WEST 2017

Our great lineup of speakers

Our speakers are industry leaders, market innovators and those passionate about creating success.

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

Meet the AWC WEST 2017 presenters!

Erin Armstrong

Director, Industry & Regulatory Affairs, CANTERRA SEEDS, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Presentation Title: Adventures in Ag—A Career in Multiple Chapters

Entering the Faculty of Agriculture on the advice of a high school biology teacher and high school friend with a farm background was the start of a career which has taken several different directions over the past 34 years. Erin will talk about the opportunities taken and forsaken, and the ones in front of us all in today’s rapidly changing ag industry.

Erin Armstrong is Director, Industry and Regulatory Affairs for CANTERRA SEEDS. She is responsible for trait & license agreements, intellectual property protection and regulatory issues. Erin joined CANTERRA SEEDS in 2008 following her tenure as President and CEO of the Brewing and Malting Barley Research Institute (BMBRI). Prior to BMBRI, Erin worked with Canada Malting Co., Ltd. and General Mills, Inc.

In addition to her CANTERRA SEEDS responsibilities, in July 2015 Erin was appointed CEO of the newly launched Limagrain Cereals Research Canada (LCRC), a joint venture cereal breeding company established by LIMAGRAIN and CANTERRA SEEDS. In this role, Erin is responsible for oversight and general management of the business, development and implementation of business plans and budgets, and working with industry partners to ensure LCRC becomes an established research company in Western Canada.

Erin holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Manitoba and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Ottawa. Currently she is Chair of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Plant Breeders Rights Advisory Committee and Co-Chair of two working groups under Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada’s Grains Round Table.

Tiffany M. Atwell

Director of International Government Affairs, DuPont, Washington, DC

About DuPont

DuPont (NYSE: DD) has been bringing world-class science and engineering to the global marketplace in the form of innovative products, materials, and services since 1802. The company believes that by collaborating with customers, governments, NG Os, and thought leaders we can help find solutions to such global challenges as providing enough healthy food for people everywhere, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, and protecting life and the environment. For additional information about DuPont and its commitment to inclusive
im1ovation, please visit http://www.dupont.com.

Tiffany Atwell is the head of international government affairs for DuPont, which has been in existence for 211 years and now has over 63,000 employees globally, with 10,000 scientists. She has global responsibility for government affairs relating to the businesses (e.g. chemicals and fluroproducts, industrial biosciences, nutrition and health, crop protection, electronics and communications, packaging and industrial polymers, performance polymers, agriculture biotech) of DuPont, intellectual prope1ty issues, international trade negotiations, and market access as of May 2013.

She is the former Senior Director for Strategic Programs and Government Affairs for Abbott. She managed a team whose goal was to develop public-private partnerships with key govermnents and to drive outreach strategies in emerging markets like Russia, India, China and Brazil. She supervised a team of strategic program development directors and four international consultants. This position allowed her to effectively manage and resolve IPR related issues in Ukraine, China, Indonesia, South Africa, and Russia. Provided strategic input into McKinsey studies conducted for Abbott in Russia and India and implemented fmal strategic plans with business teams and intercompany functional support.

She started her career at Abbott as a Director of Global Govermnent Affairs in November 2006 with responsibility for developing government outreach strategies for Russia, China and India to promote market access for key products. During her tenure she secured internal support and financial resources from the business units to build the government affairs function in India and Russia. She worked to establish the functions by hiring the key personnel and developing country specific outreach strategies. Atwell managed a budget of over $1 million to facilitate strategic programs in key countries to support the teams. Fmther she developed strategies to resolve international trade-related issues that impacted Abbott’s freedom to operate tluough direct advocacy and organized campaigns to gain U.S. Congressional support.

Atwell spent over a decade in the U.S. Govermnent with a variety of policy experience. Her final govermnent post was as the International Trade Policy Advisor to Senator Charles Grassley, former Finance Committee Chairman. Atwell managed all trade related issues regarding China including; textiles, tariffs, and currency exchange policies. She served as a Congressional Liaison for the Under Secretmy for Legislative Affairs for the U.S. Depattment ofConnnerce, International Trade Administration assisting members of Congress in resolution of trade related issues for their constituents.

Atwell also served as liaison to African embassies for AGOA outreach and trained embassy officials in partnering with U.S. businesses. As an international trade specialist in the Office of China Economic Area, she trained global commercial service officers on rule of law, human rights and corporate stewardship. She was selected as a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of State, se1ving in the U.S. Embassy in Kenya.

Tiffany has a BA in Political Science from North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and a Masters in Public Administration from North Carolina Central University.

