Karen Belaire X
Karen Belaire is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Shared Services West, a shared service organization specializing in supply chain optimization in the not-for-profit sector. Karen has held such roles as the Chief Operating Officer at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Chief Operating Officer at the London Health Sciences Centre and at St. Joseph’s Health Care London, Vice President Administration for McMaster University and Vice President of Finance and Administration for St. Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton and for Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga.
Karen holds a CPA/CGA designation and an MBA and she is a Chartered Director (C. Dir.). Her board experience includes current: Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, GS1 Canada, Csii, St. Joseph’s Health System (International Outreach Program), and past: Horizon Utilities, Theatre Aquarius, St. Peter’s Hospital, CIMTEC, Trillium Gift of Life Network, McMaster Innovation Park, Gore District Land Trust, McMaster Museum of Art, HSCN, Kids Health Links Foundation and CAA Southwestern Ontario.
May Chang X
Board Vice Chair
May Chang is an executive who has spent 25 years in the healthcare sector in leadership roles at large community hospitals and major multi-site hospitals. She is currently the Principal of May Chang Consulting, offering executive leadership strategies.
Prior to starting her own consulting firm, May was the Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer at Markham Stouffville Hospital, where she strategically created and promoted the Office of Innovation, engaged partners for an Information Technology Hub and successfully mentored upcoming executives. May is sought after for her sound financial planning and fiscal expertise, as she is renowned for her ability to help organizations become financially successful.
Prior to joining Markham Stouffville, she served as Interim Chief Executive Officer at Shared Services West. May also held various senior executive portfolios at Trillium Health Partners and spent nine years in managerial positions in the private sector with Harry Rosen Inc.
She graduated with distinction from the University of Toronto and holds the prestigious Fellowship designations from both the CPA and CMA.
Ian Potter, PhD, FCAE X
President and CEO
Ian Potter is President & Chief Executive Officer of Vineland, as well as President and Chief Executive Officer of Platform Genetics, Inc.
Previous to Vineland, Ian served as Vice President, Engineering and Vice President, Business Management with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and previous to NRC as the Chief Operating Officer at Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures (AITF). During his 10 years at AITF and its predecessor, the Alberta Research Council (ARC), he held several leadership and management positions in energy, environment, greenhouse gas technology and human resources.
Dr. Potter has a successful track record in innovation and strong experience developing and collaborating with a broad network of stakeholders. He holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Calgary.
Liz Stokes Bajcar X
Liz Stokes Bajcar is a specialist in the human resources field with over thirty years of experience in energy (Enbridge and IESO), insurance (Prudential of America and CGU) and media (TVO).
Previously, her roles included Senior Manager Total Compensation for Canada and Director Compensation for North America. Liz’s focus was on program design and development, employee services and compliance.
After retiring from corporate life, she and her husband joined the agricultural community and are now enjoying owning and operating Ridgecrest Vineyards located in Stoney Creek, ON. In addition to growing grapes, there is a pear orchard on the property.
Liz is a York University graduate, she holds CHRP, CHRL and CCP designations and has earned an MBA from Heriot-Watt University. She also has an Adult Education Certificate from Seneca College.
Tony DiGiovanni X
Tony DiGiovanni retired from the role of Executive Director of Landscape Ontario Horticultural Trades Association, one of the world’s largest and most active Horticultural Associations. He also serves as a Director of the Ontario Horticultural Trades Foundation and Executive Director of Canada Blooms Flower and Garden Show.
As of 2022, Tony is serving on a number of committees including Deans Advisory Committee at Humber College, Chair of Green Infrastructure Ontario, Chair of the Development Committee at Toronto Botanical Garden, Board member of the Toronto Botanical Gardens, Director Maple Leaves Forever, Director Highway of Heroes Living Tribute, Director Smart about Salt Council, Director IPM Council and Director Trees for Life.
He has also held advisory board positions at the University of Guelph, Seneca College, Ryerson University, Humber College and the Industry Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Colleges Training and Universities.
Tony received many awards including the Humber Alumnus of Distinction in 2002 and an Honorary Degree in 2011. He is thrilled to be an honorary member of the Niagara Parks School Alumni.
