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The 2023 Speakers


Dr. David Hughes

Imperial College London

Dr. David Hughes is Emeritus Professor of Food Marketing at Imperial College London, and Visiting Professor at the Royal Agricultural University, U.K. As “Dr. Food” he is a much sought-after speaker at international conferences and seminars on global food industry issues, particularly consumer and retail trends.


David has lived and worked in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, Africa and South East Asia and has extensive experience as an international advisory board member with agri-food companies.

David was a founding partner in a hydroponic fresh produce company in Florida, USA and a Director of Berry Gardens for 20 years (a farmer-owned berry business and the UK’s largest fresh berry supplier). He is a dual national of Canada and the UK. 


Laurie Dmytryshyn

PIC Investment Group Inc.

Laurie Dmytryshyn is the Chief of Equity Investment for PIC Investment Group Inc. (PIC).  PIC is a private, family office based in Saskatoon. PIC is a majority owner of eight companies in a variety of industries across Canada, along with minority equity investments in 23 companies. Laurie manages PIC’s Minority Equity Investment Portfolio.  

Prior to her ten years experience at PIC, Laurie was the Executive Director of the Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan. She has extensive Board experience in both the for-profit and non-profit sector and holds Board positions on several of PIC’s minority investment companies. Laurie received a Bachelor of Commerce and an MBA from the University of Saskatchewan. She has her ICD.D Designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors. 


Carla Heim

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

Carla Heim is Senior Advisor, Sustainability & ESG at the BDC (Business Development Bank of Canada), the only bank in Canada dedicated exclusively to entrepreneurs.  

She is leading figure in the national movement of entrepreneurs who use business as a force for good. i.e., they create for-profit companies that help build robust communities that are inclusively prosperous and climate resilient. She is a national expert in on B Corp certification and the B Impact assessment tool, and serves as the BDC / B Lab Partnership Lead. B Lab is the not-for-profit that is the creator of the international B Corp movement. 

Carla has thirty-plus years’ experience in owning, managing, advising and financing businesses.  She brings to entrepreneurs a singular mix of hands-on experience, deep expertise and – as a longstanding member of the national and global B Corp networks – knowledge of the latest, most innovative practices.


Cora Xiao
InvestEco Capital

Cora Xiao is a principal with InvestEco Capital, a Toronto-based venture firm founded in 2002 that focuses on supporting companies in the food and ag sector that promote health and sustainability.


Previously, Cora worked on the investments team at Export Development Canada which invested in high-growth Canadian companies with international ambitions. She also has previous experience working abroad in Uganda in the non-profit space and in the infrastructure and renewables space in Toronto. 


Jason Moser

PFM Capital

Jason Moser is a Senior Director of Investments and partner of PFM Capital. Mr. Moser joined PFM in 2008 and is responsible for managing the firm’s diversified energy portfolio. Prior to joining PFM, Mr. Moser worked in equity research, providing over 17 years of institutional investment experience within the energy sector.

In addition to his role overseeing the firm’s due diligence, underwriting and monitoring of investments in the energy sector, Mr. Moser provides investment insight, deal origination and analytical skills across the sectors in which PFM invests (industrials & manufacturing, consumer discretionary & staples, energy production & midstream, and ag products & services). 

Mr. Moser currently serves on the board of several portfolio companies including Aureus Energy Services, Hunterwood Technologies, Prairie Lithium, Switch Power, and WindRiver Power. He also serves on the board of the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce and several non-profits.


Dana McCauley

Canadian Food Innovation Network

Dana McCauley is a value proposition driven innovator who has successfully launched many food products and programs in collaboration with domestic and international food companies and entrepreneurs.

Beyond her corporate experiences in marketing, product development and creative services, Dana brings not-for-profit and academic expertise to her role. She was the founding Executive Director for Food Starter, a Toronto based food business incubator and accelerator that was recognized with an Ontario Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence. As Director of New Venture Creation at the University of Guelph, Dana enabled agri-food innovators to transform their inventions into innovations that grow the economy and enhances Canada's international reputation.

Dana has been a food media personality and keynote speaker. She is the President of the SIAL Canada Innovation Award jury. In 2017, Dana was recognized by WXN as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women in the Trailblazers and Trendsetters category.


Shannon Hood-Niefer
Sunnydale Foods

Shannon loves food. With degrees in nutrition (B.Sc.) and food science (B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D.) and as an experienced food scientist, Shannon has assisted hundreds of food and food ingredient companies develop new products. Shannon links technical solutions with strategy and leadership. In addition to her doctorate, Shannon earned an MBA to sharpen her skills in the business of science.


