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Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference: A Powerful Source for Growth

Posted on November 20 2017 | Author: Hanne Nauwelaerts

The majority of my work experience has been obtained on my family farm. Growing up and working in this environment motivated me to pursue  an education in agriculture; I am currently a third-year Food and Agricultural Business student at the University of Guelph. This past summer I completed my first co-op work term as Operations Assistant at a farrow-to-finish hog operation. In this role I was responsible for managing QuickBooks, creating an Environmental Farm Plan, and developing a Nutrient Management Strategy. Since then, my passion for agriculture has led me to my second co-op work term and current position at Bioenterprise Corporation where I am the Strategic Partnerships Assistant. I work alongside the Program Manager, Corporate Relations to support the Bioenterprise Partnership and Membership Programs to help agri-tech entrepreneurs grow their business. The learning opportunities that I have been exposed to in this role allowed me to realize the great possibilities that exist within agriculture.

As part of my role as Strategic Partnerships Assistant, I was invited to join the organization's Farmer Connection Taskforce (Ag Connection); a committee where producers, entrepreneurs and academia join forces to develop new innovations in agriculture. Since connecting with producers and industry representatives is a critical component of this committee, my supervisor and the rest of the Farmer Connection Taskforce team encouraged me to participate in the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference Student program.

Iris Meck Communications Inc., the creator and host of the event, seeks companies to sponsor young women in agriculture studies at Canadian universities and colleges to attend the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference. The conference provides students with excellent skills and tools needed to be an effective leader, examples of future careers, and networking opportunities with producers, entrepreneurs, board members and executives. In turn, students are asked to describe their education, previous work experience, why they are interested in attending the conference, and how they expect the conference to benefit their career objectives. I was fortunate enough to be chosen as one of the students to attend this event and incredible learning experience.

Attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference allowed me to once again verify that I am on the right path, as agriculture is a great industry to be a part of. One of the most significant references that stood out to me was a quote by Mrs. Ngoma that Maimouna Abbass of Woods Empire Investments shared during her presentation: "Once or twice in life you need a doctor or a lawyer, but you need a farmer three times a day." This important concept was mentioned more than once throughout the conference. Jolene Brown, a farmer and family business consultant, delivered an engaging presentation and pointed out "if it weren't for agriculture and farmers, we'd all be hungry and naked." From Amanda Elzinga- Pugh, an Account Manager at Merck Animal Health, I learned that setting goals that seem unachievable push you out of your comfort zone. When setting S.M.A.R.T. goals, she suggests replacing realistic with risk-taking. This goes hand in hand with Jolene Brown's reminder that "if we always do that we've always done, we will be out of business." This new approach to goal setting will not only have a direct impact on your personal growth, it also has the ability to positively impact your community as it will open doors to new possibilities. Overall, the speakers that presented at the event offered quality advice to women in agriculture.

In conclusion, the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference exposed me to valuable networking opportunities and speakers who have made great advances in agriculture. Due to this exceptional experience, I would highly recommend this event to women looking to enter the agricultural industry. The conference is a great source of inspiration that has the power to motivate anyone in attendance to grasp the opportunities available to women in agriculture. I would, therefore, like to take this time to thank Iris Meck and her team for organizing such a significant and inspiring event.

The Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference took place on October 30th and 31st at the Hilton/ Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls.


Hanne Nauwelaerts
Strategic Partnership Assistant






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Working Virtually with Technology

Posted on November 10 2017 | Author: Alex Hurley

In the digital age, it's increasingly common for businesses to lean more heavily on technology. This transition has allowed for increased communication, productivity and overall employee happiness. Technology has made it possible for employees to work remotely, whether that be from satellite offices, home, or the ability to work virtually for collaborations. This movement is accomplished through text, video, and audio applications. The goal of this blog post is to outline some excellent applications that you may not of heard of, which could be significantly useful for your team when working virtually.

1. Slack: Slack is a free communication application and is used often in the start-up world. Slack allows team members to chat and share files with ease. It is a robust application where a user can privately chat with a team member or have group chats on a particular project. If the company is completely virtual, the user could create a channel for off topic discussion to facilitate water cooler conversation. What you might not know about Slack is that it also integrates a high-quality video chat, audio chat, and screen sharing. In the chat window on Slack, click the telephone icon in the top right and it will open an audio call with the team member. If a user would like to share your camera or screen, they can do so. These features can be used in team chats as well but a subscription fee is required.
 

2. Zoom: Zoom is a web conference application that excels in video conferencing and webinars. The base model for zoom is free, however if a user has specific needs, they have the ability to upgrade to certain packages for a fee. Zoom is dynamic yet simple to operate. Once a user logs in under their account, they can start a video conference. Once the conference has begun, a link is generated. Anyone they share that link with can join the chat. Zoom conferences incorporate both video and audio chat, which allows for flexibility. If an invitee doesn't have access to a computer or Wi-Fi, they can simply call into the meeting. Zoom also allows for the ability to share screens and record meetings, which is useful when giving presentations or webinars.
 

3. TeamViewer: TeamViewer is a remote connection application that uses cloud-based technology. The base model is free if it's for personal use only, however if a corporation would like to use TeamViewer, a license needs to be purchased. TeamViewer works under a basic premise- a user who wishes to remote connect to another computer sends a link, and the user on the computer to be connected to, opens the link and accepts the invite to remote connect. TeamViewer is extremely useful in situations where an application or computer needs to undergo troubleshooting to solve a particular issue or to replicate a particular bug. The business package offered by TeamViewer is an affordable way for technology start-ups to troubleshoot user bug reports, if they arise.
 

Even though I operate out of the Halifax satellite office, I have the ability to work closely with the excellent Bioenterprise team by making use of invaluable applications, like those outlined above. 

Sources: http://ow.ly/3h0k30guybN

Alex Hurley
Analyst, Aquacultre






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