Theresa Bolton

Talent Acquisition Specialist, Human Resources, Parrish & Heimbecker, Limited, Winnipeg, Manitoba


Theresa Bolton joined Parrish & Heimbecker two and a half years ago in the role of Talent Acquisition Specialist, responsible for attracting and recruiting all levels of staff for the company’s Western and Eastern Grain Divisions and helping to fill specialized roles for the Milling and Animal Feed Divisions. Prior to working with P&H, Theresa was Practice Leader in Sales and Marketing at People First HR Services, where she led one of the largest recruitment practices in Winnipeg, MB.

Agriculture was Theresa’s specialty, so the opportunity to join an agriculture company and recruit solely for agriculture was a natural fit—and a dream come true. Since joining P&H, Theresa has immersed herself in the ag industry, volunteering her time on boards such as Ag in the Classroom, the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers and the Grain Elevator Association of Processors. Always passionate about recruiting, Theresa is continually on the lookout for top talent to join Parrish & Heimbecker.

When Theresa isn’t recruiting, networking or volunteering, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their five children. As new cottage owners, she and her family spend recreational time at the lake whenever they can. She values her strong family life and supportive network of friends.

Trish Booy

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


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.

Jolene Brown, CSP

Farmer, Author and Ag Champion, West Branch, Iowa, Sponsored by RBC Royal Bank

Workshop Presentation Title: “The Top Ten Mistakes That Break Up a Family Business!”™

We can prevent many daily aggravations and family business catastrophes if we learn from the mistakes of others. This eye-opening, fun filled presentation will highlight the top ten things families do that break up their business. We will discuss in-laws and out-laws, off-site family and estates, daily communications and important meetings. In this value packed workshop, you’ll receive take home tools to assist in the transition and succession of a family business. From conversations to contracts, from assumptions to clarification, from complaints to celebrations, we will open eyes and save fighting on the way to the funeral home.
In this generational diversity of needs and dreams, we have forgotten that sound and profitable business and transitional management must be based on more than genetics, tradition, assumptions and emotion. During my years of consulting with family businesses, I have learned the very sad lesson that most perpetuate ten disruptive behaviors. Therefore they end up broken, in financial distress and in emotional pain. There is a better way.

Plenary Presentation Title: “Let Go of the Rope!”

As a hot air balloon is launched, the people on the ground must let go of the ropes. Hanging on too long has ominous consequences, in ballooning and in life. Not only will it keep you from implementing your goals, it can put you and your mission in a precarious situation. We need you as an active woman in agriculture, launched and ready to soar! It’s time for passion and purpose to light the fires because the pace, the people, the process and the products have all changed. Have we? With lots of laughter and real world stories, we’ll discover that letting go is the first step in soaring higher! Enjoy the journey!

Jolene Brown is a walking-talking spokesperson and champion for the people of agriculture. She’s a farmer, author and professional speaker. Jolene’s from West Branch, Iowa and her worldwide audiences appreciate her fun-filled spirit and valuable information. She’s on a mission to share leading-edge best practices, appreciation, laughter and celebration to increase productivity, profitability and peace of mind. www.JoleneBrown.com

Brita Chell FCPA, FCA

Chief Financial Officer, G3 Canada Limited, Winnipeg, Manitoba


Brita Chell is Chief Financial Officer of G3 Canada Limited and is responsible for all treasury matters including funding, credit and financial risk management and all accounting activities including the completion of year-end financial statements. In addition, she leads the information and technology functions. Brita is part of G3 Canada Limited’s executive team, playing a lead role on all financial matters as well as strategic planning and other initiatives.

Brita has more than 25 years of operational and financial experience, and joined G3 as Chief Financial Officer upon the commercialization of the former Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) in July 2015. Brita joined CWB in August of 2001 as Vice-President of Accounting and served as Chief Financial Officer since 2005. Prior to this, Brita held various senior financial roles with Agricore Co-operative and Manitoba Pool Elevators. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Honors) degree from the University of Manitoba and has a Chartered Accountant designation having placed fourth in Manitoba in 1987.

Brita is a member of Financial Executives International Canada and has served as chapter president. She also sits on a number of boards, and currently serves as director for the Winnipeg Airport Authority and chair of the Finance and Human Resources Committee and board member for St. Amant Inc.  She is also the co-chair of the Joint Anglican Lutheran Commission, a national committee of the two denominations.

