The Governor General's Canadian Leadership Conference - 2017 - La Conférence canadienne du Gouverneur général sur le leadership

Alumni Newsletter

GGCLC photo of attendees


The Board of Directors of the GGCLC would like to introduce you to the new alumni newsletter. It is our hope the newsletter will keep alumni informed of the latest news, insights and opportunities – and open further dialogue within our community.

All alumni are encouraged to submit information for publication by emailing new items and photos to Zachary Weeks (2012 GGCLC) at

Please remember as well that all alumni have access to the Alumni Website and Database. If you require password assistance please contact

Who’s Where

GGCLC Dominique Anglade photo

GGCLC alumnus Dominique Anglade (2004) was named Minister of the Economy, Science and Innovation by Quebec Premier Couillard.
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GGCLC Gillian Davidson photo

Gillian Davidson (2012) has joined the World Economic Forum, the International Organisation for Public-Private Cooperation, as Head of Mining & Metals. Based in Geneva, Gillian leads engagement with business, political and other leaders of society and multi-stakeholder initiatives to shape the global industry agenda and advance responsible and sustainable mining. Recently this work has ranged from the role of mining in the response to Ebola and pandemics and private sector engagement in the Sustainable Development Goals and climate agenda, to the digital transformation of industry and the role of materials in the 4th industrial revolution. Prior to the Forum, Gillian was Director of Social Responsibility at Teck Resources in Vancouver.


GGCLC Geovernor General David Johnston book signing photo

We are pleased to report that Governor General David Johnston released his book titled The Idea of Canada: Letters to a Nation on April 19. Canadian Labour Congress Secretary Treasurer and GGCLC Director Barbara Byers was able to get herself a signed copy and chat with the author himself at the Ottawa launch.

Scott Tod (2008) retired in March as Deputy Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police responsible for organized crime and major cases. He is moving to North Bay, Ontario, as Deputy Chief. In his retirement address he took a moment to praise his experience with the GGCLC as a turning point for his career, recalling a remarkable speech at the Banff opening plenary by Hong Kong’s former chief executive Anson Chan and how he would frequently ask himself in difficult situations: WWAD – “What would Anson do?”


GGCLC Ron Shaw retirement party photo

Also retiring this spring was Ron Shaw, CAO of the City of Stratford for 28 years, and former conference member, regional chair and National Executive member. Attending the send-off were 2017 Ontario regional chair John Elvidge, Ontario West chair Tobi Day-Hamilton, and GGCLC Director Michelle Campbell.


GGCLC Brian Kingston photo

Brian Kingston (2015) was recently promoted to Vice President Policy, International and Fiscal Issues for the Business Council of Canada. Brian leads the Council’s policy work on international trade, fiscal and monetary policy issues. In this role, he manages CEO Forums with India and Japan, the Council’s tax policy advisory network and the annual Total Tax Contribution report. Brian is active in the non-profit sector as the Vice-President, Global Operations, Young Canadians in Finance and as a board member of the Ottawa Economics Association. Brian is an Action Canada Fellow, World Economic Forum Global Shaper and alumnus of the 2015 Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.

GGCLC Alexandra T. Greenhill photo

Alexandra T. Greenhill (2012)’s tech company myBestHelper has become the first Canadian company to win the Cartier Women’s Initiative Award – a global entrepreneur competition led by Cartier, McKinsey, INSEAD and the Women’s Forum to identify and support projects by women entrepreneurs. She was also the 10th Canadian company to do the Blackbox accelerator powered by Google for Entrepreneurs. myBestHelper helps families figure out child and elder care options, and works with companies interested in supporting their people in the quest for work-life balance.
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Monique Lugli (2012) was recently appointed chief of staff to the Minister of Status of Women in the new federal government.


On the other side of the aisle, former Conservative Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole (2012) has been named Official Opposition critic for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.


GGCLC Sean Wiltshire photo

2000 Alumni and National Board Member Sean Wiltshire is returning for his second trip to South East Asia as an Employment Expert on Diversity and Inclusive hiring practices for the International Development Project “Disability Rights Promotion International” Sean will be working in Kathmandu, Nepal; Dhaka, Bangladesh; and Hyderabad, India.

GGCLC 2015 Conference Attendees

Upcoming BC Regional
Committee Meeting

The BC Regional Committee is meeting on May 12 in Vancouver. For further details contact BC Chair Michael Matsubuchi at

Upcoming Ottawa Regional
Committee Meeting

May 26, 2016 – Ottawa


GGCLC guest speaker Chris Hadfield

Quebec Regional
Committee Meetings

May 10, 2016 – Québec City


Upcoming Alberta
Regional Committee meeting

May 12, 2016 – Calgary

For further details contact Cory Royal at

GGCLC Picture

Six Questions for Marc-André Franche (2008)
Country Director, UN Development Program in Pakistan


What is your role with the United Nations?

