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The 2024 Speakers


Clint Smith

Euromonitor International
Chicago, IL

Clint Smith manages agriculture/agri-food, regulatory and trade promotion clients. He has over 12 years’ experience in market intelligence at Euromonitor International, Mintel Information Consulting, and The Silk Initiative, an Asia-based brand consultancy specializing in food and beverage.

He spent six years in Shanghai gaining international market expertise working closely with large multinationals and SME food manufacturers, suppliers, and government agencies (foreign trade offices, chambers of commerce, provincial ministries of agriculture) helping them develop go-to-market strategies in China.

Miri Eliyahu

Euromonitor International

Miri Eliyahu is a senior research analyst with Euromonitor international, focusing on food and beverage industries in the US and has been with Euromonitor since 2022. Prior to Euromonitor, Miri was an academic researcher, and studied market formation and expansion of niche industries. 

Miri is a member of the staple foods and fresh foods central project team, specializing in meat, poultry and seafood substitutes, and baked goods. 
In addition to her work at Euromonitor,


Miri teaches food and society and economic sociology at Northwestern University and is a member of the Refresh working group to promote food and agricultural technology innovation.


Mario Ubiali

Brescia, Italy

Founder and CEO of Thimus, Mario is an entrepreneur who has over 20 years of experience in innovative companies, globally scaling from startup to SME. 

He created Thimus in 2016 and has brought to this venture his passion for innovation, the desire to impact the future of food systems and a love for the intersection between cultural studies and hard science. 

Today, Thimus is increasingly becoming a recognized force in food tech through T-Box: a portable, robust, and scalable SAAS platform which measures the electrical activity of the brain and therefore the neurophysiological response to the experience. (Also featured in Netflix’s recent docuseries You Are What You Eat).

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David Swintosky

Dunning Capital
Raleigh, NC

David has 17 years of professional experience in providing business and financial consulting services. His background includes mergers and acquisitions, capital advisory services, initial public offerings and secondary offerings of debt and equity, private debt and equity transactions, restructuring, corporate development, business strategy, financial audits and internal financial controls evaluation.

Prior to forming Dunning Capital, David operated a financial consulting practice, worked in the Corporate Finance and the Entrepreneurial Services Groups of Ernst & Young LLC in Raleigh, NC, and held positions with Price Waterhouse, LLP and Concours, Inc., both located in Milwaukee, WI.

David holds a BBA in Finance and Accounting from Wisconsin State University at Oshkosh. He is a member of the Turnaround Management Association, Association for Corporate Growth, American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and the NC Association of CPAs. In 2006, David was recognized as one of the 40 most influential young business professionals in the Triangle market.


Kallie Wood

National Circle for Indigenous Agriculture and Food (NCIAF)


AJ Bird

Climate Solutions Entrepreneur


Jamie Bakos

Titan Clean Energy Projects

Kallie Wood is the President and CEO of NCIAF and is a proud member of Carry the Kettle Nakoda Nation located on Treaty Four Territory in Saskatchewan. Kallie was formerly the Senior Indigenous Advisor for the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Saskatchewan.

She holds a Master of Leadership and Management studies degree and is a life-long learner with 35-years of experience in leadership roles with experience in organizational change, strategic planning, and program delivery with extensive experience in relationship building, reconciliation, and education. Kallie also sits on several Board of Governors across the nation, sharing a voice for Indigenous engagement and building relationships. 
Kallie is excited about the journey in supporting First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples in sustainable agriculture and food opportunities through listening, learning, and implementing change. She has received numerous awards for her time commitment to reconciliation, most recently awarded as one of the 22 most empowered and influential women internationally in 2023. She is a recognized and sought after keynote speaker and Indigenous Advisor on Indigenous issues.

AJ is a climate solutions entrepreneur with experience in biogas (landfill and anaerobic digesters), modular clean water technology, clean energy finance for Indigenous projects, IoT (Internet of Things) for energy measurement, and nature based carbon projects with expertise in Indigenous partnerships and voluntary carbon offsets.


