In one of her last speeches before she steps down from her role as Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ontario next month, Deb Stark told the 500 women at the Advancing Women Conference in Toronto to ‘own your boldness’.

“If you look at the data, women can be more bolder than men and are more likely to see a need for change and get that done. And I think that is a real powerful message we can all take home to have the courage to be bold,” said Stark.

Stark says women can provide a different perspective.

“From what I have heard women have a different message from men, they have a vision it’s about agriculture being a part of Canada’s social fabric moving that through to policy makers in terms of individuals have making things more diverse and make sure other people have an opportunity to contribute.”

She also believes the time is now to share that message.

“The opportunities are here like they never have been before between social media and the face to face at conferences, like this one (Advancing Women Conference). I think it is a real unique point in time. I think for women in agriculture, they need to  grab it, hold on to it and keep building on it.”

“You have got the courage, you know what needs to be done, go out there and do it.”


Advancing Women Conference East 2016

Stark believes the Advancing Women Conferences are truly unique.

“It’s unlike anything any conference I have been to in the past. There’s a lot of real positive energy. There’s a real different mix of conversations.”

She says there has been a good cross-section of questions from participants.

“So we have had some questions, the Minister spoke along with myself, there was some very business oriented questions about barriers in the way of doing business in Ontario. And so it’s that mixture of both self-development and business development that is all here”



November is quickly approaching and as Stark looks back as her time in this role, it will be the people she will remember and miss as she moves into retirement.

“I am just so proud of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and the people we have recruited and their passion for agriculture and for Ontario and the country.  There are leaders right across the country.  It’s having led that organization that is my greatest highlight.”