Tagged: Leadership

Intrapreneurship in Action: An interview with Nick Frate

This month’s blog features Nick Frate, the Assistant Director of the National Recognition Program and National Test Services with the Canada Revenue Agency. He also sits as a reverse mentor on the Deputy Ministers’ Committee on Policy Innovation.

Nick Frate, the Assistant Director of the National Recognition Program and National Test Services with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Nick Frate, Assistant Director of the National Recognition Program and National Test Services with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Here is a snapshot of Nick’s accomplishments:

Nick started his professional career in the private sector, where he spent five years as a manager in a financial institution. His career in the public service began in 2007 with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). In 2010, he joined the Quebec Federal Council first as Coordinator of the Federal Youth Network of Quebec and Official Languages, and then as Regional Coordinator for the National Managers’ Community – Quebec Region.

Nick has a Bachelor’s degree from McGill University in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Université du Québec à Montréal. He is also the recipient of the 2014 Public Service Award of Excellence – Youth Category. Nick speaks four languages: English, French, Italian and Spanish.

I asked Nick what “thinking and acting like an intrapreneur” in government looks like to him and this was his response…

In my previous role as National Chair of the Federal Youth Network (FYN) and my current leadership role in the CRA, I understand the importance of intrapreneurship. Fundamentally, it’s all about the essence of leadership related to these two components:

  1. Social leadership and its defining characteristics; and
  2. Social branding – how you appropriately brand yourself.

For me, social leadership is about 5 elements:

  1. Authentic leadership: This style of leadership is not authoritative in nature because it’s focused on tapping into the whole team’s expertise. The authentic leader understands each team member’s strengths and weaknesses and enables them to lead a file at the appropriate time. It’s all about empowerment.
  1. Meaningful communication: Being an effective communicator in today’s noisy world is critical. To be effective, you need to seek out ways to take advantage of all forms of communication. That way, you can ensure that feedback and information is relevant, timely, adds value and is accurate.
  1. High-level of emotional intelligence: Self-awareness often facilitates good leadership. It allows for real connections to happen and trust to be built between you and your team. It also enables you to be vulnerable, open and transparent, and more in tune with people’s emotions and personal boundaries. Being self-aware is a fundamental ingredient when trying to build respectful relationships.
  1. Ongoing recognition: Giving real-time recognition while making sure you adapt your praise and feedback to the needs of the person being recognized helps build trust and strengthen relationships. This is particularly important when something fails because it presents a great opportunity to help everyone quickly learn from errors and improve.
  1. Real visibility, both physical and virtual: Visibility is another critical element of social leadership and it ties nicely with my second component of intrapreneurship – social branding. Your team needs to see and be inspired by you as a thought-leader. Social branding allows you to build your social media profile to showcase yourself as an expert in a particular area and promote your ideas through visibility. This helps you build credibility and take on exciting leadership roles in your areas of expertise and passion. All you need is a picture and profile, alongside social media tools. My preferred tools are Twitter, LinkedIn and Periscope.

Here I mentioned to Nick that I often hear leaders in the public service talk about the need for us to take thoughtful risks, to not be so afraid to try and fail, but I rarely hear them tell stories about “how” they create safe space to try and fail. So, I asked Nick to share how he gives permission and encourages people to try and fail. This was his response…

First, you need to create the conditions and climate for trust. This is why emotional intelligence is so important. You can only encourage trust when you are open, transparent and vulnerable, and when there is continuous communication so people feel like they can confide in you. I share with my team the times that I make mistakes more often than my successes because they represent opportunities to learn and grow. I need to lead by example and say “it’s okay that I got this wrong.” You also need to welcome negative feedback to set the example for the team.

Here Nick explains the difference between social leadership and traditional leadership…

Social leadership and social branding are key ways to demonstrate your leadership ability and have an impact. Ultimately, they are about how to be a leader without a title because I firmly believe you don’t need a title to be a leader.

I asked Nick what percentage of his team embodies social branding and he responded…

I believe that about 60% are embracing the idea. Some team members report directly to me and others report to a manager. Of those who report directly to me, it is 100%. When it comes to promoting social branding within my team, I stress that it’s not about doing it for me – the value is for them. What I want people to understand is that they are their own leaders. When I’m going to them for help to solve a problem, I need their expertise. They are the knowledge holders and I empower them to provide solutions. Social media tools enable their expertise to shine and it gives people the opportunity to sell and promote their talents.

