Testimonials

Having a career with a company that invests heavily in leadership development and strives to be a responsible corporate citizen, I went into the GGCLC with an open mind but a tinge of skepticism about what I would learn in two weeks with a group of strangers. I come out of the GGCLC with wonderful new friends, deeper insight into what makes our country great, a wider lens through which to look at the world and a broader perspective with which to make personal and professional decisions. Where once was a single bottom-line, now there are three: financial, environmental and social. A prosperous Canada requires that they be balanced…I get that now, and I have a role to play in ensuring that balance. I’ve attending a lot of training and personal development sessions over my career, but nothing compares to the GGCLC experience.
Andrew K. Mackay (2015)
National Retail Fuels Manager, Imperial Oil

It is extremely difficult to put into words what this conference has done for me not only as a leader, but as a Canadian and a human being. This conference takes a group of extremely successful, talented leaders and challenges their way of thinking and looking at different issues in Canada. This conference is designed to have each participant examine their own perspective and at the same time learn from and understand the perspective of other leaders from various sectors. It forces you out of your comfort zone, but by doing so, your growth and self-reflection is at a completely different level. The impact of this conference goes far beyond the last day of your tour, if you open yourself up to this amazing, wonderful, once in a lifetime experience, you will have no choice but to become a more successful leader, a stronger Canadian and a kinder, more compassionate human being.
Marie Buchan (2015)
Executive Assistant to the President and Union Negotiator, UFCW Local 832
Winnipeg, MB

This experience truly changed the way I approach people, challenges and life in general. It had a tangible impact on both my personal and professional life. It has been a once in a lifetime opportunity to take a step back and reflect on my life as a Canadian, a leader in my environment and in most aspects of life in general. I have been exposed to a reality that gets you to re-evaluate the way things should be for all Canadians in terms of equal opportunities, business practices and government actions. The Conference gave me the opportunity to interact with leaders coming from all walks of life and currently making an impact in their own sector and province of residence. The quality of the insights and all those in depth-discussions that I have been fortunate to have with them made this whole experience a success for me. I see this experience as a catalyst for making better decisions in all aspects of my life moving forward, as the challenge and the responsibility as an alumnus is to contribute better to society while making an impact as leader for the greater good.
Sebastien Beauchamp (2015)
Vice-President, Government Affairs, Public Policy & Market Access, Baxter Corporation
Oakville, Ontario

Having worked in the public, not-for-profit, academic and private sectors across verticals from law to technology and healthcare to education, I have attended a few conferences but the GGCLC was the single most rewarding I have ever attended. I learned more about, and saw more of our country than I imagined I could in 2 weeks. I met amazing people from walks of life I would never have encountered otherwise. The GGCLC was intense with hard travel and many long and thought-provoking conversations. Combined with some of the best networking I’ve ever experienced, this made for a conference I would highly recommend.
Jake Hirsch-Allen (2015)
Enterprise Relationship Manager, LinkedIn

I cannot say enough about what a profound effect the Conference had on me. There is no other opportunity in Canada where emerging leaders get to test their skills, build their awareness, broaden their perspectives and meet other engaged individuals from across the country. Although the Conference itself is short in the grand scheme of a career, I know I will continue to reference it as a pivotal time for me. The network of extraordinary individuals that I now know, I could not have assembled myself if I spent the next 50 years trying! The Conference taught me I will need these perspectives, both mine and others, as I continue on my own leadership journey. Regardless of how full your life is—take the time to apply—it is absolutely worth it.
Alissa Barton (2015)
Director, Employee Programs
Infrastructure Ontario

The biggest thing that I have learned from GGCLC is that leaders require a healthy natural curiosity and an ever-evolving cultivation of self-awareness to be of value to Canada. The GGCLC offered us an unforgettable opportunity to see/think/feel from a broad range of perspectives as we tackled complex problem-focused initiatives over 15 deeply lived days. As we experienced the lives of Canadians up close in urban, rural, reserve and fly-in communities, it ignited a sense of urgency in me, transformed my ideas, and impacted the evolution of my professional life. I am truly grateful for this opportunity and how it has expanded my vision.
Sandra Laronde (2004)
Founder and Artistic Director of Red Sky Performance, and Director of Indigenous Arts at The Banff Centre

