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

October 2016 – Alumni Newsletter

GGCLC 2015 Conference Attendees

His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Honorary Chair
GGCLC Manitoba Meet and Greet image

Donald Lindsay, Chair of the GGCLC


Summer seems to have flown by and it is with great pleasure that we welcome you to the latest Edition of the GGCLC newsletter. We would like to make a note to fellow alumni that the application process for the 2017 GGCLC closed on September 30th. For a second edition in a row, we are proud to report that a record number of applications have been received. With that in mind, interviews will now be conducted throughout the country from mid-October to mid-November.

We would like to thank everyone who submitted the content for this issue of the newsletter. 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 Erin O'Toole photo

Erin O’Toole (2012) has entered the race to replace former prime minister Stephen Harper as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada. Erin is a former federal Cabinet minister (Veterans Affairs), lawyer and Royal Canadian Air Force officer. He represents the riding of Durham east of Toronto.

“As we look to the future, our priorities are clear: we need to reconnect with Canadians,” O’Toole said as he launched his leadership campaign from his home town of Bowmanville, Ontario. “We need to build on the strengths and successes of our past while actively seeking opportunities to win back the trust of Canadians.”

Erin also announced he is supported by 10 MPs from the federal Conservative caucus. His father John represented the Durham riding in the provincial legislature for 20 years.
Read More


GGCLC Hamoon Ekhtiari photo

Hamoon Ekhtiari (2015) was recently a speaker at the Ottawa Peace Talks, a UN-sponsored event that has traveled from Geneva to Stockholm and Johannesburg. Humbled to share the stage with the likes of RH Adrienne Clarkson and LG Romeo Dallaire, Hamoon shared 3 lessons from innovation drawing on his work with senior leaders in the private, public, and civic sectors to re-imagine the future of world.
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GGCLC Al-Karim Khimji photo

Al-Karim Khimji (2008) has been volunteering with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Al-Karim is currently the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Alberta, Northwest Territories & Nunavut Division President and sits on the Canadian National Board where he leads major strategic projects. Al-Karim also sat on the Award’s International Council that governs the program in over 140 countries (2011-2014). On Friday, June 24th 2016, he hosted His Royal Highness Prince Edward The Earl of Wessex, The Lieutenant Governor Honourable Lois Mitchell, and The Mayor Of Calgary Naheed Nenshi in Calgary for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award Ceremony presenting over 140 youth with the Award and launching the Division’s 40th anniversary celebration.
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GGCLC Mina Mawani photo

Mina Mawani (2012) is among the top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners of 2016. This award is presented by Canadian Immigrant magazine and sponsored by RBC. The Canadian Immigrant Award celebrates the achievements of inspiring Canadian immigrants. Mina currently serves as the president and CEO of Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, after building a reputation as a leader for organizations such as Canadian Women’s Foundation and the Aga Khan Council for Canada.
Read More


GGCLC Graham Gibbs photo

Graham Gibbs (1983) Graham and his wife Jay recently returned to Ottawa in 2010. Eighteen months later he retired. When back in Ottawa they bought a Canadian Roadtrek Camper Van (at 6m it is small enough to go on the “roads-less-travelled”). During the past six years Graham and Jay have travelled, from their home in Ottawa, our country coast-to-coast. During their travels they visited numerous historic and archeological sites, as well as many museums. Based mostly on what he has learned “on the road” Graham has written a book titled: “Five Ages of Canada: A HISTORY From Our First Peoples to Confederation.” It was his “retirement project.” The book will be published by Friesen Press, Victoria, BC later this year to coincide with Canada’s 150th anniversary. Graham has also shared their Canadian adventures, to help others explore our country, on his website.


GGCLC David Black photo

David Black (2008) was recently elected President of the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, at their triennial convention in Toronto.

GGCLC Shirley Friesen photo

Shirley Friesen (2015) was re-elected as the Vice President of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, and began her second term on January 2016 (3 years). Shirley has also been part of the Technical Committee on Mental Health in the workplace where they recently completed their report ( on Mental Health in the Workplace to the Steering Committee made up of Treasury Board and Labour Leaders.

Shirley was also part of the labour delegation that attended the ‘United Nations Commission on the Status of Women 60’ in March this year, as a delegate for the Canadian Labour Congress Delegation. Read More


GGCLC Guy Lavalee photo

2016 has been a big year for Guy Lavallée (2008). In February, Guy was named Secretary General of Retraite Québec, a new organization that is responsible for the administration of the Quebec Pension Plan and the retirement plans of the Provincial public service. Guy also was named a Fellow of the Order of the Professional Accountants in Quebec. This title (Fellow de l’Ordre), is aimed to recognize the merit of members who have an exceptional degree of dedication to the profession, or to members who have made a positive impact on the profession of accounting. Then in September Guy received the “Reconnaissance Arthur Child pour services exceptionnels au Canada” Award from the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) –Canada. This award aims to recognize members from the Institute for the contribution to the profession.


Call for Volunteers image

Call for volunteers: Interview Process

The Regional Committees will conduct interviews from mid-October to mid-November with the objective of recommending the next cohort of GGCLC members for the 2017 Conference. If you would like to volunteer and help conduct interviews, we encourage you to get in touch with to your Regional Committee. Their contact information can be found at the bottom of this newsletter.

Julia Rivard Picture

Six questions with Julia Rivard (2012)
Co-Founder & CMO of Squiggle Park


I think you could be accurately described as a serial entrepreneur. What has made you so successful starting new businesses?