I believe social media tools give you the power to do three things:

  1. Promote yourself.
  2. Take ownership of your career and personal development.
  1. Act as an ambassador for your organization through showcasing your expertise and preferred knowledge area to colleagues across government.

Having an intrapreneurial mindset helps me better lead, manage and inspire my team because I’m always focused on trying to find out what other people think and know. I don’t see employees in my organization. I see colleagues, who are equals, regardless of the title they may have in the hierarchy.

I asked Nick to share an example of intrapreneurship and he told me about a reverse mentorship initiative he has been involved in for the past three years in the federal government that nicely demonstrates the principles of intrapreneurship in practice…

This is not a program per se, but the reverse mentorship model is an extremely innovative initiative that has wowed Canada’s counterparts in Australia and the United Kingdom. Both countries are impressed with our leadership and intrigued by the executive support for this commitment.

Nick share’s the story of how the reverse mentorship model came to be…

Our previous Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet, Wayne Wouters, created a new Deputy Ministers’ Committee to examine social media tools and develop government policy around usage given its rise in popularity. This was a closed Deputy Minister table where policy, programs and service delivery were discussed at the highest levels. The appointed Committee thought it would be interesting and would likely to lead to better input if they brought internal people to the table that had vast knowledge of social media tools. The Deputies were keen to learn about how these tools could be applied in the public service even though none of them were using the tools. Furthermore, they thought it would be valuable to seek out people who were non-executives to share their expertise and perspectives, as well as participate as reverse mentors. This had never been done before so it was cutting-edge thinking.

First, the reverse mentors were asked to coach Deputies on a new social media tool and demonstrate how it functioned. Then they were asked to highlight the benefits and explain where and how the tool could be used in a policy area. In the second year, the Deputies realized the many advantages of having these non-executives around the table to bring forward unique perspectives and ramped up participation.

Andrew Treusch, the head of CRA, was placed on the Committee during the second year. He started looking for a reverse mentor to support him and I was the fortunate candidate selected. One of my first responsibilities as Andrew’s reverse mentor was working to help coordinate efforts on a report back to the Committee on a concept known as “nudging”. The nudge concept comes from behavioural sciencepolitical theory and economics – it argues that positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions to try to achieve non-forced compliance can influence the motives, incentives and decision-making of groups and individuals, at least as effectively – if not more effectively – than direct instruction, legislation, or enforcement. The Committee had a great interest in learning how the CRA was applying nudge economics to further its mandate. This was largely due to the Committee’s desire to develop a Playbook of Best Practices in the federal government and they were seeking input on different ways organizations were doing things to drive innovation and improve efficiency.

The role of this Committee continues to evolve. Now, in year three, it has officially become the Deputy Ministers’ Committee on Policy Innovation. Today, it’s known in government as the DMCPI – and the role of reverse mentorship has also increased to provide more than just coaching and teaching to Deputies on social media. The Committee invites ideas and input on other emerging policy initiatives and trends in government. This provides Deputies with great insight and adds to their ability to provide culturally relevant leadership. Currently, the Committee is looking into areas that don’t necessarily fit with any particular ministry or mandate. One area of focus is on the sharing economy.

A key factor driving success has been showcasing the value of the reverse mentorship model during the past three years. Promoting the benefits both the Deputies and the reverse mentors have experienced has led to the new Clerk, Janice Charette, supporting the model and showcasing it to her colleagues around the world. Many exciting opportunities lie ahead as we begin to connect the DMCPI to the new Government of Canada’s innovation hub.

I have shared an extreme example of mentorship – reverse mentorship – but this process of sharing expertise happens through any form of mentorship. I am a big supporter of providing a mentor connection site on the Government of Canada website to foster learning by exchanging knowledge across levels, functions and generations. Through these tools, we can help create a workplace that is more diverse and inclusive, and develop leaders by building on their strengths and showcasing their leadership skills. These networks are important for connecting gamechangers, intrapreneurs and social leaders.

Mentorship is always two ways – it benefits both parties. The Federal National Youth network advocated for the reverse mentorship model because of the relationship connection it facilitated between the junior and experienced employees. Enabling insights to flow both ways has led to great success.