David Chilton

Author of Canada’s all-time best-selling book The Wealthy Barber and former co-star of Dragon’s Den, Toronto, Ontario
Sponsored in part by G3 Canada Limited

Presentation Title: Success Strategy—Turning Inspiration into Profit

David Chilton’s recipe for success is hard work, a clear vision, and a dose of clever marketing. Whether it’s helping thousands of Canadians achieve personal financial success or investing in low-fat cookbooks, Chilton has always had a knack for recognizing great ventures from the get-go. And as someone who has experienced both success and failure, he humorously illustrates how a healthy perspective can lead to positive results, despite what life throws at you.

In recent years, Chilton has partnered up with the Podleski sisters to take on the multi-national, billion-dollar food industry. As their company president and publisher, Chilton has helped the Podleskis turn their idea of low-fat cookbooks into an award-winning food company. The Podleski cookbook, Looneyspoons, is now one of the fastest selling books in Canadian publishing history. Hear this true David versus Goliath story from the always inspiring, funny, and entertaining David Chilton.

Speaker David Chilton, author of Canada’s all-time best-selling book The Wealthy Barber and former co-star of Dragons’ Den, has helped to take the intimidation out of financial planning for millions of Canadians. His funny and practical keynotes offer sound advice for investment, personal finance, and business strategy, and how to pursue financial goals with confidence.

 “Thirty years from now [David] Chilton could be best remembered not as a best-selling author, but as the man who inspired thousands to save their way to prosperity.”—Maclean’s

David Chilton’s speeches aren’t about just money: they’re about believing in yourself, overcoming mistakes (many of his are truly hilarious), and most importantly, they’re about perspective—the missing ingredient in many people’s financial lives. The sequel to The Wealthy Barber, entitled The Wealthy Barber Returns, offers expanded advice—20 years worth—to a new generation of Canadians seeking strong, non-technical, and reliable advice. Chilton is the opposite of the stereotypical dry financial expert: he’s “charming, unpretentious and funny,” says The Chicago Sun-Times. A former star judge on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, Chilton also offers stories of investment, entrepreneurship, and what to do—and what not to do—in the Den.

Besides finance, Chilton took on the billion-dollar food industry with the Podleski sisters. As their company’s president and publisher, he helped them turn their idea of low-fat cookbooks into an award-winning food company. Their cookbook Looneyspoons was one of the fastest selling books in Canadian publishing history, joining another classic: The Wealthy Barber.

Amanda Elzinga-Pugh

North Eastern Alberta Account Manager, Farm Animal Business Unit, Merck Animal Health, Edgerton, Alberta


Amanda grew up on a dairy farm turned commercial cow/calf operation in western Alberta. She was fortunate to have parents that encouraged her to pursue a career in agriculture and after working as a feedlot hand for a year went on to attend Lakeland College and then the University of Alberta in order to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. Amanda worked in the feed industry for a few years before moving over to Merck, where she now manages the northeast region of Alberta for the farm animal business unit. She was fortunate enough to be selected for the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders program in 2013, a program that has certainly influenced her career development. A big part of Amanda’s passion lies with primary production, and she and her husband also own and operate Pugh Farms, a purebred black/red angus and polled Hereford operation.

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.

Cheryl Fullerton

EVP People and Communications, Corus Entertainment Inc., Toronto, Ontario

Presentation Title: Empowering Women to Forget Balance, Think Choice

We’ve often discussed ‘work-life balance’…somehow implying that work isn’t part of life, or that there is a perfect equilibrium to reach. It’s time to reframe the discussion so women feel empowered to be deliberate in their personal choices for a happy, healthy, successful life.

Cheryl Fullerton is Executive Vice President, People and Communications at Corus Entertainment. Cheryl is accountable for the leading the creation of a high performance culture, and integrated, high impact people solutions to support the exceptional creativity and performance of the company’s 4,000 people. Communications responsibilities include internal and external stakeholder communications strategies and execution for Corus’ roster of market-leading television networks, radio stations and associated assets. Cheryl also oversees Corus’ corporate social responsibility programs including the organization’s company-wide philanthropic initiative, Corus Feeds Kids.

Cheryl is a member of the HR Professional magazine Editorial Advisory Board and the CHRO Advisory Council of the HR Professional Association, and has been granted a Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE) designation. She also currently chairs the Board of Spectra Community Support Services, a volunteer-driven, community-based organization providing emotional support and crisis intervention for the Region of Peel. She has a Bachelor of Science summa cum laude.

Pattie Ganske

President & Co-Owner, Parkland Fertilizers, Wetaskiwin, Alberta

Presentation Title: No Line Up At The Washroom

Agriculture is an industry with constant change – from no line up at the washroom to many women who are mentors, leaders and an inspiration to all.

