Meet your Mentors - AWN Speed Mentoring June 16th

Come and join the AWN for our first speed mentoring event in Guelph June 16th. Networking, food, drinks and of course the chance to set down with industry leaders and gain insight and perspective into their career paths.


Evening Details: 19+ EVENT Event fee: $20 which includes two drink tickets and light snacks Location : RLB LLP 197 Hanlon Creek Boulevard Unit 103, Guelph Ontario

RSVP deadline June 14th

And now - Meet your mentors!

Kathleen Shore, Ruminant Nutritionist, New-Life Mills

Kathleen graduated from University of Guelph with a B.Sc. (Agr) majoring in animal science and then an M.Sc. in Ruminant Nutrition. Kathleen spent several years working as a hired hand on dairy farms and then a few years in the fitness industry while her kids were small. Kathleen worked for Grober Nutrition for 7 years, a role that focused on young ruminant nutrition but also entailed managing the HACCP and Quality Assurance program. During her time at Grober, Kathleen became manager of the Nutrition Department, leading a team of staff for the department and overseeing all activities relating to nutrition, research and development, quality assurance, and HACCP. Kathleen has worked for New-Life Mills for the past 3 years in the role of Ruminant Nutritionist where she oversees ruminant nutrition programs in Ontario and Saskatchewan. She has served on several provincial and national boards/committees within the feed industry, including the Ontario Agri-Business Association Nutrition Committee. Kathleen has also been involved in the Leadership Group for the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada Nutrition Committee where, amongst other roles, she served as chairperson. Within these roles, Kathleen has helped organize several industry conferences.

Brad Adams, Semex @badams392

Brad Adams is currently Global Training Manager at Semex. Brad has over 18 years of experience in sales, marketing and training and development in the agriculture industry. After graduating from the University of Guelph with a diploma in agriculture business, Brad began his work in the nutrition industry as a Formulation Analyst at United Cooperatives of Ontario. In 1994 he joined GROWMARK, an Ontario farm supply and grain marketing cooperative as a Feed Systems Coordinator/Manager. He quickly worked his way up to Human Resources and Sales Administrative Manager where he implemented training and development programs. Prior to joining Semex, Brad served as the National Director of Marketing and National Division Manager for Masterfeeds Animal Health of London, Ontario. Brad is also a Trustee on the Canadian 4-H Foundation and Vice-Chair of the Toronto Stockyards Land Development Corporation. Brad resides near Brantford with his wife and four daughters.

Katie Cheesmond, Director of Business Development, RLB @katiecheesmond

As director of Business Development for RLB, Katie actively engages employees of one of the regional largest accounting and business advisory firms in business development, forging a business development culture within the firm and providing the tools for success through marketing.

Spending 10 years in finance, Katie developed an understanding of the needs and requirements of family business to have support and advice through change; growth, diversification, ownership change, divorce to name but a few. Coming from a farming family, she understands the challenges especially presented with the transfer of physical and emotional assets through sucession.

Kaite has a strong background in the Dairy Industry and a passion for both agriculture and rural development. She is a keen supporter of rural youth with almost 20 years experience in competitive public speaking. As an immigrant to Canada (12 years from UK), she has an understanding of the challenges and opportunities presented by starting a new life in foreign country.

Stewart Skinner, Owner, Imani Farms @modernfarmer

Stewart was raised on a pig farm near Listowel and after a meandering path, returned to a full time farming career this year. Along with his wife Jessica Kelly, they Imani Farms in 2015 and today it is a diverse farm business that is comprised of 3 segments, a commercial sow herd, a niche market production system, and swine management services.

Stewart graduated from the Ontario Agriculture College with a B. Comm in 2007. Following his undergrad, he worked as a commodity trader for FS Partners. He returned to Guelph and in 2010, received a M. Sc. in Agricultural Economics. His research focused on the economic impacts of Ethanol by-products in pig feed.

Stewart started working for his family's business, Stonaleen Farms in 2010. In 2012, he developed and launched an expansion project that would serve a niche market opportunity in the GTA. This project was not successful however it taught him many valuable lessons. Thomas Edison said, “I haven’t failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” and while he doesn’t plan on quite that many mistakes, I try to internalize that thought process when working through setbacks.

In 2013, Stewart took a leap and went to Kenya to work with Wesley Korir, a Boston Marathon Champion and candidate in Kenya’s national election. He worked with farmers in his area and became very involved with Wesley’s political campaign. That experience inspired him to get involved in politics here at home. In 2014, Stewart was a candidate in the provincial election and for the last 2 years he worked at Queen’s Park as a policy adviser for the Hon. Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs.

This spring, Stewart and Kelly welcome their son Bryce and he knew before he was born that spending a couple days a week in Toronto was not what he wanted to be doing. Jess and Stewart worked together to make a plan for our farm that would allow him to farm full time and this spring they started raising pigs for niche market in New York. Stewart's responsibilities centre on data management and production oversight.