Toronto, Ontario

As leaders in our home communities we make decisions regularly that impact the lives and futures of people, our organizations and our country. Frankly, I learned through the conference that most of us lead with blinders on, without a big picture view and without really knowing what is going on around us. After the conference ended, I could tell that I was changed as were the people who I spent 15 days with. Every interaction, discussion, debate and exchange built more curiosity, scrutiny of the situation and understanding. During the conference you learn what tired is, question what you are meant to be doing with your life and you learn what else is happening in our country. If you pass up applying to the conference and the chance to become an alumni, you will pass up the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Shawn Chorney (2015)
Vice-President, Canadore College of Applied Arts and Technology
North Bay, ON

The Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference was an amazing experience! I loved the format of opening up with thought-provoking speakers which provided me with a lens to look at the organizations that we visited during the tour. Learning theory and then going out and seeing it in practice really hammered home the points. Now that I’m home, I’m working hard to put the theories into practice because I saw how successful organizations were when they were applied. And of course, it was absolutely incredible to tour around Newfoundland and Labrador for two weeks – we saw beautiful scenery (can you see too many icebergs?), met outstanding people, ate delicious food (I miss cod!), and I truly had the best bunch of people to travel with! Thank you!
Rebecca Alty (2015)
City Councillor, Yellowknife, and
Director of Communications and Community Development
AVENS – A Community for Seniors
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

The Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference gave me a unique opportunity to become more fully aware of social, economic, political and environmental issues in another part of the country, an opportunity that is rarely available. The two weeks I invested in this program turned me into a better-informed and more relevant leader. Above all, the people we met formally, as well as those with whom I had the pleasure of sharing this experience on a day-to-day basis, brought me something special as an individual and as a citizen. There can be little doubt that this was the greatest personal and professional development experience in my career.
Stéphane Vaillancourt (2012)
Chief Executive Officer, The YMCAs of Quebec

Wow. What an amazing experience and privilege to be part of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference. I learned so much about leadership and sustainable communities exploring British Columbia by plane, boat, bus and train with such a talented and diverse group of Canadians. The commitment of the people we met with to make their communities stronger was awe inspiring. One year on, my British Columbia study group has already had a reunion and we’re planning more. If you’re up for the opportunity, apply – it will change your life.
Will Paterson (2012)
Senior Economist, Financial Markets Division, Financial Sector Policy Branch
Department of Finance, Canada

The 2012 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference marked a turning point in my personal and professional life. I had the privilege of co-chairing the Nunavut Study Group with the most dynamic and engaged leaders from across Canada. We all came from different backgrounds, but whether we represented the labour, business, Government, or the non-profit sector, we all shared a common thirst for knowledge, and a firm desire to make a positive difference. The Conference exceeded all of my expectations, and it offered me one of the most unique experiences of my life. I returned from the Conference with a much greater appreciation for the richness, diversity, and complexity of our country. The Conference is visionary, innovative, and it challenges its delegates to think outside of the box and push their leadership skills to the limit. It’s not a conference you attend; it’s a conference you experience!
Xavier M. Milton (2012)
Porte-parole à la négociation du secteur public
Fédération de la santé et des services sociaux – CSN
Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN)

Participating in the 2012 GGCLC was one of the most impactful leadership experiences of my career. Spending close to two weeks in Nunavut, in some of the most remote communities we have in Canada, with an incredibly diverse group of people rich in intellect and experiences, was a once in a lifetime opportunity. My participation in the GGCLC has permanently changed not only how I see Canada but how I see my own role, both in business and society in general. I was proud to be a Canadian before this experience and that pride in my country and faith in its citizens and future leaders is orders of magnitude higher now.
Michele Harradence (2012)
General Manager, Sarnia Manufacturing Centre
Shell Canada Limited

I can’t imagine any other course or experience will challenge your perspective, elevate your game or inspire you more than the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference. Believe that you will be chosen, apply, celebrate your acceptance and embrace every moment of this unique experience. I am so grateful to the GGCLC for the friends, knowledge, inspiration, network of amazing and generous alumni and for being able to deepen my ties with this truly amazing country. I find it hard to articulate how much the Conference has meant to me and to my development as a leader, but believe me, you will be changed for the better for having participated.
Sue Doi (2012)
General Counsel & Corporate Secretary
Whistler Blackcomb