Pattie Ganske, Co-Owner of Parkland Fertilizers Wetaskiwin & Lacombe, may very well have been one of the first female owners of an Ag-Retail in Canada (in a non-husband/wife partnership). She would have never imagined that she would be where she is today when she first started at Parkland Fertilizers.  A six week seasonal position turned into thirty-three years (and counting), and after tackling almost every role in the company, Pattie knows exactly what it takes to run a successful business. She has served on various boards, including the Canadian Association of Agri-Retailers, the Independent Dealers Entrepreneurial Association, and the GROW Community of Independents, often finding herself as the only female around the table. There is no doubt Pattie is a pioneer in the industry who has helped pave the way for women. This is evident when you walk into the Parkland Fertilizers offices and find just as many women as men. You may have recently seen Pattie in the Agriculture More Than Ever ‘Be Somebody’ campaign as she is also known for being a strong advocate for agriculture as well as for her community. Pattie has always been eager to seize opportunities when they present themselves, as you never know where those opportunities will take you.

Krysta Harden

Vice President, Public Policy & Chief Sustainability Officer, DuPont, Washington, DC

Presentation title: How Advancing Women Can Help Address Global Challenges in Agriculture

Krysta will discuss what women can do to address the global challenges facing agriculture.

Krysta Harden is Vice President of Public Policy and Chief Sustainability Officer, joining DuPont in February 2016.

Most recently, she served as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), where she helped to shape food and agriculture policy, including leading implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill. At USDA and throughout her career in agriculture, Ms. Harden has focused on growing the ranks of agriculture and expanding opportunity for women, young people, immigrants, socially disadvantaged producers, returning veterans and retirees. Prior to her service as deputy secretary, she held USDA leadership positions as chief of staff to the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and assistant secretary for Congressional Relations. Preceding her service at USDA, Ms. Harden spent five years as CEO of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD), providing national leadership for natural resource conservation and representing thousands of conservation districts across the nation.

In addition to serving as CEO of the National Association of Conservation Districts, she also has worked with the American Soybean Association as senior vice president of Gordley Associates, where she concentrated on conservation and renewable energy issues. She also served 12 years on Capitol Hill, as staff director for the House subcommittee on Peanuts and Tobacco and as chief of staff and press secretary for former Congressman Charles Hatcher.

Ms. Harden received her B.A. in journalism from the University of Georgia.

Kristjan Hebert

Managing Partner, Hebert Grain Ventures, Moosomin, Saskatchewan

 Workshop Presentation Title: 5% Rule – Baby steps to Bigger Profits

Hoping for unicorns and settling on good enough are very real when it comes to under-performing on your farm’s bottom line. Instead let’s focus on small improvements, balancing perfection and logistics, and aiming for excellence. The simple math will surprise you…

Kristjan Hebert is the managing partner of Hebert Grain Ventures (HGV), a 12,000 acre grain and oilseed operation in southeast Saskatchewan.  In addition to his farming background, Kristjan is a CA and has worked for MNP, is Chairman of Global Ag Risk Solutions and is a graduate of Texas A&M’s The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP).  Danny Klinefelter, of TEPAP, refers to Kristjan as “one of the most progressive young farmers he knows”.

Jennifer Henderson

Director of Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory, Cargill, Wayzata, Minnesota


Jennifer Henderson currently acts as the Director of Food Safety, Quality and Regulatory in Cargill’s North America Agricultural Supply Chain enterprise. Jen oversees an asset footprint that includes Cargill’s grain handling facilities, port facilities, and oilseed and softseed crush and refining facilities across Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

Before coming to Food Safety, Jen lived in Lethbridge, Alberta, where she worked for 5 years as the Managing Director of Cargill’s Animal Nutrition business in Western Canada. Prior to that, Jen worked as a senior attorney in Cargill’s Law Department, acting in a General Counsel capacity for Cargill’s North American Poultry business, and later for Cargill’s Global Animal Nutrition business.  Jen came to Cargill after spending 10 years working in U.S. law firms.

Jen received her Juris Doctorate Summa Cum Laude from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, and she has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Jen is a native of Minnesota. She and her husband Mike have been married for 25 years and have 2 sons, aged 10 and 12. Jen’s hobbies include gardening, hiking and travelling.

