaker, Best-Selling Author, and Business Owner.  She’s a confident leader. A creative genius. And a cool and collected woman of style and charisma. Her proven ability to bring calm to chaos, success to failures, and solutions to problems weave to¬gether seamlessly to define her executive charm as the President of The Dunvegan Group.

Since 1987, Anne’s trusted expertise in business excellence and customer retention have made her a highly-respected woman of influence. But it is her ability to use her deeply-rooted values, unwavering determination, and array of experiences that attracts many who seek her pro¬fessional guidance.

It is Anne’s experiences, and her valuable perspective on life that has attracted audiences to her candid, motivating, and genuinely comforting speaking engage¬ments at seminars, conferences, and networking events worldwide. She has successfully empowered many “to go over, under, around, or through the obstacles on any path… and to be courageous in pursuing dreams.”

Anne wears many hats and brings the experience of a variety of roles to bear on her speaking assignments:

  • Founder and CEO of The Dunvegan Group
  • Business Coach and Mentor
  • Certified Trainer of the Platinum Rule®
  • Author of three books and co-author of Amazon Best-Seller, “Succeeding in Spite of Everything!”
  • Chair, Toronto Chapter of the International Women’s Forum, Canada

Anne weaves anecdotes and humor into her spirited presentations ensuring the audience will be engaged, uplifted, entertained, and inspired! No wonder she was awarded the University of Guelph’s Alumni Achievement Award!

Bethany Parkinson

Psychological Support Coordinator and Trainer, Guardian Network, Agriculture Wellness Ontario, CMHA-Ontario Division, Elora, ON

Workshop title • Building your Mental Health Toolbox

Workshop overview: Stock your toolbox with new strategies, tools & resources for better wellness.  Learn about free mental health programs offered by Agriculture Wellness Ontario for the agriculture community.

Bethany Parkinson: Bethany Parkinson is the Psychological Support Coordinator and Trainer for the GuardianNetwork, one of the programs included in Agriculture Wellness Ontario through CMHA-ON. Bethany completed her Bachelor of Arts in sociology at the University of Guelph and Master of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University. As a Registered Social Worker, she has experience in clinical, healthcare and educational settings, and is passionate about connecting mental health supports to rural communities. Bethany resides outside of Elora and is actively involved with her family’s purebred sheep and beef cattle farm.

Meghan Pedros

Manager, National Business Banking Programs, TD Bank Group, Toronto, ON

Workshop title • Stand Out! Show up as your BEST self and leverage your personal brand to achieve success!

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 and personal development planning.

Meghan Pedros is a career-oriented wife, mother, marathoner, mentor and brand ambassador with a passion for developing others through inspiration, mentorship and integrity.  With her 17 year career with TD, she has held a series of progressive roles in Retail, Direct Channels, Wealth Management and Human Resources, to name a few.  Prior to her current role, Meghan led the Canadian Banking Management Associate and MBA Leadership Programs; which focus on developing general management and leadership capabilities across the organization.  In her current role as Manager, National Business Banking Programs, 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 & Diversity initiatives both internally and externally; advocating TD as a career choice for new graduates and a “Place to Be You”.

Lucy Reed

Lead, Regulatory Affairs, Bayer CropScience Inc.. Ottawa, ON

Panel Speaker

Panel Discussion • 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?

Lucy Reed is a Regulatory Affairs team lead of Biotechnology, Biologics and Small Molecules at Bayer CropScience Inc. in Ottawa, Canada. She has extensive experience in the regulation of seeds, biotechnology crops, biologics and conventional crop protection products, and contributes to policies and issue solutions in Canada and the US. Lucy brought her regulatory knowledge to industry from working at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency on the regulation of the environmental release of plants with novel traits. Lucy has a B. Sc. degree in co-op biology and M.Sc. degree in applied biotechnology, both from the University of Waterloo. When not at work, she can be found in arenas on weekends changing hockey equipment on and off her son and twin daughters from September to March. At all times of the year, Lucy enjoys time outside camping, paddling or travelling with her husband and family.

Marla Rice

Partner,  BNG Bossy Nagy Group, Tillsonburg, ON

Workshop title • Navigating Succession

Workshop overview: The road to transitioning the farm from one generation to the next can be filled with obstacles and detours. Just as each family is unique, so is the journey they will take. Join our interactive workshop to share past and present experiences with family farm succession to learn about the challenges faced and how to overcome them to help move through the past into the future.

Marla Rice became a partner at BNG Bossy Nagy Group in 2016 after working with the firm since 1997. With her years in public accounting and business advisory services, Marla leads BNG’s team of accounting professionals towards excellence in client service by setting and supporting BNG’s standards. She provides a full range of accounting services and takes a pragmatic, solutions-focused approach to clients facing complex accounting and business challenges.

Clients attest to Marla’s patience, and her innate ability to explain things, without complicated jargon, to help them easily understand things. She is responsive and goes the extra mile to remember as many details as possible about each client’s business or situation as she truly cares about them and their success. Client service is of upmost importance to Marla; she is dedicated to having answers to clients’ questions, alleviating their worries, and, ultimately, simplifying their lives. Marla strives to be the first person they think to reach out to when they need tax or accounting support.