Anyone from a junior analyst to middle management can be invited to participate in the DMCPI. Everyone is valued and treated like an equal. The role of the reverse mentor includes disseminating information so knowledge doesn’t stop with them and engaging colleagues across government to get involved in certain activities. These may include hosting seminars and workshops to collect feedback.

For any leader, I believe it is fundamental to have a reverse mentor. In these informal settings, you get to know people. It is worth your time and focus because you will get so much out of these relationships. As a leader, you just have to make the time. You, and your performance, will only be better.

I’m currently interested in working with colleagues from DMCPI and the CRA on the digital workplace and how it can be a tool that can facilitate real-time collaboration across government. These are areas of interest to the DMCPI – policy areas that are forward thinking. The items discussed are not yet under the purview of any department or ministry, and don’t yet fall under the responsibility of a Deputy Minister. That is what makes this an innovative model – its focus on thinking forward.

I asked Nick how many representatives sit on the Committee…

Nineteen reverse mentors sit on the DMCPI. What makes this role so special is your perspective matters. You don’t sit at the back of the table behind your Deputies. You sit at the table and you are frequently called upon to share your opinion. If you are interested in learning more or connecting in, they have a twitter account, which is @DMCPI.

I asked Nick to share the benefits he has experienced as a result of the DMCPI – and this is what he said…

I have learned a lot from this experience, but most importantly, I’ve gained a clear understanding of how the machine of government functions. I understand the importance of the institutional structure and how it relates to the foundational pillars of the public service. I have a much better understanding of the principles the public service has been built on.

I am stating this as a key lesson because, as much as I’m all about being a game-changer, I believe that being a guardian for all Canadians requires you to have a deep understanding of the pillars of the public service. Having this type of exposure to the complex challenges many Deputies are grappling with has allowed me to connect the dots and better understand the functions of government. I often find it hard to believe that I’m getting this opportunity to sit at the DMCPI table.

Being exposed to Deputies in this way has also “humanized” these leaders in my eyes. It has made them real, approachable, and easier to follow. When leaders seem far away it’s hard to connect with them, but when you are able to interact with them at a table like this, where you are colleagues, it’s amazing! It makes your dedication to your job, and to the organization, quite profound. I think it increases your engagement tremendously.

The last question I asked Nick was about an intriguing comment I heard from him in Ottawa at the Institute of Public Administration of Canada’s New Professional’s conference. He said “don’t talk to me about being overwhelmed and work/life balance, talk to me about life work integration.” I asked Nick to tell me more about that statement…

I don’t believe in life/work balance. You have one life. You are one person. You are who you are so you need to find personal balance when you are leading a team, especially the intergenerational teams we’re all a part of today. For me, I work all the time because I’m always thinking about challenges and solutions. We are human. I am one Nick and I come into work with my own world and concerns. When I need to do something on the personal front, I do it. I don’t feel guilty about it. By focusing on life/work integration, I think it allows you to better manage your needs. If you have something in the middle of the day, you address it, and get your work done at night. If you have a passion around a change effort, live it, and find a creative way to connect it to your work. This sometimes takes time and discipline but life/work integration is always possible. We are all adults and we know what we need to get done and how best to manage our life/career pressures.

I have never had a personal versus professional dilemma. For me, I portray I’m an expert in social media. I have learned that it’s important for me to not only showcase my professional side through social media, but also my human side. So I have shifted how I use Twitter. I stay focused on my professional interests, and also share more about who I am. I’m a dad. I love to cook and make homemade pasta – it allows me to connect with my creativity and my heritage. Showing who we are, more often, will help connect us.

And I believe everything is about connection.


These are the treasured examples of innovation I am on a quest to seek out. It’s why I write this blog – to showcase innovative practices and mind-sets in an effort to demystify what innovation looks like in government.

Innovation is not going to happen in isolated change labs or hubs. Often times, it doesn’t even come from innovation champions, conferences, public speakers or lean practices. Innovation comes from forward thinkers who create space for new dialogue. It also comes from creating the vehicles to harness the idle knowledge locked deep within our organizations.

Innovation stems from leaders like Clerk Wouters, who started the DMCPI. Innovation is driven by the Deputies on this Committee, who immediately saw the value of having reverse mentors and non-executives at their table – as equals. Finally, the conditions for innovation will only intensify given the leadership of Clerk Charette, who is now championing and expanding the mandate of the DMCPI.