Trish Jordan

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

Presentation Title: Did You Really Just Say That? What Consumers Believe About Food & Agriculture

Today, consumers believe some pretty baffling things about food and agriculture and they’re not afraid to tell you, “you’re doing it all wrong!” Over the last 15 years the conversation around food and farming has changed dramatically as consumers take a keen interest in how their food is grown and embrace romantic ideals about what should be happening on the farm. Trish will share some of the feedback she’s received about the application of new technologies in agriculture; how to cope with criticism from urban consumers; and how to engage in dialogue to build understanding with those trying to navigate the complex world of agriculture and food.

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 honoured 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.

Wendy Kaplan

National Manager Country Grain Marketing, Viterra, Edmonton, Alberta

Presentation Title: Breaking New Ground: Stories of Successful Women in Canada’s Grain Industry

Join Wendy Kaplan as she talks about her successful career in the grain handling industry, and shares stories of other women she’s met along the way who have challenged the status quo, overcome obstacles and reaped the rewards. The future for women in agriculture is getting brighter and better, and there are more roles available to them than ever before.

As a member of the team responsible for Viterra’s grain pipeline, Wendy’s work is very diverse. Primarily, Wendy focuses on sharing her more than 20 years experience in the Western Canadian Grain Industry with the Viterra staff and developing a team of grain specialists to work with our customers. Wendy educates and trains Viterra staff and customers with global market insight, as well as the practical tools growers need, including risk management products, logistics, and market research.

Kay Kuenker

Owner, K2Kinetics, LLC & Breakthrough Consulting, LTD, Indianapolis, Indiana

Workshop Presentation Title: To Coach… or To Be Coached? That Is The Question!

Have you ever wondered if you could benefit from a coach?  Have you ever thought about being a coach?  Coaching has been around for a long time, but there are many different definitions, styles and processes.  How do you know a coach is a good fit for you?  How can you tell a ‘good’ coach from one that’s not so good?  Regardless of the end of the spectrum you’re on – coach or coachee – this workshop is designed to answer those questions.  Coaching is all about helping people realize and achieve their innate potential by exploring the possibilities.  Join us for a fun and insightful session!

Kay Kuenker, having retired from a 29+ year career at Dow AgroSciences (DAS), is in a year of transition!  In mid year, she finished her Results Certified Coaching certification; she is in the process of establishing her consulting and coaching business starting her own company called K2Kinetics, LLC.  She worked at Purdue University’s Foundry, as Entrepreneur in Residence from January through August coaching faculty and graduate students on the process to take their ag related technology ideas and intellectual property to commercialization; she became an adjunct faculty member for the MBA program at Butler University and taught there this past summer.

For the previous nine years, Kay served on the executive leadership team for DAS and held three different Vice President positions:  Global VP Business Development, Commercial VP Europe, Middle East and Africa and most recently, Global VP Government Affairs, Public Affairs and Sustainability for DAS. 

Kay joined The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) in 1986 as a math modeler focusing on reactor design, pharmacokinetics and environmental risk assessment. She became part of Dow’s agricultural business in 1988 with roles focused on manufacturing plant optimization for agricultural chemicals.

In 1989, she relocated to Indianapolis and became leader of the Research and Development’s Modeling and Information Sciences Lab. She held various positions in R&D and IT until 1999, when she joined the Plant Genetics and Biotechnology Organization as a Project Success leader for corn.  Subsequently, she held a variety of commercial jobs including marketing specialist, licensing leader for Corn Traits and Germplasm as well as global business leader for Corn and Sorghum. In 2005, she relocated to Calgary, Alberta, Canada, to serve as the Regional Commercial Unit leader for Canada.  In 2007, she again returned to Indianapolis and was named Vice President, Business Development.  In 2011 Kay relocated to Europe where she held the position of VP Dow AgroSciences Europe, Middle East and Africa. She returned to US in mid 2014 and was named Global VP of Government Affairs, Public Affairs and Sustainability.

Kay is a member several boards including BioCrossroads, AgriNovus Indiana, IN State Workforce Innovation Council and the Women in Agribusiness Advisory Board. She previously served on the Executive Committee of the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA, Food and Ag Governing Board for Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Purdue University Burton Morgan Entrepreneurial Center, Executive Committee for the National FFA Foundation and CropLife Canada.

Kay received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan and a master’s degree in mathematics from Central Michigan University. In addition to her coaching certification, Kay earned her Personal Fitness Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist Certifications through International Sports Sciences Association.

Vanessa Laroque

Regional Vice President Commercial, Alberta North & NWT, BMO Bank of Montreal, Edmonton, Alberta


Vanessa Laroque is the Regional Vice President Commercial Banking for the Alberta North Community in the Alberta & Northwest Territories Division. In her role, Vanessa provides oversight to the activities within the Alberta North Community to lead engagement that drives customer loyalty and growth. She ensures all business operations are performing efficiently while motivating her team to simplify decisions for their customers and deliver high quality products and services.

