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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 Operating 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!

Liz's Headshot

Elizabeth Jarvis

Chief of Staff

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.

Programs

Lina Saigol

Youth Programs Manager

With over a decade of experience working in youth programming, Lina is passionate about shaping authentic and engaging programs that create opportunities for youth to thrive. Having just completed a Master of Education at York University, Lina has been working to explore how language and culture shape the way young people learn. Lina has worked with young people in many ways – including in schools, camps, rock climbing, coaching sports, and leadership programs. Having grown up in Pakistan, Lina has spent the last twelve years exploring, discovering, and working in different parts of Canada. Lina has a deep love for music and can usually be found listening to a new album or crafting different playlists!

Alex Gibson

Adult Learning and Training Manager

With over a decade in the public and not-for-profit sectors; Alex has worked in a variety of unique roles, serving diverse professional and community groups. A graduate of Carleton University, he is passionate about team development and creating projects that leave a positive legacy. Most recently, Alex worked for a horticultural trade’s association, as the Apprenticeship Program Coordinator. In this role, Alex connected professionals to education and training opportunities that helped enhance and support the needs of the industry. For the last ten years, Alex has coached Football in the Ottawa Region, working with youth from 10 to 20 years of age. He enjoys the competitiveness, team dynamic, and discipline that the sport provides for youth. In his free time, Alex is an avid traveller who enjoys hiking, scuba diving, and photography.

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

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 recent graduate of 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 was active in his school community up until graduation where he served most notably 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 not-for-profit, empowers him to continue to grow the national 4-H movement.

Zachary Rees

Marketing and Communications Coordinator

Zachary has been working in the marketing and communications field for over five years, after completing his Communications Diploma in Broadcast Journalism at Mount Royal University, in Calgary, AB, where he is originally from. After university, he went on to work in various marketing roles from producing videos to digital advertising and everything in between! With a wealth of firsthand experience, Zachary is excited to be working in a non-profit setting at 4-H Canada, that he can lend his diverse knowledge and skillset to.

Sponsorships

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!

Amanda Neadow

Amanda Neadow

Sponsorships and Corporate Giving Manager

Amanda comes to 4-H Canada after spending seven years with the Canadian Association of Importers and Exporters, growing and maintaining industry relations and stakeholder engagement. A mom to two 4-H members in Lanark County, Amanda is passionate about positive youth development and agriculture. Recently, Amanda and her Dad have started a family farm where they raise beef Cattle.

Risk Management and Accreditation

Jennifer Dewar

Risk Management and Accreditation Director 

With over 15 years of experience as a Guiding and Scouting leader and parent, Jennifer understands the joys and challenges of being a volunteer leader. Jennifer spent 15 years at IBM where she used her Computer Science degree and Masters of Education in her roles as a software developer and then as a senior learning consultant. Having worked with large government and business organizations, down to non-profits she brings a diverse perspective to 4-H Canada. She looks forward to using new technologies to bring training and support to 4-H leaders across the country. Having grown up in a farming community in Wellington County, Jennifer and her family are busy discovering Ottawa and the small farming towns nearby. She loves to figure skate and trail run, and to travel, camp and ski with her husband and three kids.

Finance

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.

Aden Gebremeskel

Finance Coordinator