This is a brilliant demonstration of public sector innovation and excellence. The public innovators who sit around this table set the leadership bar high. They illustrate the difference between leadership by position and leadership by action.

It begs the question – why don’t we have a Committee like this for each level of government across Canada given the great success of the reverse mentorship model?

I, like, many other public servants are struggling in the public service today to find genuine leadership and the space to bring new problem-solving strategies and policy ideas to the forefront. I continue to hear from executives that there are skills gaps. The only major skills gap I see is a leadership deficit. Leadership models such as the DMCPI stand as a beacon of hope for public innovators who want to showcase their skills in a different way.

And what I really appreciate about Nick’s social branding vision – is it’s a development opportunity that puts YOU in the driver’s seat of showcasing YOUR unique expertise. You don’t need to sit at the DMCPI table to do this; you just need to believe in your talents and be willing to share them with the world.

Colleen McCormickColleen McCormick is Director of Strategic Issues with the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training and former Director, Innovative Partnerships where she managed the social innovation file in the Ministry of Social Development. Colleen is also the founder of Social Innovators Network Foundation. Previously, she was a TEDxMileZero organizer and National Chair of the New Professionals for the Institute of Public Administration of Canada. She has an MBA from RRU and a Graduate Diploma in Social Innovation from the University of Waterloo. You can contact her on Twitter @SInnovatorsNet.


Leader as Hero: The Power of Commitment

When times get tough, we turn to leaders for courage. Yet rarely is courage found in the competency profile of any leadership position. Selection systems cannot abide responding to queries from rejected candidates with “You were not found to be courageous enough for the job.”

No one wants to be rejected on the basis of something they cannot easily change or control. Right or not, courage is perceived as inborn rather than learned. Competency frameworks dance around attributes like courage.

A retired British ODA advisor recently shared a career moment: “I was in a traditional Zimbabwean village explaining leadership development to the local chief. Why we got onto this subject I cannot remember. He replied that this had always been the way with chiefs, otherwise you end up with a spear in your back.”

What this story illustrates with humour is the idea of the leader as hero – called to action by a serious, urgent, or growing threat. Heroic leaders respond in times of need or crisis through the power of commitment. Their resolve is unshakeable and superordinate to other causes. We admire and celebrate these leaders, despite their human foibles and fears.

The heroine of The Book of Negroes is Aminata Diallo, a West African girl of eleven sold into slavery in the American colonies in 1756. Canadian novelist Lawrence Hill tells a people’s story of oppression, loss, and emancipation. As one of the Nova Scotians, Aminata is repatriated to Sierra Leone in 1787. She gives testimony in London for passage of the Bill to end the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in 1807.

Aminata is courageous and a survivor. Her commitment comes from an enduring belief in a higher purpose for her life as a storyteller for her people. Her resilience is grounded in faith and love of family. She manages to bridge the chasms between antagonists, making them better for knowing her.

Public service leaders need to face challenges head-on to be effective policy advisors and crisis managers. They must have the courage to provide fearless advice, push for change, and stand behind decisions. They must navigate accountability labyrinths with political savvy, enacting tough decisions in an era of fiscal restraint. Risk aversion is not a viable option.

Martin Luther King understood both the dream and the risks of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. He led three marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965 to secure voting rights for Black Americans. It was a dramatic act of collective courage that still inspires human rights advocates worldwide. The heroism of Selma was not so far removed from the commitment of the Nova Scotians 178 years earlier.

John Wilkins
John Wilkins was a Commonwealth diplomat and a career public servant in Canada. He is Associate Director with the Public Management Program in the Schulich School of Business at York University (jwilkins@schulich.yorku.ca or johnkwilkins@gmail.com).

There is no such thing as resistance to change!

I was waiting in line to have a smoked meat sandwich at one of Montreal’s most famous smoked meat restaurants: Schwartz. It was a very pleasant fall day and we were lining up outside on St-Laurent boulevard, as a group of anti-meat pro-vegans stood across the sidewalk screaming at us how shameful it was to eat meat, pleading to save the animals, stating how the planet cannot support everybody eating beef. The lady running the demonstration profoundly believed in her cause and was screaming that conviction through a megaphone in our ears less than five feet away.