Marla is active in the community, currently acting as chair of the CAFA (Canadian Association of Farm Advisors) Woodstock, Mid-West Chapter. She has also donated her time in the past to the Tillsonburg Ringette Association and formerly Girl Guides of Canada, St. Paul’s United Church and the Tillsonburg chapter of Ontario’s Heart and Stroke Foundation.


Lianne Rood

Member of Parliament for Lambton-Kent-Middlesex; Shadow Minister for Federal Economic Development Agency for Eastern, Central and Southern Ontario, Ottawa, ON

Banquet Guest Speaker

Presentation title • One Woman’s Journey From a Farm to the House of Commons

Presentation overview: Lianne’s path started on the farm and in many ways shaped who she is today. That’s why she’s unapologetic about fighting for farmers in the House of Commons and is on a mission to help our agriculture sector thrive.

Lianne Rood is a two-term Conservative Member of Parliament for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex. She was first elected in 2019 and re-elected in 2021.

Lianne’s experience as a farmer, entrepreneur, and in politics, has served her well as Member of Parliament. She draws on the knowledge she has gained and her work-ethic every day, to advocate for the people of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex. Under the Leadership of the Hon. Pierre Poilievre, Lianne currently serves as the Shadow Minister for Federal Economic Development Agency for Eastern, Central and Southern Ontario. Prior to that, Lianne served on the Conservative Leadership Team under the former Leader, the Hon. Candice Bergen as the Official Opposition Deputy Whip and Co-Chair of Question Period Planning.

Lianne’s portfolios in Shadow Cabinet have included: Rural Economic Development and Rural Broadband Strategy (2021), Agriculture and Agri-Food (2020), and Deputy Shadow Minister (2019), for Agriculture and Agri-Food.

Cami Ryan

Industry Affairs & Sustainability, Bayer CropScience, Okotoks, AB

Presentation title • Sustainable Life, Sustainable Relationships: Exploring Sober Social Media

Presentation overview: Do you ‘doom-scroll binge’? Do you find yourself sucked deep into the dark recesses of social media, anxiety-ridden, and emotionally drawn into non-productive conversations?

Me too. I struggle. We all struggle. This makes for some very unhappy ‘happy hours’.

Social media is ubiquitous. On average, each of us spend as much as four hours a day on social media platforms. These platforms have evolved into the virtual living rooms of our lives. While they are wonderful places to share anything from recipes to family anecdotes and photos, they are also places where we find ourselves interacting with often unexpected and unwelcome guests (stories, information).

How do we find balance and peace in this social media-driven world? I refer to this journey as ‘exploring social media sobriety’. It is not all or nothing when it comes to social media. It is a day-to-day process involving ongoing positive self-talk, infirmly establishing boundaries, and in being cognizant of and in shaping our own online behaviours.

In this presentation, I will share some learnings and the coping skills I’ve developed over the years. Together we can find joy and true ‘happy hours’ in how we connect, human-to-human, on social media.

Cami Ryan, PhD, is Senior Business Partner, Industry Affairs & Sustainability for Bayer CropScience. Dr. Ryan is a Professional Affiliate with the College of Agriculture at the University of Saskatchewan and a Bayer Science Fellow. With a broad academic and professional background in social and behavioural sciences, Dr. Ryan has spent several years exploring the impact of dis/mis-information on social media and passionately advocates for policy based on science-based evidence in the agriculture industry. In addition to her publications, Cami is also a regular guest and contributor to podcasts, editorials, and other media outlets. She is an artist, poet, and a grandma. She and her cowboy-husband, Blair, live in Southern Alberta with their collection of critters. You can find Cami on Twitter @CamiDRyan; TikTok @InfoWrangler.

Jodi Souter

President, J4 Agri-Science Ltd, Saskatoon, SK

Presentation title • Navigating a Field of Barriers

Presentation overview: Starting a business can be bumpy—starting an agricultural business as a young woman can be downright rough. Lessons learned through the best career decision I’ve ever made.

Dr. Jodi Souter is a business owner, plant breeder, farmer and Nuffield Scholar from Northeastern, Saskatchewan. After completing graduate school, Jodi worked as a contract plant breeder, before deciding she was going to take a risk and start her own plant breeding company. There are few private plant breeding companies in Western Canada, and even fewer in broad-acre inbred crop development. Jodi is passionate about increasing competition in variety development and giving farmers better varieties and additional choice in what they want to grow. Jodi hopes to change the way Canadians think about plant breeding and to create an environment where younger plant breeders can follow their chosen dreams with fewer obstacles than she faced.

Lesley Srivastava

Canadian Sales Manager – Food Solutions, Cargill,  Toronto, ON

Presentation title • Owning Your Career – Career Development for Women

Presentation overview: Lesley will share her career journey and the experiences that have shaped her. From overcoming her “aggressive” personality and receiving critical feedback, to grounding on core values to drive career development, Lesley will share the lessons and leaders that have impacted her career. She will share her experience to inspire other women to intentionally develop their career plans.

