LEADERSHIP FOR THE FUTURE
For the first time in generations, Canadian society is undergoing significant transformation brought about by local, national and global forces that have the potential to cause considerable shocks to our shared systems.
The impacts of COVID-19, the rise of social justice movements and the call for a more focused transition to a low carbon world are reshaping the lives of Canadians and the economy that supports us. The experience of the past two years has also reinforced the need for more concerted action to address pre-existing social challenges such as mental wellness, diversity and inclusion, truth and reconciliation and accessible education and health care for all, just to name a few.
It goes without saying that the pandemic occurred at a time when the pace of change was already accelerating around us¹. Technological disruption poses both a threat to existing ways of life and an opportunity for quantum advancement and social good. Think for instance of the rapid acceleration in digitization that enabled so many of us to work from home during the health crisis and the chance that this presents to create a more flexible, inclusive and mobile workforce for all Canadians.
If there’s anything that we’ve learned – or relearned – over the past two years, it’s that decision makers will need to be creative, resilient and empathic as they navigate change, uncertainty and disruption, helping pave the way for future generations to come. Ultimately, collaborative leadership, sharp governance and capacity building will be key to ensure that Canada retains a position of leadership on the world stage and that all Canadians have the opportunity to thrive.
As we look ahead to the future, education and lifelong learning will be essential to develop the critical thinking skills required to make informed and evidence-based decisions. In our complex and rapidly changing world where information and disinformation proliferate, the need for critical thinking to discern the real from the false and to determine the right paths forward will become more crucial than ever. In our institutions and in our schools, the choices we make in the coming years will have far reaching consequences. Our response to global challenges such as climate change, public health, food and water security, migration, and wealth disparity will need to be nothing short of exceptional.
Furthermore, as we accelerate the path to reconciliation in Canada, we have a unique opportunity to change the way we learn, share, support and mutually engage with each other. As such, current and future generations will need to acquire a diversity of competencies and work together in order to develop inclusive strategies for moving reconciliation forward in a positive way. When collaboration is efficient, it reproduces and builds the characteristics of civic engagement that allows us to deal with future issues in constructive ways.
Through fifteen days of engaging presentations, exploratory visits and meaningful conversations, the 2022 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference will study the role that leaders play in addressing today’s challenges in order to stimulate sustainable change and build a promising future for all.
As part of this examination, new and collaborative decision-making systems that draw upon wider skills, networks, and a deep understanding of local conditions will be explored. Disruptive technologies that have impacted many of Canada’s core industries and their workforces will be experienced first-hand. Throughout the Conference, participants will have the chance to meet, exchange and debate with Canadians from all walks of life – people who are dedicated to building a prosperous, resilient, diverse and inclusive culture for the organizations and communities of tomorrow.
In the words of our Governor General Mary Simon, “we are all members of a large and diverse Canadian family”. Collectively, we have to replace “hurt with hope” and “find the grace and humility to stand together and move toward a more just and equitable future”. This is what the next generation of leadership is all about and we look forward to exploring the country and its future with our exceptional group of GGCLC leaders in June of 2022.