I stood there thinking “well, at least this lineup isn’t going to be boring today!” My daughter, who was waiting with me commented: “why is she doing this? Does she think she’s going to convince people that way? It’s useless!” I couldn’t help agreeing with her. I understood the demonstrators point of view and somewhat agreed with parts of it. However, standing in front of a lineup of hungry carnivores and screaming at us that the meal we are starving for is disgusting, unethical or irresponsible is probably not going to change many people`s minds.

This all reminded me about the Change Management principles I learned when I was being “indoctrinated” as a Manager: People resist change. That’s what we learned and that’s something we can count on. And our challenge as managers is to overcome that resistance, to steer the resistors towards performing the change we are proposing or need to implement.

As I went through diverse management assignments, I started diligently using the learned principles with some good successes but also some outlying dissatisfaction. I faced challenging reactions I didn’t know how to handle. The most difficult for me was not resistance, it was indifference. I can be very patient explaining a vision, very supportive of someone apprehensive. But trying to deal with indifference was like pushing a rope. Until someone brilliant told me bluntly: “It’s not because you said it that they will do it!”

We human beings are interesting creatures. We all know that we should quit smoking, stop drinking, eat healthier or exercise more. We know that. It’s stored in our brain with all the facts and data that supports it. Yet, we don’t change until the Doc says “If you continue, you’re dead in two years”! It takes more than knowing about a situation to trigger our action. So yelling at the carnivores that they should quit eating meat just adds another thought in their brain, just beside “Stop eating junk food”. When managers explain why staff should change and how much better everything will be, all of this info goes right into people’s brains, alongside “Quit Smoking” and “Exercise More”. So do people resist change? Well sometimes yes, when our proposal triggers fear for example. But I’d say most people are indifferent most of the time: our issue isn’t theirs.

I started to chat with the woman leading the demonstration. This, I must admit, was totally to stop her from screaming in that megaphone which was now 1 meter from my ears! “What are you trying to achieve?” I asked, thinking that a question would be less threatening. “I want people to stop eating meat! We’ve tried everything, but it doesn’t work so we’re down to trying this”. Humm… “Everything? Really? And how is this working for you so far?”

Thinking of our employees as resisting puts the blame on them. We’ve tried everything but, hey! They’re resisting! Not our fault! However, reframing our view to see our employees as unengaged puts the situation, and the responsibility, in our hands. As David Rock, well known researcher in Neuro Leadership, states: Engagement is something the employee has to offer, it cannot be made part of the conditions of employment.

So what does it take? Maybe a feast?

My wife convinced me to try veganism by cooking me the tastiest food! My mother-in-law, also a vegan Masterchef, puts it this way: “to most of you carnivores, a meal is a plate of meat and potatoes. When you’re told “Eat Vegan”, we picture the same plate, but without the meat” (or worse, with alfalfa instead of the meat!) Yet, I assure you that eating at her table is a real feast! I told our vegan activist “Look, there is an empty commercial space right beside Schwartz. You have with you an army of people energetically committed to the cause! You guys should open a darn good Vegan restaurant right there, and you’d have a perpetual lineup of hungry people right in front of your restaurant that you could try to convince to try Vegan instead of waiting endlessly in the carnivore line”. She got interested in the idea.

I’m sure you’ve heard about change’s ubiquitous “Burning Platform”, that sense of urgency one must create for people to start changing. However, in real life, there are few real burning platforms. When we articulate events, statistics and context in a way to present it as a “burning platform”, our people can smell it and it adds another piece of data in their brain. Besides, the Burning Platform triggers fear in our brains, not commitment. So what we need is a Vegan feast: an alternative, a path to transition that appears feasible and doable to our people, one that triggers a positive gut, not mind, reaction. We need to engage people for them to start making change! Talking to them is not enough to trigger action.

There is another essential ingredient: leadership. Leadership is influence, influence requires relationships and trust. If we build and hone those relationships and build trust with our people, we are more likely to influence them when the time comes. That does not spare us from doing our homework on the Vegan feast-to present a clear and doable mouth-watering transition path. However, if the path does not appeal to some, our investment in trust and in the relationship will allow us to engage them through a hazy change path.

