Ottawa Business Journal November 6, 2017

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Tasty proposition

Inside Ottawa’s galas, fundraisers and networking events

Burger chef Matt Dobry thinks he’s found the perfect vehicle to expand his unique food truck model > PAGES 8-9

November 6, 2017 Vol. 21, NO. 2 PAGES 10-13

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Blue-sky thinking

Bluesky Strategy Group co-founder Susan Smith’s passion for politics has helped fuel the public affairs firm’s rise to prominence. > PAGE 3

John Ruddy has developed retail spaces across the country, but it’s in his hometown of Ottawa where he’s had the most lasting impact. PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON

Trinity’s Ruddy a true team player ‘Visionary’ behind Lansdowne’s revival never stops trying to make his city a better place Founder of trailblazing commercial real estate firm who ‘never forgot his roots’ is OBJ’s Lifetime Achievement recipient > PAGES 14-15

Pride of place

Students and faculty at Carleton’s Sprott School of Business are hoping a new home will help give the school’s profile a needed boost. > PAGES 4-5


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“You had to be professional and do your job, and as long as you did that and treated people with respect, then you had the opportunity to earn respect.” — Bluesky Strategy Group co-founder Susan Smith

Bluesky’s Smith parlays passion for politics into thriving business Family’s dinner-table debates set stage for entrepreneur’s rise to the top of capital’s public affairs industry



One of her biggest inspirations is her sister, fellow entrepreneur Fiona Smith Bradley. She’s a mother of three busy children and co-owner of Modern OT occupational therapy services, which has offices in Ottawa, Kingston and Pembroke. “I don’t know how she finds the minutes in the day.”




Her career highlight is connected to Canada 2020, an Ottawa-based think-tank that was co-founded in 2006 by Mr. Barber, Ms. Smith, Gene Lang and Tom Pitfield. It hosted a memorable party (The Weeknd was there!) and a policy lunch in Washington, D.C., in and around Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s state dinner with U.S. president Barack Obama in 2016. “All of the Canadians came home feeling the same thing: like you were part of something really special. It took weeks to come down from. You just rode the energy.”

Bluesky Strategy Group owner Susan Smith. PHOTO BY CAROLINE PHILLIPS

real estate lawyer and a native of Halifax. Her mom, Joan, came to Canada from Glasgow and volunteered in the community while running the home front for Susan and her younger brother and sister. As a teen, Ms. Smith was a top student. She played sports. She held down parttime jobs at Shoppers Drug Mart and as a lifeguard. “I did what was expected of me,” she explains of her squeaky-clean youth. Ms. Smith grew up with an interest in politics, which was always a topic of conversation around the dinner table. Moreover, she benefitted from living in Canada’s political hub, where politician sightings are as common as tourists taking photos with the NAC’s Oscar Peterson statue. “I was given a book of rhyming poems about Canada’s prime ministers when I was 10, and it kind of stuck,” she says.

She had a backstage chat and shook hands with Mr. Obama this past September, when he spoke at a Canada 2020 event in Toronto. “It was electric,” she said of his presence in the room.


She was a member of the Reach for the Top academic quiz team in high school. She also tried cheerleading, but since she’s five foot 10, the coaches suggested that basketball might be a better option.


You can put her on a stage to speak anytime, but don’t ever ask her to do karaoke. “It’s my biggest fear!”

Communications before leaving with her colleague Mr. Barber to start Bluesky Strategy Group in 2003, just as Paul Martin was beginning his tenure as prime minister. It was a hectic time for Ms. Smith, who was juggling the new business with raising her son. There was the rushing to and from day care and then toting the little guy along to her after-work stints as a political pundit and commentator on CBC News. She’s now in a long-term relationship with her supportive partner Mike Kenney. With her son Harrison now 17 years old, Ms. Smith is looking to continue to grow Bluesky while broadening her horizons and tackling some new challenges. First up for her this fall is the Directors Education Program at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, where she hopes to develop her leadership potential as a corporate director down the road. “After 25 years in business, I think I have some perspective to offer, particularly in communications and public policy.”


EARNING RESPECT Ms. Smith went on to study politics at Queen’s University, where she was actively involved in student life and eventually become manager of one of the campus pubs. Her first real-world job was on Parliament Hill for a backbench MP before she moved on to public relations firm Hill+Knowlton. Once Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government came into power in 1993, she was hired as press secretary for then-transport minister Doug Young. On a personal level, she met a guy on The Hill

and got married. One of the best pieces of advice that ever came her way dates back to early in her career. She was told: They don’t have to like you, they just have to respect you. “That was a loaded statement because it meant you had to do good work,” she notes. “You had to be professional and do your job, and as long as you did that and treated people with respect, then you had the opportunity to earn respect. “And, of course, you have to be nice to people, but my mother taught me that from the time I was little.” At age 27, Ms. Smith opened the Ottawa office for a Montreal-based consulting firm and served as general manager. She then did consulting work in Calgary after her husband got a job transfer there. Their next stop was New York City in 2000, where they had a son. It was while in Manhattan that Ms. Smith realized her marriage was over. She packed up her belongings and her 13-month-old baby and quickly returned home. “It was a very difficult time,” she says. “I had to start over.” For the next seven years, she was a single mom, but as she succinctly puts it: “You do what you have to do.” Ms. Smith was luckier than most. She had supportive parents and family who were able to help her when required, as well as a good education and a determination to provide a good life for her son. She worked at Thornley Fallis



nce a bit of a political junkie, always a bit of a political junkie. At least that’s the way it is with Ottawa-bornand-raised Susan Smith. While a good chunk of her teen years was spent on the basketball and volleyball courts and organizing school dances, the member of Lester B. Pearson Catholic High School’s first graduating class of 1987 turned a lifelong interest in politics and people into a career merging both. In fact, she’s been busy keeping company with some of the most prominent political figures of our time. Today, the 48-year-old Ottawa resident is an owner of Bluesky Strategy Group, a 10-person, full-service public affairs firm she co-founded in 2003 with her business partner, Tim Barber. The way she explains it, the company helps its clients figure out the best way to deliver their message to the right audience. “We act like a translator on Ottawa and government, and how to best represent people’s issues to effect the kind of policy change or kind of awareness that people are looking for,” says Ms. Smith during an interview in the boardroom of Bluesky’s office on O’Connor Street. It’s located so close to Parliament Hill you could almost hear the purrs of the stray cats on The Hill. That is, if the cats were still living on The Hill. Bluesky works with a broad range of clients in fields such as aerospace and defence procurement, agri-food, telecommunications, food and beverage, oil and gas, health care and indigenous communities. The crowd favourite, however, is Bluesky’s work in arts and culture. For the past 10 years, the company has been organizing the popular Movie Nights on the Hill series to help showcase Canadian cinema. Ms. Smith is a registered lobbyist, but don’t let that scare you. “Tim and I and the Bluesky team have worked really hard to build a reputation of integrity and trust. We follow the rules,” she says, noting that honest approach helped the firm land one of its newest clients, PayPal. “One of the reasons they chose us is that they liked our track record.” Ms. Smith grew up in Blackburn Hamlet in Ottawa’s east end. Her dad, Doug, was a

