OUR 2024 KEYNOTE SPEAKER IS CHRIS CUMMINS
Carmen is the Director of Rural Programming with Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development. The Alberta Agricultural Societies Program is one of the main projects in her portfolio, in addition to the Ag-Info Centre, Agri-News and other key agricultural recognition programs like the Century Farm and Ranch Award and Agriculture Hall of Fame. Carmen is based out of the Stettler office, resides in the central Alberta village of Delburne and is active with her community and family.
Brad has been an emergency manager in the Alberta provincial government since 2005. He has been involved in the Province’s work on many different events (the 2011 Slave Lake Wildfire, 2013 South Alberta Floods, 2016 Wood Buffalo Wildfire, and 2023 Wildfire). Brad is currently the Director of the Emergency Management Section in the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. In addition to the work on natural disasters, he works closely with the teams from animal health, crop health and food safety branches to ensure that the department has plans in place and is ready to respond to outbreaks in those areas.
Tannis brings her knowledge and experience of over 15 years working in beverage-alcohol to the culinary tourism industry at Food Tourism Strategies (FTS), an Alberta-based consulting firm with a passion for growing and sharing the local food scene. Tannis was appointed Executive Director of the Alberta Culinary Tourism Alliance in 2014 as a result of her leadership and deep experience in food marketing, wine and spirits, sales and education fields. In 2015, Tannis was named 50 Most Influential Albertans by Alberta Venture Magazine. Previous to this, Tannis was project lead of market research on Food Marketing & Policy at the University of Calgary, and was Brown-Forman’s Director of Business Development for Western Canada. She is a sessional instructor for the hospitality program at Olds College, and sits on the Advisory Committee for the program. Alongside her FTS partner Rheannon Green, their programs have been nominated for and won several awards, including an Alto Award for Collaborative Marketing, and a Canadian Tourism Award for Best Culinary Experience.
In a world craving inspiration, Chris Cummins stands out. At the helm of Cummins Media Inc for 19 years, he's been the guiding force behind enhanced leadership and communication for Canada's elite, including BMW, FED-EX, Microsoft, The Calgary Stampede Board of Directors, Rideau Hall’s Governor General’s Office, Manulife Bank, Canadian Olympic Committee leadership team, Alamos Gold Mines, CIBC. His expertise isn't just sought after—it's a beacon for transformation in the corporate sphere and beyond.
Using personal stories of adversity and human perseverance, he combines intelligent humour, high-level strategy and (sometimes if you ask nicely) beat-boxing to bring his training sessions to life.
Connect with Chris on linked-in: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chriscummins/
Nicola started working with AAAS in 2019 as part of Alberta Open Farm Days as the marketing coordinator. She has been working in marketing and social media for over 10 years with her own company, Cultivate Digital Media working on social media, marketing, and public relations for local and national brands. When she’s not working, she enjoys hanging out with her family and dogs and is going to thoroughly enjoy travelling again.
Colin Gosselin is the Sr. Project Coordinator for the Rural Programming Section at Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation. Colin has been focused on the agricultural societies program for the last several years, and has been involved with rural affairs more broadly for over 15 years. He “keeps it rural” with his wife and two children in Lac Ste. Anne County, and is based out of the Department’s Stony Plain field office
Supporting business owners in building their family legacy and successfully transitioning their businesses to the next generation is my area of expertise. As a CPA and certified Family Enterprise Advisor, I continue to leverage my broad experience to guide businesses and non-profits through their tax planning initiatives, estate and succession planning, accounting, auditing, and financial management. I’ve worked with clients across various industries—including agriculture, construction, oil and gas, retail, and family businesses—to assist with specialty tax work, farm succession, corporate reorganizations, and amalgamations. Prior to joining forces with Grant Thornton, I was a managing partner at BVA LLP and, before that, spent time working on my family farm. This experience allows me to provide my clients with a real-world perspective for their businesses. I also believe in giving back to the community where I work, which is why I’m an active Rotarian with the Rotary Club of Medicine Hat. I’m also a board member of the Rotary Musical Festival Society, as well as the Treasurer of the Bridges Family Programs, and participate in 100 Women Who Care.
Max brings a unique suite of skills from an extensive business background. His previous senior positions have harnessed a passion for advocating for Alberta’s world class landscape and the critical fabric of rural communities and people that care for it so well. He is a perceptive individual who enjoys working with organizations in building realistic strategic solutions that advances their relevance and purpose; this blends well in his current leadership position with a regional land conservation organization where he has the pleasure of safeguarding the beauty of our natural landscape in partnership with ranchers and farmers that share those same values.
Farmers’ Market Specialist, Food Science & Development Section
Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation - Government of Alberta
Eileen is the Farmers' Market Specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation, managing the government Approved Farmers' Market Program on behalf of the province. In her role, Eileen clarifies the Guideline requirements, develops resources, provides links to other government representatives, offers workshops and coaching to market managers, vendors and sponsors on conflict resolution, market rules, bylaws and regulations. She has conducted more than 800 site visits checking for compliance with government guidelines as well as regulations – and of course shopping. Between farmers' market visits in the summer, Eileen can usually be found on a boat fishing or relaxing in a campsite.
Penny C. McBride
Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce
Penny C. McBride is the President & CEO of the Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce, which represents 900+ members through a program of work including workforce development, member engagement, education/training, industry communication and governmental affairs. The Chamber also produces the Light The Night Christmas Parade, which is attended by 24,000 people and viewed live by 17,000 on CBS Austin. She writes a weekly newspaper column, which can be found along with other writings on her blog – ALesserLife.com
Chris has been an arena Instructor with RFP for over 30 years. He has taught courses all over North America and has a wealth of knowledge in this subject
Dr. Stephen Neel
Terra is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s Master of Arts in Community Engagement program and a degree in Environmental Studies. Her research is on the Role of Agricultural Societies in the Local Food System. A Beaumont resident, she is the owner of Sunflowers Urban Farm (est. 2019), a small-scale urban farm start-up growing cut-flowers and produce for her community using regenerative and organic practices. She has been a director with the Beaumont & District Agricultural Society for five years and is currently developing a food forest education center at their facility to provide educational programming, increase membership value and community connections. Terra is a passionate advocate for local food and believes that investing in agriculture can improve economic stability in communities and support meaningful employment.
Jason combines a friendly approach to technology with a deep understanding of what community groups need. With over two decades in the tech world, he has been creating tools that are simple to use and really make a difference. At FrontDoor+, which he co-founded, Jason’s passion is to make event organizing a breeze, especially for volunteers and agricultural societies. He is dedicated to providing solutions that help your events run smoothly, ensuring that technology feels like a helpful neighbor, not a hurdle. His Mission – to make every interaction with tech as straightforward and rewarding as possible.
I would like to introduce myself. My name is Monika Warring and I have been with the Government of Alberta for a little over 8 years. About 3 years ago I joined the Rural Policy and Programming Section as Grant Program Support. I process the Agricultural Societies Annual Grant and Annual Return applications and assist with the review of Bylaws. Those are just a few of the many ways I am available to assist agricultural societies. I can be found in the Stony Plain Office of Alberta Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Economic Development. An original Eastern transplant I have lived in Alberta for over 30 years and currently live in the Lac Ste Anne County.