CALGARY, ALBERTA: After five eventful years as Executive Director of Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC), Annemarie Pedersen will be stepping down from the organization. Taking the helm effective January 1, 2023, is AFAC’s Marketing and Communications Lead, Kaylee Healy.
Raised on farms of varying sizes across the province, Healy’s introduction to Alberta’s agricultural sector began at a young age. In her early career, Healy worked in the oil and gas industry, with a focus on safety and emergency management services. A subsequent move to rural Vulcan provided Healy with the opportunity to return to her roots. Combining her project management expertise and passion for agriculture, she launched BAB Technical, which provides administrative and technical support, including digital platform and event management, to small businesses in rural communities and agriculture.
Healy joined the AFAC team in the fall of 2019 as a Marketing and Communications Intern thanks to a grant from the Youth Employment and Skills Program (YESP). Her first task was transitioning AFAC from a physical workspace to a virtual operational model. Little did Healy and the AFAC team know at the time, the transition would prove critical in the face of a pandemic that no one saw coming.
Like so many organizations at the onset of COVID, AFAC was faced with adapting to a world of virtual programming and events. Healy’s proficiency with digital platforms proved particularly valuable in March 2020 when the first pandemic lock-down was announced. The AFAC team had only five days to transform their annual Livestock Care Conference from an multi-day, in-person symposium to a completely virtual seminar.
“Supporting the organization through the transition to a digital operating approach, gave me a first-hand look at what this small-but-mighty team can accomplish when faced with challenges,” recalls Healy. “When the pandemic hit a few short months later, it was our collective skills, expertise and tenacity that enabled us to pivot quickly and effectively, particularly when it came to the (Livestock Care) Conference.”
As Healy’s YESP-funded contract came to a close, and recognizing the leadership skills she brought to the team, AFAC was determined to retain her services, officially offering Healy the role of Marketing and Communications Lead.
As the world emerges from three unprecedented years to a new post-pandemic norm, Healy is now ready to usher AFAC into the next era. “It’s an honour to be stepping into the role of Executive Director. I’m keenly aware of both the challenges and opportunities that exist within the livestock sector and the unique needs of the communities that utilize AFAC’s resources. I’m looking forward to tackling them head-on,” says Healy.
“There is no doubt that the landscape has changed, and the sector continues to evolve quickly. Now more than ever, it’s important that we lean into our strategic partnerships and really look to our members for direction, so we can continue to build on AFAC’s 30-year mission of advancing farm animal welfare in support of a thriving agricultural sector.”
As for next steps for Pedersen, she’s excited to re-focus her energy on her company, Annemarie Pedersen Communications, which is the culmination of a 20-year communications career specializing in both livestock and crops. Still, Pedersen admits the transition will be bittersweet. “Five years with AFAC have flown by, and we have accomplished so much. It has been a true pleasure collaborating with the staff and board members at AFAC and I’ll miss working with them. But it’s important for organizations like AFAC to leverage new ideas and perspectives. I have no doubt the organization will continue to succeed and thrive under Kaylee’s leadership.”
Founded in 1993 by Alberta livestock producers, Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) has become the collective voice of the industry on matters pertaining to livestock welfare. Through collaboration and with the support from our members, AFAC promotes best practices in the care and handling of farm animals for a thriving agricultural sector. Together, we work towards continual improvement in responsible livestock management by engaging the public and building trust through transparency. To learn more about becoming an AFAC member or supporter, click here.
For more information contact:
Kaylee Healy, Executive Director
Alberta Farm Animal Care
[email protected] | 403.652.5111