Energized by Growth. A driven and inspiring leader, I create authentic connections to bring out the best in people and drive results.

Lesley has spent her career in food ingredient sales. She hold a B Sc from University of Guelph in Food Science, and has worked in B to B sales for twenty years. Over that time, Lesley has earned a reputation as a credible, energetic and driven seller with a passion to find shared value. Lesley has worked for Cargill Food Solutions since 2017, as both a Sr Account Manager and her current role as Canadian Sales Manager. When she’s not at work, you can find her at the lake, or doing something active with her family.

Adriana Van Oostveen

In the Know, Program Coordinator, Agriculture Wellness Ontario – Canadian Mental Health Association – Ontario Division, Toronto, ON

Special Sunday Workshop title •  In the Know: Mental Health Workshop for the Agriculture Community

Workshop overview: In the Know is a mental health literacy program designed specifically for farmers, their families and those who are involved and/or support the agriculture sector. Through this free, four-hour workshop, participants will cover the topics of stress, depression, anxiety, substance use and how to start a conversation around mental well-being.

Workshop title • Building your Mental Health Toolbox

Workshop overview: Stock your toolbox with new strategies, tools & resources for better wellness.  Learn about free mental health programs offered by Agriculture Wellness Ontario for the agriculture community.

Adriana is the In the Know Program Coordinator with Agriculture Ontario and the Canadian Mental Health Association – Ontario Division. Over the past 10 years she has worked in non-profit and social service and is passionate about educating others about Mental Health. Adriana was raised on her family’s dairy farm in Oxford County and has always been passionate about serving the agriculture community. In her spare time Adriana is a 4-H volunteer leading cooking projects and volunteers for her local agricultural Society.

Tracy VanPuymbroeck

Partner, BNG Bossy Nagy Group, Tillsonburg, ON

Special Sunday Workshop title • Navigating Succession

Workshop overview: The road to transitioning the farm from one generation to the next can be filled with obstacles and detours. Just as each family is unique, so is the journey they will take. Join our interactive workshop to share past and present experiences with family farm succession to learn about the challenges faced and how to overcome them to help move through the past into the future.

Having graduated into progressively senior roles since joining BNG Bossy Nagy Group in 2006, Tracy became the most recent partner of the firm in 2018. Tracy takes great pride in providing accounting services to BNG’s valued clients, working with them to build better businesses. She boasts a special concentration on reliance engagements, including family business succession planning, estate planning and reorganizations. Having grown up and worked on her family’s tobacco farm, Tracy has first-hand knowledge of the intricacies of running a family farm.

Tracy is also an active member of her community, occupying the treasurer position with the Tillsonburg District Memorial Hospital Foundation and serving in her current role as Chair for STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) Southwestern Ontario Chapter.

Kendra Wack

Executive Director, FEAD (Female Entrepreneurs in Agri-Food Development), Saskatoon, SK

Panel Speaker

Panel Discussion • 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?

Kendra is a passionate advocate for the agriculture and food sectors. She believes that food security starts with ensuring economic security for primary producers and food processors. Kendra has had experience along the entire agri-food supply chain ranging from crop genetics, input and machinery sales, primary production, product development and food manufacturing. She is the youngest graduate on record from Edwards School of Business MBA at the University of Saskatchewan, she also holds a B. Ed. in Home Economics. Kendra was able to merge her passions of business, education, entrepreneurship, and agriculture recently as the Executive Director of FEAD (Female Entrepreneurs in Agri-Food Development) where she directs a nationally recognized leading non-profit supporting value added production and food processing businesses across Canada. Kendra is an independent business consultant specializing in healthcare and agri-food sectors. She currently sits on the Board of Director of SIGMA (USask- College of Engineering), as well as Agriculture in the Classroom (SK).

Kevin Werner

Retired Vice President TD Bank, Calgary, AB

Presentation title • Living my life with Depression and Anxiety

Presentation overview: Kevin will share his story on coping with mental illness and identifying and watching for potential signs of this illness at all ages of life.

Kevin grew up on a small family farm 16km west of Regina near the hamlet of Grand Coulee. He attended grade school in Grand Coulee then attended high school at Luther College in Regina. He then attended the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with a major in economics. He the joined Farm Credit Corporation as a Credit Advisor working in various locations throughout Saskatchewan. After three years with FCC he joined TD Bank in Saskatoon as an Agriculture Account Manager. After two years in Saskatoon he transferred to Toronto for 3 years and transitioned into Commercial Banking where progressed through senior levels of Account Management. He was then transferred to Lethbridge in a senior management role and progressed over 6 years in Calgary to his first Executive Appointment as Associate Vice President of Risk Management for Western Canada. He then was promoted to Vice President commercial banking for Winnipeg, and progressed through other VP roles in Red Deer Alberta and then finished his career as VP in charge of agriculture for western Canada retiring January 2019. He resides with his wife Cheryl (his rock) and have been actively involved over the years in dog breeding and showing. They enjoy walking, cycling and now extensive travel abroad since retirement.