EDUCATION Nicol Building set to take Sprott to ‘that next level’ State-of-the-art new home will help Carleton business school attract top students and faculty, raise profile in community, proponents say BY DAVID SALI





hen Jerry Tomberlin arrived at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business nine years ago, his colleagues wasted no time letting him know where his priorities should lay. For years, the school’s students and professors had been scattered throughout campus with no dedicated facility of their own. Mr. Tomberlin, then Sprott’s freshly minted dean, was about to be interviewed on a local radio show when a co-worker made his expectations for his new boss abundantly clear. “Just before me, one of the professors from Sprott, Ian Lee, had been on and he mentioned that there was a new dean, and the new dean was going to make sure we get a building,” Mr. Tomberlin recalls with a laugh. The longtime academic and business consultant can chuckle over that memory today, knowing he’s achieved the goal he and many others have been chasing for so long. Last month, the university’s board of governors gave its stamp of approval to Sprott’s $48-million new home – a stateof-the-art, 100,000-square-foot facility that will finally bring the school’s 2,600 students and 87 staff and faculty members together under one roof. The announcement was a long time coming, but for Mr. Tomberlin it was worth the wait. “I never gave up,” he says. “I knew it was going to happen. I just didn’t know when it was going to happen.” Designed by Toronto’s Hariri Pontarini Architects, the new building will be located in the heart of campus next to the University Centre, the Architecture Building and the new Health Sciences Building. Proponents say the six-storey structure – christened the Nicol Building after well-known entrepreneur, philanthropist and Carleton alumnus Wes Nicol, whose $10-million donation in 2014 kickstarted the funding drive – will take the business school to the “next level” by providing cutting-edge classroom and meeting facilities that will attract top-tier students and faculty from Canada and beyond. “Facilities are extremely important for business schools,” says Mr. Tomlinson, who is now Carleton’s interim provost and vice-president academic. “If you go to any

The new Nicol Building (left) in the heart of Carleton’s campus is expected to open in the fall of 2020. One of its signature spaces will be its atrium (above). COURTESY CARLETON UNIVERSITY

other university campus that has a business school of any size, you’ll see a physical presence. It’s been hard for us without that to kind of compete on all levels. We have a great MBA program, but we don’t have much in the way of facilities for them to kind of showcase what a program we have. “It’s not going to make us the best business school in the world overnight; you have to have the content. But it’s going to allow a platform to showcase ourselves better. I think Sprott is entering into a new era with this.” Construction on the new facility is slated to begin next year, with completion targeted for 2020. Sprott will then have a home of its own after decades of being headquartered in Dunton Tower, where it must share space with other faculties and meeting rooms for clubs and employer-student interviews are a scarce commodity.

In addition to plenty of meeting rooms, the new building will feature dedicated space for Carleton Entrepreneurs, an accelerator designed to help students from all disciplines launch and grow their own business ventures. It will also house initiatives such as the Sprott Student Investment Fund, an equity portfolio run by Sprott commerce and international business students. ‘SENSE OF COMMUNITY’ “It shows a lot as to how we’re growing and how much potential there is, so when employers are coming and we’re able to invite them into this very professional, well-defined space, that will reflect very well on our students and the value that we put into this program,” says fourth-year international business student Alex Wadey, who also serves as a vice-president at Sprott’s student society. “Hopefully, that will be translated into the companies that will interact with us. It’s all about bringing Sprott up to that next level.” Ryan Baan, the society’s vice-president of marketing, agrees. “We have one room right now, and it’s

not a whole lot of space for clubs to be planning events, hosting events, meeting regularly,” explains the fourth-year commerce student. “With the new building, it’ll keep everything in one spot and really build that sense of community and that sense of home for all of us students.” One of the chief criticisms of Sprott is the school lacks a common gathering place for students and staff to have random interactions, Mr. Tomberlin says. Such chance meetings are “all about where creativity and innovation and things that you haven’t even thought of before come about – not because you set up a formal meeting but because you ran into somebody and you had this conversation.” To that end, the Nicol Building’s signature space will be a central groundfloor atrium where students and professors can hang out, chat and bounce ideas off each other. “Everybody who enters the building will have to go through there,” Mr. Tomberlin says. “Anybody who has any business at Sprott is going to run into everybody else in that atrium area. There aren’t that many open spaces on campus where that can happen.”

Instructor Andrew Webb, who joined the faculty this year from Laval University, says not having a building of its own is holding Sprott back from achieving its full potential. “It’s really difficult to connect with your other researchers and to create a sense of esprit de corps,” he explains. The veteran academic has been brought in to launch the school’s new project-based learning program, which is designed to teach students management skills while helping local organizations solve real-world problems. Sprott’s current configuration makes that a challenge, he says, because there’s no “one-stop shop” for businesses that want to be partners in the program.

“If you go to any other university campus that has a business school of any size, you’ll see a physical presence. It’s been hard for us without that to kind of compete on all levels.” – JERRY TOMBERLIN, INTERIM PROVOST AND FORMER DEAN OF SPROTT SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AT CARLETON

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“Right now, if they wanted something, they don’t really know where to go,” Mr. Webb says. “Any business, your brand has to be coherent with your physical installation. Your physical installations are sending a message. If your physical installations are connected, they’re creative. That’s what this faculty is about.” Ms. Wadey says having a building to call their own will give Sprott students a greater sense of pride and identity. “A physical place really adds to that – having somewhere where we can showcase Sprott, and if that’s in a nice, shiny building, I think that makes it even better,” she says. “It really makes the Sprott School of Business a player at Carleton University – if it wasn’t already.” Mr. Tomberlin’s only disappointment is that Mr. Nicol, who died last year, won’t be around to see the finished project. But his legacy will live on in future generations of entrepreneurs trained in the building that bears his name. “We’ve hired all the right people, we have good students, and now we’re going to have a great building,” the former dean says. “Now it’s all about raising the profile of the school in the external community, and I think we have everything else in place to do that.”

MARKETING Corona parent firm’s $245M deal with Canopy Growth a winner, expert says BY DAVID SALI


major U.S. alcohol manufacturer’s decision to buy a stake in Smith Falls-based marijuana producer Canopy Growth will help the cannabis industry move even further into the mainstream once pot is legalized for recreational use, an Ottawa marketing expert says. Constellation Brands, the New York-based maker of Corona beer, Kim Crawford wines and a host of other alcohol products, announced Oct. 30 it has purchased a 10 per cent stake in Canopy Growth for $245 million. The two companies intend to work together to develop and market new products, marking the first such partnership between a cannabis producer and an alcoholic beverages firm.

Under the deal, Constellation will buy up to 18.9 million shares in Canopy, which was launched three years ago in a former Hershey chocolate factory and now has a market capitalization of $2 billion. Michael Mulvey, an assistant marketing professor at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management, said it was only a matter of time before such a cross-industry collaboration occurred and Canopy, the country’s largest licensed producer of medical marijuana, was the most logical dance partner for an alcohol conglomerate like Constellation. “Even though (Canopy) was saying we’d love to get into beverage, that’s not where their expertise really lies,” he said. “So it makes sense to partner, and I think Constellation Brands, the brands says it all. That’s what they’re excellent at. They know how to market extremely well.”

