A great team — where fresh ideas give way to the shift!
Bryanna Yung, 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.
Carla Rhyant, Vice President of Operations
Ms. Rhyant has worked extensively with non-profit organizations, expanding their profiles through solid programming, good communication and building a strong network of supporters. Her primary focus has been working within agriculture and natural resource sectors, with an organizational focus on governance, strategic planning and policy development. She is also the sole owner and operator of Rhyant Rock Farms, producing Soay and Katahdin sheep and Icelandic chickens.
In working with businesses in a rural setting for over ten years, Carla recognizes the demographics and the complexity to the challenges and opportunities facing entrepreneurs investing in these sectors.
Carla has served on many Boards including the Agriculture and Food Council of AB, Alberta Conservation Association, Canadian Federation of Outfitters Associations and the International Conservation Coalition. She has also served as Co-Chair of the Next Generation Advisory Council–special Ministerial committee of the Minister of Agriculture, Verlyn Olson. Additionally, she has served as a member of the Farm Safety Advisory Council, as a Board member on the Agricultural Research and Extension Council of Alberta (ARECA) and Alberta Forage Industry Network (AFIN).
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.
Cassandra Rasko, Project Coordinator
Cassandra comes from a diverse background with experience in biology, agriculture, healthcare and has gained skills in organizing and running a variety of programs. She is always up for a challenge and her determination contributes to her success. Casandra has received further training in facilitation and is always looking for ways to advance her knowledge.
She currently runs AFC's Business Mentorship Program which has been hugely successful! Connecting businesses with mentors and seeing networks grow and companies meeting their business goals has been so rewarding.
Cassandra loves Edmonton and volunteers for Pilgrim’s Hospice and the Edmonton Folk Fest. She spends her time learning new skills like crocheting and experimenting with recipes. In the summer you’ll find her cycling on the trails or listening to podcasts. She seriously can’t stop learning and taking in new information.