WEST 2018

Our great lineup of speakers: Listen, Learn, Network & Grow!

Our speakers are industry leaders, market innovators and those passionate about creating success. We choose the best people from within and outside the ag industry to share their wisdom and knowledge with you.

Imagine the goals you could achieve with a little inspiration, networking and insightful skills from women and men who’ve “been there, done that” and are willing to share what they’ve learned along the way.

Meet the AWC WEST 2018 presenters that we have lined up to date!

Cherie Andrews

Co-owner, Chinook Honey Company & Chinook Arch Meadery, Okotoks, Alberta

Women Talk Panel Speaker

Presentation Title • Ready, Set, Change

Presentation Overview: What do you really need to successfully change your career path? It seems that no matter how much you might plan, simply being ready for anything might work best.

Cherie Andrews and her husband Art of Chinook Honey Company & Chinook Arch Meadery opened the doors of their rural Okotoks apiary to on-farm sales in 2004 and have never looked back. It all started as a beekeeping hobby. The hobby became an entrepreneurial adventure when Cherie’s airline flight dispatch job flew off to Toronto. Deciding her job relocation days were over, her plan to simply ‘sell honey’ for a living has become a multi- faceted business including honey extraction, packaging and value-added production. Production includes everything from honey jams, jellies, sauces to mead (honey wine). Sales are primarily from their store but also include numerous Calgary restaurants and, in the case of mead, liquors stores in Calgary, Edmonton and smaller cities throughout southern Alberta. In addition, they have become an Agro-tourism destination, offering educational programs about honey bees and creating ‘Made in Alberta’ wine tourism experiences.

Was she ‘ready’ for the challenge of starting an agricultural business from scratch? Not really – she’d grown up in cities and her previous education had been sciences and aviation. Was she ‘set’ for the challenges ahead? She had only a rudimentary idea of what it would take to run a small business. Did she ‘change’ – oh yes – and hasn’t stopped changing since she started.

Q+A: Get to know Cherie Andrews >
See Cherie Andrews Presentation from the conference >

Leslie Beck, RD

Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc., Toronto, Ontario

Presentation Title • Peak Performance Nutrition: What to eat to be stress resilient, energetic and healthy

Presentation Overview: Stress is a fact of nature. A little of it helps you stay focused, energetic, alert. Beyond a certain point, though, stress stops being helpful and can zap your energy and impact your weight, your health, your mood and your productivity.

Nutrition plays a critical role in managing the physiological effects stress. What you eat – and don’t eat – can help or hinder your body’s ability to respond to stress.

During this information-packed presentation, Leslie Beck will present 10 practical, easy-to-implement nutrition strategies to help you fuel your body with the right foods and nutrients it needs to effectively deal with stress, stay energized and be as healthy as possible.

Leslie Beck has spent her career helping Canadians achieve their health goals as they relate to diet and nutrition. She is a best-selling author, columnist, and television and radio personality.

In her Toronto-based private practice, Leslie works one-on-one with clients who seek her expertise, providing diet advice, personalized meal plans, and ongoing coaching. She also is the Director of Food and Nutrition at Medcan, a company that helps people achieve their very best health and wellness.

Leslie is recognized as an authority on nutrition and food issues and is an experienced communicator in television, radio and print media. She writes a weekly column in The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, and is a regular contributor to CTV news. She is the best-selling author of 12 books (Penguin Canada) including The Plant-Based Power Diet and Leslie Beck’s Longevity Diet.

Born and raised in Vancouver, BC, Leslie obtained her Bachelor of Science (Dietetics) from the University of British Columbia and proceeded to complete the dietetic internship program at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. She studied a Masters in Epidemiology at the University of Toronto. She is a member of the College of Dietitians of Ontario, Dietitians of Canada, The Institute for Functional Medicine and The American College of Lifestyle Medicine.

Q+A: Get to know Leslie Beck >

Trish Booy

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

Workshop Presentation:

Part 1: Access to Capital and Working With Your Banker

Presentation Overview: Access to capital is always top of mind for farm owners. Whether you’re thinking about expanding your business, or purchasing new equipment, we invite you to join our panel of experts to learn about which capital options are right for you and your farm. You will gain invaluable insight from our panel of Agriculture experts, who can share their combined experience about the farm business lifecycle.

Part 2: Wealth Management and Succession Planning for the Family Farm

Presentation Overview: You’ve worked hard to build your family farm, so it’s important to make succession plans proactively to maximize the potential benefits while reducing the stress. For business owners contemplating sale or transition, setting goals, visions and exit plans early is critical for success. Guest panelists will include a lawyer and accountant who specialize in agriculture.

Trish Booy is Manager, Agriculture in the Alberta South Commercial Community with BMO Bank of Montreal. Trish received her Agriculture Technology Diploma from the University of the Fraser Valley and continues to pursue a designation in agrology. During her career with BMO so far, Trish has worked as a Mid-Market Commercial Account Manager in Abbotsford, BC, before transferring to Red Deer, Alberta to take on her current role. Trish has a passion for agriculture and enjoys both the production and business sides of the industry. As a woman in agriculture, Trish believes it’s important to participate in the industry and to be a mentor to other women who wish to break into the industry, as well.

Grant Brooks, CFP, CLU

Director, Wealth Planning, BMO Wealth Management, Calgary, Alberta

Workshop Presentation:

Part 1: Access to Capital and Working With Your Banker

Presentation Overview: Access to capital is always top of mind for farm owners. Whether you’re thinking about expanding your business, or purchasing new equipment, we invite you to join our panel of experts to learn about which capital options are right for you and your farm. You will gain invaluable insight from our panel of Agriculture experts, who can share their combined experience about the farm business lifecycle.

Part 2: Wealth Management and Succession Planning for the Family Farm

Presentation Overview: You’ve worked hard to build your family farm, so it’s important to make succession plans proactively to maximize the potential benefits while reducing the stress. For business owners contemplating sale or transition, setting goals, visions and exit plans early is critical for success. Guest panelists will include a lawyer and accountant who specialize in agriculture.

Grant is passionate about helping high net worth families and business owners to develop a clearly defined comprehensive wealth plan and strategies that serve to assure their retirement needs, minimize tax through optimal cash flows, integrate business planning, and implement appropriate trust and estate planning to fulfill family legacy and philanthropic goals in tax efficient manners. Drawing on a depth of planning acumen and our team of in-house technical specialists, Grant strives to translate complex strategies into understandable solutions that address clients’ planning issues, goals, and concerns, to provide them with a sense of financial well-being and an affirmation of their family’s wealth stewardship.

