CYL mentorship program helps prepare next generation of leadership hopefuls

Photo via Livestock Gentec

Each year, Canadian Cattle Young Leaders (CYL) selects 16 program participants ages 18-35 from across the country and offers industry networking, travel, and skill building opportunities. A focal point of the program is matching participants with a hand-picked mentor in their specific area of interest in the Canadian beef industry for a nine-month mentorship experience.

The CYL has announced this year’s industry-leading mentors who are investing their expertise and time to lend a helping hand to the next generation of the Canadian beef industry.

Mentors for the program are located all around the country, with even a couple outside of Canada this year, says Jessica Radau, youth leadership coordinator for the Canadian Cattle Association (CCA).

“This year we have Sheila Jensen, who is from Kansas. Her and her family are Hereford purebred breeders. We also have Jerry Doan from North Dakota, who’s mentoring a young producer from Manitoba,” she explains. “It’s really great when we can have our young leaders who are going to be driving these conversations and future growth, being tapped into their counterparts in the U.S., learning about those similarities, the difference in the challenges, and having those relationships. So as they move into further leadership roles within the industry, they’ve already got some of those contacts when they’re having those conversations.” (Story continues below interview)

The program of course provides ample benefits for the mentees, but as Radau notes, it’s not just them that gets something out of it, it’s the mentors, too, as it often brings a different perspective to the table.

“[We hear the mentors enjoy] turning that mentorship into a bit of a two way street. So if there’s areas the mentors are interest in, they’ll bring the mentee in for their perspective. Or, if they have mentors that are sitting on various boards, they may ask the mentee to attend that specific board meeting and get tapped into some of the larger industry discussions,” she explains.

This year, the pair-ups are as follows:

  • Morgan Kitchen, of British Columbia, will be mentored by John and Deanne Chuiko;
  • Raelynn Blumhagen, of British Columbia, will be mentored by Brad Osadczuk;
  • Austin Ashbacher, of Alberta, will be mentored by Jeff and Lyndsay Smith;
  • Carling Matejka, of Alberta, will be mentored by Amie Peck;
  • Delanie Ferguson, of Alberta, will be mentored by Clinton Monchuk;
  • Gleise Medeiros da Silva of Alberta, will be mentored by Anne Wasko;
  • Heath Ferguson, of Alberta, will be mentored by Bruce Niznik;
  • Jill Renton, of Alberta, will be mentored by Andrea Stroeve-Sawa;
  • Nicky Nixdorf, of Alberta, will be mentored by Sheila Jensen;
  • Russell Gallelli, of Alberta, will be mentored by Mike Panasiuk;
  • Tyson Ringdal, of Saskatchewan, will be mentored by Gord Roger;
  • James Kinley, of Manitoba, will be mentored by Shylo Penrod;
  • Stefan Bouw, of Manitoba, will be mentored by Jerry Doan;
  • Danika Mayer, of Ontario, will be mentored by Sandra Vos;
  • Holly McGill, of Ontario, will be mentored by Shannon Borden;
  • Madi Lewis, of Ontario, will be mentored by Jack Chaffe.

Each participant is granted a $2,000 budget through the program thanks to the generosity of program sponsors to fund various learning opportunities, such as travel to see their mentors and attending industry events.


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