VOCL 006 – An Evening with the Lieutenant Governor


Written By chris

On April 28, 2013

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Show Summary: The NB Study Group’s 2nd day on the road with speakers as Dawn Russel (STU President), panel discussions (executives from the from the Wallace McCain Institute, Ganong Bros., NB2026, 21inc, New Brunswick Business Council, Future NB, Agora Mobile, Inversa Systems, Atwood Technologies, Sentinel Systems, Xplornet Communications), meeting with Norma Dube and several community groups at the Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre, a tour of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, a supper with the Hon. Graydon Nicholas and Elizabeth Graydon, and a last call at the Picaroons brewery.


Hi there!  Welcome to the 6th episode of the Voices of Canadian Leadership podcast.

  • Now need two hands to show how many shows I’ve produced.
  • Getting more comfortable in front of a microphone.
  • Hard to find Canadian content – one of the reasons why I’m creating this podcast.
  • Show notes have a “More information” feature.
  • Added ability to listen to the podcast from within Facebook.
  • Summary of GGCLC so far:
    • A broad range of speakers from academia, business, and non-profit.
    • Already started touring NB, speaking with businesses and political figures (including the Premier) and a kitchen party!
  • We will now look at the main topic of the show – the New Brunswick Study Group’s 2nd day on the road as part of the 2012 GGCLC.

Let’s go back in time!

NB – Day 5 – Our 2nd Day in Fredericton 

Our 2nd day in New Brunswick started off with everyone being (relatively) well rested – the 7:45 start with breakfast was luxurious compared to yesterday’s 4 AM start. We had the opportunity to meet with Dawn Russell, who espoused the importance of a liberal arts education in developing leadership. Democracies need the humanities; it exposes people to the perspective of great people/writers and creates openness to other cultures.

Dawn Russell

Dawn Russell

We then proceeded to the Old Train Station where we had a chance to interact with two panels, organized by the Wallace McCain Institute’s Nancy Mathis. The first panel was with organizations that work together in a collaborative atmosphere with strategies to enhance the economy of the province. We were exposed to various organizations serving different demographics, including NB 2026, 21inc, Wallace McCain Institute, NB Business Council and Future NB. Education served as a unifying objective, with an interest in ensuring that the K-12 and university systems are able to encourage youth to stay in the province and generate long-term sustainability.

The second panel was with entrepreneurs connected and interacting in innovative ways to boost the economy. Leaders from Agora Mobile, Inversa Systems, Atwood Technologies, Sentinel Systems and Xplornet gave us their views on sustainability. We almost had a chance to meet Gerry Pond (Mariner Partners) as well; it would have been interesting to speak with someone who led an incredible NB success story. It was believed that the exodus of NB youth would stop and indeed reverse if the right opportunities and structure were implemented – you’re “itching” for a reason to come back. One of the methods of informing the youth was speaking with guidance counselors and promising high school graduates (25) with jobs once they complete their post-secondary education. Where the group saw themselves poised for success is that NB as a whole is a small community – this creates a system of networking. It also creates a system of solidarity – there is a marked reluctance to “poach” talent from another small business. Sales of radian6 created 22 millionaires; these new “angel investors” are increasing the opportunities for new tech companies. Finally, they closed with the entrepreneurial thought of “just go out and do it” – don’t wait for anyone else to create a path for you.

A quick lunch later, we were bus-bound again but this time for the University of New Brunswick. The focus was on a meeting/reflection session to demonstrate how community and province-wide organizations work to meet the social needs. Led by Rina Arsenault (Associate Director, Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre) and Norma Dube (Assistant Deputy Minister, Executive Council Office), the group was given an opportunity to hear from a wide variety of groups. Ever vigilant in the room was the Silent Witness (national program) silhouette to remember all of the women that have died as a result of violence, and to remind everyone of the fact that it is still happening today. The major concern was funding / resourcing; they felt the need to apologize for reducing programs even though they were doing as much as they could with the resources at hand/donated. Staffing was also an issue since the local operations are unable to compete with government wages. A constant theme was that of collaboration – working together to optimize the support to the community. Another theme was the need to show community support as a viable activity for today’s youth. After the presentations and a light refreshment, the group was introduced to its first real participatory task. We were broken down into four syndicates to discuss the concerns of the local organizations; there were very many interesting and challenging discussions. All too soon, it was time for us to leave to our next commitment.

Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre

Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre

We were given a fantastic tour of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Directed by Bernard Riordon, the conference attendees had a chance to see contemporary art alongside pieces that were over 400 years old. His vision for the gallery was to enrich life through art. Interestingly, there is no municipal allocation for art (notionally 1%), and they are working hard to have that approved.