News of the marriage between the alcohol and cannabis giants sent Canopy’s share price soaring more than 20 per cent to the $16 range. Some estimates have pegged the market for marijuanainfused beverages at $10 billion a year should the products become legal in the United States, and Mr. Mulvey sees last month’s deal as a “pre-emptive strike” by Constellation to align itself with a major player in the cannabis industry ahead of its competitors. SHEDDING STIGMA The agreement is a way to shed pot’s “stoner stigma” and give the industry more credibility among investors and some segments of the public, he added. “They could be opening up a level of demand that was sort of restricted because people look at this and say, ‘I don’t want to be a smoker,’” Mr. Mulvey said. Continued on page 17 Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton. FILE PHOTO


Chaudière Falls opened to the public for first time in a century Newly-expanded Energy Ottawa hydroelectric facility produces clean, renewable power





or the first time in more than 100 years, the public will have access to Chaudière Falls thanks to an expansion of Energy Ottawa’s Chaudière Falls hydroelectric facility. Energy Ottawa, an affiliate of Hydro Ottawa, is Ontario’s largest municipally owned producer of green power with a total generation capacity of 128 megawatts and powers 107,000 homes. The plant, which has been operating since July, produces enough green energy to power 20,000 homes. The area, previously closed to the public, has long been a hub of industrial activities in Ottawa. The new site is designed to promote open access, celebrate the site’s past and future, and provide views to the historical Chaudière Falls for everyone; including a defined corridor on the roof of the new hydroelectric facility as well as a new bridge across the intake canal. Prior to the renovation, Energy Ottawa consulted various organizations including the National Capital Commission, various Indigenous groups as well as members of the public. The message they heard was clear: Give

For the first time in more than 100 years, Chaudière Falls will be open to the public to enjoy. residents and visitors access to the falls. “I prefer to look at it as we’re opening it to the public, because it really hasn’t been opened up to the public before,” says Franz Kropp, Energy Ottawa’s Director of Generation. He adds the main goal of the expansion was to highlight and

showcase both the falls and the history of the area. “Because there is a lot of history here, you can’t do it justice without actually seeing the whole site,” Mr. Kropp says. Ultimately, he believes the new public access will increase understanding of Energy Ottawa’s operations as well as the industrial and Indigenous history at the site.

The Chaudière Falls hydroelectric facility is a runof-the river plant, which means it harnesses the power of the Ottawa River without large scale flooding. Run-of-the river hydroelectric facilities continue to be one of the most efficient and eco-friendly means of generating electricity.

“Given that it’s a clean, renewable energy, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions by providing that green power into the grid,” says Mr. Kropp. The Chaudière Falls facility offsets greenhouse gas emissions by 115,000 metric tons of CO2 every year. Built entirely underground, the project was designed to minimize the impact on the visual, natural and aquatic environments at the site. In its commitment to preserving the area’s natural beauty and ecosystems, Energy Ottawa incorporated several measures to assist in the preservation of two endangered species of fish in the area. The organization built a spawning bed for sturgeon down river of the plant and installed a bypass system so that fish can avoid the hydroelectric facility and the dam as they navigate the Ottawa River. Energy Ottawa also had a fish ladder designed and installed for the American eel, so that juvenile eels can migrate upstream to spawn.

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Innovative growth happening in Orléans Orléans Economic Symposium to highlight community’s growing innovative business sector


More information and updates on the 2017 Orléans economic symposium can be found at http:// The event is being held in partnership with the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, the West Ottawa Board of Trade and Heart of Orléans BIA, with representation from the Rockland and Casselman Chambers.

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PANELISTS INCLUDE: • Victoria Lennox, Co-founder and CEO, Startup Canada • Layla Darwish, Vice-president of Business Banking, Bank of Montreal • Carl Bennett, Partner, Bennett Church Hill Capital Inc. • Josée Virgo, Partner, Grandmaitre Virgo Evans Lawyers • Cora-lee Ratcliffe, Manager of the Entrepreneurship Centre, Business Development Bank of Canada • Scott Ravary, Service delivery manager, Employment Ontario • Jim Carty, Senior advisor and Broker, Cresa Leasing • Lynn Groulx, Regional manager of the Ontario Investment Office, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Growth

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Orléans Ward: Proud to be home to 50,000 residents! Quartier Orléans: Fier de compter plus de 50,000 résident(e)s

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TICKET INFORMATION LOCATION: Shenkman Arts Centre, 245 Centrum Blvd. Date & time: November 21, 2017, 5:30 to 9 p.m. REGISTER: For more information: Sponsorships for the event are sold out but there are still a few exhibitor spaces left. There is an early bird price for tickets purchased by October 31. CHAMBER MEMBERS: $25 NON-MEMBERS: $30 STUDENTS: Free (with valid student ID) PACKAGE OF 5 TICKETS : $100


than 20 exhibitors from both the public and private sectors. The participants represent established Orléans-based innovative businesses and experts, ranging in specialty areas that include cybersecurity, funding start-up and expansion, leasehold agreements, intellectual property and much more. Dr. Dipak Roy, Chairman of D-TA Systems Inc. and winner of the Innovation-Oriented Enterprises Award., is the keynote speaker for the event. Closing remarks will be given by David Lametti, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The symposium will feature speakers and panelists from across the City of Ottawa who will speak to overcoming challenges at different stages of operating, expanding or starting up a business. “This symposium will address common issues that each and every business across the entire city of Ottawa and the entire country struggle with on an everyday basis and provide advice and solutions from our expert panel answering questions taken directly from the business community,” says Mr. Crossan. “We’re going to have practical solutions from the panelists and from experienced business people who support innovative businesses, encouraging prosperity and growth.” Confirmed innovative Orléans businesses include OakWood, Rebel Technologies, ING Robotics Aviation, Zodiac Light Waves and Xahive.

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rléans is open for your business. This is the message the Orléans Chamber of Commerce will convey at its second Annual Economic Symposium on Nov. 21. As the vice-chair of the Chamber and a proud community leader, Sean Crossan believes that Orléans is Ottawa’s next hotspot to work, live and play. “There’s lots of different innovative things happening in Orléans, where people are taking their business to new levels or starting new businesses,” says Mr. Crossan. The area’s expanding innovative business sector is what inspired the chamber to select innovation as the theme for this year’s symposium. Orléans has a highly educated bilingual population. Mr. Crossan attributes this to the proximity to the University of Ottawa and the National Research Council, as many professors and scientists live in Orléans due to the excellent quality of life. He believes that the area will not only continue to grow, but prosper with the Prime Minister of Canada’s announcement, in June 2017, that the second phase of the city’s light-rail line will extend to Trim Road in Orléans by 2022. “Orléans is in expansion mode,” explains Mr. Crossan. The Orléans Chamber of Commerce is the fastest growing chamber in the city. After growing by 65 members last year alone there are currently 225 members. The 2017 Orléans economic symposium will feature eight panelists, five innovative businesses and more


COMMENTARY Great River Media 250 City Centre Ave., Suite 500 Ottawa, Ontario, K1R 6K7 TELEPHONE Phone: 613-238-1818 Sales Fax: 613-248-4564 News Fax: No faxes, email PUBLISHER Michael Curran, 238-1818 ext. 228 CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER Terry Tyo, 238-1818 ext. 268 EDITOR, PRINT CONTENT David Sali, 238-1818 ext. 269 EDITOR, ONLINE CONTENT Peter Kovessy, 238-1818 ext. 251 REPORTER Craig Lord, 238-1818 ext. 285

