Level Up Conference 2024 Speaker Lineup

Get ready to be inspired and empowered at the Level Up Conference 2024 in Calgary, Alberta! We are thrilled to announce the outstanding speakers who will be joining us and sharing their knowledge with attendees. 

The Art & Science of Persuasion Using Algorithm with Ben Wise and Darren Chiu, Google and co-founders of Capitvate 

Join Ben Wise and Darren Chiu,  with Google and co-founders of Captivate, for a dynamic session on persuasion psychology. Gain actionable insights to enhance your communication skills and elevate your impact in any setting. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from experts in the field.

Marketing From The Ground Up with Kristi Mehr, Vice President, Marketing & Communications with Sunterra Markets and Greg and Sarah Stamp, Stamp Seeds

Greg and Sarah Stamp, along with their family, have been pivotal in the success of Stamp Seeds & Stamp Farms, a second-generation pedigreed seed farm and seed retail. They manage a team of 19 full-time staff along with seasonal workers, operating 6,000 acres of irrigation and 2,000 acres of dryland. With 95% of their crops dedicated to seed production, they cultivate approximately 11,000 acres of pedigreed seed crops annually. After completing their degrees at the University of Lethbridge, Greg (B.Sc. Agriculture Sciences) and Sarah (B.A. & B.Sc. double major in Psychology and Kinesiology) returned to the farm. Sarah’s unique background in parish ministry and mental health has been instrumental in business governance and transition planning. Greg, passionate about agriculture, oversees seed sales, marketing, and customer support. He also serves on the boards of the Alberta Pulse Growers Commission and Pulse Canada. In 2023, Greg and Sarah were honored as Alberta’s Outstanding Young Farmers and co-recipients of Canada’s Outstanding Young Farmers award.

Where Science and Marketing Meet for the Good of Agriculture with Kristin Utterback, Innovation & Engagement Strategy Leader, R&D, Corteva Agriscience 

Kristin Utterback is the Innovation and Engagement Strategy Leader for Research and Development at Corteva Agriscience. Kristin was raised on a commercial swine operation in Texas and earned her BS in Agricultural Services and Development from Tarleton State University and her MS in Agricultural Education and Communications from Texas Tech University. With a career background spanning secondary agricultural education, grain trade association work, and agtech marketing, Kristin brings a wealth of experience to her role. She oversees engagement strategy, ensuring alignment with Corteva’s priorities and optimizing their R&D pipeline. Kristin will share insights on communicating technical information to diverse audiences at the upcoming conference.

Driving Digital Adoption: Marketing in Retail with Tracy Linbo, CCO of AgVend and Cassandra Morari, COO of The Rack

Join us for an engaging discussion featuring Tracy Linbo, AgVend CCO, and Cassandra Morari, COO at The Rack, as they explore the pivotal role of digital marketing in the agriculture industry. From innovative strategies to driving sales to understanding the nuances of messaging that resonate with growers, Tracy and Cassandra will share their insights and experiences on leveraging marketing as a dynamic tool for ag retail teams to grow revenue. Discover the untapped potential of digital marketing to level-up your business.

Tracy Linbo is the Chief Commercial Officer for AgVend, working with agricultural retailers to help enable them to work digitally with their internal teams, their customers and their partners in the value chain. She and her husband Todd also own a pick-your-own berry farm, Double T Acres, near their home in Nisswa, MN. She has held multiple leadership roles supporting advancements in U.S. and international agriculture at BASF, Pioneer Hi-bred (now Corteva), Agtegra Cooperative and Growers Edge.   

Cassandra Morari is the Chief Operating Officer at The Rack, a leading independent agriculture retailer in Saskatchewan. With a background in Ag Finance and leadership roles at Farm Credit Canada, Cassandra brings extensive experience to her role. She oversees day-to-day operations, providing strategic direction aligned with the company’s growth objectives. Cassandra is also involved in transitioning the family business, which is celebrating its 40th year. At the Level Up Conference, she will participate in a fireside chat following AgVend’s presentation, showcasing The Rack’s successful implementation of AgVend’s technology.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn from industry leaders, network with like-minded professionals, and take your career to the next level. Mark your calendars for November 6-7, 2024, and join us in Calgary for an unforgettable event.