Our dinner this evening was with the Lieutenant Governor, the Hon. Graydon Nicholas and Beth, his wife. We started with a “talking stick” activity – this was rather poignant since the stick being used had been crafted by his friend that had just passed away. The format was very interesting since it instills the discipline of listening. Also, by passing it along in a circle, it ensures that all views (including dissenting views) were presented; decisions are thus a form of compromise. One of the key themes was that there are many different kinds of justice systems in use: provincial vs. federal, civil versus common. Why not use restorative justice as another system (ethnic courts, school “courts”) Another theme was that of caring – if people held a baby 15 minutes a day, the world would be a better place because it encourages caring and love. Another theme surrounding sustainability was presented through an analogy – if you want to plan for one year hence then you plant rice / if you want to plan for ten years hence then you plant a tree / if you want to plan for a lifetime then you plant the seeds of knowledge.

The Honourable Graydon Nicholas and Elizabeth Nicholas

The Honourable Graydon Nicholas and Elizabeth Nicholas

These themes were interspersed with numerous funny and touching anecdotes by the both of them, supplemented by one of the best lasagna dish and gingerbread cakes ever! We could have discoursed for many more hours but the ever-present schedule (enforced with dedication by our amazing Military Liaison Officer, Matt) necessitated that we move on to our final location. In closing, we asked what he considered the most important word to be when we talk about leadership – he offered “compassion”. It was such an entertaining event – we were laughing all the way back to the bus as we recalled all of the stories that had been told.

Our final stop for the day was at the Picaroons microbrewery. We had a chance to sample several local beers, all the while discussing the brewery process and how they are trying to incorporate locally-supplied ingredients. Although there are some issues with domestic grains, they are using local hop fields. Additionally, the brewer’s grain gets sold to farmers for either feed or compost, minimizing the environmental footprint.

Picaroons Micro Brewery

Picaroons Micro Brewery

Sated with a great meal capped with fine ales, we went back to Saint Thomas for our final night before proceeding to Oromocto as our journey wends through the province.

Breakfast with Dawn Russell, President of STU

–          A chance to learn while we were eating – a common theme throughout the GGCLC. (So much food and so much sitting – not good!)

Panels at Old Train Station (Dr. Nancy Mathis (Wallace McCain Institute))

–          David Ganong, C.M. (Chairman of Ganong Bros. and the GGCLC Vice-Chair of Business & Finance). Also a member of many of the organizations in Panel 1.

  • NB needs to be innovative.  Intellectual capital – citizens working with the government to better NB.  Collaboration.
  • Chicken bones (semi-sweet chocolate inside a hard cinnamon shell)

