Artisan Fermenters and Distillers Business Conference and Tradeshow

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

2019 Speakers

While we are getting in touch with our next batch of speakers, take a look at the great list if experts we had last year.

Allison Boulton is the Program Manager of the Export Navigator Program.

After living in China and the Middle East for three years, Allison returned to Vancouver to work as an International Trade Advisor with Small Business BC, and started her own firm assisting entrepreneurs grow globally. While abroad, she completed her MBA and worked as the China Director of Marketing and Trade Sales with an importer and distributor of North American beverages. Prior to moving overseas, Allison was the Director of Operations for a boutique Canadian winery with exports to over 20 countries.

Her enthusiasm for travel and for understanding how people live around the world has led her to explore over 30 countries. She uses this experience to help clients understand, not only the regulations of international trade, but also the country’s cultural differences that are so vital for businesses looking to succeed in the global marketplace.

With over 18 years as an entrepreneur, Jesse has created, owned and or invested in some of B.C.’s most influential local community businesses’. At his sophomore venture AlsoKnownAs, Jesse acquired initial experience working to develop some of Vancouver’s most successful brands in the business community and more specifically craft alcohol.

Eventually, creating for others lead to developing the investment portfolio, Huxley, that funds local alcohol companies holding investments in Field House Brewing, Provincial Spirits, and Ollie Order. At Provincial Spirits Jesse works as the head of innovation building a team of new thinkers in the Spirits and Ready to Enjoy cocktail space.  Blazing a new path in developing fresh, local and unique products for a niche market of drinkers. 

Lyndon has been with TD Benefits for 7 years and an Insurance Broker since 2015. Lyndon works closely with small and medium sized businesses, assisting with the implementation of employee benefit programs, as well as providing individual Life & Disability insurance solutions.

Lyndon attended Okanagan College for 4 years, majoring in Finance. As a major sports fan, Lyndon’s past includes playing hockey at the junior level. He can be found at the ice rink during the winter months, and travelling throughout B.C to golf, camp and visit with family during the Okanagan’s beautiful summer. ​

Tom Dyas has owned and operated TD Benefits for more than 30 years. Tom moved from Toronto to BC in 1986, and lived in the Lower Mainland before settling in the Interior in 1996.

Over the years, as his children have grown, Tom has been actively involved with Kelowna Minor Hockey and local soccer clubs, as well as sitting in on countless steering committees aimed at community development. Tom recently served two years as the President of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and was awarded the President’s Award for Director of the Year. He enjoys his involvement with the Chamber of Commerce, especially when their policy and advocacy works its way through provincial and federal governments. Running a successful business has always been a primary focus for Tom, although to date he feels his greatest achievement has been raising his three children into adulthood.

Terri was born and raised in Saskatchewan, and has spent her entire career working in Western Canada. After spending several years in Regina, Terri moved to BC and now calls the Okanagan home. Terri supports her clients by providing strategic advice, empowering them to make the best decision for their company.

Terri began her career in the Employee Benefits world working in an HR generalist role, as a plan administrator for a large private company in Saskatchewan. Her experience also includes working at a provincial Workers’ Compensation Board, and in Disability Management with two provincial Health Authorities. Prior to establishing Navy & Sage Benefits, Terri began working on the broker side of benefits as a Group Benefits Consultant for one of Western Canada’s leading benefit brokerage firms. Terri kept her Human Resource skills sharp while also supporting this firm as Director of Operations.

Terri achieved her Chartered Professional Human Resource (CPHR) designation in 2010 and has been actively participating in her provincial Association since 2007; and is currently sitting as the Vice Chair on the South Okanagan Advisory Council.

Chantal is extremely passionate about all things food and agriculture. Growing up on a small farm in northern Saskatchewan, she was inspired to pursue an education in Agriculture and Biology, later earning a Bachelor of Science from the University of Saskatchewan. Straight out of school, she followed that passion and started her career at Farm Credit Canada (FCC). Since then she’s followed that passion even further and stepped into a role as a Senior Relationship Manager in FCC’s Corporate and Commercial Division, supporting clientele throughout Western Canada in the Agri-Food and Agri-Business sector.

Chantal is interested in the endless innovations being made within the agriculture industry and the endless strive for efficiency. She enjoys sharing what she learns in order to help others in their processes within their businesses. In addition to her work at FCC, she also volunteers as a board member with BC Agriculture in The Classroom Foundation, in order to help spread agricultural knowledge to the next generation.

Living in scenic Mission, British Columbia, Chantal enjoys mountain biking, reading and spending time outdoors with her husband, Layton, their dog, Louie, friends and family.

Born and raised in Kelowna, Ria would have never guessed she’d be planting such deep roots in the Okanagan. However after building and sellling SAXX Underwear in Vancouver with then-boyfriend Trent Kitsch, the pair went on to get married, plant vineyards, start and sell DOJA Cannabis Company all based in Kelowna. Since 2015 Ria has kept busy running Kitsch Wines and raising two sweet kiddos.