Join CAMA in November

Level Up Conference

The Canadian Agri-Food Marketers Alliance (CAMA) is thrilled to unveil the Level Up Conference 2024, set to take place from November 6-7, 2024, at the Sheraton Eau Claire in Calgary, Alberta. Building on the success of the inaugural event in Winnipeg in 2023, CAMA is geared up to provide another game-changing experience for agri-food marketing professionals. 

Designed to deliver immediate value for marketing communications professionals, the Level Up Conference will boast interactive learning sessions, a stellar lineup of engaging speakers, formalized networking events, and exclusive one-on-one engagement opportunities. Elevate your skills and stay ahead in the dynamic agri-food landscape.

Join us and be part of the buzz! Check out our Media Release for a sneak peek into what we have in store, and secure your spot by registering on our website. Follow along on our social media for the latest updates and important event information. [Include Media Release link and promo video link]

 Best of CAMA

Hosted in conjunction with the Level Up Conference to optimize your time and travel budget, Best of CAMA is being held on November 7th, 2024. Join us in celebrating excellence at our annual gala event, recognizing the best of the best in agri-food marketing. This is your chance to network with the best in the industry and gain insights that will propel your career forward. It’s never too early to start thinking about entries! Check out the list of categories and get planning. [Include category link and new creative image]

Support CAMA Through Sponsorship

Elevate your brand and position your agriculture company at the forefront of industry excellence by becoming a sponsor for the Level Up Conference and Best of CAMA. As a sponsor, you’ll have a unique opportunity to showcase your commitment to innovation and support the growth of agri-food marketing professionals. Don’t miss this chance to amplify your company’s presence and contribute to the success of two premier events. Partner with us, and let’s elevate the agri-food industry together.

Level Up Conference 2024: Elevating Agri-Food Marketing Excellence in Calgary

March 4, 2024 [PORT ELGIN, ONTARIO] – The Canadian Agri-Food Marketers Alliance (CAMA) is thrilled to announce the highly anticipated Level Up Conference 2024. Scheduled to take place from November 6-7, 2024 at the Sheraton Suites Eau Claire in Calgary, Alberta, the event will have a concentrated emphasis on exploring the influence, significance, and cutting-edge advancements in the field of marketing.

Susan Groeneveld, Conference Chair, emphasized the unique opportunity: “This is a best-in-class event that will offer exceptional value to attendees through fostering connections, providing actionable insights and tangible marketing skills.” Groeneveld also shares the critical need for professionals to invest in their growth, saying, “In a constantly evolving digital landscape, it’s vital to continually enhance skills. Staying ahead of trends, fostering a forward-thinking mindset, and consistently striving to become better marketers are imperative for success in today’s marketing environment.”

Building upon the achievements of the inaugural event in 2023, the 2024 Level Up Conference is poised to surpass expectations. Attendees from the previous year emphasized the practical value of the event, with one noting, “The speakers actually provided key takeaways that could be implemented into organizations and their strategies.”

With an exciting lineup of speakers already confirmed, the Level Up Conference promises to deliver invaluable insights and skills for attendees. AgVend will delve into the challenges of adoption, marketing, and messaging of agtech in mainstream agriculture. Kristin Utterback, Innovation and Engagement Strategy Leader, R&D for Corteva, based in San Antonio, Texas, will explore the intricacies of marketing and communications within multinational agricultural enterprises, providing a glimpse into marketing in science-based businesses. Stay tuned for additional speaker announcements added to the program.

Designed to add immediate value for anyone in agri-food looking to up their marketing skills, the Level Up Conference 2024 includes interactive learning sessions, formalized networking events, and one-on-one engagement opportunities. CAMA’s student case competition, as well as the annual Best of CAMA awards gala, will be hosted in conjunction with this event. 