I know everything I’ve been saying here, I’ve been teaching it for years and yet, when I succeed at doing it 50% of the time, I consider that pretty good… I am very enthusiastic about my work, absorbed in my goals and may sometime consider the time spent in engaging others as slowing me down. That haste has ended a few times in me screaming on the street with a megaphone! What about you dear colleagues? Are your using the megaphone with your employees, or are you working on the Vegan feast? On my side, I made a commitment to myself: next time I’m near Schwartz, I’ll eat at the Vegan restaurant!

Francois Gagnon François Gagnon is president of Lead-Action Training.

Summit Speaker Profile: Craig Killough

Canadian Government Executive is pleased to have Craig Killough, vice president of Organization Markets with the Project Management Institute (PMI), speaking at our CGE Leadership Summit on February 25 at the Ottawa Convention Centre.

Killough’s talk is titled The Leader’s Role in Strategy Execution and, given that he has more than 40 years of business and leadership experience, he should have plenty of material to draw on.

Killough is no stranger to thinking strategically. He has served as an officer aboard nuclear submarines in the United States Navy and has a Bachelor of Science from the United States Naval Academy.

In his current role at PMI, Killough is responsible for Organzation Markets, which involves promoting the value of projects as well as program and portfolio management. He and his group integrate PMI’s resources by supporting the development of stronger relationships with organizations. This includes standards, global business, and government relations, as well as account management with the Global Executive Council, Alliances and Networks, and business units in India, China, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Prior to joining PMI, Craig was the Executive Vice President of Global Operations with General Physics Corporation providing engineering and technical services in the energy, manufacturing and public sectors, and Vice President Systems Engineering and Licensing with Cygna Energy Services providing engineering services in the nuclear electric power industry.

If you would like to learn more about the Canadian Government Executive Leadership Summit please go to our summit website.

Jeff Mackey

Jeff Mackey is an intern with Canadian Government Executive, Vanguard and WRLWND magazines. Before joining us, Jeff worked with the Canadian Press in Toronto and Metro News in Regina. Now, back in his native Ottawa, Jeff is excited to cover everything from the public service and the military to today’s modern technology.

Summit Speaker Profile: Vince Molinaro

Strong leadership is in highest demand during times of unpredictable change. Consider the role of a sea captain during a storm or an emergency room doctor with a patient who is flatlining. Each needs to lead their teams through dangerous, even chaotic, changes in circumstances and, in the end, triumph over them.

Today’s government leaders also find themselves in changing circumstances and, like sea captains, they need to lead their teams through some treacherous waters.

This type of leadership is what Vince Molinaro will be discussing at the Canadian Government Executive Leadership Summit on February 25 in Ottawa.

Molinaro is a New York Times best-selling author and managing director of the leadership practice within Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions.

As one of the keynote speakers at the conference, Molinaro will be tackling some rather difficult questions, including: How is leadership changing in government? How should it change? What will be the “obligations” of the future leader?

Molinaro believes in the creation of leadership cultures within organizations, in which each leader has personal clarity and commitment to the business strategy.

He has a diverse professional background, including working in the energy, pharmaceutical, professional services, technology, and public sectors.

Our editor and chief Toby Fyfe interviewed Molinaro last month. You can read the interview here. You can also follow Molinaro on Twitter @VinceMolinaro.

To sign up for the CGE Leadership Summit, go to our summit website.

Jeff Mackey

Jeff Mackey is an intern with Canadian Government Executive, Vanguard and WRLWND magazines. Before joining us, Jeff worked with the Canadian Press in Toronto and Metro News in Regina. Now, back in his native Ottawa, Jeff is excited to cover everything from the public service and the military to today’s modern technology.

Summit Speaker Profile: Andrew Treusch

The Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) collected $419 billion in taxes and duties in 2011-2012. It has over 39,000 employees working across Canada and is probably one of the more thankless departments to work for in any government.

“Nothing is certain but death and taxes,” goes the popular expression, repeated at dinner tables and bus stops across the nation.

So it should go without saying that being tasked to be one of the leaders within the CRA would take some expert navigating through some treacherous waters. One must deal with a giant organization, responsible for unwieldy sums of money and, of course, every penny must be accounted for or else there will be hell to pay from a public steeped in resentment for the taxman.

If ever a situation demanded steady, thoughtful leadership, it would be this one.

Andrew Treusch, 
Commissioner of Revenue and Chief Executive Officer of the CRA looks to do just this.

Treusch was appointed to the position in 2012. Previous to this post with the CRA, he was the Associate Deputy Minister of the Environment, and later the Associate Deputy Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada.