Nancy Mathis and David Ganong

Nancy Mathis and David Ganong

  • Panel 1 – Collaboration, Partnership, Innovation
    • Involved:
      • NB2026 – “inaugurated in early 2009 as a forum to promote engagement and develop broad consensus around the province’s long-term self-sufficiency objectives, priorities, and strategies.”  i.e., longer than the 4-year political cycle.  The main thrust is learning and education.  Get K-12 right, access to post-secondary, and University curriculum.  The government was not prepared for a cooperation of businesses to push the educational agenda.
      • 21inc – “an innovative ‘action tank’ dedicated to fostering entrepreneurial leaders between the ages of 20 and 35 across Atlantic Canada… Vision is an Atlantic Canada with the entrepreneurial leadership required to be prosperous, sustainable, and resilient in an interconnected and global 21st century.”  It is similar to the GGCLC.  Genesis was youth leaders working independently – needed to put heads together.
      • New Brunswick Business Council (http://nbbc-cenb.ca/en) – “mission is to help build a competitive and growing economy that provides opportunities for all who invest, work and live in New Brunswick.”  Three priority areas of championing entrepreneurship, growing productive employment and promoting robust economic policy debate and development.  Genesis similar to 21inc. (common purpose)
      • Wallace McCain Institute (http://wallacemccaininstitute.com/index.php)- runs programs for high potential entrepreneurs to give them what they need to succeed.  Some of those programs are aimed at up-and-comers, follow-on generational leaders, 2iC, and even a program akin to CBC’s “Dragon’s Den” where graduating students compete for interview cards instead of investment capital.
      • Future NB (http://www.futurenb.ca/) is part of Atlantic Canada’s Community Business Development Corporation family.  They are a non-profit organization offering a number of programs to help people start, expand, or modernize a business
    • From my perspective, there appears to be overlap among these organizations; from what I understand is that they each serve their “niche” using a fairly small staff (1-3 people each).  When asked about possible duplication, the response was that they are trying to get away from more frameworks.  Do not want to create an overarching brand to cover the panelist organizations.
    • Largely funded by business (NBBC) or trusts (WMI)
    • NB has the highest level of multi-generational business (percentage?).
    • IT exports are a minuscule percentage – 25% of national average.
  • Panel 2 – Global attitude, exporting of knowledge
    • Involved:
      • Simon – Agora Mobile apps, social network around mobile apps
      • Jake Arseneault – CEO Inversa Systems (http://inversasystems.com/) – first CT scan to look into industrial infrastructure (walls, etc.) – useful in mines in helping to make maintenance decisions.
      • Theresa Williams – Atwood Technologies – software for predictive profiling and matchmaking to help you find what you’re looking for (jobs, love, a job that you will love…)
      • Denis Desrosiers – Sentinel Systems (http://www.sentinelsystems.ca/)- disaster awareness and response software.  Security operations for Royal Visit to PEI, disaster relief in aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
      • Erin Barrett- National Acquisition Manager for Xplornet Communications (Woodstock HQ) (http://www.xplornet.com/) – over 350 employees.  Fixed wireless towers, 4g satellite technology.  Heavy investment and big risk.  Encouraged by the government as a desire to bring broadband to the masses.  Started as a family business, but 4g requires deep pockets – now do not have a majority.
      • Dr. Nancy Mathis – she won a $100,000 Manning Principal award in 2003 as President and CEO of Mathis Instruments Ltd for “developing a unique non-invasive thermal effusivity sensor that determines the heat-transferring characteristics of a wide range of materials.”  A wide range of applications including the blending of powders in making pharmaceutical products (she won a $100,000 Manning Principal award in 2003 as President and CEO of Mathis Instruments Ltd.)
    • All these companies are based on innovation.
    • Issues are access to capital and access to talent (no different than anything else).  Now pretty easy to sell tech within Atlantic Canada (multiple success stories); the narrative is getting better.  The government may improve means for individuals to invest in small business.
    • Impact of selling big businesses (Q1, Radian6) – technology jobs remain here.  NB employees have a greater rate of loyalty – they tend to stay.
    • People who have left are itching for the right opportunity to come back.
    • Youth – 19 universities and colleges in Atlantic Canada.  Feeding into this is the Class of 2012 – fighting issues of awareness and perception.  Talking with guidance counselors – students think of the “dot-com bust”.  Promising high school graduates a job once they leave post-secondary.  Including mentorship program.  Have commitments for 35 positions, but only taking 25 applications (allows for closings, etc.)
    • Successful people are not crippled by failures; they adapt.  Nancy gave a personal example of her company’s failure.   The “trick” is to dust yourself off and carry on.  If a company makes a mistake, the inside stories come out since it’s such a small community.  The small community does have an advantage – ***Small community = network = power”***  Applies to financing as well.  Creates a feeling of solidarity – “Don’t poach from another small business”.
    • Being a small community, though, means that it can be more difficult to advertise than companies who have access to deeper pockets.  Sales of radian6 created 22 millionaires – have created many new “angel investors” increasing the opportunities for new tech.
    • Q – What keeps you up at night?  Major concern is youth demographic, access to resources, don’t want to ruin it for the future (x2), entrepreneurs are too small of a demographic
    • Q – what keeps you in NB – Love (family, place), ownership (“it’s ours”), impact due to size, the best place to start a start-up (speed), a vision of making this “Silicon Valley East” (we must develop our own swagger).

Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre for Family Violence

  • http://www.unb.ca/fredericton/arts/centres/mmfc/index.html
  • “Focus is on:
    • conduct and encourage practice and policy-relevant research on family violence and violence against women and children
    • dissemination of research findings to various target groups to influence policies or practices
    • develop and offer targeted educational programs”
  • Introduction of Silent Witness (national program – http://www.silentwitness.ca/ )
  • *****Funding/resourcing***** is a major challenge, but funding cuts shutting programs down are even more problematic (most funding is primarily Provincial).
  • Local operations unable to compete with government wages.
  • Trying to determine who needs the help the most (optimal use of minimal resources).
  • Have to be able to demonstrate to business how family violence affects them.  Even coming to an agreed definition can be challenging.
  • Looking at increasing First Nation participation, Social Workers convention will be heard in First Nations area
  • The introduction of unions into the fundraising ensures that attendance is higher
  • Looking for the best practices and creates spaces for conversation.  Looking at the area for ***collaboration***.
  • Not going to stop – keep asking until you get what you need.
  • Finding ways to get youth involved and staying in volunteerism.
  • Need to have community disaster plans and people trained to carry it out.
  • NB has a poor transportation system – how do people get the services that you need?
  • White ribbon campaign (http://www.whiteribbon.ca/) – how to have conversations with young males.
  • The use of inclusive (gender-neutral) language in literature.