Grant joined BMO Wealth management in 2015. He has over 12 years of experience as a financial planning practitioner and financial advisor. He has a strong depth of understanding and experience in tax, business, retirement, estate, and insurance planning. Grant has a breadth of experience working with business owners, executives, and professionals including transition planning, generational wealth transfer, and complex family situations. More importantly, Grant understands the emotional side of clients and knows how to listen to them to personalize solutions and tailor delivery of planning recommendations to be meaningful.

Education & credentials

  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)
  • Canadian Securities Course (CSC)
  • Life License Qualification Program (LLQP)


Susan Brown

Senior Vice President, Alberta and Northwest Territories Division, BMO Bank of Montreal, Calgary, Alberta

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Susan Brown is the Senior Vice President of the Alberta and Northwest Territories Division. She is responsible for the financial services the bank provides to its personal and commercial customers in this marketplace.

Susan has been with BMO for 23 years and has worked in several markets across Canada. Her first executive appointment with BMO was in 2001, as Vice President, Saskatchewan District followed by roles as Vice President, Calgary District and Senior Vice President for Ontario Regional Division, and Senior Vice President, Southwestern Ontario Division.

Susan serves on the Boards of Northstar Trade Finance Inc. and Heritage Park Society, having previously served as a Board member for the Cambridge Memorial Hospital Foundation, THEMUSEUM (Kitchener), Canada’s Technology Triangle (Waterloo Region), the Chamber of Commerce (Calgary), Saskatchewan Children’s Hospital Health Foundation (Saskatoon), and St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation (Saskatoon). Susan is also on the Board of the Calgary Stampede Foundation.

She was named a Women’s Executive Network (WXN) 2016 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner. Susan has also been recognized as one of Saskatchewan’s Women of Influence and a YWCA Woman of Distinction, and attended the University of Manitoba, where she completed both a Bachelor of Commerce degree and a Master of Business Administration.

Tim Caulfield

Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health, Research Director of the Health Law Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

Presentation Title • When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash

Presentation Overview: Celebrities are everywhere! And this matters. Seriously. Research shows that popular culture has a profound influence on people’s health and that our ideals of beauty and success are framed by a celebrity-dominated worldview. In this fun and provocative presentation, Timothy will examine what science tells us about the influence of popular culture. He will also debunk common health myths and provide practical, evidence-based, recommendations relevant to both healthcare professionals and to individuals seeking to live a healthy lifestyle.


Author of Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?

Professor Timothy Caulfield is an unrivaled communicator who debunks myths and assumptions about innovation in the health sector—from research on stem cells to diets to alternative medicine—for the benefit of the public and decision-makers. He is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, and a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. He has been the Research Director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta since 1993.

Over the past several years, Professor Caulfield has been involved in a variety of interdisciplinary research endeavours that have allowed him to publish over 300 articles and book chapters. He is a Fellow of the Trudeau Foundation and the Principal Investigator for a number of large interdisciplinary projects that explore the ethical, legal and health policy issues associated with a range of topics, including stem cell research, genetics, patient safety, the prevention of chronic disease, obesity policy, the commercialization of research, complementary and alternative medicine, and access to health care.

Professor Caulfield is and has been involved with a number of national and international policy and research ethics committees, including the Canadian Biotechnology Advisory Committee; Genome Canada’s Science Advisory Committee; the Ethics and Public Policy Committee for International Society for Stem Cell Research; and the Federal Panel on Research Ethics. He has won numerous academic awards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

He writes frequently for the popular press on a range of health and science policy issues and is the author of The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness, and his most recent book, Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture and Science Clash.

Melodie Chan

Senior Manager Veterinary Services – Cattle/Equine/Genetics, Zoetis, Kirkland, Quebec

Women Talk Panel Speaker

Presentation title • Why wait for the knock? Build your own doors

Presentation Overview: Despite being a city kid, Melodie Chan travelled down an unlikely pathway right into the heart of agriculture.  Join her as she takes you through a journey where self-awareness, curiosity and courage all played an important role to help her get to where she is today.

Dr. Melodie Chan grew up in the greater Vancouver area as a city girl and fell in love with agriculture during her undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia. In 2002, she graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and pursued a career within the dairy industry.  After completing an internship in Dairy Production Medicine at Cornell University, Dr. Chan worked at a mixed animal practice in Saskatchewan and then started her own dairy veterinary practice in Olds, Alberta. Dr. Chan is currently the head of Zoetis Canada’s Technical Services Team for Cattle, Equine and Genetics.

Dr. Chan is a past-president of both the Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners and the Canadian Association of Bovine Veterinarians. In 2014, she was named as one of the honorees of Vance Publishing’s 2014 “Top 40 Under 40” Award Program which recognizes people making a significant contribution to America’s food system.  More recently, Dr. Chan received the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) Industry Award in 2016 that formally recognizes a CVMA member for their contributions to the advancement of veterinary medicine.

Dr. Chan has a passion for helping people to succeed by sharing knowledge that will improve animal health management, animal welfare and food safety.

Q+A: Get to know Melodie Chan >

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.

Q+A: Get to know Dianne Finstad >

Art Froehlich

President and CEO, AgriView Inc., Calgary, Alberta

Workshop Presentation Title • Get on Board!

Presentation Overview: Individuals in the ag industry often ask Art “When is the right time and how do I prepare to get a board position?” Art will outline the steps to take and the experiences he has had in mentoring people to be on a board in private, not-for-profit and public organizations.

Mr. Art Froehlich, past President and managing partner of AdFarm and is currently Strategic Advisor and Board member at AdFarm, one of North America’s largest agriculture and food marketing and communications companies. Over the last 30 years, Mr. Froehlich has held senior executive positions with Hoechst Canada Inc (Bayer), Alberta Pool (Viterra), and Westcan Malting (RAHR). He continues to work with Canadian food and agricultural companies in developing international markets for their products. Mr. Froehlich currently is Chair of FBSciences and Chair of AG-West Bio Sciences and Froehlich Farms. In addition, he sits on many corporate boards including: RR46, AVAC Ltd. (past chair), ABIC Foundation, JEH Enterprises, Richardson International Limited and the Board of Governors of Olds College. Art is a past Board Chair of the Alberta Agricultural Research Institute, Genome Alberta, University of Alberta Faculty of Agriculture Industry Advisory Board, and Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions. Art is also a past board member of Prince Rupert Grain, ATB Financial, POS Bio Sciences and the Canadian Agricultural Policy Research Institute. In addition, he has also served on the Boards of the Malting Barley Research Institute, Western Grain Elevator Association, and the Canadian 4-H council.

