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Day 1 – November 29

Dr. Brynn Winegard, Director of the Schulich Executive Education Centre of Excellence in Agri-food Business, York University

Keynote: Unleashing Canada’s agri-food growth potential

Dr. Brynn Winegard, Director of the Schulich Executive Education Centre of Excellence in Agri-food Business, York University

Canada is a global agricultural superpower – oil and gas and lumber combined don’t equal our annual GDP outputs of food production, processing and agriculture. Many factors contribute to Canada’s trajectory in becoming an undeniable force in feeding the world of tomorrow, but the challenge will be to organize ourselves and others in order to capitalize on this trajectory. Dr. Brynn Winegard will combine her three areas of research – business, brain science, and factors of success for Canadian agri-food – to describe why it is so important that we advocate for ourselves as a global food superpower, how we should go about doing that, what we need to know about how consumers make decisions, the importance of mobilizing millennials and younger generations in service of our growth potential, and how to convert our consumers from users to advocates, using brain science.

Predicting China’s future from its astounding, brilliant, lucky recent past

Ted Fishman, journalist and author of China Inc., How the Rise of the Next Superpower Challenges American and the World

Bestselling author Ted C. Fishman (China, Inc.) traces China’s growth and political development since its early market reforms in the 1980s and explains through story and data how they bring China’s present and future into clearer view. He will also cover recent developments in China’s economy, its future as a global producer and consumer, as an innovator and “borrower” of technology and as a world power.






Working with China: How Canadian agriculture can succeed

The Hon. Stockwell Day, former leader of the Canadian Alliance Party

China’s emerging middle class and rapid economic growth have it poised to be the world’s largest agricultural importer by 2020. Already, China is the number one market for Canada’s canola exports, and will be critical to the growth of Canadian agricultural exports for decades to come. Still, this market is a source of frustration at times with non-tariff trade barriers and lack of transparent trade rules. These barriers are hurting growth in Canada and limiting the access of Canadian farmers to the newest seed innovations, thus hurting productivity at home as well.

How is China today different from China of years past, and where is it heading economically, socially and politically? How can Canada best position itself to be part of China’s growth and future, and how much growth and progress can we expect to make?


Graham Sherman, Owner, Tool Shed Brewery

Banquet: Unleashing your disruptive behaviour

Graham Sherman, Owner, Tool Shed Brewery

Too often we find ourselves victims of our specific industry’s “regulatory risk.” Laws and regulations change and unfortunately it’s not always in our favour. The story of Tool Shed is one of trying to start a business that current provincial laws and regulations did not allow, and surprisingly, changing the government’s mind is not always as easy as it may seem.

Enter the world of Tool Shed’s “Disruptive Behaviour.” Maybe you’re trying to start up in a tough economy. Perhaps you’re trying to market your business against monster-sized competition. Or could it be that you’re trying to affect governmental regulatory change? All these scenarios require the use of part of our brains that we’ve been taught to suppress since childhood, the DISRUPTIVE part of our brain.

The term “Disruptive Marketing” has become so buzz-wordy that we often mistake innovation with being disruptive. These are not the same. The examples and stories of this concept you’ll hear from Graham will even disrupt the way you think about all of those challenges that seem impossible to overcome. It’s time to harness your disruptive behaviour.