Pakenham chef Matt Dobry left his job on Parliament Hill to open his own food truck, Burger Builder. PHOTO COURTESY MATT DOBRY

Chef finds recipe for success in burger-theme park model Pakenham’s Matt Dobry believes partnering his food trucks with shopping malls and big-box stores will create a combo worth savouring





ike a big, juicy cheeseburger and fries, food and real estate go hand in hand. Location, after all, plays a vital part in many restaurants’ success. And an Ottawa-area chef believes he can capitalize on the popularity of his hamburger joint by partnering with shopping malls and bigbox stores such as Home Depot to create an effective and sustainable business model. But can you really build a real estate business out of beef? Matt Dobry thinks so, and he’s out to prove it. The certified Red Seal Chef is a 37-yearold parent of three beautiful little girls with his spouse, naturopathic doctor Kealy Mann. They live in the small town of Pakenham, about 20 minutes west of Ottawa by car. Mr. Dobry has been in the food business since he was 15, starting at a KFC restaurant on Highway 401 near Toronto, followed by a three-summer stint as a server at Upper Canada Village (complete with 19th-century costume). He tried college for three years until his then-girlfriend (now his wife) noticed how much he hated it. She also pointed out that he’d never missed a shift serving at Cordon Bleu. Why not do what you love full-time, she wondered aloud? With help from his in-laws and a few maxed-out credit cards, Mr. Dobry enrolled in a private culinary school.

Eventually, he and his growing family moved from Toronto to Pakenham, and he started working at the House of Commons restaurant as a sous-chef feeding everyone from the prime minister to backbench MPs. It was a great gig, made even better by the fact that Mr. Dobry is fluent in French. But despite the predictable working hours, great benefits and superior pension, he knew the opportunities for advancement on the Hill were limited, and the entrepreneur inside him was calling. BURGER BUILDER For advice and coaching, he turned to Invest Ottawa and Mark Cawley of the Ottawa Community Loan Fund, a nonprofit organization that arranges business loans to local startups. Mr. Dobry worked on his financing plan, cash-flow projections and business proposal for what is now Burger Builder, a high-end food truck that’s been carefully branded by Mr. Dobry with a menu crafted to complement its physical layout. Like almost all business plans, his changed drastically when concept met marketplace. The fledgling burger baron had vastly overestimated his sales and underestimated his costs. Sound familiar? “I had no real idea how to manage payroll, cash, expenses, suppliers,” he concedes, looking back.

“In our first month (May) we lost 30 grand, but I didn’t know that until August, our accounting was so bad,” he adds with a shake of his head. Mr. Dobry was forced to cut back on staff, find new, cheaper suppliers and borrow more money to keep going. His mother stepped up to keep him afloat. He also boosted his prices from $6 for a burger to $8.50. Inevitably, that prompted a backlash from old customers who had no way of knowing that his costs for each sandwich ($6.25) were higher than the original price he was charging, which meant he was effectively paying people to eat his food. Unfortunately, every business is an experiment until proven otherwise. No matter how brilliant an entrepreneur might be, it’s impossible to simulate realworld conditions in a model. It’s always a learn-by-doing exercise, this thing called launching a startup. Mr. Dobry soon discovered that adding catering and gift cards to his offerings helped. People love his food, and it wasn’t long before they were asking him to serve up his burgers at their home and office parties and events or buying one of his $25 gift certificates for a friend, client, supplier or family member. An entrepreneur quickly figures out that when someone asks if they can do something, the answer is always, “Yes.”

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So began BlackIron catering. Not only was Mr. Dobry able to double-load his commercial kitchen on wheels – that is, use it for retail sales during business hours and then to prepare catered meals afterward – he was able to generate revenues, and keep his staff busy, in the off-season. Burger Builder is open only from May until October, which frees up a lot of time for supplying sustenance to the holiday party circuit. Earlier this year, Mr. Dobry decided to add games and other activities to Burger Builder, creating his own family-friendly mini-Disneyland – in the middle of a Home Depot parking lot, no less. Games include giant Jenga sets and other family-friendly, multi-generational activities. EYEING EXPANSION Now his business model was starting to come into focus. If Mr. Dobry can sell $350,000 worth of Burger Builder food and beverages in a Home Depot parking lot in Kanata and generate another $150,000 a year through catering, what could he do at locations in higher-traffic areas, especially if he added more attractions and events to his mini theme parks? And what if he took the concept to much larger markets such as Toronto and New York?

No matter how brilliant an entrepreneur might be, it’s impossible to simulate realworld conditions in a model. It’s always a learn-by-doing exercise, this thing called launching a startup Mr. Dobry believes locations in warmer climates with a longer food-truck season could see sales of $900,000 for Burger Builder and $500,000 for BlackIron. Of course, expansion brings with it a host of new questions related to investment and financing, whether to franchise the concept and the merits of leasing or owning land. He could expand much faster if, for example, he was to sign a land lease to put one of his mini theme parks in every Home Depot parking lot across the chain. He could also launch a similar traffic-building exercise for major shopping centre developers, many of whom are crying out for new attractions and other ways to revitalize their properties as online retail continues to erode brick-and-mortar’s

share of business. But he and his wife would also like to own some of the real estate under Burger Builder. I suspect his ultimate model will include a mix of company-owned locations, franchises and land-leased operations. If you do the math, just 100 locations could generate $140 million in annual revenues. Home Depot has more than 2,200 locations worldwide and there are 47,000 shopping centres in the United States alone, meaning the sky’s the limit when it comes to growth opportunities. What Mr. Dobry and Ms. Mann have done is create a repeatable personal business for life that could be the foundation for a significant real estate play as well.

What makes it sustainable are, in part, the intellectual property of Mr. Dobry’s menu for both Burger Builder and BlackIron, the low startup costs (compared with the costs of building out a restaurant, Burger Builder and BlackIron are far less expensive to launch – probably around $225,000, excluding land, whereas a standard restaurant opening can run anywhere from $750,000 to $1.5 million or more) and the combining of a “this with that” motif. In other words, by adding a games area, the couple has created an opportunity to entertain their customers, not just feed them. The Burger Builder model combines great food and family entertainment in a format that should appeal to mall owners across North America trying to find ways to entice consumers back to their stores. If Mr. Dobry and Ms. Mann get it right, it could support their family for generations to come.

Bruce M. Firestone is a founder of the Ottawa Senators, a Century 21 Explorer Realty broker, real estate investor and business coach. Follow him on Twitter @ProfBruce or email him at


Your data in cyberspace: what are the risks? Telfer event aims to shine a light on cybersecurity


s our world grows ever more connected, important questions arise about cybersecurity and how we operate on a day-to-day basis.

