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Women’s Grain Symposium

Making Connections

Grain Farmers of Ontario’s Women’s Grain Symposium is an opportunity for networking, professional development, and leadership development.

The Women’s Grain Symposium is open to women who are grain farmers, active members of their family grain operation, or working within the grain sector of agriculture business with a direct connection to farmers.

More information to come!

Join us at the 2024 Women’s Grain Symposium

November 25 – 26, 2023

Delta Hotel

50 Stone Rd W, Guelph, ON N1G 0A9

2023 Speakers

Jill Heinerth

More people have walked on the moon than have visited many of the places that Jill Heinerth has seen on Earth. From the most dangerous technical dives deep inside underwater caves, to searching for never-before-seen ecosystems inside giant Antarctic icebergs, Heinerth’s curiosity and passion about our watery planet is the driving force in her life. In her visually stunning presentations, she encourages audiences to reach beyond their limitations, challenge the unknown, and overcome their fears, while sharing practical lessons on risk management, discovery learning, failure, and collaboration.

Kelly Dobson

Kelly Dobson is the Founder and Chief Performance Coach of LeaderShift Inc. Kelly has turned a lifelong fascination with leadership and its connection to personal and organizational success into a practice that supports farms and businesses related to agriculture. Kelly is also the current leader of a fourth-generation farm at Fairfax, Manitoba. This experience gives Kelly direct experience with managing the complexities of farm leadership and family business dynamics. Kelly has also chaired agricultural groups provincially and federally. Kelly is a Certified Executive Coach and holds a MA in Leadership from Royal Roads University.

Heather Watson

Heather Watson leads the team as Executive Director of Farm Management Canada, a national non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the awareness, appreciation and adoption of farm business management practices to help position Canada’s farmers for sustainable growth and prosperity. Heather is also the Canadian representative to the International Farm Management Association. In 2022, Heather was recognized as one of Canada’s Influential Women in Canadian Agriculture. Heather obtained her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Guelph and went on to obtain her Master’s degree from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.

Andrea De Groot

Andrea specializes in farm and business transitions, providing clarity to family dynamics. With her experience in farm management, she collaborates with technical advisors to address business structure and facilitate conversations. Andrea grew up on a small beef and crop farm in southern Ontario. After earning a degree in agriculture business at the University of Guelph, she worked in agriculture and commercial lending throughout Ontario. In addition, she served as Managing Director of the Ontario Pork Industry Council for four years. Andrea and her husband own and operate their family hog and crop farm outside Stratford.

Keely Horan

Keely has been involved in the social services field since 2002, working in various capacities. Keely follows an anti-oppressive, trauma informed, person-led approach where the person is supported to lead their own care and treated as a person first. Currently, Keely works with Family Transition Place’s Rural Response Program (RRP) providing free, domestic violence services to reduce barriers for women impacted by violence or abuse who reside in rural Dufferin County. Within this role Keely has supported individuals by providing counselling, case management, safety planning, abuse education, advocacy and systems navigation support.

Andrea Chantree

For the last 25 years, Andrea has worked with Family Transition Place in various roles. Andrea currently works in the Rural Response Program providing free, domestic violence services to reduce barriers for women impacted by violence or abuse who reside in rural Dufferin County. Andrea has supported individuals providing crisis counselling, safety planning, abuse education and advocacy. She is very familiar with the barriers women face in a rural community and works to advocate and provide the much needed support women often need but struggle to access.

Elaine Kub

Elaine Kub, CFA is an internationally recognized expert on the economics of commodity markets, whose writing and analysis helps institutions and business owners understand the risks and opportunities within the markets. She connects with market participants through clear, down-to-earth communication, all backed up by rigorously applied analysis of highly complex topics in stochastic markets. Her work provides strategic market intelligence and fresh, practical insights to a broad scope of clients.

2023 Agenda


1:00 p.m.Welcome remarks / introduction to GFO
1:30 p.m.Speaker session 1:
Heather Watson/Kelly Dobson: Personal strategic plan
(presentation and workshop)
4:30 p.m.Break – time for hotel check-in
5:00 p.m.Reception and networking event
6:00 p.m.Dinner
7:30 p.m.Speaker session 2:
Jill Heinerth: Explorations in excellence
9:00 p.m.Hospitality suite


7:00 a.m.Breakfast
8:00 a.m.Speaker session 3:
Keely Horan, Andrea Chantree: Domestic Violence – Rural Response
9:30 a.m.Speaker session 4:
Elaine Kub: Mastering the Grain Markets
10:30 a.m.Break
11:00 a.m.Panel discussion: GFO delegates/audience discussion
1:00 p.m.Speaker session 5:
Andrea De Groot: Farm Business Structures
2:30 p.m.Closing remarks
3:00 p.m.Symposium ends

Thank you to the 2023 Women’s Grain Symposium sponsors!

Banquet & keynote speaker sponsor

Reception & hospitality suite sponsor

Tuesday lunch, nutrition breaks & panel discussion sponsor

Speaker sponsors

Monday nutrition break sponsor