Tom joined Sea Cider in 2017 as the Operations Manager. He oversees a team of nine staff involved in orcharding, cidermaking, supply chain coordination and distribution. As a key member of Sea Cider’s management team, Tom brings his expertise in business planning, risk management, resiliency, and organizational culture to the company.

Prior to joining Sea Cider, Tom worked for a manufacturing company where he provided senior management direction in operations, engineering, project management, and quality. He also has many years of experience in the technology sector, taking a customer-first approach to product develop and an inter-departmental approach to manufacturing scale up and growth.

Tom’s collaborative leadership style, customer focus, and penchant for innovation contribute to the exceptional cider experiences that Sea Cider is well known for.

Shawnee Love is the owner of LoveHR, an Okanagan based consulting practice specializing in people, culture and talent management.

She founded LoveHR in 2009 and since then, the LoveHR team has been helping clients hire and manage their people, developing and delivering skill development training, and providing coaching, advice and creative and practical HR solutions and strategies to organizations on culture and effective people management. 

Pete is a born entrepreneur. At an early age he saw opportunity in the sights, sounds and flavours of England’s busy outdoor food markets. Part theatrical sideshow, part business-savvy–Pete saw a perfect niche for his gregarious personality and produce know how. He learned how to stand out in a crowd by offering excellent quality, unique products and a fun, exciting shopping experience. Through the years, Pete nurtured  “Pete’s Fine Foods” into a multi-million dollar retail and wholesale operation.  In 2010 Pete launched Luckett Vineyards. Nestled in the hillsides of Nova Scotia’s enchanting Gaspereau Valley, the vineyard produces wines that truly are worth phoning home about! In 2015, Pete sold the retail businesses to focus on his true calling—Luckett Vineyards. The move from a perishable produce business to a product that only grows better with age—makes Pete smile! (and his customers too!)

Allison has more than twenty-five years of experience in communications, having worked in the worlds of marketing, media relations, crisis communications, and writing. She is an early adopter of social media and brings her years of skills in traditional media to the frontier of digital engagement marketing through her consultancy, All She Wrote. She is a strategic thinker and storyteller, a freelance wine/food/travel writer, loves to tell the story of how All She Wrote began with a single tweet: “will work for wine”, and led the campaign to bring the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference to Penticton, resulting in a whopping 31 million social media impressions.

Christine provides senior leadership in the development and delivery of projects such as strategic and operational planning reviews along with the design of programs and services, stakeholder engagement and other forms of management consulting with a focus on food and agriculture sector support. Provides leadership to the implementation of corporate goals and priorities. 

Geoff McIntyre, CPA, CA is a Partner based in MNP’s Kelowna office. As Leader of the Food and Beverage Processing Client Service Group for MNP’s Thompson Okanagan Region, Geoff specializes in serving the British Columbia beverage industry; currently working with winery, vineyard and cidery clients of varying sizes to help them achieve their goals. For the past decade, Geoff has been a regular contributor to Canadian Wine Industry publications Canadian Grapes to Wine and Orchard and Vine Magazine.

Geoff is also the Regional Leader for the delivery of MNP’s Farm Income Programs and Succession Planning services. With almost 25 years of public practice experience, Geoff works closely with his clients to develop tax-efficient business structures, tax-minimizing strategies and effective tax-compliance services. He also takes great pride in assisting owner-managers with the implementation of systems and strategies to help them gain control of their businesses and reduce the amount of time consumed by day-to-day operational issues.

Before earning his Chartered Accountant (CA) designation in 1995, Geoff received his Bachelor of Recreation Studies from the University of Manitoba in 1991. He is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of B.C. (ICABC). An active member of his community, Geoff is the Co-Chair of the Business Administration Team for the First Lutheran Church.

Sandra grew up in Northern California and earned a degree in International Business and a Master’s in Enology from the University of California Davis before moving in 1995 to British Columbia to start Tinhorn Creek Vineyards. Over the next 20 years as winemaker she was the first in Canada to use Stelvin screw top caps, expanded the marketability of Cabernet Franc and along with her husband Kenn, created the Oliver Festival of the Grape.  When Sandra stepped into the CEO/President role she continued with innovative initiatives such as driving for BC’s first sub appellation—the Golden Mile Bench–establishing Canada’s only carbon neutral winery and winning both Canada’s safest employer award for Hospitality and Canada’s Top 100 Powerful Women awards in 2016.

When Tinhorn Creek’s major shareholders sold the winery in the fall of 2017 Sandra and Kenn began anew, starting Elysian Projects, a beverage and tourism consulting company.  She launched the Fortify Conference in 2018 that helps the mostly small wineries, breweries, cideries and distilleries at managing human resources, marketing and financial issues.  She continues to run the weekly #BCWineChat on twitter every Wednesday night which she created in 2011.

In the early 2000s, Selwyn developed a passion for fine wine through his experiences in the restaurant industry. This passion led him to work on his WSET certification and ultimately graduating from the diploma program. In 2012, he became the British Columbia Sales Manager at Empson Wines Canada, and subsequently completed his Master in Business Administration (MBA) in 2017. Selwyn comes by the wine business naturally with a New Zealand winery in the family; this gives him a unique understanding from both the supplier and distributor perspective. With more than 14 years of experience in the wine industry, both domestically and internationally, he has seen all sides of the industry. Selwyn also sits as a Director with the International Vintners and Spirits Association (IVSA). When not selling or drinking wine, he’s either with his young family or just out for a run.