Greg Richards, Telfer MBA Director themselves against threats. “As we move into this world where everything is connected to everything, what should we be aware of,” he asks. The Future of Cybersecurity takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18 at the University

of Ottawa in the Desmarais Building (DMS 1160) at 55 Laurier Ave. East. This event is open to the public and is free to attend. Please register before 4 p.m. on Nov. 17. To learn more or to register, visit

WHO ARE THE SPEAKERS? Hugh Cairns, Technical Consultant, SAS Walter Knitl, Principal, Praxiem Rob Rashotte, Senior Director, Global Field Enablement, Fortinet


through cyberspace. “People hear IoT and it doesn’t click that this is just another way of capturing and sending data,” explains Dr. Richards. “And anytime you send data over a wireless network, it could be hacked.” The speakers will also address why someone might want to hack into another person’s data. Dr. Richards believes that with a greater understanding of how things connect, consumers can better protect


Should you be concerned about someone hacking into the smart watch on your wrist? Can someone break into your home using your new Internet of Things (IoT) enabled lightbulb? Are concerns over the IoT unreasonable? The University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management will explore these and similar questions during the upcoming edition of its Telfer MBA Conference Series on Nov. 18. The Future of Cybersecurity panel will be moderated by Telfer MBA Director Dr. Greg Richards and will feature guest speakers from Ottawa’s tech community. “The conversation is critical for businesses, but I think all of us need to be aware of what the vulnerabilities are for the data that we’re putting out there,” says Dr. Richards. The session will explain the Internet of Things and address what real threats lie in the realm of data floating


Stories and photos by Caroline Phillips


other one for innate curiosity.” The audience piped up with applause when Schlossmacher expressed gratitude to his “beloved wife,” Elke. She was the breadwinner of the family back when he was busy doing his scientific and medical training, and not making any money. Everyone knowingly chuckled as he thanked his children for teaching him patience, and clapped when he recognized his peers at The Ottawa Hospital. “I’ve never experienced this degree of collaboration anywhere before, and I’ve worked in three other countries,” said Schlossmacher. He acknowledged his patients, whose bravery has been so inspiring. “As doctors, we often meet those who suffer from an incurable and progressive From left, Tim Kluke with Ian Downey, a disease of the brain. How frightening vice-president with title sponsor Nordion, and this must be. This fear reminds me of the Dr. Jack Kitts at the Ottawa Hospital Gala. mantra of a teacher that I had in Boston. He said the secret to patient care is to care about the patient.” From left, He acknowledged the grassroots, Dr. Michael Schlossmacher corporate and personal philanthropy, with his wife, Elke, and specifically mentioning Ottawa’s Uttra and Sharon Martin, senior director of philanthropy at The Ottawa Subhas (Sam) Bhargava. These different Hospital Foundation, with layers, he continued, “have supported philanthropists Uttra and us to hunt for the Holy Grail. What is the Subhas (Sam) Bhargava. Holy Grail? It’s the scientific discovery that stops the disease of the brain, like Parkinson’s, in its tracks.” retiring effective this December. She Marc-Olivier Deguise received the received a standing ovation from the room. Worton Researcher in Training Award for Every year three research scientists his outstanding work on spinal muscular are honoured for their work. Dr. Duncan atrophy while Dr. Xiaohui Zha was handed, Stewart, executive vice-president of by Dr. Michel Chrétien himself, the research at the hospital, was on stage for Chrétien Researcher of the Year Award for the ceremony. her breakthrough in understanding why our Dr. Michael Schlossmacher landed cells make more cholesterol and fat after a the Grimes Research Career Achievement big meal. Award for his pioneering work on “I’m really indebted to my parents,” Zha Parkinson’s disease. told the room. “They repeat this so many He delivered an eloquent speech, times; they said: ‘You’re not very smart, boiling his thank-you remarks down to his not compared to your brother, but you can “5 Ps”: parents, partners, patience, peers work hard.’ and philanthropy. “That inspired me for all these years.” “My mother instilled in me her love for The Ottawa Hospital Gala featured people and for the arts and she told me to a four-course dinner with filet mignon, chase my dreams,” said Schlossmacher. followed by dancing to the party band 1945 “My father passed on two pivotal genes: Orchestra. There was also an exciting aerial one is for bad time management and the silk performance.

Ottawa Hospital Gala celebrates leading-edge research The Ottawa Hospital Gala is a staggeringly beautiful evening that draws together a community of businesspeople and influencers while celebrating Ottawa researchers who are pushing back the boundaries of science to make potentially life-changing discoveries. So popular is the annual black-tie event that the tickets were sold out by summer, with dozens of businesses hopping on as sponsors and buying corporate dinner tables. It was held Oct. 28 at The Westin Ottawa, with health science company Nordion back as presenting sponsor. “It’s my very favourite event of the year,” Whitney Fox enthusiastically said on stage, standing alongside her gala committee co-chair, Greg Kane. She’s a volunteer extraordinaire and wife of Telesat CEO Dan Goldberg, while Kane is counsel at the global law firm Dentons and past board chair of The Ottawa Hospital Foundation. The hospital is doing a much better job at getting the word out about its innovative clinical research studies and trials, said Kane. “The two things that people are going to walk away here saying tonight are, ‘I didn’t know that’ and ‘Right here in Ottawa,’” he predicted. The Ottawa Hospital rates as one of the top five research hospitals in Canada, its president and CEO, Dr. Jack Kitts, told the audience of about 650. The hospital is internationally renowned for cancer research, and has been conducting world-first clinical trials using oncolytic viruses, immunotherapy and CAR-T cells to fight cancer. As well, it has distinguished itself for its work with clinical trials using STEM cells to treat deadly and debilitating diseases once believed to be incurable, he continued.

Whitney Fox and Greg Kane are longtime co-chairs of the Ottawa Hospital Gala, an annual celebration of innovative research being done at The Ottawa Hospital.

“And you should know that it’s your support, the support of our community, that enables us to provide world-class care here in Ottawa,” said Dr. Kitts. “Your support gives us the capacity to generate new knowledge – and turn it into hope – for the sickest, most vulnerable patients.” The Ottawa Hospital Foundation’s Tender Loving Research campaign – which is going into its final year – has raised $38.2 million and is closing in on its $50-million goal, Tim Kluke, the foundation’s president and CEO, said on stage. The foundation has also transferred more than $11.7 million directly to research this year, thanks to support from the community. Attendees included Supreme Court Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, who’s



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Is the most valuable perspective the one you don’t have? Navigate the transformative age with the better-connected consultants.


MO MONEY: BARBER SHOP KICKS OFF MONTH-LONG MEN’S HEALTH CAMPAIGN Movember madness got off to a good, clean (shaven) start at Capital Barber Shop, where supporters of the month-long fundraising and awareness campaign for men’s health gathered to help kick it off on Nov. 1. On hand for the event was Movember Ottawa chair Will Bulmer. He’s the executive assistant to Ontario attorney general Yasir Naqvi, MPP for Ottawa Centre. Prior to that, he was special assistant to Mayor Jim Watson for four years. The former political science student and varsity volleyball player at Queen’s University found out he had throat cancer in 2009, at age 20. He originally chose not to disclose the diagnosis and treatment to his friends and family. He didn’t want to worry them, particularly his mom.

“I had this image of what it meant to be a man,” he told He’s been in remission since 2013. It’s through his connection to Movember that Bulmer has become more open about men’s health issues. He first got involved 10 years ago as part of a teambuilding exercise for his volleyball team. “Movember was a rallying point for me,” said Bulmer. “Having my friends around to give me confidence and work through these issues showed me what camaraderie can do. There’s no shame in being able to talk about your health with your friends.” Movember is the biggest dedicated men’s health charity in the world. Last year, it raised $15.5 million in Canada and $135 million globally, with a focus on prostate cancer, testicular cancer and

Eric Goncalves gets a shave and a cut from Matthew Brousseau. From left, Movember Ottawa chair Will Bulmer with Capital Barber Shop owner Ankur Vadhera and, in the barber’s chair, Sharif Virani.

mental health and suicide prevention. Wednesday’s kickoff was a chance for guys to socialize, get a shave and make a donation to the cause. Among those to lean back in the barber’s seat and experience the relaxation of a hot towel and the closeness of a straight razor was Bulmer. He will be among the many men spotted in offices and workplaces growing a hairy Mo throughout the month of November. Capital Barber Shop has been open in the Glebe for almost two years and is part

Josh Gibbons gets a clean shave.

of a growing trend toward offering men the authentic barber shop experience. “Men care more about how they look nowadays,” said owner Ankur Vadhera, who’s been cutting hair since he was 14.