Steve McCabe, Manager, Member Relations @shadowless73

Steve joined Grain Farmers of Ontario in December as manager of member relations.

In this role, he is responsible for connecting with farmer-members, helping with district meetings and events, and running member programs such as Grains in Action. Having been involved in the agriculture industry for well over a decade, he is excited to engage with farmers across Ontario to work on addressing their concerns and the issues they face.

McCabe was raised on a beef farm in Kenilworth, Ontario. He attended Ryerson University and Athabasca University to study public administration and obtained a political science degree. He worked with the labour department of the federal government for three years before pursuing a career change and moving on to the Western Producer, where he worked in national advertising sales. For the past six years, McCabe worked at Top Crop as their national sales manager.

Outside of work hours, Steve is in his second year of a four-year term with the Council of the Township of Wellington North. He also enjoys fly fishing, farming, and following Canadian and global politics.

Joan and Elgin Craig - E&J Craig Farms Inc. @craigcrest

Elgin and Joan farm together north of Arthur. 2014 was a year of change for Elgin and Joan as they dispersed the “Craigcrest” Holstein herd (three time Master Breeder Award winner) and Joan retired after a 30 year career as an elementary school teacher. Currently, they are establishing both a purebred and commercial Speckle Park and Angus beef herd. New interests include grazing and pasture management and using social media to connect with people within and beyond the agriculture industry. They are excited to bring a farm-team and producer perspective to the AWN Speed Mentoring event. Elgin and Joan appreciate the guidance received from others throughout their careers and believe strongly in the benefits of mentoring.

Elgin (OAC 76A) has judged dairy shows both nationally and internationally. He was a member of the Board of Directors for both Eastgen(Gencor) and the Semex Alliance. He served as President of both boards.

Joan (BA Waterloo, B Ed Western) is a Past-President of Drayton Festival Theatre and served in several work-related and community leadership roles. Currently, she is a member of the Leadership Team for Ag Women’s Network.

Kelly Ward, Supervisor of Brand Services for Foodland Ontario

Kelly Ward is the Supervisor of Brand Services for Foodland Ontario and is the face behind their social media channels where she manages interaction with over 198,000 Ontarians daily. She has been with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for 16 years working in program delivery in crop technology and economic development. Now, she's involved with social media strategy development, web user experience design, ad placement and consumer behaviour research. Kelly holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Guelph majoring in Agronomy and a Masters in Digital Media Experience Innovation from the University of Waterloo in Stratford. Kelly lives in Palmerston where she volunteers as an executive director for North Wellington Healthcare and Groves Memorial Community Hospital and as the media coordinator for the 2016 International Plowing Match in Minto.

Ann Godkin, Cattle Health Vet/Disease Prevention Veterinarian, OMAFRA @godkinag

Current Ann is involved consultation with veterinarians, industry reps and producers to trouble-shoot on-farm health and welfare problems in dairy, beef and calf operations. She also advise government on health, productivity and safety issues on farms and with animal health.

She is the current secretary of provincial bovine veterinary organization (OABP), with a mission to strengthen veterinary practices, and thru vets and their staff, to improve cattle health and welfare. She is also an adjunct faculty at OVC, involved with graduate students working on a number of applied research projects around cattle health, vet training and welfare practices.

Ann graduated BSc, DVM (1982), DVSc (1989) all from U of G. Previous to her employment with OMAFRA as the Cattle Health Vet/Disease Prevention Veterinarian 1990 to present, she was employed in private veterinary practice and by OVC in Ruminant Vet Practice.

Denise Zaborowski, Manager of OMAFRA’s Domestic Marketing’s Foodland Ontario program.

She is a local food advocate who encourages the public to ask for, purchase and care about all of the “good things that grow in Ontario”. She is also active in industry development and was the recipient of a Visionary Award from the American Agri-Women Association for leadership and a Friendship Award from the Asparagus Farmers of Ontario. The Foodland Ontario program has also been a recent recipient of a Ministry Innovation Award for Social Media, and a North American Agricultural Marketing Excellence Award. Denise has been in the Ontario Public Service for almost 15 years and has held a number of roles including Client Services Officer, Executive Assistant, Food Services Supervisor and Healthy Eating Team Lead. Denise also has experience in leading marketing communications in the food industry with M&M Meat Shops, Canada’s largest specialty frozen food retailer and Weston Bakeries, a large commercial bakery operation. Denise holds a Master’s of Science Degree in Marketing Management from the University of Guelph and an undergraduate degree from Guelph in Consumer Studies. She also volunteers on the Campaign Cabinet for the Guelph Wellington United Way. Denise is the proud mom of three awesome children and enjoys juggling multiple priorities with optimistic enthusiasm.

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