Paul Rickett is principal of VARketing! A consulting company that turns data into effective business strategies. He is a specialist in the management of reselling channels – “VAR” in tech industry means Value Added Reseller. Paul has 25 years in high tech, managing distribution channels around the world including 8 years consulting to major US and Canadian IT companies on channel strategy. Paul was the host of a series of Channel Management workshops for BC wineries in 2014/2015. For the past two years he has been doing detailed analysis of BC wine industry data and developed a data model for forecasting BC wine production and sales out to 2030 and beyond. Paul is the creator of the LRS Benchmark process for ABLE BC. When he’s not slaving over a spreadsheet of industry data, he runs a median-sized LRS that sells a lot of BC craft beverages.

Jennifer Sencar has worked as an Industrial Relations Officer for the Employment Standards Branch for over 10 years.  Prior to working for the ESB, Jennifer was a litigator practising in the areas of personal injury, contract and employment law litigation.

Adrienne Stillman is the Director of Marketing at WineDirect, a direct-to-consumer ecommerce platform for wineries, where she oversees all aspects of marketing and communications. With a passion for wine, spirits and technology, she loves helping WineDirect’s clients leverage digital tools to succeed with DTC sales.

In her current role, Adrienne spends much of her time researching industry trends and best practices, from wine clubs to email marketing, hospitality, online sales and events. She is the driving force behind WineDirect’s 2019 Direct-to-Consumer Sales Report, based on transactional data from over 1,200 wineries in 3 countries. Adrienne is a Certified Sommelier, holds a BA in Economics from Barnard College and completed the Wine & Beverage graduate program at the Culinary Institute of America. In her spare time, she authored the book “Where Bartenders Drink” a global guide to the world’s best bars (Phaidon, 2017). A New York City native, she lives in Napa Valley with her husband and their dog.

Josh Vanderheide is a passionate entrepreneur and creative professional with over 15 years of marketing advertising brand and packaging design experience. As a creative professional he has worked with both large national advertising clients as various small to medium sized businesses across BC helping them to bring their ideas and companies to life through brand identity strategy and design – his design work has been featured internationally in various books magazines and websites. 

As an entrepreneur Josh has led Field House Brewing Co. to a successful start growing the company to over 50 employees in just over 2 years and winning awards at the BC Beer Awards including Best New Brewery (2016) Innovator of the Year (2018) and People’s choice for Brewery of the Year (Growler Awards) as well as Awards at National Canadian Brewing Awards and personally as Abbotsford’s U40 Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017.  

Josh also teaches Brand Identity & Packaging Design as part of the UFV Graphic Design Program and is part of the UFV Graphic Design Program Advisory Group. He also sits on various local boards for community organizations. 

Having grown up in Abbotsford he has strong connections to his community and is passionate about finding ways for Abbotsford to realize it’s potential as a community and creating opportunities for his staff and leadership team. 

Ellen Walker-Matthews has been with the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) for just over 10 years. Over that time she has been responsible for a number of portfolios however for the past several years has been the Vice President of Industry and Destination Development. Together with her colleagues in this department they oversee, implement and guide TOTA’s work in Responsible, Sustainable Tourism Delivery and Development. This includes working directly with Indigenous Tourism BC and the Indigenous communities in the Thompson Okanagan to assist in tourism development, collaborating on creating more accessible tourism product and services through initiatives with Access BC, Spinal Cord Injury BC, and Cris Adaptive, and continue to implement initiatives and actions that ensure the Thompson Okanagan maintains its certification as a Biosphere Sustainable Tourism Destination through the Responsible Tourism Institute. 

Leader of MNP’s Indirect Tax Group, Heather specializes in assisting her clients with all their indirect tax needs, including GST, PST, excise taxes, property taxes and more.  Heather’s in-depth understanding of indirect tax issues helps her work closely with her team to develop customized tax minimization strategies for clients in a variety of industries, including the food and beverage sector.  She helps businesses capture the compliance information they need to claim all the benefits they are entitled to. Heather also has extensive experience in real property and cross-border transactions

Chris Wiebe is a partner at Farris LLP based out of its Kelowna Office.  Chris has been practicing law since 2002 and is now called to the bar in BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan.  Chris’ practice areas include labour, employment and commercial litigation.

On the labour and employment side of his practice, Chris advises and represents businesses, employers and individual clients on a wide range of contract, labour and employment matters including collective agreement grievance arbitrations, labour relations matters, human rights complaints, employment standards complaints, post employment competition, privacy issues, workers compensation issues, injunctions and wrongful dismissal actions,  Chris also provides advice and assists clients with respect to labour and employment issues in relation to commercial transactions, as well as preparing employment contracts, policies and procedures.

Artisan Fermenters and Distillers Business Conference and Tradeshow

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre, Penticton, BC