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2017-03-30 2:32 PM


Stories and photos by Caroline Phillips


AOE Arts Council celebrates 30 years at carnival-themed Artinis It was come one, come all to the greatest shindig in town. The AOE Arts Council hosted its carnival-themed signature soirée Oct. 26 to raise funds and to celebrate the contributions that artists make toward creating a lively and vibrant Ottawa where people want to live, work and visit. The annual Artinis benefit drew a sold-out crowd of 200 to the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orléans for music, entertainment, food, drinks and games in the Richcraft Theatre, followed by a sitdown dinner on the main stage in Harold Shenkman Hall. The evening marked both the 10th anniversary of Artinis and the 30-year milestone for the AOE Arts Council, a nonprofit arts group that represents more than 400 artists and arts organizations in the city. The party organizers’ attention to detail was outstanding. So much of the decor was made by volunteers, including the

ghost-like body casts of circus trapeze artists that were carefully constructed from packing tape. They hung down from the rafters during the dinner prepared by Ottawa chefs David Fortune (Bar Laurel), Ryan Edwards (Salt Dining & Lounge) and Francis Periard (St. Martha’s Brasserie d’Orléans). Performers from Aerial Antics swung and twirled from above while cellist Joan Harrison and guitarist Roddy Ellias provided live music. The crowd was also entertained earlier in the evening by the Rachelle Behrens Combo. With Halloween practically knocking at our front door, guests had the option of wearing costumes. One creative couple put a Canada 150 spin on their garb by dressing as Confederate Zombies. AOE Arts Council executive director Victoria Steele was befittingly dressed as a snake charmer (her job is to beguile the governments into supporting the arts). Commanding everyone’s attention

as ringmaster was board president Lisa Cruickshank, a State Farm insurance agent and the 2016 Business Person of the Year for Orléans. Cruickshank, who has an undergraduate degree in music and sings with a women’s choir, sees the arts as a way of bringing people together, whether it’s in challenging times or during periods of celebration, such as Canada’s sesquicentennial. The AOE held hundreds of events with the support of government funding and also exposed people of all ages, backgrounds and corners of the city to the visual and performing arts through its Neighbourhood Arts 150 initiative. “The team at the AOE is probably the most exceptional group of people I have ever worked with,” Cruickshank said on stage. “They are an exceptional group of people who take care of artists and who make our city better for the work they do.” Among some of the business folks

Victoria Steele, executive director of the AOE Arts Council, is joined by Mayor Jim Watson (left) and Peter Honeywell, executive director of the Ottawa Arts Council, at the carnivalthemed Artinis benefit soiree for the AOE Arts Council at the Shenkman Arts Centre on Oct. 26.

spotted in the crowd were OakWood president and CEO John Liptak, Doug Feltmate, managing partner of St. Martha’s Hospitality Group, and OBJ publisher Michael Curran, who previously served on the board of the AOE Arts Council. OBJ was a major sponsor of Artinis. Ottawa is competing on a global level to bring the best and brightest minds to our city, Curran said on stage. “The arts play an incredibly important role, especially with the millennial generation, who want a very complete and balanced lifestyle,” he said.


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Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell was the keynote speaker at the 13th annual Special Olympics Festival Breakfast.

Lisa Langevin with Bernie Myers, vice-president of office and industrial in eastern Canada for Morguard Investments, which was one of the corporate sponsors of the 13th annual Special Olympics Festival Breakfast.

Kelly Santini LLP partners Don Burke and Lisa Langevin are committee co-chairs of the annual Special Olympics Festival Breakfast.


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escort of athletes and dignitaries by the Ottawa Police Service Pipe Band, award presentations and a keynote speech by Redblacks head coach Rick Campbell, who has led the team since its first season in 2014. His sports-themed message to the athletes was that they should believe in themselves. Even professional athletes get nervous every time they go out on the field, he said. “I have a great amount of appreciation for what you guys do, by willing to compete,” Campbell told the athletes. The coach recalled the Redblacks’ attitude when the team got together for one last meeting before its Nov. 27, 2016 championship win against Calgary. They had lost the Grey Cup the previous year to Edmonton. “I could just tell our players believed it was time,” said Campbell. “I think if you believe in yourself and you believe you’re going to find a way to get it done, great things can happen.” He also shared another sports memory, dating back to when he was first hired as head coach. “I didn’t know much about Ottawa, but I knew I wanted to be part of something big,” said Campbell. “We had no coaches, we had no players and I remember walking into the office we had out on Industrial Avenue. Marcel Desjardins, the GM, was basically the only one here, and he said, ‘Here’s what we have.’ And there was a box on the floor with Redblacks T-shirts. That was it. “And he said, ‘Welcome, good luck, and let’s do this.’”

Businesswoman of the Year Awards


The oath taken by Special Olympic athletes is said to have originally come from the gladiators of ancient Rome, as they entered the arena saying: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” Each year, millions of children and adults take part in the Special Olympics. It’s the world’s largest sports organization serving children and adults with intellectual disabilities, offering them respect, acceptance, inclusion and human dignity. In the Ottawa area, there are more than 1,000 registered athletes and volunteers who participate, and it’s their community sports programs that always benefit from an annual breakfast organized by Kelly Santini LLP. The fundraiser was held Oct. 20 in the Shaw Centre’s Trillium Ballroom. From there, one could admire the downtown views as they gradually went from darkness to bright daylight, brought on by the sunrise. Returning to co-chair the 13th Annual Special Olympics Festival Breakfast were two of Kelly Santini’s law partners, Don Burke and Lisa Langevin, a 2017 finalist for Businesswoman of the Year in the professional category. There was a larger business crowd there than usual, with about 360 attendees. The breakfast covered a lot of ground in just two hours, but sports broadcaster Vic Rauter was back to emcee and keep everything on schedule. Highlights included performances by Special Olympic rhythmic gymnasts, a rousing musical


LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT ‘There’s not a finer human being that you’ll meet’ John Ruddy forged his reputation in business as a pioneering retail developer, but it’s his passions for football and philanthropy that have left the most indelible mark on his community BY DAVID SALI





he man who did more than perhaps anyone else to bring CFL football in Ottawa back from the dead can’t remember a time when the game wasn’t part of his life. John Ruddy grew up the son of a former pro running back in a house a few doors down from Rough Rider hall of famer Bobby Simpson. When the family moved, their new neighbours included legendary coach Frank Clair. Not surprisingly, the young man became a rabid fan of Ottawa’s CFL team that Mr. Clair was moulding into a perennial powerhouse led by quarterback Russ Jackson. But as surely as football was embedded in Mr. Ruddy’s DNA, so was business. His father John Sr., a former star halfback with the Ottawa Trojans, eventually launched his own company selling home heating oil and installing mechanical systems in downtown office buildings. The seeds of his son’s future entrepreneurial success were planted right then and there. “When (John Sr.) first started his business, his office was in the house,” Mr. Ruddy, 65, says during an interview at Trinity Development Group, the company he founded in 1992. “I lived it and breathed it. I was exposed to a business being built from the ground up. Obviously, that rubbed off on me.” That’s an understatement. Thanks to its founder’s unrelenting drive – not to mention the keen eye for design Mr. Ruddy cultivated as an architecture student – Trinity has become a leading force in commercial real estate across the country. A pioneer of big-box retail development in Canada, the company has built properties from the Maritimes to Alberta. When Mr. Ruddy sensed the market for big-box stores was reaching its saturation point, he began shifting Trinity’s focus to mixed-use projects such as Lansdowne. Today, the firm is at the forefront of a new wave of transitoriented development with its ambitious plans for a trio of soaring highrises at Bayview Station near the intersection of the Trillium and Confederation LRT lines.