Vanessa joined BMO Bank of Montreal in 2011. She received her BComm in Marketing from the University of Saskatchewan, and is currently pursuing her MBA at Heriot-Watt University based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

An active participant in many sponsorship, community enhancement and outreach initiatives, Vanessa is a strong advocate for mental health; she sits on the Board of Directors for the Canadian Mental Health Association Edmonton Region, and is a Committee Chairperson for the Canadian Mental Health Annual Golf Classic. A supporter of youth and sports, she also volunteers for the Edmonton Minor Hockey and Edmonton Minor Soccer Association. In her spare time, you can find her at a local arena watching minor hockey, cheering on the players.

Sandra Mellon

Vice President, Commercial Financial Services Peace Country, RBC Royal Bank, Grande Prairie, Alberta


Sandra Mellon is Vice President – Commercial Financial Services, Peace Country for RBC.
She has lived and worked in the Peace Country for most of the last 37 years. Sandra has over 25 years of experience in the financial industry, working with business owners and community leaders.

While not a primary agriculture producer herself, Sandra has worked with producers all over Alberta in various Commercial roles within RBC – from Pincher Creek up to the Grande Prairie area. She has an enthusiasm for building relationships and helping clients achieve their personal and financial goals. She is very aware of the challenges facing women in the Agriculture sector, but also of the great opportunities available to women in this sector.

Sandra manages a team of 13 Commercial Account Managers and covers a wide geographic area – from Grande Prairie, north to High Level and into the BC Peace, all the way to Fort Nelson. Half of her current team is women.  Helping women succeed in business, whether Bank or other business, is a passion of hers.

Sandra leads a rather in-ordinary life outside of the bank with an interest in hunting and trapping. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for Alberta Conservation Association. She is also the mother to 3 grown children and grandmother to 5, soon 6, grandchildren.

Mike Morrison

Author, Mike’s Bloggity Blog, Calgary, Alberta

Presentation title: Developing and Managing a Brand for Your Farm (and What to Do When Things Go Wrong)

Mike Morrison is the writer behind Mike’s Bloggity Blog, popular Canadian website based here in Calgary that attracts more than one million unique readers a year. Mike has also written Calgary By Bike, which is a guide to all the things to see and do along Calgary’s cycle tracks. It topped the Calgary Herald Best Seller list both in 2015 and 2016. Mike’s newest project is SocialWest, which is the largest digital marketing conference on the prairies. The second annual conference takes place from June 14th to 16th.

Cherilyn Nagel

Farmer, Hunters Paradise Farming and Outfitting, Mossbank, Saskatchewan

Presentation title: Well…I guess I look better in pink?

Cherilyn Nagel will share with us her journey through the Agriculture Policy arena with stories of naivety, grit and a desire to affect change. She is motivated by her love for the industry and genuine interest in talking with inquisitive consumers about agriculture and life on the farm.

Cherilyn Nagel along with her husband and family, operate a diversified grain, pulse and oilseed farm in Mossbank, SK. They are proud parents of 2 young farm girls.

In 2004, Cherilyn was elected as President of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association and after a successful 5year term she remains a Director on the current board. She considers signing the first Durum contract on the open market to be the highlight of her farming career thus far.

In 2011, Cherilyn was featured in SaskBusiness Magazine as one of Saskatchewan’s Most Influential Women. Cherilyn enjoys speaking on agriculture related topics to a wide array of audiences.

Cherilyn has gained experience in media relations and enjoys promoting positive stories of agricultural successes. She was interviewed in the new documentary License to Farm, www.licensetofarm.com which is meant to encourage other farmers to share their own stories with the public. Cherilyn and her family have been featured with Canadian Chef Michael Smith in a video to promote Saskatchewan Lentils. She has also been featured in an episode of Canadian Better Living on the topic of Pesticide use and promotion of Plant Biotechnology. Her webinar on “Practical Tips for Advocating”, was highlighted as the Most Watched webinar of 2016 by its host Ag More Than Ever.

Cherilyn sits as a director on a number of boards including the Agriculture Development Fund for the SK Ministry of Agriculture and Chair of the Saskatchewan Agri-Value Initiative.

Cherilyn is currently working with Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan to facilitate training sessions for other farmers on the topic of sharing a positive message about the sustainable food grown in her home province and across Canada.