In 2005, Mr. Froehlich was awarded the Distinguished Agrologist Award by the Alberta Institute of Agrologists, and the Alberta Centennial Gold Medal by the Province of Alberta. He was inducted into the BioIndustrial Hall of Fame in 2012 and received an Honorary Degree from Olds College in 2014. In addition to his business activities, Mr. Froehlich is involved with a number of charitable organizations and is Chair of the Board of the Shamba International Partnership. Art continues to personally support developmental initiatives in Peru, the Dominican Republic, South Africa, and Ghana. Mr. Froehlich is still active in his farming operations in Saskatchewan.

Dave Gallant

Director of Finance and Operations, Canadian Canola Growers Association

Workshop Presentation:

Part 1: Access to Capital and Working With Your Banker

Presentation Overview: Access to capital is always top of mind for farm owners. Whether you’re thinking about expanding your business, or purchasing new equipment, we invite you to join our panel of experts to learn about which capital options are right for you and your farm. You will gain invaluable insight from our panel of Agriculture experts, who can share their combined experience about the farm business lifecycle.

Part 2: Wealth Management and Succession Planning for the Family Farm

Presentation Overview: You’ve worked hard to build your family farm, so it’s important to make succession plans proactively to maximize the potential benefits while reducing the stress. For business owners contemplating sale or transition, setting goals, visions and exit plans early is critical for success. Guest panelists will include a lawyer and accountant who specialize in agriculture.

Dave Gallant has been Director of Finance and Operations with the Canadian Canola Growers Association since September 2014.

Before that, he earned a wealth of experience in finance and marketing services for farmers. During his 21 years at the Canadian Wheat Board, Dave successfully delivered a full suite of time and money saving e-business services to farmers and industry partners.

Dave holds a Bachelor of Commerce, Honours from the University of Manitoba and is a Chartered Professional Accountant. In his role with CCGA, Dave is responsible for the daily operations of the cash advance program, information technology services and financial management.

Michelle Gemmell

Regional Grain Marketing Leader, Cargill, Rycroft, Alberta

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Michelle is currently working as the Regional Grain Marketing Leader for Cargill as they strive to help farm customers make better grain marketing decisions in their businesses. Michelle has greatly enjoyed working through the last 20 years in the grain industry – primarily with Cargill both in the export and country system. She attended University of Guelph and University of British Columbia with a major in animal science. Having grown up in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Michelle has also lived in Vancouver, British Columbia and northern Alberta. Michelle is married with three grown children.

Q+A: Get to know Michelle Gemmell >

Merle Good

GRS Consulting Ltd., Cremona, Alberta

Workshop Presentation Title • Stereotypes are a thing of the past … Spousal Succession is a thing of the future!

Presentation Overview: Agricultural  family farms are “big businesses” with complex succession issues and concerns. However, unique opportunities do exist and need to be examined under a new light.  Traditional family roles and relationships may not define future success.  New attitudinal shifts combined with innovative business agreements are required to provide both personal and business clarity.  This clarity will provide a roadmap for purpose and opportunity within your business.  Together, let’s re-examine your own family farm future!

Merle Good graduated from the University of Alberta with a B.S.C. degree in Agriculture Economics. Merle, his wife Peggy & daughter Annessa have created GRS Consulting Ltd.

Prior to his private sector endeavor, Merle worked for over 30 years as the Alberta Provincial Farm Tax Specialist. Merle focuses on unique business structures and tax strategies to facilitate intergenerational Succession. This expertise combined with his practical experience of owning and operating a multi-generational farm has created a unique combination of skills and insights to enable clients to meet their business and personal goals.

Their company motto is “Succeeding in Succession.”

Merle continues to work with top accountants and lawyers throughout Canada and on a yearly basis speaks at over 20 public seminars and works with over two hundred farm clients per year. Merle and his family continue to reside on the family farm near Cremona, Alberta.

See Merle Good’s Presentation from the conference >

Rachael Harder

Shadow Minister for the Status of Women for the Conservative Caucus, and the Member of Parliament for Lethbridge

Presentation title • Powerful & Free: Being a Woman of Influence

Presentation Overview: Drawing from her upbringing on the farm, her private sector experience, and her time in politics, Rachael offers a raw and inspiring account of what it is to be an influential woman. Rachael will deliver a call to action for every woman who aspires to overcome gender barriers, influence her sphere and leave her mark on the world.

Elected in October of 2015, Rachael Harder serves as the Member of Parliament for the riding of Lethbridge.

Ms. Harder entered public life, first and foremost, to serve her constituents. She believes in putting people first and seeks to understand how their personal experiences form their perspective. As a dedicated listener and skilled advocate, Ms. Harder offers a fresh perspective and a strong voice for her community.

As a member of the Conservative Caucus, Ms. Harder currently is the Shadow Minister for the Status of Women and sits on the House of Commons Standing Committee for the Status of Women. Previously, Ms. Harder was appointed by Rona Ambrose to be the Official Opposition Critic for Youth and Persons with Disabilities as well as the Deputy Health Critic. During this time, Ms. Harder sat on both the Health Committee and the Status of Women Committee.

Before entering political life, Ms. Harder travelled across the country, working as a Youth Sociologist and Consultant who focused on the values and beliefs of Canada’s emerging generation. She holds an Associate of Arts Degree in General Social Sciences from Briercrest College and a Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts with a General Social Sciences Major in Sociology, Political Science, and Psychology from the University of Lethbridge.

Raised on a small farm in southern Alberta, it didn’t take long for Ms. Harder to demonstrate her lively entrepreneurial spirit. Writing a business plan at the age of nine to prove to her parents that she was serious about opening a dog kennel and raising puppies was not an unusual demonstration of knowledge and grit for the middle child who grew up with three brothers and one sister. The young free-marketer turned her small kennel into a successful eight year venture that covered the cost of four humanitarian trips and funded her postsecondary education.

Giving back to the community through volunteerism has always been important to Ms. Harder. Prior to being elected, she was a member of the Community and Social Development Committee (an advisory committee to City Council) and served on the Canadian Mental Health Youth Anti-Stigma Leaders’ Steering Committee. She also volunteered for the Lethbridge 2019 Canada Winter Games bid and the 2015 Alberta 55+ Winter Games. She continues to volunteer at her church and enjoys supporting as many community events as possible.

Ms. Harder has been and will continue to be a strong voice at the federal level for those in the Lethbridge riding.

