Meet Our Team

The Ag Women’s Network wouldn’t be possible without our awesome volunteer Leadership team. With four sub-committees, these folks help ensure we hold interesting meetings, have solid content on our blog, and connect us to other great organizations. If you’re interested in becoming an exec or committee member, the group is refreshed in June of each year. Be on the lookout for communication recruiting for volunteers!

Jen  – Chair

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Jen Christie, John Deere

Why did you join the AWN? Initially, I was looking for a female mentor within our industry. Unfortunately, like the Canadian agriculture industry overall, there were few women in leadership roles in my company to approach. Thus, it became critical we provide the means for women to network with each other to learn and exchange ideas. If more women can achieve their full potential and ascend into agriculture leadership, than the whole industry will be stronger.
Role Models: My grandma & my parents
Word to live by (quote or advice): “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door” Unknown. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead
Favourite book: Oh! The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
Comfort food: Homemade Mac & cheese

Christina C

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Christina Couture, RKD Web Solutions

Why did you join AWN: To help empower my peers to feel strong and confident in the Ag industry
Role Model: I can’t say I have a role model specifically- but everyday I work to surround myself with individuals that challenge me to be better in all aspects of life.
Words to live by: Life is a grindstone- whether it grinds us down or polishes us up depends on us – Thomas L. Holdcroft
Favourite Book: Oh, the Places You’ll Go! – Dr Seuss
Comfort food: Homemade popcorn with lots of butter and salt

Joan

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Joan Craig , E & J Craig Farms

Why did you join the AWN? : I saw it as an opportunity to get to know more women involved with agriculture and to make a contribution to the development of this community of women and to the broader rural community.
Role Models: Grace Pym (my Mom), Craig Kielburger, Clara Hughes, Dr. Mary Bigler,
Words to live by (quote or advice):“It takes a village” (the root phrase is from African culture – “it takes a village to raise a child”) I often use this phrase to remind myself and others that we all have a role to play in getting things done or helping others. We need to respect and value diversity!.
Favourite book: As a school librarian I had the opportunity to read many books for children. I love kids’ books! Two of my favourites are “Love You Forever” (Robert Munsch) and “On A Beam of Light : A Story of Albert Einstein (Jennifer Berne). My favourite adult author is Alice Munroe.
Comfort food: Scalloped potatoes and meatloaf ( I wish I could say kale but I am just not there, yet)

Maureen

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Maureen Balsillie, AAC

Why did you join the AWN? (why are you here): to meet and learn from other women and contribute to the betterment  of our vibrant and dynamic industry through the empowerment of women.
Role Models: My mother, Leslie Huffman Amy Poehler/Leslie Knope
Words to live by (quote or advice):’ Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself’ -Mary Schmich

Favourite book: Summer Sisters Judy Blume
Comfort food: Frozen yogurt and hamburgers

Mary-Anne

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Mary Anne Doré, Owner Heritage Hill Farms

Why did you join the AWN? 
One of the things I like most about working in agriculture is the fellowship with neighbours and the greater ‘community’. This group is a great way for me to connect with women in our industry; when I feel like the only girl in the room. I would love to be able to encourage more women to join/stay in the agriculture industry.
Role Models: All of the strong farm women in Peel county I watched growing up.
Words to live by (quote or advice): ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you’ – Steve Martin.
Favourite book: Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth – Chris Hadfield
Comfort food: Mac and Cheese with crushed nachos on top.

Christina C-A

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Christina Crowley-Arklie, Minister’s Office OMAFRA

Why did you join the AWN?  Ontario agriculture needs strong female leaders and ambassadors for the industry while we face changing dynamics. These include agriculture education/consumer awareness, gender and generational differences, innovation and technology uptake and of course, the ultimate challenge of feeding nine billion people by 2050. Anytime we can better ourselves and those around us by focusing on personal development, we become better advocates for the entire industry and push the right agenda forward for positive change.
Role Model: Judith Humphrey, The Humphrey Group
Words to live by (quote or advice): “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Favourite book: The Happiness Advantage – Shawn Achor
Comfort food: Anything Italian (with a glass of red wine too!)

 Robyn

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Robyn Walsh, Post Lely Center

Why did you join AWN? Many voices are stronger than one. Collaboration, communication, and compassion can bring change.
Role Model: Malala Yousifazi
Words to live by: My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and do so with some compassion, some passion, some humour, and some style. –Maya Angelou
Favourite Book: Damned Nations
Comfort Food: Jiggs Dinner

 

 

Megan

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Megan Van Schaik, New Life Mills and Schailyn Holsteins

Why did you join AWN: To participate in empowering discussion and networking related to agriculture and the great women who are involved in it.
Role Model(s): My parents and every day champions of women in AG!
Words to live by: “You’ve got to continue to grow, or you’re just like last night’s cornbread – stale and dry”[Loretta Lynn]
Favorite book:  I like many different books for different reasons, but my favourite “pleasure reading” is the Outlander historical fiction series by Diana Gabaldon
Comfort Food: Indian food

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