Kenda Resler Friend

External Communications and Media Relations Leader, Dow AgroSciences, Indianapolis, Indiana


Agricultural communications has been Kenda’s calling for more than 25 years. She spent the first decade of her career in public relations firms around the United States where she led PR work for agricultural clients in both animal health and crop protection. Kenda joined Dow AgroSciences in Indianapolis in 2001 where she led executive and corporate communications for a decade. She then served as an international communications leader for a key new product before being named to her current role in 2014. She leads proactive media relations and external communications efforts for the company and serves as media spokesperson. A member of the President and CEO’s Global Leadership Team, she works across the company and world to advance the reputation and brand of Dow AgroSciences with key audiences.

Kenda earned a B.A. in public relations and an M.S. in agricultural communications from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. She is active in the community, with a focus on leadership and youth development. President of her children’s middle school parent/teacher organization, she is also involved with 4-H public speaking efforts and serves on the Board of AgrIInstitute, Indiana’s premiere agricultural leadership program. She is a trained Peace Ambassador with the Indianapolis Peace Learning Center. A 2012 Distinguished Purdue College of Agriculture Alumni winner, she serves on the Purdue Ag Trust Fund board and is involved in numerous alumni activities.  At her church she is a youth sponsor and newsletter board member, and with her husband, enjoys the activities of their two children.

Gail Schafer

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


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.

Dr. Marla Shapiro, MDCM, CCFP, MHSc, FRCP, FCFP, NCMP

Medical Contributor to CTV’s Canada AM and Medical Consultant for CTV News, Toronto, Ontario

Presentation Title: Aging Well – Can We Defy Aging or are We Just Looking Better?

Strategies for healthy aging will be reviewed in this engaging presentation.

Dr. Marla Shapiro is one of Canada’s most trusted guides to personal health and well-being. A warm, compelling, and compassionate speaker, she gives practical advice on developing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Dr. Shapiro offers specialized talks on women and family health care and discusses the pressing issues at the forefront of today’s news.

Dr. Marla Shapiro completed medical school at McGill University and trained at the University of Toronto for her Masters of Health Science in Community Health and Epidemiology. She trained in Family Medicine and is certified by the Canadian College of Family Practice. She concluded her specialty training in Preventive Medicine and Public Health, receiving her Fellowship from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. She holds a Fellowship in Family Medicine and is a North American Menopause Society credentialed menopause specialist.

Since 2000, Dr. Shapiro has been the Health and Medical Expert for Canada AM. In addition to her weekly appearances on Canada AM, Dr. Shapiro is seen regularly on CTV News Channel and as the medical consultant on CTV National News. In 2012, she hosted CTV News Channel’s Dr. Marla & Friends, a weekly series examining the most current and news-driven medical topics and stories. In addition, Dr. Shapiro has contributes topical, medical investigative documentaries for CTV’s W5, Canada’s most-watched documentary series. In 2003, she began hosting Balance: Television for Living Well, a refreshing daily health and lifestyle show seen across North American households.

In 2015, Dr. Shapiro was named a member of the Order of Canada, for contributions as a family physician and trusted source of health information.

Dr. Shapiro has written a regular column for the Globe and Mail. She currently writes her weekly blog on the CTVNews.ca website. Dr. Shapiro is the Founding Editor of ParentsCanada Magazine.

Additionally, Dr. Shapiro is a member of several committees and advisory boards including the Board for the Canadian Foundation for Women and Health, Research Canada and The North American Menopause Society. She was on the original Board of The Canadian Partnership Against Cancer having stepped down after 6 years.

Dr. Shapiro was honoured at the 150th Bayer Anniversary among 22 leading scientists and researchers for her work in Women’s Health and contraception, and she was also named one of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women by Women of Influence Magazine in Canada. In 2011, The Israeli Cancer Research Fund honoured Dr. Shapiro at their Women of Action Luncheon for her personal and professional dedication to supporting innovative cancer research. She was the recipient of the 2010 Peter R. Newman Humanitarian Award in recognition of an exemplary commitment to the welfare of individuals or the community, at home or abroad. Dr. Shapiro was the recipient of the 2005 Media Award from the North American Menopause Society for her work in expanding the understanding of menopause. She won the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada/Canadian Foundation for Women’s Health Award for Excellence in Women’s Health Journalism in 2006 for her documentary, Run Your Own Race. The documentary was written, presented and co-produced by Dr. Shapiro, and won numerous industry awards including the New York Film Festival and the Columbus International Film and Video award.

Dr. Shapiro received an Award of Excellence from the College of Family Physicians of Canada for her lifelong commitment and dedication to family medicine in 2008. As well she was awarded the Excellence in Creative Professional Activity in 2008 by the University of Toronto, Department of Family and Community Medicine.