Attending the Conference offered me the rare chance to examine, learn from and understand the decision-making processes’ of leaders from across the country. Being part of the conference has given me a better understanding of how everyone looks at a problem or opportunity with their own perspective, and that in order to make progress we need to respect and embrace this diversity. Aboriginal people have very important perspectives and experiences to share and the opportunity to listen, learn, contribute and grow is essential in doing our part to create positive change in our communities across the country. I believe conferences of this calibre are the gateway to profound awareness and growth on both a personal and professional level.
Clayton Norris
Vice President, Aboriginal Services
MNP LLP

The Governor General Canadian Leadership Conference was an opportunity to experience and develop compassion and a deeper understanding for study group colleagues and conference participants from various sectors and industries, and for other Canadians as they struggle to better their lives and their communities. It would be virtually impossible to walk away from such an exhilarating experience untouched, and without having opened the door to personal growth. The Labour Movement prides itself in it’s conviction that “an injury to one, is an injury to all.” I am proud to say that after attending the GGCLC I believe that Canadians feel that way about their country and their fellow Canadians.
Angela Talic (2012)
Vice President at Large
International Longshore and Warehouse Union

The GGCLC conference experience was the single most transformative event in my life to date. It did two things for me that have changed my perspective permanently. First it offered me a chance to explore other parts of Canada and meet the people who have shaped their pocket of our country, and my respect for our nation’s people grew. The second was the chance it gave me to be challenged in extreme environments with leaders who have very diverse opinions. A mind expanding effort that I am happy to have faced. Having had the opportunity to compete and manage at one of the greatest experiences in the world – the Olympic Games – might have set a bar that was too high to surpass. The Governor Generals Canadian Leadership Conference set a new bar.
Julia Rivard (2012)
Senior Partner
Norex

The 2012 GGCLC was an experience that I am still learning from. I find myself remembering something that was said, done or observed on our study tour…and I smile at the memory, while I adapt it within my work. The Conference will show you how much you don’t know and how much you have to share. This is a rare gem that simultaneously teaches you about your country, yourself and about a group of people that bring a new value to your life. It’s not about meetings, agendas, deadlines – it’s about listening, learning, disagreeing, understanding. You don’t need to be reminded to ‘be in the moment’ because the moment overtakes you. Thank you for the opportunity and for seeing the leader in me that I didn’t even know was there – but I am that leader and I will continue to evolve.
Barbara Cape (2012)
President
Service Employees International Union – West

Attending the GGCLC was the best thing I could do as a potential leader. It focused my resolve and allowed me to see myself from a different perspective. It was an eye-opening experience that connected me with my own potential. Most positive professional experience I have had the opportunity and pleasure to be involved in bar none.
B.G. (Brad) Brake (2012)
Mayor Town of Fort Smith, NT

The Conference is a valued experience for emerging leaders from the labour movement. The networking opportunity is exceptional. The Conference broadens each member’s horizon and creates unique situations where people from totally different backgrounds can put their preconceptions away and exchange ideas in an atmosphere of open debate and discovery.
Leo Gerard
International President
United Steelworkers

If you are lucky enough to be selected, the GGCLC is a not-to-be-missed, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn and discover a lot about yourself, about leadership and about Canada. Despite my own very busy schedule, I am very glad that I took out the two weeks to attend this conference. I learned so much about the world that exists outside my own narrow, daily domain. I learned so much about this great country of ours, which, as an immigrant, I appreciate even more now than I did before. I learned that there is no one ‘best way to lead’. I learned that every day, there are dedicated, hardworking and intelligent men and women in all walks of life that are striving to make Canada a better place, one small bit at a time. Most importantly, I learned that as Canadians, there is far more that unites us than that which divides us.
Ali Salahuddin (2012)
Managing Director and Head, Global Equity-Linked Products
RBC Capital Markets

I had the once in a life time opportunity to tour the Northwest Territories for eight days with fourteen incredible leaders, and I quickly learned that the journey was the outcome. The one on one and group conversations as we sat in buses, boats, planes (many planes), living rooms and boardrooms were fantastic; I was able to learn a great deal about nation-building and what it truly takes. The GGCLC solidified my understanding of collective action and the process we should take in building our country. It was an experience that has fundamentally changed the way I look and engage with Canada.
Lekan Olawoye (2012)
Executive Director at For Youth Initiative (FYI) and Chair, Premier’s Council on Youth Opportunities

