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Could you share the story of how you ended up pursuing a career in public service? What led you to choose this field and what aspects of it do you find most fulfilling?

With respect to joining the public service, my initial goal was probably the same as many others early in their career…getting a job offer in your chosen field! I was fortunate to land a role in Labour Relations with the Ministry of the Attorney General, where I flourished. I quickly came to appreciate the impact of the Ministry and was proud to be a part of the public service. A public service career gives incredible room to grow moving between roles and ministries while still being with the same employer. If you are open to change, the possibilities are endless! There are also many ways your work can make life better for the public. If you have a specific passion on that front, the public service is the place that can help make that happen.

Throughout your career in various ministries and organizations, how have you witnessed the impact of public service on the community or citizens?

Throughout my public service career, there was an emphasis on transformation to improve and protect services for communities and the public. In my first roles with the Ministry of the Attorney General, I supported a court recording project targeted at creating real-time capture and sharing of court proceeding records. Advances in technology and willingness to challenge the status quo were often drivers for projects I was involved in during my 30-plus years. Another involved human resources negotiations to transfer corporate and sales tax auditors from the province to the federal sector. The net effect was reducing the administrative burden on businesses, moving from two separate sets of tax rules and two separate audits to one.
I finished out my career working with many operational partners to maintain specific services to the public and other ministries throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. There were many lessons learned for the Ontario Public Service from the pandemic, including the need to:
  • Leverage new technology and process reengineering to move more services online and improve existing ones,
  • Move nimbly when in-person services are not possible or recommended, and
  • Rethink supply chain management.

With competing worldwide demand for pandemic-related supplies, it became critical to coordinate the ordering and distribution of key supplies. This has led to the creation of Supply Ontario tasked with creating a single supply chain organization for the Ontario Public Service (OPS), the broader public sector (BPS) and the health sector. This will be a challenging but important shift to a whole-of-government approach for purchasing goods and services, ensuring consistent access to high-quality and reliable products for the people of Ontario at all times.

Throughout your career in various ministries and organizations, how have you witnessed the impact of public service on the community or citizens?

Underpinning all of these is the recognition that people are at the heart of everything. We are all human. Business decisions need to look at the people’s impacts on those delivering and those receiving the service. During the pandemic, for example, we were delivering in-person public services at the same time as those delivering them were also personally impacted. It’s important to engage topic experts as well as to hear and understand different interests and perspectives to find the best solutions possible. Listen, adapt and admit when you are wrong. Others may bring a better solution to the table. Understand that the ongoing relationship with stakeholders, partners and colleagues is more important than differences of views on different topics.
Change management is a key skill. Recognize that a true leader is one people follow because they feel valued and respected.

Outside of your professional life, what are some hobbies or activities that you enjoy in your free time?

Now that I’m retired, I spend time at the stables with my horse, gardening and exploring family genealogy. My grandmother was adopted and until recently, we didn’t know anything about her birth family. I am hoping to make a trip to the East Coast in September to connect with some of her family roots. My husband and I also love camping and look forward to several outings a year, particularly in the fall. Being retired, I get to spend more time with family and friends and change what my plans are on short notice. Retirement is the best “job”!