She served as the VP of Innovation at the Saskatchewan Food Centre for 10 years and currently is the Chief Technology Officer at Sunnydale Foods, a pulse ingredient company located in Saskatchewan.


She is passionate about agriculture and the role food plays in nourishment, health, community, family, and entertainment. Outside her profession, family and sport plays an integral part in her life. Shannon loves to be outside, and enjoys cycling, hiking, skiing, and backpacking. 


Kathleen Sullivan

Maple Leaf Foods

Kathleen Sullivan is one of Canada’s most dynamic agri-food industry leaders. She is a public affairs and regulatory expert, industry advocate, proven association executive and lawyer with a successful 20+ year career.


In August 2018, Kathleen was appointed as CEO of the newly-formed Food and Beverage Canada – Aliments et boissons Canada – an organization representing Canadian food and beverage processor businesses located in urban and rural regions across the country.


Kathleen has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Carleton University and a law degree from the University of Western Ontario.


Jeff Gross

Pacific Ridge Corporation

Jeff has over 25 years experience in Ag and Ag Tech companies.


He was a founding shareholder of Terra Grain Fuels - North America’s largest wheat- based ethanol plant with production of over 165M litres of fuel annually. Jeff was also the founder of C-Green Aggregators Canada's first and largest Ag Carbon credit trading firm where he was the first person in Canada to trade a verified Carbon credit.


Jeff continues to run his farm outside of Regina, SK and has expanded into vertical growing with the Ag Tech company QuantoTech which is currently growing lettuce for UBC and expanding across Canada. 


Natasha Vandenhurk

Three Farmers Foods

Natasha Vandenhurk is CEO and one of the initial founders at Three Farmers Foods. She studied Economics at the University of Saskatchewan before partnering with three farmers from Southeast Saskatchewan to realize a dream of taking healthy wholesome foods to the marketplace.
Being CEO of a growing, natural foods brand has set Natasha on a journey of continuous learning and leadership. Her passion, dedication and tenacity has grown Three Farmers Foods from a young start up to a thriving international brand. As Three Farmers Foods continues to evolve into an established Consumer Packaged Goods brand, Natasha is adamant about building high performing teams throughout the organization that are dedicated to excellence, accountability, and continual learning in this dynamically changing industry.


Jennifer Stelzer

Prairies Economic Development Canada

Jennifer Stelzer is the Director of Policy, Strategy and Analytics for Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan). Prior to assuming this role a year ago, Jennifer held investment-focused roles at PrairiesCan (and Western Economic Diversification) since 2008.


Jennifer is a career Government of Canada public servant, having worked for four diverse departments over the last 25 years including Canada Revenue Agency, the Correctional Service of Canada and Service Canada. Jennifer truly enjoys being able to inform and leverage federal government tools and to work with partners from community and industry to support economic growth here on the Prairies. Born and raised on a grain farm in west central Saskatchewan, she is keenly aware of the need to build on our backbone industries to create value added opportunities. Jennifer has four children, and enjoys fishing, gardening, time at the lake, playing guitar and traveling with her fiancé Dan. 


Mark Anderson

Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

Mark Anderson is the Executive Director of the Programs Branch with the Ministry of Agriculture and has been in the role for approximately three years.


Mark has a background in strategic planning and project management and started with the Ministry as the Director of Planning and Information Technology.


Originally from British Columbia, Mark now resides in Regina with his wife Deidra, and kids Lachlan and Quinn. 


Morgan Brown


Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada

Morgan started his career with the federal government in 1998 with the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration (PFRA).  Over the years, Morgan has worked for various federal departments in Vancouver and Toronto before returning home to Saskatchewan (2009) where he worked for the Department of Indigenous Services Canada in Economic Development and Treaty Land Entitlement.   Most recently, Morgan joined Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) in the Marketing and Industry Services Branch in 2018 working out of the regional office in Regina.  


Lee Jeyes
Former Head of Innovation, 
Walmart Canada

Lee Jeyes has had nothing but a meteoric rise in the retail industry. Over his career, Jeyes was the youngest store manager in both the UK and Canada for the world’s largest retailer, been a part of major initiatives including the launch of Walmart’s online grocery business in Canada and driving $500 million in business value in a two-year period. His contribution to the industry was recently recognized in Progressive Grocer’s Industry’s Best and Brightest Under 40 in 2021.

As Walmart Canada’s most recent Head of Innovation, Lee exclusively focused on radical and disruptive approaches to keep the company at the edge of innovation.

On days off you will find him in Toronto walking along the water with his Great Dane, Wally or making music in his plant filled loft .

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