Anita Heuver

Owner/Manager, Eagle Lake Nurseries Ltd., Strathmore, Alberta

Women Talk Panel Speaker

Presentation Title: “Yes I do Grow Flowers”

The first question I usually get when I say I own a nursery is, oh that’s so nice, so you grow flowers… yes I do grow some flowers but as a wholesale nursery that grows in one of the most challenging climates in Canada, my days are full of equipment breakdowns, customer requiring solutions to their construction site concerns, effectively leading a team of over 70 seasonal and fulltime employees, and wishing I could control the weather. I find I spend very little time smelling the roses.

Anita Heuver is the owner and manager of Eagle Lake Nurseries Ltd. in Strathmore, Alberta, a second generation family owned nursery that produces trees, shrubs and perennials for customers throughout Western Canada. The nursery has about 1000 acres in the production. The original parcel of land was dry prairie grassland, the neighbors told the founder he was crazy to think he could start a nursery in this location, but determination, access to irrigation water, and ever improving production practices, has been part of the nurseries success over the past 47 years.

Anita has worked at the nursery for over 25 years, but like most farm children she started working on the farm at a young age taking on daily chores and duties. Her love for the nursery, lead to studying horticulture at the University of Guelph, where she graduated in 1988 with a Diploma in Horticulture, she successfully challenged the provincial apprenticeship exam and became a Certified Landscape Gardener Apprentice. She spent a year following college working in the nursery industry in Holland, and meeting her huge extend Dutch family.

Anita is the Past President of Landscape Alberta, and currently represents Alberta on the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA) Board, and has just started her term as Nation Growers Chair for the CNLA. Anita is also an active board member on the Canadian Nursery Certification Institute and the Western Nursery Grower Group. In June 2016 Anita was appointed to the Olds College Board of Governors.

Q+A: Get to know Anita Heuver >

Trish Jordan

Public & Industry Affairs Director, Monsanto Canada Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Trish Jordan is passionate about agriculture, farmers and enhancing agricultural awareness with the non-farming public.

In her current role as Public and Industry Affairs Director with Monsanto she is responsible for media relations, issues management and providing strategic communications support to core business activities. Trish also manages Monsanto Canada’s Grower Advisory Council as well as the company’s ongoing efforts to engage with consumer audiences to share the Monsanto story.

Trish started her career in agriculture with Alberta Wheat Pool, a farmer-owned grain co-op based in Calgary.  After 12 years in a wide-variety of communication-related roles with Alberta Pool, she assumed the position of Director of Resources and Communications with Canadian Foodgrains Bank – a Christian-based non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Winnipeg. She also worked for a short period of time in advertising and media relations with the Canadian Wheat Board before joining Monsanto in January 2001.

Trish donates her time to a number of boards and committees, including Agriculture in the Classroom-Manitoba, the Canadian Agriculture Hall of Fame and CropLife Canada’s Advocacy, Communications and Trust committee.  In 2013, Trish was honored to receive the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her leadership in agriculture; advocacy for innovation and competitiveness; and her commitment to community service.

In her time outside of work, Trish is an avid competitive golfer and passionate curler. She also enjoys NFL Football, curling up with a good book, and spending time visiting friends on the farm.

Q+A: Get to know Trish Jordan >

Lesley Kelly

Marketing and Brand Manager, WorkHorse Hub, Regina, Saskatchewan

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Lesley is the head and heart behind the blog, High Heels & Canola Fields with the goal of building community, creating conversation and helping make agriculture stronger. She grew up on her family’s grain farm at Watrous, Saskatchewan and after gaining an education in marketing and accounting, went on to work in various marketing and branding positions in the ag sector, such as Cargill, ATB Financial, Farm Credit Canada and is currently the Marketing and Brand Manager at WorkHorse Hub. Using her entrepreneurial spirit and the skills developed through her agribusiness career, she created a snack food business using the barley grown on her farm. In December 2015, she started her blog in hopes to dispel myths and bring consumers and farmers together. In 2017, she expanded her reach by joining the Farmer and the City Girl podcast which explores various topics in food and farming through real life conversations. Advocating for mental health is near to her heart and in 2018, she was part of the #BellLetsTalk campaign and co-founded the Do More Agriculture Foundation in hopes to break barriers, cut the stigma and encourage the industry to take care of their mental wellbeing. She isn’t afraid to tackle tough conversations within agriculture and through storytelling, photography and her love of ag, she’s attracted a loyal fan base in the thousands across the world. Her and her husband are active on the farm in Regina where they raise their two boys.

Q+A: Get to know Lesley Kelly >

Darci Lang

Motivational Speaker and Trainer, XL Enterprises, Regina, Saskatchewan
Sponsored by G3 Canada Limited

Presentation Title • Focus on the 90%

Presentation Overview: One simple tool to change the way you view your life

If anyone understands staying motivated and doing what you love, it’s Darci Lang. She quite literally went out and built the life she wanted. She has worked for great leaders and not so great leaders, built three award-winning businesses and let them go when the time was right. All she has accomplished has been done on her own terms, maintaining balance between home and work and by Focusing on the 90% – on the positive in her world.

Darci Lang has discovered a solution to help you live your life, do your job, and connect with the people who matter most, to the fullest. Living her message of focus on the 90% has enabled Darci to make a difference in the lives of those around her. She helps to transform cultures, employee engagement and in turn – morale and profitability.

In the midst of her flourishing entrepreneurial career, Darci has learned powerful lessons about maintaining balance, bringing her best self home to her husband and teenagers and embracing her own victories. Darci Lang is an inspirational speaker, an award-winning entrepreneur, a best-selling author, a wife and a mom, whose simple tool helps individuals reframe the way they look at, and think about, their work and their interactions and relationships with others.

Darci’s Focus on the 90% message will help you find balance, discover ways to stay motivated and love your work, rise above adversity, and make a difference in all you do!

Q+A: Get to know Darci Lang >

Roxane Lieverse

Director and Lead – Alberta Agriculture, Scotiabank, Calgary, Alberta

Sponsor Panel Speaker

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 1.5 year old twins. Outside of work Roxane enjoys cycling and being active. However, her greatest pleasure is to be back on the farm with her large extended family of 4 sisters and 6 nieces and nephews.

Q+A: Get to know Roxane Lieverse >

Frances MacAulay

Banquet Guest Speaker


Frances was born and raised on a small mixed farm in Ten Mile House on Prince Edward Island. For as long as she can remember, she has been drawn to the outdoors, taking delight in watching the crops grow and visiting the small calves in the barn.

Frances enjoyed a long and rewarding career as an elementary school teacher, from her first assignment in the picturesque community of St. Peter’s, to her retirement at a school in Morell in 2004.