Information on sponsorship, registration, and hotel accommodations can be found on the CAMA website.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to elevate your skills, expand your network, and stay at the forefront of marketing in the agri-food industry. Join CAMA at the Level Up Conference 2024 in Calgary!


The Canadian Agri-food Marketers Alliance (CAMA) is a network of agri-food marketing professionals from across Canada. With chapters located in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, CAMA represents agri-food markcomms professionals throughout Canada’s food system. Members include professionals across the agri-food value chain who are dedicated to improving the marketing and communications sector of Canada’s food system.


For more information or to schedule an interview with CAMA representatives, please contact:

Mary Thornley

Executive Director



Award winning Grow Our People Unconference set to roll for 2024

Guelph, ON – Agriculture is facing one of its greatest challenges with labour shortages and a pending wave of retirees leaving in the next decade.  The Grow Our People Unconference is designed to help those who work in agriculture and food in Canada – to build new skills, grow deeper networks, and gain a renewed sense of enthusiasm for our agri-food sector.

“We call Grow Our People an ‘unconference’ experience as it’s unlike any other event in agriculture,” shares Brenda Trask, event co-founder. “We created it to bring people together from across sectors with a focus on people and skills, and have some fun at the same time.”

Event organizers Crystal Mackay, Mary Thornley and Brenda Trask came together in 2022 to create this event with the vision for a unique experience to equip people with skills and connections to help grow themselves, their businesses, and the agri-food sector.  They were recognized with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture’s Excellence in Agriculture Award in 2023 for this innovative event experience and their dedication to making it happen.

Dr. Rumeet Billan, Chief Learning Architect for Viewpoint Leadership, will kick off the event the evening of May 28th with her profound keynote on The Science of Trust and Belonging.  The remainder of the event is comprised of interactive workshops focusing on skills such as communications, leadership, advocacy, and human resources.  While these skills are valuable for any human, three streams of sessions will be set up for: individual leaders early in their career, people who manage people, and board members. 

The spirit of the event, to elevate people in agriculture and celebrate with good food, comes to life with a very special early bird registration offer.  Everyone who registers before March 1, 2024 will be entered to win a private flight over southwestern Ontario hosted by pilots who also happen to be farmers, along with a $250 gift certificate for dinner. 

The Grow Your People Unconference will be held in-person at the Queen’s Landing vintage hotel in Niagara-on-the-Lake from May 28-30, 2024. Registration for this ‘unconference’ event experience is now open at www.loft32.ca/growourpeople

Attendees will leave the event with new skills, deeper networks, and a renewed sense of enthusiasm for our agri-food sector.  Register yourself, your board, or your team today. Find out more at www.loft32.ca/growourpeople.

How to get the most from speed networking at CAMA’s Level Up Conference

The opportunity to ‘Level Up’ means participants at CAMA’s Level Up Conference (November 1-2, 2023 in Winnipeg, MB) can challenge themselves to elevate their confidence, skills and experience to compete and engage with the best in marketing, in agriculture, agr-food and beyond.

What better opportunity for participants to ‘Level Up’ than networking with fellow industry professionals and suppliers? That’s why this year’s event features a novel component – speed networking.

Speed networking provides conference attendees with the opportunity for focused, one-to-one meetings with fellow conference goers. These professional networking sessions can break the ice and serve as the beginning of new connections that can carry on during, and after the event.

By downloading the Whova event app, attendees can view the list of fellow conference participants and suppliers ahead of the event. Attendees can connect through the app ahead of the event and book short introduction meetings. Leveraging the app and list of attendees can help participants plan ahead, while facilitating connection opportunities that could result in meaningful business relationships.

Speed networking events are scheduled within the conference agenda. Attendees can schedule networking directly into their own customizable conference schedule on the app, keeping all the contact info in one place.

The best way to prepare for speed networking is by reviewing the list of conference attendees, identifying people to connect with or gaps in their business network they would like to fill or expand. Local suppliers will also be participating, providing a new way to source marketing and communications business connections. Once a meeting has been scheduled, participants should plan ahead, making a list of questions to help guide the conversation to get the most out of the short meeting time.

