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Our Staff

Shannon Benner, CEO

Shannon Benner

Chief Executive Officer

As 4-H Canada’s leader and a visionary in the field of positive youth development, Shannon has more than 25 years of experience with youth development organizations. After getting her start with Outward Bound in Western Canada, Shannon went on to pursue leadership opportunities with several youth organizations, including as Director of The Princeton-Blairstown Center at Princeton University, and the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation. In her role as CEO of 4-H Canada, one of the country’s longest-running positive youth development organizations, Shannon has led a period of rapid and impactful change in virtually every area of the organization including HR, financial performance, brand recognition and strategic direction. Shannon spent three years as the inaugural Chair of the Global 4-H Network Board of Directors, where she continues to contribute her leadership skills as a Director, bringing a Canadian perspective to the worldwide 4-H community. She was instrumental in bringing the 2017 Global 4-H Network Summit to Canada, an event that saw global 4-H youth, volunteers and professionals gather to build capacity and grow the global 4-H movement.

Erin Smith Headshot

Erin Smith

Chief Program Officer

A true youth ambassador, Erin has worked to promote youth engagement for almost 20 years, both within Canada and around the world. As the creative mind behind our national programs, Erin is instrumental in creating and implementing 4-H Canada’s positive youth development program model, and outcomes-based youth engagement strategy. Erin loves building opportunities for youth to become engaged in their communities and take action on the issues that matter to them. She works hard to ensure positive youth development is alive and well, not just within 4-H, but also in her own home, with her tween and teen daughters. Erin also has a chronic travel itch, and is up for a road trip any day, especially if warm weather and snacks are involved!

Trish Hill 

Executive Assistant (on Parental Leave)

When staff members have questions about 4-H Canada, they know it’s a safe bet that Trish has the answers. Trish grew up on a beef and dairy farm, and as a 4-H member, participated in a range of projects from dairy to rabbits to baking. Trish later attended Canadore College, studying Office Administration with a specialization in Office Systems, and joined the 4-H Canada team upon graduation. For the past eight years, she has been a hard-working and dedicated admin expert, helping to ensure the national office runs smoothly and efficiently. In her spare time, Trish has been heavily involved in competitive curling for more than 17 years and has attended the provincial championships three times.

Programs

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Carrie McElroy

Carrie McElroy

Risk Management and Accreditation Director

Carrie currently calls Montreal home, however her formative years were spent on Haida Gwaii, BC, where she was a member of the 4-H club. Carrie’s personal and professional journey provided her with the opportunity to live and work in across Canada, as well as internationally in Poland, Ecuador, Jamaica, Ghana, and Bolivia. Over the past 20 years, Carrie has been involved in youth leadership and international cooperation programming, including positions with Canada World Youth, UNITERRA and most recently with Crossroads International. Her commitment to youth development and learning by doing comes from leading experiential youth leadership programing around the world. Carrie has held successive professional portfolios, including leading international volunteer security risk management mitigation and response, an Emergency Response Committee, a Sexual Violence Prevention Committee and most recently a COVID-19 Taskforce. Her work in both youth leadership and risk management is further supported by her academic background, which includes a B.A. in International Development from the University of Winnipeg, a B.Ed. in Humanities from St. Thomas University in Fredericton, N.B. and a M.A. in Disaster and Emergency Management from Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC. In demonstration of her commitment to disaster reduction and response, Carrie is a volunteer with the Red Cross as part of an Emergency Response Unit in Quebec. When Carrie is not working, studying, or volunteering, she can be found in nature pursuing her passion for hiking, cycling, wilderness hammock camping, winter hiking, and cross-country skiing. 

Leslie Noble

Adult Learning Manager

A passionate and highly experienced educator, Leslie has over 15 years of experience in formal and non-formal education. As a classroom teacher and OCT, she has taught grades 4 through 12 in Ontario, Alberta, and England in the public and private sectors. Highly experienced in curriculum development and design, Leslie has developed curriculum and programming for youth and adults in the non-profit sector for over a decade. Holding an MScEd and certificate in Adult Education, Leslie is committed to ensuring adult and youth learners have the access, resources and supports they need to be successful. She is committed to improving her community and the lives of those around her. Since 2016 Leslie has been a Team Captain and participant in the Princess Margaret Weekend to Conquer Cancer. She also volunteers as a Guiding Leader, is an active alumnus in the Up with People organization, leader in the Up with People Jr. program, and a judge for the 2021 Hamilton YWCA Women of Distinction Awards. Leslie enjoys spending time with family and friends, photography, travel, reading, walking, crocheting and goats.