It was in St. Peter’s that Lawrence and Frances first met, and they were married in 1972. The couple took over the MacAulay family farm. Working side by side, they built a dairy and beef herd – milking cows, planting and harvesting potatoes, and growing elite seed potatoes, which at that time were planted by hand.

With her love of the outdoors, Frances was right at home driving the tractor, hauling loads of hay to the barn, and helping with the potato harvest. As their farm family grew, their three daughters, Carolyn, Rita and Lynn, also became an indispensable part of the farm operation, helping with the dairy operation and the potatoes.

As well as her duties in the classroom and on the farm, Frances was involved in their local church organization, school activities and sports. Along with her husband Lawrence, Frances is very grateful for the amazing learning experience they gained from their life together on the farm. She says it was a busy life, but never too overwhelming – and always rewarding.

The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay

Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Banquet Guest Speaker

Lawrence MacAulay, Member of Parliament for Cardigan, was first elected to the House of Commons on November 21, 1988, to represent Cardigan in eastern Prince Edward Island, and won his ninth consecutive election in October 2015.

Mr. MacAulay’s Cabinet appointments have included Solicitor General of Canada, Minister of Labour, Secretary of State (Veterans), and Secretary of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency). He has served as Critic for Fisheries and Oceans and Seniors. In addition, he was Vice Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.

Mr. MacAulay was born on September 9, 1946, in St. Peter’s Bay, Prince Edward Island. Mr. MacAulay was previously a farmer and businessman. He and Frances Elaine O’Connell were married in 1972. They have three daughters: Carolyn, Rita and Lynn.

Ann MacGillivray

Senior Manager, Supply Chain, CN, Edmonton, Alberta

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Ann MacGillivray was born and raised in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. An engineer by trade, Ann began her career with CN in 1989 in the mechanical department in Montreal. She then moved to Winnipeg where she spent five years in mechanical at the “Transcona Shops” while going to school at night to obtain her MBA. She then joined CN’s Grain Marketing team as a market analyst and market manager and then moved into sales handling various accounts including grain, intermodal and forest products. Ann moved to Alberta in 2006 with her husband and joined CN’s operations team. She was responsible for customer support, rail car distribution and then service design. Ann recently moved back into the world of grain transportation and today she leads the bulk supply chain group where she is responsible for the coordination and planning of CN’s bulk business in Western Canada. This includes grain, coal, sulpher and potash. Not only does Ann manage day to day operations, she is also responsible for the strategic direction of her team and working with grain partners and customers to not only plan the coming days but also the coming months and years ahead to help get farmers’ grain to market. Ann loves to camp and her and her husband purchased a trailer last year and enjoyed their first season exploring some of Alberta’s beautiful Provincial Parks. She’s looking forward to perfecting her campfire cooking techniques this summer.

Q+A: Get to know Ann MacGillivray >

Genella Macintyre

President, Partners in Discovery Ltd., Brandon, Manitoba

Workshop Presentation Title • Difficult Conversations: What You Need to Know

Presentation Overview: Whether it’s a difficult colleague, vendor or customer, there are key elements, that when identified and addressed, will help you through difficult situations. How to start a conversation and deal with defensiveness including difficult people will be covered.

Genella is an author, international trainer, coach and consultant and President of Partners in Discovery Ltd.  Genella’s focus is to improve the quality of personal and professional living. Genella helps organizations, large and small, determine what needs to happen to develop a productive, profitable and psychologically safe workplace.

Genella’s background includes experience in human resource management, executive leadership, personal and executive coaching, individual and family counseling and program development and evaluation. Genella has extensive experience with the training division of the Manitoba Government and has delivered a variety of organizational development workshops including leadership, management, personal development, team-building, personality and communication styles to a range of government departments.

Genella’s workshops are focused on practical solutions for personal and professional challenges.  Genella has trained and coached with employees of Fortune 500 companies, non-profit family services agencies, health authorities, Health Canada, Insurance Groups, the Canadian Military, construction and industry.

Genella’s experience also includes instructing for local universities and colleges.  Genella holds a Bachelor of Arts (Specialist) degree from Brandon University and a Master of Arts degree in Applied Psychology from the University of Saskatchewan. She also has certificates/qualified status in Coaching and Mediation Skills, Myers-Briggs, Personality Dimensions, Enneagram, Relationship Awareness (Strength ™ Deployment Inventory), Crucial Conversations™ and the EQ2.0 (Emotional Intelligence Quotient).

Genella has authored “Five Steps to Reducing Stress” a book on enhancing “soft skills” in leaders as well as having launched a children’s book called “Tucker Times: The Chase” followed by Tucker Times Activity and Colouring Book.

Q+A: Get to know Genella Macintyre >
See Genella Macintyre’s Presentation from the conference >

Dr. Karen MacNeill

Copeman Healthcare Centre, Calgary, Alberta

Presentation Title • Mental Health – let’s talk!

Presentation Overview: In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental health problem. Given issues with isolation, accessibility of support and the stigma of reaching out, the farming community may be at even higher risk. In this session you will learn how to recognize and respond to mental health issues close to home or in your community.

Dr. MacNeill is a registered psychologist and performance consultant with over 17 years of experience helping Olympians, organizations and business leaders consistently bring their best in high pressure situations. As part of the day to day routine, Dr. MacNeill thrives by having a broad scope of practice. She works as a psychologist at Copeman Healthcare Centre, helping individuals work through issues related to mental health, transition and interpersonal effectiveness. She developed a crisis intervention approach for sport, and is trained in various crisis intervention techniques. She also consults with “Compete to Create”, a mindset and culture Accelerant Company founded by Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll and Dr. Michael Gervais, and is a sessional instructor for the Haskayne School of Business MBA Programs teaching a course on High Performance Leaders. Dr. MacNeill also applied her knowledge and expertise in her capacity as manager of sport psychology services for Vancouver Olympic Committee’s medical team at the 2010 Olympic Games, and will perform a similar role as Lead Mental Health Counsellor for the Canadian Olympic Committee at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Dr. MacNeill’s holds a Ph.D in counselling psychology and her career achievements and volunteer efforts have been publicly recognized as she was a recipient of the Avenue Top 40 under 40 Award.

Q+A: Get to know Dr. Karen MacNeill >

Mary Manhas, BA, Business

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

Workshop Presentation:

Part 1: Access to Capital and Working With Your Banker

Presentation Overview: Access to capital is always top of mind for farm owners. Whether you’re thinking about expanding your business, or purchasing new equipment, we invite you to join our panel of experts to learn about which capital options are right for you and your farm. You will gain invaluable insight from our panel of Agriculture experts, who can share their combined experience about the farm business lifecycle.