What an extraordinary way to get to know Canada though its diverse physical geography and through the eyes of our fellow citizens. The experience provides a glimpse into the hearts and minds of Canadians. It reaffirms Canadian values and introduces and explains perspectives and opinions that were previously unknown or discounted. Sleep deprivation meets sensory overload is a good summary of the magnificence of the program. I feel ‘more Canadian’ for having participated.
Noble C. Chummar (2012)
Partner, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP

As high as my expectations were entering the Conference, they were completely blown away before the opening plenary was even over. To explore the underbelly of Canada’s wealthiest province for 10 days with a collection of new acquaintances and come away with a completely different view of life in Alberta was absolutely unforgettable. Things that we thought we knew about how our tour would unfold turned out completely the opposite, and that was perfect. And to be part of a group of 17 strangers from coast to coast (to coast!) with expertise in everything from maple syrup to law that morphed into one unit that will have an unbreakable lifelong bond is simply an experience you cannot get anywhere else. To say that this Conference is second to none is an understatement like no other.
Daniel Campbell (2012)
Sector Lead, ICT
ACOA PEI

I always thought I viewed the world with an open mind but my experience participating in the GGCLC widened that view even further…. The GGCLC experience challenged us to think and act beyond our comfort levels – to take the best of each of us and let one another walk in those shoes or mindset for two weeks. The people we met in the communities we visited provided a slice of life that was real, energizing and at times, heartbreaking. This level of learning and exposure to Canada cannot be obtained through a work site or classroom. We grew by connecting with fellow Canadians – in penitentiaries, corporate boardrooms, community dinner tables, youth group homes and underground mines. I now feel an even greater need to create positive change for Canadians – and as an Alumni of the GGCLC it’s quite simply, my responsibility.
Brooke Yeates (2012)
Manager, Change Management and Organizational Impacts
Vale Canada Limited

Participating in the 2012 GGCLC had to be the most unique learning experience that I have ever undertaken. Meeting, working, debating, and bonding with my study team over the course of 2 weeks, all of whom were from vastly different backgrounds, made this a very rich and impactful learning experience – not to mention the fun we had together! We had the opportunity to meet with leaders of very large companies, with leaders of NGOs, with leaders of non-profit, charitable organizations; with leaders of First Nations Communities, with leaders of government; all of whom were very innovative and collaborative in their approach to leadership and enhancing sustainability of the communities within which they operated. While it took us some time to understand just how our conversations with this diverse group of people from all parts and sectors of Saskatchewan fit together in terms of the lens of the conference theme, it all came together for a new and deeper understanding of what makes communities thrive, what holds them back, what makes them sustainable, and how each sector of our society impacts an other – how it all fits into the fabric of Canada.
Dave Dieleman (2012)
Managing Director, Corporate Finance
Prairies Division
BMO Bank of Montreal

The Conference provided me with a real boost in social and professional terms. My involvement took shape in particular through increased commitment in my community. I now sit on the executive board of Education International, the biggest international organization in the field of education, representing 32 million members in 171 countries and territories. I have become involved with groups of unemployment women and men in Quebec, with poor people, and I was even able to pay tribute at the World Congress of Education International, held last July in Ottawa, to Chief Wilton Littlechild, a commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Our encounter during a study group tour with victims of residential schools for indigenous children stirred deep inside me a desire to work in defending the rights of indigenous people and, in particular, of disappeared or murdered women. The Conference will remain a pivotal event in my life.
Daniel B. Lafrenière (2008)
Secretary-treasurer
Centrale des syndicats du Québec (CSQ)

Tooling around New Brunswick in a disco-era bus with civil servants and union guys and corporate leaders and even a Parti Quebecois politician may not have been exactly how I thought I would spend my summer, but am I ever glad I did! I learned so much about a region I didn’t know very well, about community action and engagement, and about what binds us together as a nation. I learned so much from my fellow travelers, as well as all the wonderful community people we met. I can’t recommend the experience highly enough.
Naheed Nenshi (2008)
Mayor of Calgary

Participating in the 2008 GGCLC has to have been one of the most outstanding opportunities for personal growth that I’ve experienced. It was an opportunity to learn about what makes Canada such a wonderful country, to reflect upon the things which we often take for granted, and to develop intellectually as a Canadian, as a leader, and as a person. We don’t all have to agree on issues, but we do need to listen, to learn and to grow as the world changes around us. This is an outstanding opportunity to experience the best of Canada.
Hon. Stephanie Cadieux (2008)
Minister of Children and Family Development, Province of British Columbia
MLA Surrey-Panorama