“He’s a pioneer and he’s a visionary,” Trinity CEO Fred Waks says of company founder John Ruddy (above). PHOTO BY MARK HOLLERON

Mr. Ruddy’s business acumen, entrepreneurial vision and philanthropic generosity have earned him this year’s Ottawa Business Journal-Ottawa Chamber of Commerce Lifetime Achievement Award, an honour his many friends agree he richly deserves. “The guy’s done it all,” says Trinity CEO Fred Waks, who’s known Mr. Ruddy for more than 20 years. “And he’s done it all with a great sense of modesty and style. There’s not a finer human being that you’ll meet.” GRUELLING STUDY Still, a career in real estate was never a guarantee for Mr. Ruddy. After graduating from St. Patrick’s High School, where he made his own mark on the gridiron as a running back and linebacker, he went on to study architecture and play football at Carleton University. The demands of those two pursuits

make them a rare combo for a studentathlete. Mr. Ruddy’s teammate Barry Hobin, one of the few others to follow the same path and now one of Ottawa’s bestknown architects, recalls the gruelling regimen: leaving class at 4:15 and going to football practice for two hours, then having dinner and heading back to the architecture building to toil in the studio until 11 p.m. Mr. Ruddy believes that rigorous schedule helped give him the discipline to succeed in business later on. “It’s a big load,” he says. “If you didn’t manage your time well, you wouldn’t make it.” At 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, Mr. Ruddy wasn’t the biggest or fastest of the football Ravens. That never stopped him from throwing his body around with reckless abandon from his spot in the defensive backfield. “If there was a collision, either he

was going to get banged up or the other guy was,” says his longtime friend and former Raven teammate Terry Kiefl. “Typically, it would be the other guy that would get the worst of it. That was his game. He wasn’t a speed merchant, but he was smart and he hit hard.” But that punishing style took its toll on Mr. Ruddy, who now has two artificial knees to show for it. “It seemed like I spent every offseason in crutches hobbling around the campus,” he says with a rueful grin. “That kind of was my program: play football, then crutches.” After graduating in 1975, he moved to Toronto, where he initially worked for an architecture firm and moonlighted as a bartender. He also bought and renovated a house, and the profit he made on its sale – three times his salary as an architect – convinced him real estate was the way to go.

“As a business model, it was more attractive to me to get into the development business as opposed to staying the course as an architect,” Mr. Ruddy explains. “It seemed like a natural thing at the time.” He entered the business on the sales side, eventually spending 15 years with shopping mall developer Landawn. By the late 1980s, however, double-digit interest rates and a crippling global recession had left the industry in tatters. In 1992, Mr. Ruddy decided to pack up his young family and head home to Ottawa, where, as Mr. Hobin puts it, he started over at “ground zero” with a new venture he called Trinity. At a time when real estate behemoths such as Olympia and York were toppling under mountains of debt, Mr. Ruddy perceived a shift in the retail landscape that would ultimately make him a fortune. By the early ’90s, big-box retailers from the United States such as Walmart and Home Depot had begun looking to expand north of the border. Using the connections he’d made in Toronto with the likes of Kmart and Famous Players, Mr. Ruddy jumped at the chance to accommodate them. Soon, he was developing open-air malls from Calgary to Halifax. “He was tenacious about building connections and making projects work when no one else was doing it,” Mr. Hobin says. Looking back, Mr. Ruddy says he focused on fulfilling a market need while his competitors were fighting just to survive. In the past 25 years, Trinity has developed more than 25 million square of retail space, including major projects such as South Keys here in Ottawa.


the door for mixed-use projects that combined housing, retail and commercial development. Where many others looked at dilapidated Lansdowne Park and saw a financial sinkhole, Mr. Ruddy saw opportunity. He convinced fellow developers Bill Shenkman and Roger Greenberg as well as 67’s owner Jeff Hunt to partner with him to rebuild the crumbling football stadium and revitalize the surrounding area with shops, restaurants, office space and condos. John Pugh later joined the partnership that became the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, bringing soccer into the mix.

Ruddy in his Raven days. PHOTO PROVIDED

Ruddy says he and his partners have never looked at it purely through a financial lens. “We had a long, proud history of football in Ottawa and it was something that myself and my partners wanted to bring back,” he says. “I think people are proud of what we’ve done.” With the Confederation LRT line on track to open next year, Mr. Ruddy is now turning his attention to projects strategically located near light-rail hubs. He’s a major partner in the group negotiating with the National Capital Commission to redevelop LeBreton Flats and build an NHL arena on the site. Just down the road at Bayview Station, Trinity is the lead investor in a $400-million plan to build the city’s three tallest mixed-use towers at the intersection of the Trillium and Confederation lines. Mr. Ruddy believes transit-oriented development will be the next big thing in Ottawa real estate, and once again he wants to be at the front of the pack. Mr. Waks isn’t surprised his business partner was among the first to grasp the scope of the opportunity light rail presents. “He’s a pioneer and he’s a visionary,” Mr. Waks says. Generally a man who shuns the

VARIED INTERESTS A man of varied interests, Mr. Ruddy enjoys travelling as well as music and art. Renowned for his loyalty to friends, he loves hanging out with his old buddies at Redblacks games and going on ski trips to Colorado with the boys. “He’s still very much the same guy he always was,” says Mr. Kiefl, who first met Mr. Ruddy more than 50 years ago. “He’s an Ottawa guy that never forgot his roots and gives back to the community.” These days, he splits his time among homes in Rothwell Heights, downtown Toronto and Sarasota, Fla. He and wife Jennifer have two daughters – Nikola, 26, and Sonya, 24 – who have followed in their dad’s footsteps and now work in commercial real estate in Manhattan. His reputation as an industry trailblazer firmly established, Mr. Ruddy could ease into a blissful retirement and no one would begrudge him. But that’s just not his style. “Quite frankly, I really enjoy this,” he says with a smile. “If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t continue to do it.” And his hometown is a far better place because of it.