Part 2: Wealth Management and Succession Planning for the Family Farm

Presentation Overview: You’ve worked hard to build your family farm, so it’s important to make succession plans proactively to maximize the potential benefits while reducing the stress. For business owners contemplating sale or transition, setting goals, visions and exit plans early is critical for success. Guest panelists will include a lawyer and accountant who specialize in agriculture.

Melanie McDonald, LL.B., TEP

Vice-President & Regional Director (Western Canada), BMO Trust Company, Calgary, Alberta

Workshop Presentation:

Part 1: Access to Capital and Working With Your Banker

Presentation Overview: Access to capital is always top of mind for farm owners. Whether you’re thinking about expanding your business, or purchasing new equipment, we invite you to join our panel of experts to learn about which capital options are right for you and your farm. You will gain invaluable insight from our panel of Agriculture experts, who can share their combined experience about the farm business lifecycle.

Part 2: Wealth Management and Succession Planning for the Family Farm

Presentation Overview: You’ve worked hard to build your family farm, so it’s important to make succession plans proactively to maximize the potential benefits while reducing the stress. For business owners contemplating sale or transition, setting goals, visions and exit plans early is critical for success. Guest panelists will include a lawyer and accountant who specialize in agriculture.

Melanie is passionate about working with her team and assisting clients with some of the most challenging issues that the client and their family will face in their lifetime. Drawing on her legal experience, clients benefit from a depth of insight and unique foresight into a diverse range of situations, both those that were planned and all unforeseen consequences and events.

Melanie joined BMO Trust Company in 2016. Prior to this role she was a partner and lawyer with one of Canada’s largest law firms.  Melanie has over 15 years of experience with a wide variety of estate, trust, corporate and tax issues, including estate and trust planning, administration and litigation.  Melanie regularly assists families and business owners with cross-border and international planning and philanthropy issues.

Education & credentials    

  • Lawyer (LL.B) – Alberta and Ontario
  • Society of Estate and Trust Professionals (TEP)
  • Canadian Securities Course
  • University of Windsor Mediation Certificate

Billi J. Miller

Author & Photographer, Billi J Miller Photography, Kitscoty, Alberta

Women Talk Panel Speaker

Presentation Title • From Government-working “cubicle dweller” to running her dream business from a 100-year old prairie farm

Presentation Overview: Billi will discuss how she went from living in the city working for the Government in 2009, to marrying a 4th generation farmer and living on a 100-year old family farm in the Canadian prairies. Billi will talk about creating her business of passion and how the Farmwives Book Project was borne from it.

Billi J Miller is published author, photographer & freelance writer from Kitscoty, Alberta, Canada. She has written two books celebrating Canadian Farmwives and has no plans to stop writing about inspiring Canadians.

She is a recognized, award-winning photographer whose niche is capturing farm families “while at work” to provide their families with heirloom art to pass down for generations.

She writes freelance for newsprint and magazines and works from her home office on a 106-year old farm in east-central Alberta where she lives with her husband and their two daughters.

Billi is passionate about telling the stories of inspiring Canadians. Her first two books do just that by focusing on a traditionally underappreciated role of “farmwife”. Her first book “Farmwives in Profile” (released in January 2016) sold over 1,100 copies and celebrated and honoured 17 farmwomen from the Canadian Prairies between the ages of 55-90. Her second book (due out February 2018) hones in on the new faces of this aging title. These new women span across the country from British Columbia to Newfoundland.

Billi, herself, is a farmwife (although with her own “spin”) to her husband a 4th generation mixed cattle and grain farmer from a century old farm rich with tradition and history. It was her relocation to this farm in 2010 that fueled her deep love and passion for capturing the permanence and pride of farm life and why she created her successful business doing so.

Q+A: Get to know Billi J. Miller >

Kira Murphy

Director, Marketing & Pricing – Grain & Fertilizer, Canadian Pacific, Calgary, Alberta

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Kira Murphy is the Director, Marketing and Pricing for Bulk at Canadian Pacific (CP). She has responsibility for market strategy development, products and services development, revenue forecasting and budgets, industrial development projects and the management of rates and pricing in both Canada and the U.S. for grain, fertilizers, coal, sulphur and potash.

Kira joined CP in 2002 as part of the customer service team and has since held various positions within marketing and sales, yard operations, and finance. Prior to the start of her railroad career, Kira obtained a Master of Arts of Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Toronto and has bachelor degrees in both Mathematics and French from Memorial University.

Kira is based at CP’s head office in Calgary where she resides with her husband and two daughters.

Carman Ogrodnick

Vice-President Business Banking, North Eastern Alberta, BMO Bank of Montreal, Vegreville, Alberta

Workshop Presentation:

Part 1: Access to Capital and Working With Your Banker

Presentation Overview: Access to capital is always top of mind for farm owners. Whether you’re thinking about expanding your business, or purchasing new equipment, we invite you to join our panel of experts to learn about which capital options are right for you and your farm. You will gain invaluable insight from our panel of Agriculture experts, who can share their combined experience about the farm business lifecycle.

Part 2: Wealth Management and Succession Planning for the Family Farm

Presentation Overview: You’ve worked hard to build your family farm, so it’s important to make succession plans proactively to maximize the potential benefits while reducing the stress. For business owners contemplating sale or transition, setting goals, visions and exit plans early is critical for success. Guest panelists will include a lawyer and accountant who specialize in agriculture.

Carman Ogrodnick is the Vice President Business Banking for North Eastern Alberta.  Carman received her Business Diploma from NAIT and continues to pursue her career in business banking.  Carman joined BMO Bank of Montreal in 2004, has since held roles as a Commercial Services Officer, Mid-Market Account Manager and now in her current role, as Vice-President Business Banking.  Carman provides oversight to her team to lead engagement that drives customer loyalty and growth.  She ensures her team performs efficiently and delivers a great customer experience.

Carman owns and operates her own farm in the Vegreville area with her husband, Trevor, her children, Carter and Kyla, and her parents Eugene and Darlene.  Carman has a passion for agriculture and enjoys being involved on both the production and business side of the industry.  Because of this, Carman understands the importance and is an advocate for mentoring women who wish to be involved within the industry.

Carman is also a huge supporter of youth and sports. In her spare time, you can find her at a local arena watching her children play hockey and volunteers for the Vegreville Minor Hockey Association.  During the summer months, Carman can be found playing slo-pitch and relaxing at the lake with family and friends.