Educational, exhilarating, exhausting! Definitely one of the best professional and personal experiences of my life! Trust me, it is not what you expect and 100 times better. When my boss asked me to apply, all I could think about was the mountain of emails that would be waiting for me when I got back and was neither enthusiastic nor optimistic about getting anything out of it. I thought I already had an open and accepting mind and heart. I thought that I already understood diversity and the value of it in the world and in business. I thought that I knew our great country. I found out that I knew very little. This opportunity will change how you think, how you work and most importantly how you live.
Elizabeth Fretheim (2008)
Director, Business Strategy & Sustainability – Logistics
Walmart

Absolutely the best personal and professional development experience I have ever had. Travelling to a different area of Canada and meeting with business, labour, NGO’s, social activists and indigenous peoples gave me a new perspective on Canada and myself. Each study group, by design, included people with a wide variety of backgrounds. All were leaders in their own right and were committed to growing as leaders and individuals. We learned a great deal from each other, whether we realized it at the time or subsequently. This is truly a unique forum for providing such an excellent opportunity for growth.
Bruce Parker (2008)
Senior Director, Treasury and Corporate Development
Potash Corp

The Conference has brought me 15 days of discomfort, stress, queries, discussion, long hours, consensus and re-energizing. I have been confronted with troubling realities in all the places that our group visited. This is an unforgettable and rewarding experience that makes you think differently now for later.
Benoît Celestino (2008) Président national, Syndicat des technicien(ne)s et artisan(e)s
du réseau français de Radio-Canada (STARF)

Taking part in the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference had a great impact on me. Two weeks of fascinating encounters, engaging discussions, challenging dominant views and seeing that we are all leaders in our own right. Visiting Newfoundland and Labrador with leaders from all walks of life allowed me to analyze in a different light some of the challenges facing our country and has deeply changed the way I work. A fascinating human experience not to be missed!
Sophie-Emmanuelle Chebin (2008)
Première directrice, initiatives stratégiques et intégration
CN

The Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference is a once in a lifetime leadership opportunity that simply cannot be duplicated in any other setting. Working with a group of people that came from vastly different backgrounds from me, not only in terms of their professions but also culturally, was a tremendous learning experience. We discovered that while we did not necessarily share even the most basic values, we still became close friends and learned a tremendous amount from each other and from the amazing community leaders that we met everyday. I was forced to get out of my comfort zone and was pushed to do things I would never have done both physically and emotionally. For anyone searching to move their leadership to a level that goes far beyond the traditional, this is the conference for you!
Mauricette Howlett, M.Sc (2008)
Regional Director / Directrice régionale Public Health Agency of Canada / Agence de la santé
publique du Canada Ontario and Nunavut Region – Région de l’Ontario et du Nunavut

As a new Canadian, I found the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference to be a perfect opportunity to better understand and connect with my adopted homeland. During the course of two weeks, our group toured Nova Scotia, and we met with key leaders and stakeholders; remarkable people who make a difference in their communities everyday. Along the way, we debated key issues, and forged solid, lifelong friendships with a diverse group of individuals we would have never met during our normal daily lives. Having attended several leadership courses during my career, I can attest to the fact that very few come close to the real-life experience that the Conference provides. Without doubt, this is a once in a lifetime experience!
Amrit Mehta (2008)
Director-Strategic Planning,
GM of Canada Ltd.

The 2008 GGCLC was a remarkable journey of discovery: discovery of the interplay between different sectors, discovery of a variety of divergent leadership approaches, discovery of the many facets of this incredible country, discovery of new friends and networks, discovery of self. That this journey took place over such a short timeframe (and although 2.5 weeks seemed like a big commitment at the outset, it was tiny in the greater scheme of things) made it all the more amazing. The Governor General herself was very present, and had a big impact on participants as did the many other speakers and participants. It was an honour to be selected as part of the 2008 cohort; I highly recommend this opportunity to those considering the 2012 session.
Elisa Campbell (2008)
Executive Director
Design Centre for Sustainability at UBC