Tour of Beaverbrook Art Gallery (Bernard Riordon, Director and CEO)

  • http://beaverbrookartgallery.wordpress.com/about/welcome/
  • Lots of Andy Warhol-esque art.  Picture of my head through a soup can.
  • Purchased a t-shirt of “Lobsterella, Queen of Crustacia, The incident on the South Shore” by Peter Manchester
  • Docent (can’t remember her name) was so incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about the art pieces.
  • Loved the “Santiago el Grande” painting by Salvador Dali

Beaverbrook Art Gallery

Beaverbrook Art Gallery

Dinner with Lieutenant Governor, Hon. Graydon Nicholas and Elizabeth Nicholas

  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graydon_Nicholas
  • Talking circle – http://www.muiniskw.org/pgCulture2c.htm
  • Would become a key component of the remainder of our trip.
  • Restorative justice – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restorative_justice
  • no restorative justice in jail – power resided in guards.
  • getting the community involved – remove temptations.
  • Toronto uses ethnic courts (restorative justice).  Some NB schools also use this method.
  • Elders were important – that’s because they passed down the oral history of time.  His people (Tobique First Nation – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobique_First_Nation) did not have script like the Mi’kmaw.
  • Caring ***children learned best when fed.****
  • We should not be afraid of giftedness.
  • Fishing and forestry are seasonal and are largely subject to market demands.  How do you sustain the economy when a large portion is based on seasonal workers?
  • University students want a caring society.  Recommends going into nursing homes and record their life stories – bonds students and elderly alike.
  • Handshake or fist – think of tension.
  • Generous, engaging, and a great storyteller – one of the most memorable stops for me.

The Lieutenant Governor's Residence

The Lieutenant Governor’s Residence

Picaroons (Sean Dunbar)

Sean Dunbar

Sean Dunbar

Listener Feedback

Responses to Bill England’s question?  Oops – forgot to post on FB, Twitter, and website.  Here it is again: “How can leaders benefit from implementing a local decentralized (“flat”) organizational section or department within a predominately strategic centralized (“hierarchy”) organization?”

Resources and Articles

National Volunteer Week (13.3 million volunteers in Canada)

Administrative Professionals’ Week (475k in Canada)

“5 Leadership Lessons For Today’s Executive” by Vick Vaishnavi at Forbes.com

  • Set the standard for performance
  • Give meaningful direction
  • Make communication a priority
  • Persist until the job is well and truly done
  • Be a learner and not just a coach

Giving meaningful direction – make sure that your direction is understood by the recipient! (ties-in to communication skills)

From a management perspective: For reporting / follow-up of tasks – 8-80 rule (PM background).  Reporting interval can vary:

Start – Short – efforts going down the right path, immediately identify obstacles

Middle – Longer – ensure tasks are tracking down the plan

End – shorter – focus on meeting the deadline



“The leadership wisdom of Margaret Thatcher” by James Adonis at the Newcastle Herald

Article based on several Margaret Thatcher quotes.  One part is focused on findings from the Centre for Creative Leadership where the researchers concluded with the three ideal forms of power:

  • “The power of relationships requires leaders to build meaningful connections by developing trust and seeking understanding.
  • The power of information necessitates effective communication by sharing new knowledge and discarding irrelevant data.
  • The power to reward others highlights the need to provide positive feedback and to compensate people for their efforts.”

He closes the article by stating that “In 2011, the Harvard Business Review published the findings of a study of 7000 leaders, which revealed women outperformed men in 15 out of 16 leadership competencies. And the margin was substantial in 12 of those.”  If this is the case, why are Canadian women under-represented in leadership positions across the country?



“School Vote Stirs Debate on Girls as Leaders” by Katharine Q. Seelye at the New York Times

Although there are few leadership “nuggets” in this article, I’ve included it here since it is an interesting follow-on to the article about Margaret Thatcher.  Gender issues surrounding leadership are ever-present, and can be seen in the latest generation of schools – even one as prestigious as the Philips Academy (Presidents Bush, Oliver Wendell Holmes, etc.).  This is not the only issue, however – a student named Junius Onome Williams stated: ““Since 1973 there have been only four females, but African-Americans have been admitted since 1865, and we’ve had only three black presidents.”  That’s one century longer than women have been admitted, yet with less successful results.

How are we doing in Canada?  If girls represent roughly half the student population, do they also have half of the leadership positions in the student council?  Charlotte’s school – Head Boy and Head Girl


I’m Chris Hache, asking you to be VOCL for a better Canada.


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