I am not sure when you cross over into the “serial” space but after starting 6 companies, I have come to realize the start is the easy part. It is persistence that leads to success and persistence takes time. Other than persistence what stands out most to me as drivers of success are these three things:

1. The ability to weather emotional highs and lows and keep moving forward.
2. The ability to work extremely smart and hard.
3. Understanding how to pull the best people in to help push you further and faster towards your goals.

You were an Olympian – that is a huge accomplishment. But you had to go at it twice. Can you tell us what made you change from swimming to canoeing?

When I was in high school I was training as a National level swimmer. It had been a dream of mine to be an Olympic swimmer from the time I was 6. Unfortunately, in high school I was in a skiing accident and fractured my spine which required several months of recovery. That time off was enough for my competitors to move ahead of me and I felt my window to be an Olympic swimmer had closed. Once recovered I still had the desire to be a great athlete and luckily a strong athletic training base allowing me to pick up a new sport at a high level quickly.

I was introduced to kayaking in North Bay, Ontario in the month of March. We would go down to the river and break the ice so we could paddle. I immediately loved the sport and decided to dedicate myself to making the National Championships. After six months of training I did compete at the Canadian National Championships and was thrilled to win a bronze medal against the best women in the country. This result motivated me to dedicate myself to a goal of reaching the Olympic Games and four years later, I reached my goal and represented Canada at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia.

Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, has talked about women leaders needing to “lean in”. What do you think she means – and do you agree?

The book explores several topics about equity, opportunity, motherhood, success but ultimately what I took from the book was that women should approach opportunities with the confidence they have what it takes to reach success. Confidence is the key concept. Without it women, or anyone for that matter, do not reach their defined success and with it, you can go further than you expect possible. But confidence is fragile and unfaithful. It can leave you when you need it most and harnessing it as your loyal guide takes strength. To me leaning in asks women to use confidence as their advantage both personally and professionally to realize their potential.

You were a GGCLC member in 2012 and have stayed involved. How did the Conference experience impact you?

The GGCLC Conference was an outstanding experience for me. It was one of the events in life that I will look back on as a shaper of who I am today. Simply to be selected as a part of such an outstanding group of people is an affirmation you have achieved something worth recognizing and then the opportunity to meet with other leaders with such diverse experiences enriched my perspective. The opportunity for any of us to open our minds to new ways of thinking is a gift and this has been impact the Conference has had on me.

I have stayed in touch with the organization through feedback on ways to keep alumni connected and my team at Norex built an Alumni portal that houses all of the GGCLC contacts from years past. I have kept in touch with my study tour members (Team Bison) via Facebook and connecting in person when travel brings us together. This group will be one I always feel connected to.

Can you tell us about your latest challenge as a tech leader?

At the beginning of 2016 I joined my business partner Leah Skerry in a new start-up called Squiggle Park with the vision of improving global literacy by developing video games for children Pre K to grade 3 that teach the critical pre-reading skills through play. Education Technology is a difficult sector and one that is evolving quickly. The most recent challenge has been to reach out to leaders in education who are innovating their own systems and delivery of education to use Squiggle Park with their students and track improvements to reading progress here in Canada and all over the world.

You live in a Canada – in Nova Scotia – but your business takes you frequently to tech capitals like Silicon Valley and Boston. Do you think Canadians are doing enough to take advantage of global digital opportunities?

My sector is technology and in this sector it is common to see Canadians travelling or relocating to take advantage of global digital opportunities. In any industry the action of embedding yourself in a space where change is happening is so important. Surrounding yourself and connecting with the true leaders and innovators allows any business to bring in new thinking, systems and products which drive you forward. Just as important is bringing the best people in to our businesses in Canada. By investing in outstanding leadership from other parts of the world we are not only strengthening our own organizations but also the communities we live in and the future of Canada.

Alumni Show Clear Interest in Alumni Association, Programming


The GGCLC survey of its Alumni earlier this year showed a very strong interest in a unique Alumni programs across Canada, including a formal Alumni association. In total, 82% of those who responded to survey said they were very interested (39%) or somewhat interested (43%) in forming an Association. Those who attended the Conferences in recent years (2012 and 2015 in particular) showed the strongest interest (over 90%). In total, 65% of Alumni respondents said there were very willing (15%) or somewhat willing (50%) to help fund an Association with dues or personal donations.


Almost all Alumni – regardless of whether they are interested in a formal Association – showed very strong interest in organized Alumni events at the closing plenary of the 2017 Conference, with 89% saying (58% strongly) they would like to attend a day organized for Alumni with speakers and round tables, and 86% saying they were interested in a dinner or reception for alumni.


The GGCLC Board of Directors will be announcing news very shortly of unique Alumni programing for the closing plenary in Ottawa-Gatineau, June 15-16, 2017.


Region Name
British Columbia Michael Matsubuchi
Alberta Cory Royal
Alberta Sherri Wilson
Saskatchewan Laurel Garven
Saskatchewan Alastair MacFadden
Manitoba Marie Buchan
Manitoba Leanne Douglas
Ontario John Elvidge
Southwest – Ontario Tobi Day-Hamilton
GTA – Ontario Josephine Archbold
GTA – Ontario Shari Mackay
North – Ontario Brian Marks
East – Ontario Mark Schaan
Québec Isabelle Foisy
New Brunswick Yves Pelletier
New Brunswick Nadine Duguay
Nova Scotia David Alderson
Nova Scotia Jennifer Chiasson
Prince Edward Island Doug Newson
Newfoundland & Labrador Lisa Browne
Newfoundland & Labrador Kerry Murray
Yukon Vikki Quocksister
Yukon Roxanne Vallevand
Northwest Territories Mark Cliffe-Phillips
Northwest Territories Yvonne Doolittle
Nunavut Christine Lamothe
Nunavut Karen Kabloona
Nunavut Charlie Tautuajuk