Ashleigh Weeden is an award-winning rural innovator who splits her time between Ontario’s Grey, Bruce, and Wellington Counties. A long-time advocate for community engagement, open government, and meaningful applied technological innovation, Ashleigh’s work leading Grey County’s Connected County Initiative directly contributed to the County receiving recognition as one of the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2017 by the Intelligent Community Forum. Notably, as part of this initiative, Ashleigh created Grey County’s successful ‘Ag 4.0’ initiative, working at the intersection of her passions and talents to generate community conversations about the future of rural communities in the digital economy. A proud graduate of both the University of Guelph (B.A. Honours in International Development) and the University of Victoria (MPA), Ashleigh volunteers her time as Treasurer on the national Board of Directors for the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) – Canada. Currently, Ashleigh serves as the Communications Manager for the Southwestern Integrated Fibre Technology (SWIFT) Initiative, where she works with regional leaders and cross-sectoral partners to advocate for and support the direction of critical investments in modern broadband infrastructure in southwestern Ontario, Caledon, and Niagara Region. Ashleigh’s work advocating for people-centred public service and connectivity-driven innovation in rural communities can be read in publications like Toronto Life, Canadian Government Executive, and Municipal World. As a writer, facilitator, and community developer, Ashleigh has spent the better part of the last decade leading and collaborating with progressive municipal governments and engaged citizens to bridge the divide between decision makers and their communities and create meaningful, collaborative change.