He is also the Government of Canada’s Federal Deputy Minister Champion for Memorial University of Newfoundland, and the President of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC).

Treusch will be participating in a panel at our Leadership Summit, titled Leadership Challenges and Blueprint 2020, along with Louise Levonian, Associate Deputy Minister for the Department of Finance and Chair of the Sub-Committee on Public Service Engagement for Blueprint 202, Kevin Leahy, RCMP inspector and chair of the National Managers’ Community; and moderator Karen Ellis, President of the Federal Economic Agency for Southern Ontario.

Registration for our 2014 Leadership Summit is now open. If you wish to attend the event, please visit our summit website to register.

You can follow Andrew Treusch on twitter at @AndrewTreusch and you can follow get the latest updates about the Leadership Summit at @CGEleadershipsummit.

Jeff Mackey Jeff Mackey is an intern with Canadian Government Executive, Vanguard and WRLWND magazines. Before joining us, Jeff worked with the Canadian Press in Toronto and Metro News in Regina. Now, back in his native Ottawa, Jeff is excited to cover everything from the public service and the military to today’s modern technology.

Summit Speaker Profile: Dr. David Ulrich

Canadian Government Executive is pleased to have Dr. David Ulrich, one of the world’s most distinguished management thought leaders, as the keynote speaker at our Leadership Summit on February 25.

Dr. Ulrich, a Professor at the University of Michigan and a partner at the RBL Group, will be discussing The Leadership Code and what leaders must know to be effective.

He studies how organizations build capabilities of leadership, speed, learning, accountability, and talent through leveraging human resources.

Dr. Ulrich, who is listed as one of the Thinkers 50, has helped generate award winning databases that assess alignment between strategies, organization capabilities, human resources practices, human resources competencies, and client and business results. He has also published over 200 articles and book chapters and over 25 books and has consulted and done research with over half of the Fortune 200.

Dr. Ulrich will be joining other thought leaders at the Canadian Government Executive Leadership Summit to discuss some of the biggest leadership issues facing the public service today.

For more information on the conference, please visit our summit website.

Jeff MackeyJeff Mackey is an intern with Canadian Government Executive, Vanguard and WRLWND magazines. Before joining us, Jeff worked with the Canadian Press in Toronto and Metro News in Regina. Now, back in his native Ottawa, Jeff is excited to cover everything from the public service and the military to today’s modern technology.

C4ISR and Beyond: CGE’s Sister Summit Success


On Wednesday, Jan. 22, members of the Canadian Armed Forces and defence industry gathered at the Ottawa Convention Centre for Vanguard magazine’s first C4ISR summit – C4ISR being the defence industry’s acronym for command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.

The summit was intended to encourage meaningful dialogue within the larger C4ISR community, from operations to requirements, simulation and training, and explore how best the Forces and industry could collaborate to meet those needs.

The event attracted over 140 attendees, and the plenary sessions – both streams so packed there was standing room only – tackled the numerous fiscal and technological challenges the military faces today.

Stream A featured talks on C4ISR in deployed operations, bandwidth challenges with SATCOM, Arctic C4ISR, and how to integrate northern assets.

Stream B featured a discussion on new and emerging technologies and network centric data availability in a crowded warfare space. It closed the day with an interesting discussion on the military’s interest in space, including GPS, surveillance, and cleaning up space.

One of the more interesting space discussions was Captain Paul Maskell’s talk on the Sapphire satellite. Sapphire works around the clock to track some 24,000 man-made objects in space, many of which are pieces of small debris. He also described some of the plans for Sapphire’s replacement, which is currently in the planning stages.

The topic itself at times generated spirited debate. Some argued that the term C4ISR is too broad to be of use; others contended that, while C4ISR may include everything from fire alarms to field walkie talkies, breaking C4ISR into sub sections would leave too much room for separate working groups to overlap in their jurisdiction.

Vanguard02-LGen Beare
The highlight of the conference was an energizing speech from LGen Stu Beare, commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command, about the challenges of coordinating C4ISR around the world, including in the Arctic and elsewhere in Canada.

LGen Beare commended organizers of encouraging a dialogue that connected the people confronted with C4ISR problems in the military with the people in the private sector who could provide them solutions.