Cassie Sharp

Cassie Sharp

Youth Programs Manager

Cassie brings a true passion for non-formal education and extra-curricular youth programming. She is a strong advocate for the key role that youth programs play in the overall health and development of the younger population. After completing her bachelor’s degree in Child and Youth Care at Ryerson University, Cassie pursued her passion for youth programming as a Youth Program Specialist with Scouts Canada. In her role of program design, she enjoyed supporting youth to develop, discover, and prepare to take on the world in their own unique way, through a variety of engaging youth programs and initiatives. Most notably, Cassie developed an interest in sustainability and diversity programming through the creation of an initiative to support youth in taking action on the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As a retired varsity hockey player, Cassie can now be found staying active through spending time outdoors – camping, hiking, and exploring with her beagle pup, Matilda.

Kelsey Norris's Headshot

Kelsey Norris

Program Administrator

Kelsey graduated from the University of Ottawa with a degree in Social Sciences before moving on to Algonquin College where she obtained a Graduate Certificate in Sports Business Management. She spent three years working in the sports industry first as an intern with Equestrian Canada and then Own the Podium before moving on to the role of Program Coordinator with Wrestling Canada. In 2015, Kelsey participated in the Parapan American Games as a Results and Scheduling Coordinator.  An avid equestrian for 20 years, Kelsey can be found riding horses and competing at various competitions in her spare time.

Marketing and Communications

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Jessie Christie

Marketing and Communications Director 

With over 15 years of experience as a communications professional, Jessie has spent the majority of her career in the non-profit industry. She progressed from intern to senior management within the sports sector, becoming a strong leader and strategist who excels in corporate and crisis communications and produces a broad range of communications and marketing deliverables with high editorial standards and razor-sharp attention to detail. Jessie also gained extensive experience as a Media Attaché for both the Canadian Equestrian Team and the Canadian Olympic Committee, supporting athletes at six major games, including the 2019 Lima Pan American Games and the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. A passionate equestrian, Jessie has been riding and competing at the national level in hunter and jumper since childhood and lives on a horse farm in Burritt’s Rapids, ON with her husband, Keith.

Ryan

Ryan Baan

Marketing Manager

A graduate of Carleton University with a bachelor's degree in commerce and specialization in marketing, Ryan is a 4-H alumnus from Huron County, Ontario. He brings a wealth of experience in the 4-H program and a strong belief in the value of 4-H. Ryan first joined the national office team as the Communications Intern of the 2017 Global 4-H Network Summit. His passion for 4-H, combined with his drive for success and experience in agriculture and not-for-profit, empowers him to continue to grow the national 4-H movement.

Sponsorships

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Megan Bomberry

Megan Bomberry 

Sponsorships Director

A fundraising professional, Megan brings over a decade of experience working for youth-serving organizations. Throughout her time in the not-for-profit sector, she has fostered strong relationships with stakeholders of all levels, instilling a culture of collaboration and high performance. Currently, Megan leads 4-H Canada to develop transformational partnerships in the social sector with top-tier corporations and foundations to support positive youth development in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security, Science and Technology, the Environment and Healthy Living, and Community Engagement and Communications. Megan grew up in Stouffville, Ontario and currently lives with her husband Seamus and sons Sam and Freddie in the heart of the Rideau Lakes. She enjoys spending time with family and friends and always looks forward to her upcoming travel adventures - wine tasting and exploring the globe!

Finance

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Don's Headshot

Don Singer

Finance and Administration Director 

Don brings a wealth of financial and not-for-profit management experience to 4-H Canada. His connection with rural Canada began when working with Farm Credit Canada and then subsequently serving Canadian agriculture through his employment with Farm Management Canada. The later afforded Don the opportunity to participate in the creation of learning resources for Canadian farm managers and marketing these publications, CDs and DVDs at many agricultural exhibitions and conferences from coast to coast. In his role of leading a national not-for-profit training and development organization for accountants in governments, Don introduced distant-learning to this community through a successful series of webinars. Beyond the workplace, Don has served as a volunteer on several not-for-profit boards, been a travel agency group tour leader to numerous locations worldwide, and is a sports aficionado organizing an adult volleyball league, being a downhill skier and is a tennis enthusiast.

Lisa Gilkes-Padmore

Lisa Gilkes-Padmore

Finance Manager

As a dedicated, detailed-oriented professional accountant, Lisa brings over 15 years of experience working in different business sectors. She began her career in the insurance industry in Barbados, and through international exposure has gained a wealth of knowledge, bringing a diverse perspective to 4-H Canada. She is passionate about supporting organizations and their stakeholders in achieving their goals and objectives. Her favourite pastimes include spending time with her family, baking, gardening, and travelling. She is extremely delighted to be a part of the 4-H team as our Finance Manager.

Deborah Cassan

Accounting Assistant

Deborah is a well-seasoned Accounting Assistant having worked in corporate, public, and not-for-profit organizations for more than 15 years. She began her finance career in the automotive industry where she advanced from receptionist to Finance Office manager. Deborah then expanded her experience to large tech companies and addiction treatment facilities. She is thrilled to be back in not-for-profit supporting youth development at 4-H Canada. She is born and raised in Ottawa and having gone to chef school, you can often find Deborah in the kitchen trying out new recipes!