Janet Podleski

#1 National Bestselling Author, The Looneyspoons Collection/Entrepreneur, Granet Publishing Inc., Ottawa, Ontario

Presentation Title • From Cellar to Bestseller: The Looneyspoons Recipe for Success

Presentation Overview: How did two sisters with no formal culinary training, no publishing track record, no food industry experience and most importantly, no money, end up writing and publishing one of Canada’s bestselling cookbooks of all time, spawning one of the country’s most unique and widely recognized healthy eating brands? The answer may surprise, delight, ignite and inspire you!

Janet’s captivating, heartfelt and often hilarious against-all-odds success story illustrates the awesome power of passion, perseverance, following your gut instinct and believing that ANYTHING is possible—even when everyone around you thinks you’re nuts! Get ready for a heaping serving of inspiration, information and a LOT of laughs!

Janet Podleski is the author of four #1 national bestselling cookbooks: Looneyspoons, Crazy Plates, Eat, Shrink & Be Merry! and The Looneyspoons Collection. Along with her sister Greta, she’s known as host of the popular Food Network TV show, Eat, Shrink & Be Merry! and they’re also the creators of a successful line of healthy prepared foods sold at Costco Canada.

Their first cookbook, Looneyspoons (published with the help of David Chilton, of Wealthy Barber and Dragon’s Den fame), became one of the fastest-selling books in Canadian publishing history, with an astonishing 850,000 copies sold. It spent an incredible 85 weeks on the national bestseller list and 8 months at the #1 spot. Not bad, considering the girls self-published the book out of their basement!

The sisters’ inspirational, against-all-odds entrepreneurial success story has been featured on countless media outlets across North America, including The Today Show, CNN, QVC, People Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Cityline, Breakfast Television and Canada AM. Fixtures on many a Canadian kitchen countertop, their books and recipes have been the subjects of Trivial Pursuit questions and their famous entrepreneurial story is even studied in university marketing textbooks.

Janet, the writer of the duo known for her trademark wit and humour, is a “Certified Health Nut.” (Allergy warning: May contain puns!) She runs a busy private wellness practice in Ottawa, integrating Natural Nutrition with cutting-edge Mind/Body Energy Medicine based on the latest in modern science such as epigenetics and energy psychology. She was drawn to this field in 2005 after being diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disorder, which she successfully reversed using natural methods. No stranger to overcoming obstacles, Janet was inducted into the Carleton University Sports Hall of Fame in 2000 for excelling in soccer and basketball…despite six knee operations along the way!

Now, besides making the complicated subject of healthy eating “easier to digest,” her true passion is inspiring, uplifting and empowering others so they can produce miracles with their own career, health and life. Prescription: Belief!

Q+A: Get to know Janet Podleski >

Nancy Robertson

Vice President Sales & Marketing, Richardson International Limited, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Nancy Robertson has been with Richardson International since 2003 and currently serves as Vice-President Sales & Marketing for the Richardson Oilseed division. Nancy’s career at Richardson began with her role as Assistant Controller of Grain Accounting. Over the years, she has held various finance related positions in Crop Inputs, Oilseed Crushing, Oilseed Packaging, and Oat Milling, while most recently holding the position of Assistant Vice President, Finance for Richardson’s Processing Division . In 2017, Nancy’s career focus changed from Finance to Sales & Marketing, where she is now responsible for leading the sales team for Richardson Oilseed. Nancy has a B.Comm (Honors) degree from the University of Manitoba Asper School of Business. She obtained her CPA (CA) designation in 2002 while articling at Ernst & Young LLP. Nancy currently resides in Winnipeg with her husband and two young sons. She enjoys a variety of sports, spending time with friends and family on vacations and their favorite weekend getaways at the cottage.

Q+A: Get to know Nancy Robertson >

Janisse Routledge

Global Regulatory and Stewardship Learning, Dow AgroSciences, Calgary, Alberta

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Janisse has worked in the agriculture sector for 15 years. She spent the last 9 years in regulatory and government affairs with Dow AgroSciences and recently transitioned to a new role as global regulatory and stewardship learning strategy leader. Janisse graduated from the University of Guelph where she completed a B.Sc. in Agriculture and a M.Sc. in Environmental Biology. Her thesis work focused on pesticide and biotech insect control options with reduced risk to honey bees.

After graduating, Janisse worked for Flowers Canada Growers and then for the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Processors Association. Throughout her career, Janisse has helped influence positive outcomes by working with many different stakeholders including researchers, government representatives, growers and industry.

Throughout her career, Janisse has had the opportunity to work on initiatives that involve consumer perception, market realities and communications. The one thing she enjoys the most is bringing people together to manage issues or to create new ways of thinking.

Q+A: Get to know Janisse Routledge >

Cami Ryan

Social Sciences Lead, Monsanto Company, Eureka, Missouri
Sponsored by Monsanto

Presentation Title • The Road Less Travelled: An Unexpected Journey Through Agriculture

Presentation Overview: Career and life pathways can be planned or pre-determined. Yet, we often find ourselves stumbling upon roadblocks or unexpected opportunities that can shift our direction in subtle or surprising ways.  This is a story of gratitude. It is the story of my unexpected and remarkable journey into the world of agriculture.

Cami Ryan is a self-defined nerd, social media maven, unapologetic storyteller, and part-time myth-buster. She has worked in the area of agriculture for more than 20 years and, for most of that time, as a public-sector researcher.  In 2014, Cami joined the Monsanto Company where – as Social Sciences Lead with Regulatory Policy and Scientific Affairs – she leverages an expanding scientific network in North America and around the world to more closely examine and understand policy, regulations and acceptance of agricultural innovations. Cami hails from the Saskatchewan prairies. She and her cowboy-carpenter husband, Blair, live on a small farm in Missouri with a handful of horses and other critters. They have two grown children: Tanya is a country-western singer/songwriter/performer and yogi and Hayden is an electrician/actor/playwright.

Q+A: Get to know Cami Ryan >
See Cami Ryan’s Presentation from the conference >

Sharyl Sauer

North America and Platform Communications Leader, Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont™, Madison County, Iowa

Presentation Title • Career Advice from a Responsible Observer

Presentation Overview: Sharyl Sauer will share insights and practical advice from her career in agricultural communications, including how to play to your strengths and learn from the triumphs and setbacks of those around you.

Sharyl Sauer is North America and Platform Communications Leader for the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont™.  In this role, she leads internal and external communications efforts in support of the North America Commercial Business, as well as the global seed and crop protection portfolios. Sauer has been with the company for 10 years and previously held communications roles supporting Research and Development and the International Commercial Business for DuPont Pioneer.

Sauer began her career in agricultural communications working for the Denver-based National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the beef checkoff program. She also served as a public relations group account director for the Integer Group based in Des Moines, Iowa.