Kristin Ego MacPhail X
Kristin Ego MacPhail and her husband own Ego’s Nurseries Ltd. located in Simcoe County, Ontario. The greenhouse and nursery business cultivates a wide variety of annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs for their on-site retail garden centre and to supply the local landscape industry. Kristin and her family also operate a seasonal farm market for their field-grown strawberries, sweet corn, pumpkins and other farm fresh crops.
Ms. Ego MacPhail holds a BSc in agriculture from the University of Guelph. She is Director of the Ontario Farm Fresh Marketing Association and Past Chair of Agricultural Adaptation Council.
John Groenewegen, PhD X
John operates JRG Consulting Group, a Guelph-based management consulting firm that has been in business for more than two decades. JRG Consulting Group focuses on the agriculture and food sector and provides consulting services in areas such as business strategy, sector competitiveness, economic assessments and policy. Dr. Groenewegen has conducted a number of projects in various segments of the horticulture sector.
Previously, John was a Partner in a major management consulting firm and was also employed by Agriculture Canada and worked at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the early part of his professional career.
Mr. Groenewegen has a doctorate in agricultural and applied economics from the University of Minnesota, with his first two degrees from the University of Guelph. In addition to his professional focus, John is a farm owner in a share-cropping operation in southwestern Ontario.
Lori Hall X
Lori Hall is a partner at Gowling WLG, an international law firm with 18 offices across the globe.
Distinguished among the world’s top trademark professionals, Lori focuses her practice exclusively in the area of trademark prosecution. Over the course of her 14-year career, she has helped countless clients – from small startups to multi-billion dollar corporations – protect and maximize their brands at home and abroad.
A sought-after thought leader in her field, Lori is the author of the trademark prosecution section of LexisNexis Practice Advisor, one of Canada’s premier legal resources. Lori’s past board experience includes The Goodwill Amity Group (Hamilton and Halton) and The Innovation Factory at the McMaster Innovation Park.
Dieter Jentsch X
Dieter Jentsch is a former senior executive at Scotiabank with a 35-year career as a banker in corporate banking, capital markets, commercial and retail banking in Canadian and international markets. In addition to being part of the Bank’s Operating Committee, he was Group Head of Global Banking & Markets and prior was Group Head of International Banking. Other senior roles include Executive Vice President Latin America and Executive Vice President Canadian Commercial Banking during which time he was accountable for the growth and strategic direction of the bank’s agricultural portfolios.
Dieter is now extensively involved in private and public corporate boards and early stage investing in technology start-ups in various industries. He has a passionate interest in digital innovation to foster industrial growth in a sustainable way.
He has an extensive background in horticulture, born and raised in Kelowna, B.C. to well-known leaders in the B.C. fruit industry, he went on to study agriculture/plant science at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and followed by an MBA also from UBC. Dieter also holds a diploma in the Advanced Management Program from the European Institute of Business (INSEAD) and a diploma from the University of Toronto Rotman – ICD Directors Education Program.
Fred Koornneef X
Fred Koornneef is the President of Koornneef Produce, a supplier of superior vegetables and tender fruits. The company’s roots reach back more than five decades, when Fred’s father Arie Koornneef began selling choice tender fruit to customers out of a pick-up truck.
From those humble beginnings, Koornneef Produce Ltd. has grown to become one of southern Ontario’s premier suppliers of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and tender fruit.
Fred Koornneef also sits on the Ontario Wholesale Produce Association (Toronto Wholesale Produce Association – TWPA) and is currently serving as President.
Mark Picone X
An early career that began in the family’s food retail boutique, organically evolved to educator, chef and vineyard proprietor. Mark Picone currently teaches at the Canadian Food and Wine Institute at Niagara College, noting the engagement of students reinforces the role of mentorship.
While maintaining his creative eye and with a pulse of Niagara regional cuisine, the approach to sustainable farming led to his prized vineyard that is nestled in the Vinemount sub-appellation and parlays into his spirit of social gastronomy.
Mark is a graduate of the University of Guelph (B Comm) and Niagara University (MBA).
Ray Price X
Ray Price is President of the Sunterra Group of Companies including Sunterra Meats, Sunterra Markets and Sunterra Farms based in Alberta and the Midwest U.S.
Ray is Director of the Board for the Canadian Meat Council and has also served on the Board of the Government of Canada’s Council of Science and Technology Advisors.