“Attending the 2008 GGCLC was an incredible opportunity to learn from renowned Canadian and international leaders. The chance to listen, learn and interact with the leaders, presenters and fellow delegates in both formal and informal environments allowed for truthful, respectful and diverse dialogue on the recipe for the various successful communities across Canada and other countries. Together, our group worked on how we can each develop a strong understanding of the ingredients for a thriving community. We learned that experience, collaboration and dedication can be solutions to our leadership challenges at the corporate, government, political and community levels. I learned as much about myself as I did about the fellow delegates I spent two weeks touring Saskatchewan with. It was a time to see how other leaders have stretched from within their comfort zones at work and the places they live to provide other members of their communities with safer and better places to live. It took six months to really digest everything I experienced and apply it to my personal career and community goals”.
Scott Tod (2008)
Deputy Commissioner, Ontario Provincial Police

No other leadership course offers our great nation and its vast and diverse communities and geography as a classroom. A leadership course where participants, leaders in their own right, from all walks of professional life in Canada are your teachers, mentors and you theirs. Your two week journey will thrust you into issues, environments, socio-economic settings and circumstances possibly for the very first time. You will witness first hand the success, struggles and innovations of our fellow Canadian citizens and those they represent. The opportunity to share, challenge and debate the many public policy issues you and your group encounter will teach you more about your Country and yourself than any lecture ever will. The friends and colleagues I met have left a positive and lasting imprint on my professional development and I continue to draw on this experience on my personal and professional life.
Riel Bellegarde (2008)
Regional Director General,
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Saskatchewan

It was an honour to have participated in the 2008 GGCLC where my study group went to Newfoundland and Labrador. The east coast is beautiful and the people were welcoming everywhere we went. My study group was from all background of careers which made it interesting and I am proud to have been in the group. The daily travel where we met in the evenings and woke up early for our next travel was exhausting but definitely worth it. I will also remember and treasure my involvement in the conference and I highly recommend those to take part.
Regilee Adla (2008)
Acting Manager, Finance and Administration,
Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth, Government of Nunavut

To say that the opportunity to participate in the 2008 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference was ‘life-changing’ would, to some degree, minimize its impact. The chance to participate in such a ‘big picture’ experience with a diverse group of colleagues from all walks of Canadian life and experiences was a true gift. Despite being born and raised in Canada, I discovered my true national pride as part of this Conference. The experience stretched me in ways I could never have imagined and challenged my thinking on my role in my own community. I was exposed to ideas, history, and points of view that I could never have experienced in any other venue…. I had the chance to participate in engaging dialogue around the qualities of leadership needed to move our communities, and our country, forward. If such a unique experience isn’t completely life-altering, I don’t know what is!
Michelle M. Campbell (2008)
President & CEO
St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation, London, ON

What an honour it was to be one of the lucky Canadians chosen to experience the personal journey one embarks on by attending the GGCLC. It still makes me misty-eyed, years later, when I think back to all the extraordinary people I met and the wonderful communities I visited. The pride I felt in the achievements of these communities reaffirmed my pride in being Canadian. My participation in this challenging conference led to a personal transformation which I believe has made me a more effective leader. The chance to embrace the diversity in which I was immersed was particularly rewarding – one must be prepared to live outside of their comfort zone in order to gain the full benefit of this exceptional conference. I believe that participating in the conference has made me a better person. I’m grateful for the opportunity and I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience.
Darla Leard (2008)
Regional Representative, Prairies,
Canadian Labour Congress

Through this wonderful opportunity my Canada got bigger and smaller at the same time. We were able to experience a part of the country so diverse and with an amazing group of individuals as diverse as the province. I realized while we all look though different lenses of our past experiences our very diverse group found common themes. So rather than divide us, this experience brought us as a group together. This was a fabulously enriching experience that I would encourage anyone to take advantage of given the opportunity. This experience helped make me a better Canadian and a better leader and in some small way I hope I can give some of this back.
Byron Goerz (2008)
Chairperson, Environment Technical & Operational Component
British Columbia Government and Service Employees Union

I had been pushed to attend the 2008 Leadership Conference by an alumni of the 2004 Conference, so I had a better idea than most of the other participants of the experience that was coming. Even so, the Conference exceeded my expectations. The chance to meet people from very diverse backgrounds, experiencing this group of total strangers come together as a tight group, and in fact become friends in a little over two weeks was an experience I will always treasure. We learned a great deal from our tour, but we also learned from each other, and I certainly came away from the Conference with a clearer idea of what I wanted to achieve in my life.
David Black, (2008)
Vice-President
Canadian Office and Professional and Professional Employees Union