She is a former Toronto Police
officer who dovetailed her hostage negotiator training into formal executive business negotiation certificates along with a decisive manner to identify and harness the win-win for business opportunities and partnerships. She is frequently asked to present on Indigenous partnerships and benefits in the carbon sector in Canada and also at the international level.


AJ is a Treaty 8 Indian and a member of the Deninu K'ue First Nation from the Northwest Territories. 

Jamie Bakos is an Environmental Engineer and specialist in clean technology. He has provided leadership in delivering clean technology projects in Canada and internationally for more than 25 years.  


A native of Saskatoon, Jamie is committed to promoting the sustainable use of agricultural waste residues and urban waste biomass in renewable energy and bio-products applications.


Jamie co-founded Titan Clean Energy Projects in 2008, and is responsible for corporate communications, business development, and corporate strategy.


Shannon Sears


Shannon Sears is President & Chief Executive Officer of the Bioriginal Group of Companies. He joined the company in 2021 as the 106th employee in Saskatoon with 140 globally. Today Bioriginal employs over 300.


The Bioriginal Group operates eight manufacturing facilities located in four countries on two continents supported by 19 warehouses around the globe.  Saskatoon is its headquarters with regional offices in California (US), Rotterdam (NL) and Yokohama (JP).

 A native Nova Scotian, Shannon graduated from Saint Francis Xavier University before starting a career in manufacturing. His career included General Manager of one of the world’s largest manufacturers of locomotive batteries, and founder of Stenek Corporation which grew to be Canada’s leading distributor of general merchandise supplying National Grocery and Pharmacy Retailers. 

Shannon also serves on the Board of Directors for the Food Industry Development Centre in Saskatoon. 


Austin Calladine

Sweet Nutrition

As the Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Sweet Nutrition, Austin has played a pivotal role in shaping the company's identity and market presence since its inception. With a passion for nutrition and a keen understanding of consumer preferences, Austin has been instrumental in driving Sweet Nutrition's growth trajectory, turning it into a household name in the health-conscious community.


Sweet Nutrition is a pioneering force in the realm of guilt-free indulgence. For nearly six years, we've been on a mission to redefine the way people snack, offering a delicious alternative to traditional treats without compromising on taste or quality.


Based in the heart of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Sweet Nutrition has become synonymous with wholesome ingredients, innovative recipes, and a commitment to healthier living.



Elyce Simpson Fraser

Simpson Seeds

Elyce attended College and University in Lethbridge where she obtained he Marketing Diploma.


She joined the company in 2004 after working in the Agriculture Canada Soft Wheat breeding program. She is also part of the third generation of family members working in the company.


She successfully transitioned to the role of CEO in July 2021 after the family completed succession planning of the family business which specialized in pulse exports and is expanding into pulse ingredients.

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Jennifer Stelzer

Prairies Economic Development Canada

Jennifer Stelzer is the Director of Policy, Strategy and Analytics for Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan), where she works as part of the PrairiesCan leadership team to maximize opportunities in the Prairie economy. Prior to assuming this role in 2022, Jennifer was the Manager of Innovation, holding 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 26 years including Canada Revenue Agency, the Correctional Service of Canada and Service Canada in human resources and social funding program roles. Jennifer truly enjoys informing and leveraging federal government tools to support Saskatchewan industry and community partners to stimulate economic growth here on the Prairies. A good day is one where she can walk away knowing that she’s helped make a difference for Saskatchewan businesses and people. Born and raised on a grain farm in Dodsland, Saskatchewan, she is keenly aware of the need to build on our backbone industries to create value added opportunities in all areas of the province. 