Follow up is key to get the most out of the conference speed networking events. It’s also essential for building business relationships. The Level Up Conference event app can help with that too. Attendees will have access to fellow conference participant contact information, allowing them to follow up immediately after the conference to maintain connections and relationships.

CAMA is committed to providing opportunities for members to connect, inspire, share skills and experience personal growth. This new approach to professional (speed) networking will foster new connections, synergies and collaboration across the entire agri-food industry.

Have you registered for CAMA’s Level Up Conference? Click here for all the details.

Level Up with CAMA’s incredible speaker line-up

Packed with networking, personal and professional development opportunities, CAMA’s Level Up Conference (November 1-2, 2023 in Winnipeg, MB) promises to be the premier agri-food industry event this year.

Our line-up of inspiring and innovative influential speakers is guaranteed to be a conference highlight.

Here’s a look at our November 2, 2023 keynote speaker line-up:


Shane Thomas – The Age of Marketing Enlightenment in Agriculture
Agribusiness Analyst and Founder of Upstream Ag Insights

Learn how the role of marketing is changing in a rapidly transforming industry, what’s working now and what marketing will look like in the future.

Passionate about the success of farmers and understanding how the industry works – from technology and business strategy to how collaborations work – Shane will leave conference attendees with a new context for thinking about marketing, considerations for marketing new technology and new mediums to tap into to get more out of every marketing dollar spent.

Focusing on the evolution of marketing – what’s changed and what hasn’t – Shane will share useful insights about what to watch for and how to stay ahead of the agribusiness, food and marketing curve.


Kristjan Hebert – The Art of What’s Possible – The Communications Strategy That Took a Farmer to the
Halls of Government
Hebert Grain Ventures, Saskatchewan farmer and EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 Prairie winner

Understand how influencers today are transforming the agriculture and agri-food industry. A farmer, visionary and champion of all things agriculture and food, Kristjan will discuss how the diversity of our sector offers new opportunities to share stories, experiences and customer journeys at every step of the value chain. He’ll focus on how conference attendees can leverage this information to influence industry growth and sustainability. Kristjan will highlight the importance of working together to drive progress.


Members of the Hebert Group public relations team, Jamie Anne Vaughan and Michelle Schurman will also share their strategic approach and experiences working with Kristjan.


Jed Schneiderman – The Acceleration of Marketing Technology and its Effect on Relationship Marketing
Head of Advertising, Kijiji

With AI technology rapidly emerging and over 8,000 marketing platforms now available, what will relationship marketing look like in the future? When it’s hard to keep up with the fast pace of media and marketing changes, Jed is able to cut through the clutter and noise to know what is relevant for audiences. A mobile marketing specialist, Jed will talk about changes in marketing technology and its effect on relationship marketing and leave conference attendees with clear, tangible tips on how to improve relationship marketing.

Can’t wait to learn from these amazing speakers? Sign up for CAMA’s Level Up Conference here. Don’t wait, early bird registration closes August 31, 2023.

Are you ready to Level Up?

CAMA’s Level Up Conference is an opportunity for marketers to accelerate their skills to keep pace with new and emerging technology, channels and trends. The agenda and activities are planned to offer conference attendees experiences that will challenge their thinking, learn something new about the agri-food industry, marketing and communications, develop personal and professional skills, and make lasting professional connections.

This event – November 1-2, 2023 at the Fairmont in Winnipeg, MB – is the only conference dedicated to Canadian agriculture and food marketing and communications professionals. The conference is designed to accelerate marketing skills to advance Canada’s agri-food sector as a global leader.

So, what can you expect from CAMA’s Level Up Conference?

Experiential learning

Go behind the scenes on a walking tour to learn about thriving agri-food businesses in Winnipeg’s downtown core. Tour stops are still being finalized, but this tour will offer conference attendees the chance to hear from top food experts, business and restaurant owners. Together, we’ll learn about their food chain experiences, what it takes to be successful, obstacles they’ve had to overcome and lessons they’ve learned along the way.