At the 2004 conference, Adrienne Clarkson said “There are wonderful leaders who watch where people are going and gently, insistently herd them from all sides – even behind – rather like a good sheep dog”. This confirmed for me that I don’t have to be a “saviour, dynamo, [or] hero” to be an effective leader. We met leaders in communities across the Yukon, national and international leaders as conference speakers, and leaders who were conference participants. We saw how the main goal of effective leaders is to encourage leadership in others, and how they ask questions, challenge assumptions, and have their own assumptions challenged. Exactly how the conference was modeled. This is an experience like no other, and I know it has made me a better Canadian and a better public servant.
Johanna N. Read (2004)
Director, Planning & Integration, The Leadership Network
Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada

This leadership conference will change you. Firstly, it really is a “once in a lifetime experience”. You will meet incredibly diverse and interesting people from all walks of life, each with something valuable to contribute to your personal growth. Your preconceived ideas about others will forever be changed and you will be inspired to make a difference. Second, there is an immeasurable “take home value”. You will learn what it means to be a real leader, to listen before talking, to learn from those you previously thought don’t have anything to teach you, to understand instead of trying to convince, to respectfully agree to disagree.
In short, you will be proud to be Canadian.
Jean Fahmy (2004)
CEO , brainPen inc.

The 2004 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference was a truly vision-altering experience. The exposure to the various opinions, ideals and visions at all levels of business, government and communities was worth every moment. It was really wonderful to see our country, both the good and the bad, through the eyes of participants who were there to enhance their leadership skills to help move their organizations and this country forward. My leadership style has been positively affected for life!
Joan Jessome (2004)
President, Nova Scotia Government Employees Union

After having three years to reflect on my experiences during the 2000 Governor General Canadian Study Conference, I can say that I truly have a broader appreciation for Canada and the issues we face as Canadians. Although I learned more about Nova Scotia, I also learned more about myself and my capabilities with the help of my fellow colleagues on the tour. They helped me realize my potential and this has given me more confidence to continue working in my chosen field of bridging cultures through community development. In fact, I have since started my own consulting company, and attribute that decision to the experience gained during the conference.
Francis Erasmus (2000)
President,
Bridging Circles

The Conference allowed me to live an experience unique in this country, in which all of my assumptions were put to the test. It was an unequalled opportunity to explore areas of public interest and to exchange ideas with people from completely different fields of knowledge.
Marc-Philippe Laurin (2000)
Technician/Associate-producer CBC, Chair of the CBC Bargaining Unit
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union

I went to get shaken. You have to be able to be influenced. You have to be a very, very open-minded person. I learned that there are a lot of shades of grey – nothing is black and white.
Claude Pinard (2000)
Vice President Communications,
Saputo Inc.

In our business we believe that behaviors are influenced by people’s mindsets which in turn are influenced by values and experiences. I can tell you unequivocally that my participation in the 2004 GG Leadership conference became an experience which altered my own mindset about important issues in our country. Whether it was experiencing a different meaning of the word community while walking through Vancouver’s eastside or discovering the history, the complexities and real issues facing First Nations which motivate their profound perspective around self-government. As I was “living” these and many other memorable moments with a great group of very diverse and passionate fellow conference attendees, I thought that our country would be a better place if every Canadian did this!! I was one of the lucky ones. It’s up to me now !
François Hudon (2004)
Sr Vice-President, Quebec and Atlantic divisions
BMO Bank of Montreal

The GG Conference was, for me, one of those life changing events. Not only did I gain a greater appreciation of the different segments of our society; i.e.., poor, illiterate, sick, union, business, social services, but I gained a much larger and greater appreciation of myself and the larger country I am a part of, live in and influence. I came to both understand and appreciate that I had the potential to influence, shape and support a greater sphere of this land we call home, Canada. The GG Conference continues to shape my leadership decisions and influence my life and for this I remain indebted to those who provide me with an opportunity to participate.
Alex Reed (2004)
Registrar / Director Customer Services
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology

I found my experience on the 2000 Canadian Governor General’s study tour to be an exceptional opportunity. To this day, I still refer to my experience as a unique learning opportunity. It was a privilege to be chosen and exposed to a variety of individuals from varying backgrounds. I learned more about my country, about myself and how I could improve my leadership ability. The Conference allowed me to grow both professionally and personally. It is an experience not to be missed.
Katya Laviolette (2000)
Vice-President, Human Resources
Transcontinental Media