Her national best-selling book, Life in the Balance: My Journey with Breast Cancer, was released in Fall 2006.

Tracey Shelton

Director, Corporate Communications, Richardson International, Winnipeg, Manitoba


Tracey Shelton is Director, Corporate Communications for Richardson International, Canada’s largest agribusiness. In this role, she oversees all communications and public relations activities for the company, including internal and external communications, branding, issues management and media relations.

After a brief stint as a print journalist working for the Kenora Daily Miner and News and the Winnipeg Sun, Tracey has spent most of her career working in communications in the agriculture sector.  She has worked primarily in corporate communications, marketing and public affairs for provincial, federal and private agriculture organizations in Winnipeg.  She began her career in agriculture as a Communications officer at the Canadian Wheat Board and subsequently worked for Agricore and Agricore United, Manitoba Pork and Pulse Canada. She has also worked on the agency side of the business as an account manager and public relations lead for Blacksheep Strategy. She joined the Richardson team in 2010.

Tracey has a Bachelor of Journalism with Combined Honours in Mass Communication from Carleton University in Ottawa. She and her husband Norm live in Winnipeg with their four teenage children and three dogs.

Jacquie Stephens

President, Breakthrough Consulting, Calgary, Alberta

Workshop Presentation Title: To Coach… or To Be Coached…..? That Is The Question!

Have you ever wondered if you could benefit from a coach?  Have you ever thought about being a coach?  Coaching has been around for a long time, but there are many different definitions, styles and processes.  How do you know a coach is a good fit for you?  How can you tell a ‘good’ coach from one that’s not so good?  Regardless of the end of the spectrum you’re on – coach or coachee – this workshop is designed to answer those questions.  Coaching is all about helping people realize and achieve their innate potential by exploring the possibilities.  Join us for a fun and insightful session!

My name is Jacquie Stephens and I help people make changes that stick! I stand alongside leaders and future leaders as they dive head first into the unknown and sometimes chaotic.  I started coaching in junior high school when I decided to take on a ten-year-old girls basketball team – how hard could it be???  While that year tested me (and then some), it also began my desire to explore ways to help people get out of their own way so they could become the best version of themselves. 

I moved my coaching out of the basketball and fastball worlds to the business world where the office politics can rival lunch time in the high school cafeteria… only the stakes are higher, longer lasting and far more expensive.  I have lead teams from 2 people to 40 people on multi-million dollar projects with the bruises to show for it.  I’m able to bring that experience into my coaching and come from a place of zero judgment.

I have an MBA in Organizational Effectiveness and Strategic Planning, a Certificate in the Foundations of NeuroLeadership, a BBA in Marketing, a certificate in the foundations of Bodynamics, I’m a Results Certified Coach, Certified Life Coach and Certified Meyers Briggs Facilitator.  All that to learn that people, and life, are unique and complex.   So treating everyone the same, just doesn’t work.

While the work I do is quite diverse (Leadership Coaching, Leadership Facilitation, Process Improvements, Project Management), there is something constant across it all – I take chaos and help create structure, hope, and possibilities.

I believe chocolate should be a food group, books are easier to hold and keep clean on my iPad, and all necessary skills can be learned on HGTV.  I believe family, great friends, good food and wine are the keys to enjoying life and that I am responsible for my own happiness.   And I help people find their own happiness.

Maggie Van Camp

Senior Editor, Country Guide, Farm Business Communications, Blackstock, Ontario

Presentation Title: Changing Roles of Women on Farms

The number of women farmers is on the rise and the role women are playing on our farms has changed. Statistically and anecdotally this number will continue to increase, so we need to encourage the whole industry to accept and accommodate this change.

Maggie Van Camp is an award-winning agricultural journalist and senior editor with Country Guide. She’s also CEO of Redcrest Farms, a broiler, solar and a small cropping operation that was started in 2000.

In 1991 Maggie graduated with a BSc. Agr from the University of Guelph, and has worked in agriculture publishing throughout Canada. Recently, she travelled to Zambia, Hong Kong and Ireland.  She’s also been a 4-H leader and board member, Sunday school teacher, fair volunteer, coach and taxi driver for her three children.

A self-proclaimed “farminist”, Maggie believes that accepting and promoting diversity on our farms is paramount to a successful future for Canada’s agricultural industry. We should be proud of who we are and what we do regardless of gender, race or culture. Furthermore, as women in this industry, it’s our responsibility to empower, encourage and edify the next generation of women.