Starting with CAMA’s Modified Manitoba social to kick off the event, attendees will have a chance to mingle, catch up and meet new friends. Speed networking sessions will also be featured throughout the event, providing participants with a formal opportunity to connect on a professional level.

Every CAMA event is created for our members. And what better way to support members than by connecting everyone to strengthen industry relationships!

Inspirational and influential speakers

Have you seen CAMA’s can’t-miss keynote speaker lineup?

Shane ThomasThe Age of Marketing Enlightenment in Agriculture

Agribusiness Analyst and Founder of Upstream Ag Insights

Kristjan HebertThe Art of What’s Possible – The Communications Strategy That Took a Farmer to the
Halls of Government

Hebert Grain Ventures, farmer and EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 Prairie winner

 Jed SchneidermanThe Acceleration of Marketing Technology and its Effect on Relationship Marketing

Digital marketing expert 

Read more about these speakers and what you’ll learn from their presentations here.

A celebration of agri-food marketing success

A highlight of the year for every CAMA member, the Level Up Conference will wrap up with Best of CAMA. The Canadian agri-food marketing industry’s annual showcase of creativity, marketing and communications expertise, Best of CAMA is our industry’s ‘Academy of Awards’ where we present awards to our peers for their effort and ability in marketing and communications. Don’t miss this opportunity to see the best in Canadian agri-food marketing and communications!

CAMA’s Level Up Conference supports our members and Canada’s agri-food industry. By offering the latest professional development, learning and networking opportunities, we are investing in the strength and success of our sector’s agri-food marketing professionals.

Don’t miss out on your opportunity to Level Up – click here for registration details.


The Power Of Print: Why Traditional Advertising Methods Still Have Their Place in the Digital Age

Blog Written by:  Linda Parry, Director, Client Services with Bark Communications.

Linda is our Director of Client Services, but that doesn’t come close to describing all her skills. Besides having client responsibility, Linda is the go-to person when buying media or needing to get something produced.

I started my career working in the marketing department of a large financial institution, and I’ve witnessed the remarkable development from paper-based couriers to digital workflows over broadband. It’s amazing how quickly technology has transformed our daily lives and operations — what used to take days now happens in minutes, even seconds!

As technologies have evolved over the years, so has advertising. I experienced this firsthand growing up in an era when print, radio and TV were our main forms of advertising. I watched the rise of direct mail and its targeted messages, hoping for a 2% response rate. Fast-forward to today and the leaps seem exponential, as AI begins ushering us into a new era of marketing and communications.  

Despite the big leaps in advertising technology, there are still those unique instances when more traditional mediums, like print, can make all the difference. When I work with clients who focus primarily on digital marketing, I often remind them that traditional, tried-and-true methods of marketing can be necessary and advantageous to their goals.  

So let me go down memory lane and reminisce about one of these long-forgotten advertising mediums. But before I do, let me just say that before creating any marketing material or spending a cent on ad spend, you still need to fully understand your product and your market. Knowing the ins and outs of what you’re offering and who’s buying it is key.  

Print media is indispensable.

Print media is still an essential avenue for reaching target audiences. Having your brand represented in high-value publications, newsletters and magazines not only gives your brand exposure but positions you as an expert in your field. Incorporating the same look-and-feel your brand carries on its digital platforms to your print media will ensure your brand remains unified, and QR codes in print ads provide readers with an easy way to respond to a call to action.  

Direct mail is as important as ever.

Twenty years ago, direct mail was commonplace. Everyone was doing it. And while email marketing has become the norm, the beauty of direct mail is the opportunity it creates for brands to generate leads, build awareness and provide their audience with personalized communication.

The trick to being an effective mailbox-marketer? Make sure your creative stands out from everything else in the mailbox! Be clever when writing your headlines and teasers, just as you would with an email subject line. Every time you send something out, provide your audience with something useful and interesting that solves a problem they might be experiencing. Let them know your communication is always worth opening.