Sauer was raised on a diversified grain and livestock farm in Western Iowa. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State University. She and her husband reside in rural Madison County Iowa and have two sons.

Q+A: Get to know Sharyl Sauer >

Gail Schafer

Regional Sales Manager, Global Ag Risk Solutions, Olds, Alberta

Workshop Presentation Title • Plan, Survive, Thrive

Presentation Overview: Businesses and families in transition have unique stresses that can stand in the way of working together effectively. Following up to Merle’s discussion around thinking outside the box in structuring transitions, Gail will provide an overview of how risk management products available in the marketplace can respond to help balance some of the needs and concerns of each generation, and alleviate some of the uncertainty, stress and conflict that can accompany transferring the reins.

Gail and her family farm East of Olds, AB.  She grew up in South Africa and worked in agriculture and government there. After immigrating to Canada in 2000 she has worked in leadership roles in the financial and employer services industries. Gail represented AFSC in Central Alberta as a Relationship Manager; and recently joined Global Ag Risk Solutions in October 2016 as the Alberta Regional Sales Manager. Global Ag Risk Solutions is a progressive, client focused, innovative and rapidly expanding private Revenue Insurance Company.

See Gail-Schafer’s Presentation from the conference >

Jacquie Stephens

Founder, Leadership Coach, Breakthrough Consulting, Calgary, Alberta

Workshop Presentation Title • Coaching 101: Tackling your Triggers!

Presentation Overview: Back by popular demand to AWC, Jacquie will not only provide an overview of what coaching is and what it isn’t, but will also allow you to experience what a coaching session might entail. We will be exploring your triggers and how you might get control of them.

With over 20 years of experience and 1,800 hours of coaching, Jacquie Stephens brings clarity among the chaos. She speaks what she sees and hears in a way that is supportive and without judgement. Using brain based coaching methodologies, Jacquie’s clients experience major breakthroughs, achieving things that they once thought daunting or insurmountable. Her MBA in Strategic Planning and Organizational Effectiveness and her Certificate in NeuroLeadership have allowed her to help leaders be more strategic in their thinking and their choices, and be more aware of the impact they are having on others. Jacquie is a Results Certified Coach, Certified Life Coach, and a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coach Federation.

Q+A: Get to know Jacquie Stephens >

Ilene Toerper

Licensed Advisor, Global Ag Risk Solutions, Rycroft, Alberta

Sponsor Panel Speaker

Peace Country girl born and raised. Passionate for agriculture, science, technology, solutions, truth and honesty. Logical, business focused, love for animals, energetic and completely black and white. Also an agronomist, CCA, mother, wife, Precision Ag Specialist and Licensed Insurance Advisor. My husband calls me binary. It’s all about zeros, ones and Agriculture.

Q+A: Get to know Ilene Toerper >

Josie Van Lent

Dean, Agricultural Sciences, Lakeland College, Vermilion, Alberta

Presentation Title: Success is a Personal Project

Presentation Overview: Josie will share her experiences, understandings and knowledge that she has gleaned throughout her career journey.

Josie is currently the Dean of Agriculture Sciences at Lakeland College in Vermilion. She and her husband are also partners in Staden Farms, a commercial livestock and grain farm, with bison, beef and grain enterprises. Josie spent the first half of her career working for Alberta Agriculture, Food & Rural Development as a District Agriculturist and Beef Specialist. Following she was employed in the crop service industry with Webb’s Crop Services in Vermilion. She moved on from Webb’s to manage the crop input division for the United Farmers of Alberta (UFA) in northeastern Alberta and then on to Lakeland College.

Josie is a member of the University of Alberta’s Rangeland Research Institute’s Advisory Council and on the Advisory Committee for Alberta Farm Animal Care. Josie is also Past President of the Canadian Association of Diploma Agriculture Programs. She and her family are also actively involved in the agriculture community in various capacities.

And most importantly, she has four children and three grand boys, and feels blessed to share agriculture and farm life with them! Josie and her family spend much of their spare time on horseback herding cattle and competing in western equine events!

Q+A: Get to know Josie Van Lent >

Sherry Waddingham

President, Mindshift, Toronto, Ontario

Presentation Title • Don’t let unspoken gender rules get in your way

Presentation Overview: Men and women are very different. Men have different rules by which they work, communicate and make decisions. The challenge for women is these rules are not consciously communicated which leaves them operating blind.  This session will uncover gender differences in the workplace and how to avoid the pitfalls that can hold you back.

Sherry is an Interpersonal Behaviour Specialist and the President of Mindshift a workplace communication consultancy. She works with organizations in the areas of interpersonal communication and gender differences in the workplace together with leadership for women.

Sherry’s desire is to create a more humane workplace experience by helping people understand each other and providing the tools to help them work better together. Her industry experience runs the gamut and she has worked in both the private and public sector.

Prior to starting her own consultancy, Sherry was a corporate executive and spent over twenty years inspiring people and building teams. She has held senior leadership positions in communications, marketing and strategic planning with some of the country’s top companies including IBM Canada, Cossette Communications Group, OgilvyOne Worldwide and Liberty Health.

Sherry holds an M.B.A. from Queen’s University and is currently studying Psychology at Ryerson University.  She is an alumna of The Judy Project (Leadership Forum For Executive Women) from the Rotman School of Management. She is a Professional Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation and a graduate of Adler International Learning/OISE, University of Toronto.  She is a Certified Facilitator and Authorized Partner of Everything DiSC, A Wiley Brand.  Sherry is a graduate of Protrack Academy from the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers (CAPS).

Sherry lives in Toronto, is an avid potter, gardener and animal lover.

Q+A: Get to know Sherry Waddingham >
See Sherry Waddingham’s Presentation from the conference >


Deborah Yedlin

Business and Energy Columnist, Calgary Herald, Calgary Alberta

Presentation Title • Women as Change Agents in a Changing World

Presentation Overview: The presentation will focus on current and emerging issues in business, including agriculture, the role of women amidst all the change.

Deborah Yedlin has become one of Canada’s most widely recognized business columnists. With a unique background of having worked on Wall Street and Bay Street, Deborah has written for The Financial Post, The Globe and Mail and now The Calgary Herald as its Business and Energy Columnist, since 2007.  She is also a regular contributor to CBC Radio and TV, providing insight and commentary on the business issues of the day that are important to Calgarians, Albertans and Canadians.

Deborah holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Economics and English from the University of Alberta and a Master of Business Administration (MBA), from Queen’s University.

Q+A: Get to know Deborah Yedlin >