GGCLC 2015 ...
When I was invited to apply for a spot on the 2015 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference, I must admit that my conception of the experience was limited to having read several articles in national periodicals and a few firsthand accounts of the experience from several acquaintances. It certainly seemed to be an excellent opportunity to learn more about our country and expand on my own leadership practice. There also seemed to be elements of the experience that resembled an endurance race, conjuring up ideas in my head of a political version of “tuff mudder”. Having been fortunate enough to be selected (along with 224 others) from a countrywide competition of over 4000 applicants, I experienced this uniquely Canadian leadership challenge this past spring and I can say with confidence, the experience greatly exceeded my expectations.
Beginning in St Johns, Newfoundland, The group first assembled at the Sheraton for 3 days of plenary sessions and lectures by notable Canadians such as Col. Chris Hadfield-Astronaut, Dominic Barton - Global Executive Director for Mckinsey Institute, Heather Monroe-Bloom - Principal of McMaster University and Wab Kinew- First Nations Teacher/Musician/Broadcaster. The theme of the 2015 Conference was Leadership and Innovation. The study tour, which lasted 17 days, spanned the entire country in scope and ended with 3 final days of report preparation and delivery in the nation’s capital. Sixteen teams covered each province and territory with the mission of finding out how Canadians are innovating to keep our country competitive in an increasingly connected and globalized world. As we set out to crisscross the country, we were charged with reporting back to His Excellency, The Governor General- David Johnston on where we were winning and how we thought Canada could improve. This was no small task and we knew it.
Our team (Ontario-2) was comprised of many different personalities from all across Canada. This diversity afforded us much opportunity for lively debate and some uniquely Canadian humor. We travelled with a military escort by plane, bus, street car, taxi and by foot – across Southern Ontario. She (Lt. Carrie Topping, DND) was our guide through the maze of speed-date like meetings we would encounter. Toronto was home to many of our stops, however we did venture throughout the golden horseshoe visiting 13 different cities. We attended over 45 different sites throughout the tour that varied widely in terms of their mission and raison d’etre. From corporations to idea labs, hospitals and homeless shelters, universities and community gardens to factories and boardrooms- they all constituted a rich playground for the exchange of ideas, debate and curiosity. Although I now know more about Canada than I did before, I am more curious than I am certain about what I still need to know about my own Canadian life.
*Photo taken at Rideau Hall, - Ottawa, Ont. June 4,2015