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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 20 years of experience with youth development organizations. After getting her start with Outward Bound in western Canada, Shannon went on to leadership opportunities with several youth organizations, including The Princeton Blairstown Center at Princeton University, and the Tim Horton Children’s Foundation. Shannon was recently appointed as Chair of the Global 4-H Network Board of Directors, where she contributes her leadership skills and a Canadian perspective to the worldwide 4-H movement.  When she’s not brightening up the national office with her dedication, vision for positive youth development in Canada, and incredible sense of humour, Shannon spends time with her sports-crazy family: her husband, Chris, and her two sons. 

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Trish Hill

Executive Assistant

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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Erin Smith

Program Director

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!

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Melina Found

Manager of Youth Programs

Raised on a farm in Peterborough, ON, Melina is the fourth generation in her family to be involved in 4-H. Working for 4-H Canada was a natural choice for Melina, who connected with the organization’s focus on fostering positive youth development. A former camp counsellor and science teacher, she brings a true passion for youth engagement to 4-H Canada, and ensures our national programs run smoothly and efficiently. An avid traveller, Melina also has cross-cultural experiences that include studying in India and addressing food security issues with youth in Nicaragua and Jamaica.

Sue Steeves

Sue Steeves

Manager of Admissions

After living on a hobby farm in rural Quebec, Sue embraced her love of animals and enjoyed working in and managing two veterinary clinics for 22 years. In 2011 she returned to school, graduating with an Event Management Diploma before joining 4-H Canada in 2012. With a long list of strengths that include a razor-sharp eye for detail and an incredible talent for organization, Sue ensures 4-H’ers can enjoy well-planned and well-executed national programs, events, and opportunities. Sue also has a long history of promoting positive youth development. Having been involved in both Girl Guides and Pony Club as a youth, Sue has given back by helping today’s youth get engaged by volunteering her time toward everything from Boy Scouts activities to hockey and soccer team management.

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Kelsey Norris

Admissions and Travel Coordinator

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.

Sarah Naylor

Sarah Naylor

Community Service Coordinator

Raised on a dairy farm in Grey County, Ontario, Sarah was 4-H member with her local clubs for nine years. She went on to graduate from the University of Ottawa with a Social Science degree in Conflict Studies in 2016 and then pursued a post graduate certificate in International Development from Humber College. After spending three months in Zanzibar, Tanzania, Sarah realized she wanted to pursue a career in agriculture and 4-H Canada seemed like the perfect fit for starting her career. During her spare time you can find her planning her next adventure, or at home reading.

Marketing and Communications

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Jay Poulton

Marketing and Communications Director

Hailing from Montreal, Jay brings a wealth of experience, broad set of skills and bilingual ability to the 4-H Canada team. Following ten years as an owner, editor and writer for a successful publishing house, Jay moved into the communications field working for the World Federation of Hemophilia, an international not-for-profit. There he used his background in writing, his eye for design and his passion for photography to help transform their communications efforts—developing and publishing a wide range of communications materials and publications in both digital and print formats. Most recently Jay has worked as a Freelance Communications Consultant where he developed and executed multi-faceted communications strategies for a variety of private companies.

Kerrie Whitehurst

Kerrie Whitehurst

Marketing and Communications Specialist

Kerrie comes to 4-H after more than 15 years in health care, where she worked as a writer, editor, and strategic communications specialist with some of the top health services organizations in Canada, including the Ontario Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health at CHEO. Having raised her children in rural community outside of Ottawa, Kerrie has seen 4-H in action and has developed a deep appreciation for its activities, mandate, and positive core values. An active volunteer in the community, Kerrie sings in several choirs and organizes sporting events for people with disabilities.

Ryan

Ryan Baan 

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Currently in his final year at Carleton University in the Bachelor of Commerce, Honours program, Ryan is a 4-H alumnus from Huron County, Ontario. He brings with him a wealth of experience in the 4-H program and a strong belief in the value of 4-H. Previously, Ryan was the Communications Intern of the 2017 Global 4-H Network Summit. Ryan is active in his school community where he currently serves as Vice President Marketing of the Sprott Business Students’ Society. His passion for 4-H combined with his drive for success and experience in agriculture and non-for-profit empowers him to continue to grow the national 4-H movement.

Funds Development

Megan Bomberry

Megan Bomberry 

Funds Development Manager

A fundraising professional, Megan brings a decade of sponsorship experience to the team. Megan joined 4-H Canada in August 2013. After graduating from Western University and George Brown College’s Sport and Event Marketing Postgraduate program, Megan has worked for some of Canada’s top not-for-profit organizations including the Canadian Cancer Society and Easter Seals Ontario. 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 works with the Canadian 4-H Foundation Board of Trustees on strategic partnership development across the country. 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!

Business Development

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Jennifer Christie

Director of Business Development

Jennifer is an influential marketing professional with a decade of experience in agriculture-based leadership roles including Dealer Development Manager with John Deere. She earned her MBA at the Ivey School of Business and was recently recognized as Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network. Her authentic and dedicated relationship with 4-H began as a youth member in her local dairy club and has grown to include serving on the national board of directors and as a club leader. Today, Jennifer is a strong advocate for youth, women, agriculture producers and challenging the status quo. She dedicates her time to her family’s 6th generation dairy and grain farm in Bruce County and as chair of the recently established Ag Women’s Network.

Heidi Vallinga

Heidi Vallinga

Sales and Events Coordinator

Heidi is a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University with a degree in Global Studies, and came to 4-H Canada after spending three years working in program and funds development at an international relief and development organization. Heidi was attracted to 4-H Canada because the organization allows youth to cultivate a wide variety of important skills through participation in 4-H programs. She also loves that 4-H Canada gives youth the opportunity to get engaged not only in Canada, but around the world. Outside work, Heidi is passionate about giving back and volunteers, working with various youth organizations that support literacy, mental health, and healthy living through sport and recreation.

Finance

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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, CD’s and DVD’s 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.

Government Relations

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Elizabeth Jarvis

Government Relations Director

Liz brings a passion for agriculture and close to a decade of communications experience to the team. Liz has worked for Dairy Farmers of Canada doing strategic communications and government relations, working on a variety of files including research, international trade, animal health, food safety and environmental sustainability. Most recently, Liz worked for a public affairs agency near Parliament Hill, advising clients in a wide range of sectors on communications initiatives and media relations. Liz also has experience providing communications and public relations services to not-for-profit organizations and the Government of Canada. Born and bred in Ottawa, Liz loves to ski, travel and try new restaurants with her husband and their two young children.