While the advantages of digital marketing are undeniable, supporting those efforts with print is essential. The key is knowing when, where and how to use it to maximize results. If we can put our expertise to work helping you do that, let us know.



Agri-food Professionals invited to ‘level up’ at inaugural marcomms event in November

Agri-food industry professionals are invited to take their networking and professional development to the next level at the Level Up Conference in Winnipeg, Man. November 1-2, 2023. Hosted by the Canadian Agri-Food Marketers Alliance (CAMA), this premier event features interactive learning, engaging, networking, and industry recognition of the best in agriculture, food and ag-tech.

“CAMA’s Level Up is an opportunity for marketers to accelerate their skills to keep pace with one of the best in the world agri-food sectors,” says Susan Groeneveld, conference chair. “No one person or company is an expert in this ever-changing landscape of new technologies and marketing channels, so why not bring everyone together for an exclusive opportunity to reach the next level? This is a best-in-class event that will inspire attendees to level up every aspect of their professional goals, networks, and achievements.”

This year’s Level Up Conference is designed to add immediate value for marcomms professionals, accelerating their professional development, networks and marketing investments. The inaugural event features a dynamic speaker lineup including thought leadership innovators like Shane Thomas, author of UpStream, one of Canada’s largest primary agriculture influencers, Kristjan Hebert of Hebert Grain Ventures, a farmer, farm consultant and EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2022, plus Jed Schneiderman, a sought-after digital marketing expert and Country Manager for Jebbit. Formalized networking is a part of the conference design, and Level Up attendees will have opportunities to engage with partners, clients and vendors during one-on-one settings throughout the event. A CAMA student case competition will round out the event, providing participants with opportunities to learn from the next generation of marketers. CAMA’s annual Best of CAMA awards gala will also be hosted in conjunction with the event.

The conference will be held at the Fairmont Winnipeg from November 1-2, 2023.

“The CAMA Level Up Conference 2023 presents a unique opportunity for those involved in agri-food, ag-tech, and marcomms,” says Groeneveld. “CAMA is our industry’s professional organization that can help everyone keep informed and stay ahead of trends, opportunities and what’s coming next, to help propel us all further and faster. And that’s what the Level Up Conference is all about.”

Level Up Conference sponsorship, registration and hotel information is available here.

New Grow Our People Summit billed as the “unconference” experience to connect people in agriculture and food

The partners in a new event-experience truly believe that by investing in people, we will elevate the whole agri-food sector for the future. The Grow Your People Summit will be hosted in-person in Niagara Falls from November 2-4, 2022.

People are at the heart of Canada’s food system and should be valued as the most important asset in any business. The new Grow Our People Summit was created specifically for people who work in agriculture and food to help them build business and leadership skills, while making new connections and having some fun along the way.

How is it an ‘unconference’ experience? 

The Grow Our People Summit is not a spectator sport. This ‘unconference’ experience will include galas, bus trips, and 12 skills-based workshop opportunities offered by leading non-profit partners. Leadership lessons with a little Disney magic will serve as the call to action in an inspiring keynote, “Be the hero in your own story” by Dr. Jeffrey Barnes.

Breaking through silos    

One of the Summit objectives is to take networking and connections to the next level – across typical sector divides. This starts fundamentally with Summit founding partners and sponsors and continues with every attendee. For example, attendees will choose who they would like to meet and discuss interesting topics with at the ‘Meet the Character’ Power Lunch.

To take it to the next level and maximize travel value, the Summit is built around the Best of CAMA agri-food marketing awards gala, the 100th Anniversary of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and the Canadian Agricultural Hall of Fame induction ceremony all happening the same week.

The goal is for all Summit attendees to leave with new skills, deeper networks, and a renewed sense of enthusiasm and connection with our agri-food sector. Register yourself, your teams, your customers, your leaders, and future leaders today. It’s always a great time to invest in people, including yourself!

Register and find out more today by visiting www.loft32.ca/growourpeople.

Article provided by Crystal Mackay.