New set of Cattlemen’s Young Leaders chosen

Seven Albertans are among the 16 finalists chosen for the 2020-21 edition of the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders Mentorship Program.

The seven Albertans are Aydon Almberg (Czar), Iva Harberg (Hay Lakes), Claye Harsany (High River), Dave Slingerland (Coaldale), Mackenzie Argent (Cremona), Katie-Jo Stehr (Lethbridge) and Kaylee Chizawsky (Edmonton).

They were chosen from 24 semi-finalists from across the country. The finalists are paired with a hand-picked industry leader for a nine-month mentorship in their specific area of interest, and awarded $2,000 for travel for things such as tours and industry events.

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But the program, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this summer, has been greatly changed by the pandemic. The selection process was held virtually and the winners announced at a virtual conference last month.

The pandemic itself was one of the topics (along with issues such as sustainability, business metrics, and how to increase beef consumption) discussed by candidates during the judging process.

Because COVID-19 has limited travel and industry gatherings, the term for the previous class has been extended by one year.

The young leaders’ program is an initiative of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association for people ages 18-35. The goal is to provide them skills they need to further the success of the Canadian beef industry from networking, travel and mentorship. Since its founding in 2010, more than 120 people have graduated from the program.

The other finalists are Andrea van Iterson and Laura Code, both from B.C.; Scott Gerbrandt and Matt Hildebrandt from Saskatchewan; Sarah Jensen and Laura Plett from Manitoba; Charlene Yungblut and Grace Kuhl from Ontario; and Greg Stavert from P.E.I.

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