“There are lots of challenges in joint C4ISR, but there are opportunities as well – including within training and exercises. We welcome and truly appreciate what you bring and do to improve our capabilities in this critical area,” he said.

LGen Beare and John Jones, Vanguard’s publisher, presented the Royal Canadian Legion with a cheque on behalf of the conference speakers.

Our Leadership Summit will be held on February 25 at the Ottawa Convention Centre. To register or to nominate an inidividual or team for our Leadership Award, please visit our summit website.

Jeff Mackey
Jeff Mackey is an intern with Canadian Government Executive, Vanguard and WRLWND magazines. Before joining us, Jeff worked with the Canadian Press in Toronto and Metro News in Regina. Now, back in his native Ottawa, Jeff is excited to cover everything from the public service and the military to today’s modern technology.

Amy Allen
Amy Allen is a staff writer with Canadian Government Executive magazine. You can connect with her at newsdesk@netgov.ca.

Summit Speaker Profile: Karen Ellis

What can often make or break one’s ability to lead in times of change can boil down to a manager’s situational awareness, and his or her ability to adapt to that situation can make all the difference.

Karen Ellis is the president of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. She says learning to adapt properly was one of the most important lessons she learned while in the public service.

“You have to be adaptable. What might have worked in a different department might not work in your agency,” said Ellis. “You need to adapt your leadership style and your management style to bring out the best in people.”

Ellis was appointed president of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario in July 2013. Prior to this, Ellis served as associate deputy minister at Natural Resources Canada. She has also worked at the Canada Revenue Agency, the Canadian Public Service Agency, and the Department of National Defence, among other places.

Ellis says all the recent consultations surrounding Blueprint 2020 could be a positive development for the public service.

“Blueprint 2020 is really important because it is really allowing the different levels of experience, different generations, and the different views around the country… to talk about what we think is important with regards to the public service,” said Ellis.

“People want to see us hear them and, in areas where we can take action, actually do something and, in the areas where we need to wait for bigger policy discussions, we can tell people that,” said Ellis.

Ellis will be moderating the Canadian Government Executive Leadership Summit’s panel on “Leadership Challenges and Blueprint 2020.” Also featured in this panel will be Kevin Leahy, Inspector, RCMP and chair of the National Managers’ Community; Louise Levonian, ADM, Finance, and chair, Public Service Engagement Subcommittee; and Andrew Treusch, DM, Canada Revenue Agency.

To learn more about the conference, please visit our summit website.

Jeff MackeyJeff Mackey is an intern with Canadian Government Executive, Vanguard and WRLWND magazines. Before joining us, Jeff worked with the Canadian Press in Toronto and Metro News in Regina. Now, back in his native Ottawa, Jeff is excited to cover everything from the public service and the military to today’s modern technology.

Summit Speaker Profile: Jean-René Halde

To close CGE’s 2014 Leadership Summit, a panel of speakers will sit down and discuss how to put into action the ideas discussed by other speakers and attendees during the event on February 25. The audience will learn from respected government and private leaders how to effect positive change when they return to their respective jobs after the summit.

One of the panelists in this discussion will be Jean-René Halde, President and CEO of the Business Development Bank of Canada since 2005.

Halde, who has more than 35 years of management and entrepreneurial experience, has held CEO positions at leading companies, including Metro-Richelieu, Culinar, and the Livingston Group.

He presently serves as Chairman of the Conference Board of Canada and Director of the Montreal General Hospital Foundation.

He has served as director at a number of for-profit companies, like Gaz Metropolitain, Groupe Videotron, and Provigo, as well as serving numerous non-profit organizations like the Montreal Heart Institute, the Grocery Products Manufacturers of Canada, and the Association des MBA du Quebec.

The panel will also feature Janice Baker, City Manager and Chief Administrative Officer of Mississauga, and Michael Graydon, CEO of British Columbia’s Lottery Corporation. It will be moderated by Margo Hoyt of Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions.

Registration for our 2014 Leadership Summit is now open. If you wish to attend the event, please visit our leadership website to register.

Jeff MackeyJeff Mackey is an intern with Canadian Government Executive, Vanguard and WRLWND magazines. Before joining us, Jeff worked with the Canadian Press in Toronto and Metro News in Regina. Now, back in his native Ottawa, Jeff is excited to cover everything from the public service and the military to today’s modern technology.