A great team — where fresh ideas give way to the shift!
Bryanna Kumpula, Executive Director
Idea girl, sheep farmer, entrepreneur, and key cheerleader at the Agriculture and Food Council, Bryanna Kumpula is an agriculture enthusiast and holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, lover of coffee and new dog owner. Her business talents started at a young age and bloomed a bit more while enrolled at the University of Alberta.
After U of A, Bryanna made a few twists working at Rancher’s Beef, Northlands, and National Oilwell Varco. These fine places introduced her to new people, big ideas and global concepts that helped shape the person she is today. Having a lifelong addiction to school, Bryanna has gone back to MacEwan University to obtain a certificate in Executive Leadership in the Non-Profit Sector.
Bryanna’s not really limited to the agriculture business, as she spends her spare time creating dream weddings and magnificent floral designs. She can be found gracing the pages of Weddings in Alberta, enjoying yet another community project with her volunteer work or thinking up something fabulous with her colleagues and clients. Community involvement includes being an active board member on the board of directors of Green Hectares, the Lac La Biche Antique Society. Bryanna also takes great pride in volunteering for Northlands, Calgary Stampede, Edmonton Junior Chamber of Commerce, Lac La Biche Agricultural Society, Lac La Biche Safety Awareness Society & Calgary Rotary Club South.
Branko Jankovic, Project Manager: Functional Foods & Bioactives Network
Branko joined the Agriculture and Food Council in the new role of Project Manager for the Functional Food and Bioactive Network. Branko graduated from Lakehead University with a Commerce degree and then moved to Alberta to pursue the Chartered Accountant designation; which he received. Prior to joining AFC, Branko spent eight and a half years as the CFO for a publicly traded company, involved in the commercialization and sale of functional bioactives. It is there that he realized his passion for technology commercialization. Eventually, Branko came to enjoy the collaborative aspect of commercialization so much that it has become a passion, even with all the headaches it may bring.
The road to making new products involves many hurdles and includes money, scale up, efficacy testing, increasing regulation, global competition, and commercial scale manufacturing. Many activities and many people need to be involved to turn the great idea of one person into a successful product and company providing healthcare solutions, solving global issues, creating high value employment, and growing innovation capacity in Alberta and Canada.
Branko looks forward to working with entrepreneurs, researchers and investors with an interest in getting their good ideas to market, and will be pleased to assist every step of the way. The demand for new health solutions, green technologies and natural products will continue to grow in the future and Branko hopes to assist new and existing companies to take advantage of these opportunities.
Heather Broughton, Community Animator, Success for Women in Agriculture
Heather has always seen the value in education and providing the forum and opportunity for others to learn, and in promote development both professionally and personally. Together with her husband Greg, they operate a family grain farm in Central Alberta. In addition to fulfilling the role of the business manager for the farm, Heather also served on the planning committee for Fall Focus – a conference for farm women from 1991- 2007, serving as chairman for eight years. An important event to Heather, as it provided a forum to inform and educate many farm women; providing skill development opportunities and a networking opportunity to learn from each other. Her interest in farm business management, education and leadership skills led her to complete the Canadian Total Excellence in Agricultural Management Program (CTEAM), The Executive Program for Agricultural Producers (TEPAP), and to also be involved with Options & Opportunities, a producer conference, that brought local individuals, together with national and international entrepreneurs and industry experts who offer innovative agricultural strategies and share successes, challenges and ideas to help producers become better business people and rural leaders. Heather was a member of the Board and Chair of Agriculture & Food Council of Alberta for four years; taking a role in encouraging growth, sustainability, competitiveness and profitability in the agri-food industry. She is also currently a Principal in Agri-Food Management Excellence Inc.; which provides the management courses CTEAM and CFAME to farmers and senior managers in the agri-food industry. Heather believes that having the opportunity to learn and share ideas with others is key in meeting the constant challenges of agriculture and gives new perspectives to these challenges.
Erin Prefontaine, Communications & Engagement Manager
A networker at heart, Erin Prefontaine is the Communications and Engagement Manager at the Agriculture and Food Council. She has 15+ years in strategic communications, client relations, marketing and social media, with a real soft spot for writing and editing.
She enjoys applying communications tools to niche opportunities, and is excited to build on the successes she has seen in the science research and start-up sectors by contributing to AFC, its members and clients. Erin was part of a collaborative team that made flax-based paper for Margaret Atwood using ag residue from a local Alberta farmer. If you ask her about it, her face will light up as she tells you about the project; but she’ll also be keen to learn about your business and how she can help you reach your target market.
Erin feels that there is always a space for social shifts, and sees real possibilities in helping people make connections, which in turn make a difference in their organizations and their lives - that's what really drives business, right? She gets excited about picking peoples' brains about their own passions, expertise and the things that really make them tick!
A sucker for animals and the environment and a mom of a tiny human and an old hound named Rocky, she is keen to find and support new ways to steward our resources. In her “down time” Erin can be found training for a run, enjoying Edmonton’s parks and river valley, volunteering for any number of non-profit initiatives, or supporting local businesses by making indulgent purchases.
Cassandra Rasko, Project Coordinator
Cassandra Rasko loves challenges and is excited to start her new role as a Project Coordinator at the Agriculture and Food Council of Alberta. After graduating with a Biological Science degree from the University of Alberta, Cassandra pursued an Agriculture after degree because she was fascinated with agriculture in Alberta. It was here she fell in love with the agri-food industry, especially animal related production and ethology.
In her spare time, Cassandra enjoys going to farmer’s markets, baking delicious treats, and cycling. On weekends, you can find her on the beautiful trails of the river valley. A true born and raised Edmontonian, Cassandra is an avid Oilers and Eskimos fan.
Cassandra brings determination, an open mind and the willingness to learn, contribute, and to promote the ever expanding agri-food industry in Alberta.