Christine Gould

Thought for Food
Basel, Switzerland

Christine Gould is the founder of Thought For Food, a globally-recognized agri-food innovation movement and community that spans 180+ countries; has incubated and accelerated 100+ science-and-technology-based startups which have gone on to raise over $300mm in venture capital; and has worked extensively with organizations that include the United Nations, the Rockefeller Foundation, Cargill, Google, and DHL, among many others.


In her previous roles, Christine led external affairs, public policy, & corporate affairs functions for a leading multinational (Syngenta), unicorn-level startups (Indigo Ag), fast-growing scale-ups (Cibo, Invaio), think tanks (Pew Initiative on Food & Biotechnology) & industry associations (CropLife International). 

She helped to design and establish the world’s first open-licensing platform for patented vegetable traits while working at Syngenta, which eventually led to a shift in the sharing and use of beneficial intellectual property assets across the plant breeding industry.

Her work has been featured in MIT Tech Review, BBC, and The Economist - and Forbes recently named her as one of the “Top 10 Women in Synthetic Biology for Food.” 

Christine is the author of "The Change-makers Guide to Feeding the Planet,” the producer of two feature-length docu-films about next-gen agri-food-tech solutions, and has spearheaded global events on five continents that have earned awards for sustainability and impact from the United Nations Environment Programme and Fast Company. 


May 1st Workshop Facilitators


Christy Michalak


Christy Michalak is a passionate advocate for technology and innovation in Canada. She brings a diverse and global background of experience in manufacturing, and today blends her business and engineering experience with the creativity to make new opportunities for Canadians.


With a track record of pioneering breakthrough manufacturing solutions, she has not only pushed the boundaries of innovation but has also dedicated herself to fostering collaboration, diversity, and ethics within the sector.


Christy serves as Director of Manufacturing Development Programs at NGen Canada, is an advisor for the Canadian Standards Association and sits on the Industry Committee for the Canadian Robotics Council.


Dr. Dan Shunk

Arizona State University

Dan L. Shunk is Professor Emeritus of Industrial Engineering in the School of Engineering at Arizona State University. He retired from ASU in 2018 after serving in various leadership and professorial capacities for 34 years. He continues to support ASU Engineering as well as the NGen program in Canada and CETYS Universidad in Baja, Mexico.


Prior to ASU Dr. Shunk served on active duty in the US Air Force during the Viet Nam War era and later worked in industry for Rockwell and International Harvester. His last industry position was Vice President and General Manager of the Integrated Manufacturing Systems Division of GCA. He won the A. Alan B. Pritsker Teaching Award at ASU in 2015 and 2018, a Fulbright Award in 2002-2003, the 1996 SME International Award for Education, the 1990, 1991 and 1999 I&MSE Faculty of the Year award, the 1989 SME Region VII Educator of the Year award, chaired AutoFact in 1985, and won the 1982 SME Outstanding Young Engineer award.


Shunk studied at Purdue where he received his PhD in Industrial Engineering in 1976. He is a member of the West Coast Regional Board of the Association of Manufacturing Excellence.


Derrick Swanson

Open Sail

Since founding OpenSail in 2014, Derrick has made it his mission to assemble a team of the best digital marketers the world has to offer - recruiting only those who have what it takes to constantly compete on their clients' behalf.


Derrick is committed to fostering a company culture and in-house standard of excellence, which leads his team to success after success. As a result of their dedication to excellence, OpenSail has helped companies expand and scale their operations across Canada, North America, and into Europe.



Kevin Elder

Food Processing Skills Canada

Kevin Elder is Project Manager Labour Market Information, Food Processing Skills Canada. He joined Food Processing Skills Canada in 2017. 


Kevin studied International Development at the University of Calgary and went on to live and work all over the globe. His introduction to food and beverage processing was working as a Vapour Heat Treatment Facility Manager at a mango plant in Australia.

Kevin is a big sports fan. He grew up in Alberta and California but spent a lot of time in Saskatchewan and learned to water ski on Buffalo Pound Lake. He lives in Ottawa with his wife and son. 

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