As Country Director of the UN’s Development Programme in Pakistan, I oversee the development and implementation of our program. It is focused on climate change adaptation, promoting democratic governance including improved electoral management, rule of law and local governance. Also included is crisis prevention and recovery which encompasses a large community resilience program, violence prevention and disaster risk reduction. I am particularly devoted to partnership development, communications and outreach, strategic positioning and supporting my colleagues to implement the program. The program is worth over $300m over 5 years and a team of 350 staff consisting of mostly Pakistanis with some 20 international staff.

How did you move into an international leadership role?

After my studies in Montreal, Sweden and the UK, I pursued a volunteer position funded by CIDA in Bolivia with UNDP which got me interested in the United Nations work and exposed me to some great colleagues. After that, I entered the Young Professional Program also supported by CIDA with UNDP in Colombia where I focused on action research and developing conflict prevention programs. From then I was lucky to have great mentors who supported me and gave me increasing levels of responsibility and exposure. I went to work in New York in charge of crisis countries support in the Latin America and Caribbean region while managing regional programs on conflict prevention. With that experience I applied to a management position in UNDP in Haiti where I managed the program before and after the 2010 earthquake. This first management experience was challenging but also gave me the tools and the maturity to do the job I have today.

What particular leadership skills are required leading a major United Nations program in a sovereign country?

I think the most important skill is the capacity to listen, learn and understand the context in which you live and work. That means a lot of time devoted in reading, asking questions and listening to the many colleagues and partners in country. It’s not so much understanding historical facts and knowing the players – although that helps – but specially understanding how people organize, how coalitions are made, what are the obstacles to change and all the small cultural idiosyncrasies which will allow you to understand how a society functions so you can influence it positively. Having a good sense of interests and opportunities and then rallying your colleagues to contribute to something bigger than themselves will allow you to contribute meaningfully. While helping to articulate a vision with the team and your partners of what that change should be a key skill is to also remain humble about the pace and scope of change. All societies and government are complex and do not change overnight.

Has your career followed the path you expected?

I sometimes think I should have been an architect so I could physically touch what I have built. Given my family background – both my parents were working in international development – I always wanted to devote my life to international development, to be an agent of positive change in the lives of as many people as possible. I did not really expect this would lead me to the UN. It is an extraordinary institution though with many flaws and strengths like all institutions. Although I would not wish for another career given what it has given me, I did not expect it was going to be so complex and difficult.

Do you find time to keep up with your friends in Canada – and your Conference colleagues?

I am back in Canada at least once a year and manage keeping in touch with my family, although they might have other views on the frequency on my contacts. I am in quite regular contact with some of my conference colleagues and we do send a mass email to the entire group once in a while. We keep abreast of what most are doing and keep on discussing a way we would all meet again.

Did your experience with the leadership Conference provide you any particular skills or insights into leadership that you might not have been able to get elsewhere?

For one, it gave me better and more concrete appreciation of the diversity of Canada and the amazing breadth of community experiences. It gave me the opportunity to adapt some of the skills I had used abroad in a Canadian context but I also learned quite a bit from the leadership styles and communications skills from the members of my group. Some of it I still use in my work and the Conference gave me that exposure.

Results from Survey of Conference Alumni
from 1983 to 2015


Nearly 50% of Conference Alumni responded to the February-March survey conducted by Strategic Council. Here are highlights of the results:


Conference alumni believe participating in the GGCLC has provided significant value both personally and professionally:

  • 91% say the GGCLC experience has enhanced their life (64% say greatly).
  • 94% say the Conference has contributed to their personal growth (73% say greatly).
  • 83% suggest the Conference has enhanced professional development (42% say greatly).


More specifically:

  • 97% of alumni agree the Conference has improved their understanding of Canada and the communities that make up our society (77% strongly agree).
  • 96% agree the Conference enabled them to meet and engage with others from different walks of life at a level the would not get elsewhere (76% strongly agree).
  • 92% say the Conference taught them to view situations from different perspectives (65% strongly agree).
  • 91% agreed that the Conference has had a lasting impact on their life (63% strongly agree).
  • 90% agreed that the Conference gave them a better understanding of the relationship between business, labour, government and the community sector (65% strongly agree).
  • 89% believe that the Conference helped their development as leaders.
  • 78% say the Conference helped them become a better decision-maker.


The impact of the Conference on alumni also is illustrated by the fact virtually all respondents (98%) report that they have recommended the Conference to others – primarily colleagues (87%), but also to friends (75%).


Conference Executive Director Ian Anderson commented:
“The response rate was very high for an online survey, close to 50%. What is also remarkable is that the responses do not vary greatly between sectors or conference years – the positive impact on lives and careers was felt by the participants of each of the 10 conferences held to date.”