MORE THAN JUST FOOTBALL “We had to come up with a plan that was more than just about a date for nine games a year,” Mr. Ruddy says. “We had to look at it beyond just football.” Eight years and more than few roadblocks later, the Redblacks made their CFL debut in 2014 at a completely remodelled TD Place stadium, where they’ve played to packed houses ever since. “I know I would not have gotten involved in Lansdowne but for John’s involvement,” says Mr. Greenberg. “In my mind, John was always the centrepiece. He just had a gravitas to him and a sense of accomplishment.” Mr. Greenberg, the executive chairman of the Minto Group, says his business partner combines “the passion of football” with “the intelligence and breadth of vision” of an architect and the skills of an entrepreneur. “You put those combinations together, and he was able to craft … an opportunity that seemed to make a lot of sense to the rest of us.” Ottawa lawyer Mark Wallace, who’s known Mr. Ruddy since they were kids, says the Lansdowne project epitomizes his friend’s dogged determination as well as his passion for building a better community. “He had the vision to turn it into a multipurpose venue and also had the perseverance to see it through,” he says. “When he decides he wants to get something done, he gets it done.” Although the Lansdowne project isn’t a money-maker yet by any stretch, Mr.


‘THE STARS WERE ALIGNED’ “That was at a time when real estate was a bad word,” he says. “A lot of major developers in Canada at the time went broke. Everybody thought I was crazy to get involved in the real estate business. But because it was a very difficult time in the business, it also created great opportunities. The stars were aligned, as they say.” Mr. Ruddy’s rise to prominence prompted many in the community, including his own father, to suggest he was just the man to revive CFL football in Ottawa after the Rough Riders folded in 1996. “I always pointed out to him, ‘You know what, dad, as a business model, it doesn’t really work,’” he says. “(Teams in Ottawa) all lose money and they go broke.” But by the mid-2000s, after the demise of the city’s second CFL franchise, the Renegades, Mr. Ruddy sensed another change coming in real estate. Urban planners were encouraging developers to build downtown condos so people could live closer to their work, opening

“He had the vision to turn it into a multipurpose venue and also had the perseverance to see it through. When he decides he wants to get something done, he gets it done.”

spotlight, Mr. Ruddy says he’d “rather be noticed by the things I do as opposed to the things I say.” The examples of his good work span the entire community. Mr. Ruddy contributed $2.5 million of his own funds to help resurrect Carleton’s football team, which returned to the field in 2013 after a 15-year absence. Through his Trinity Development Foundation, he’s quietly donated millions of dollars to organizations such as the Ottawa Heart Institute, the NAC and the YMCAYWCA. In 2015, he chaired a campaign that raised $25 million for the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health, kickstarting the fundraising drive with a $1-million gift of his own. “What’s amazing with John is he does it all with such humility,” says Gordon Cudney, a member of the foundation’s board of directors who worked closely with Mr. Ruddy on that campaign. “It’s not about, ‘I need to have my name on this or that.’ It’s very quiet, understated, but he’s always there to support you.” For Mr. Ruddy, health-care research, particularly in the field of mental illness, is a deeply personal cause. Two of his sisters took their own lives, Julia in 1983 and Christina in 2007. Another sister, Gina, died of cancer in 2013. “Having firsthand experience of how difficult that can be for families, it was just a natural thing for me to help when I was called on,” he says of his role in the Royal Ottawa campaign. “Back in the ’80s, it was something you just didn’t discuss. Fortunately, we’re much more attentive to issues of mental health and it’s being recognized as a disease that can be managed, but we need more resources applied to it to get to where we ultimately want to get to.”

DON’T LOSE KEY TALENT OVER STALE LEADERSHIP. EXECUTIVE DINNER AND DISCUSSION: FRESH TIPS FOR LEADING A MILLENNIAL WORKPLACE -EASTERN ONTARIO With Freshii CEO Matthew Corrin and Chief People Officer Ashley Dalziel November 15, 2017 4:30PM-7:00PM at the Westin Ottawa, 11 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON

Presented by HRPA Executive Events


Matthew Corrin is building a billion-dollar business - primarily by and for millennials - in a fiercely competitive industry. And he and his team are succeeding. Still in his early 30s, Corrin is the oldest member of his management team and became the youngest CEO start of Undercover Boss. Join us for an intimate executive dinner with Matthew and Freshii Chief People Officer Ashley Dalziel. You’ll have the chance to hear them share what they've learned from the millennial generation – and then they’ll open the floor to you! Now’s your chance for a small-group Q&A with a leading Canadian CEO – registration is limited, sign up today! Draw: All attendees present on November 15th, 2017 at the Regional Executive Dinner will be entered into a draw for a chance to win a roundtrip airfare and two night accommodations in either San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Orlando or Las Vegas!


In order to foster high-level discourse among a community of peers, Executive Events are by accepted registration only. The events are open to those at the VP level or equivalent and above, at medium to large organizations. CEOs welcome. Please submit registration requests to



Presented by:

Matthew Corrin

Ashley Dalziel

Founder & CEO of Freshii

Chief People Officer at Freshii

To register or for more information, please visit

“They could be opening up a level of demand that was sort of restricted because people look at this and say, ‘I don’t want to be a smoker.’ In a way, you could look at a beverage as just a delivery vehicle to get that active ingredient into you.” — University of Ottawa marketing professor Michael Mulvey


Alcohol firm ‘clever’ at marketing: Prof Continued from page 6 “In a way, you could look at a beverage as just a delivery vehicle to get that active ingredient into you. This is already less stigmatized because we look at alcohol and say alcohol consumption is reasonable for the most part. It makes it a little bit more palatable.” Although eight U.S. states have legalized pot for recreational use and 22 more have legalized it for medicinal reasons, it’s still a federal crime to consume marijuana-based products. Canopy and Constellation have said they have no intention of selling any cannabis products in the U.S. until they are legal. Canada is set to legalize marijuana for recreational use under certain circumstances next summer, but will develop more regulations for other pot products such as edibles later on. Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton said Canada will likely be the company’s

first market for cannabis-infused beverages. “They’ve been fairly clear that in 2019 they expect to enhance and expand that offering,” he told the Canadian Press. “Will that include vaporizable products, edible products or liquid drinkable products? Could be any or all of them. So we’re talking now about a year and a half away, potentially.” Whenever it happens, Mr. Mulvey predicted Canopy and Constellation will be ready. “A company like Constellation, it wouldn’t surprise me if they had three or four different versions (of drinks) that are for totally different subgroups and submarkets,” he said. “I think Corona’s a brilliant brand (as an example) because they own the beach. If you think about being on a beach and having a beer, Corona’s like the perfect match. They’re very clever.”

Alex Benay

Chief Information Officer of the Government of Canada

Friday, December 1, 2017

7:00 am-9:00 am Shaw Centre - 55 Colonel By Drive Room 214

Event Sponsors:

Individual Tickets:

$35.00 + HST (Ottawa Chamber Members) $50.00 + HST (Non-Members

Corporate Tables of 8 with Signage:

$245.00 + HST (Ottawa Chamber Members) $350.00 + HST (Non-Members)

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of local OTTAWA’SNo. ECONOMIC employees Industry

Company/Address Phone/Fax/Web



Key Ottawa-based executive(s)

Year Est. locally

Product/Company Description

Bell Canada 160 Elgin St. Ottawa, ON K2P 2C4 613-785-0770





Provides consumers and businesses with communications solutions including wireless, high-speed Internet, satellite TV, Fibe TV and home phone.


Commissionaires Ottawa 24 Colonnade Rd. Ottawa, ON K2E 7J6 613-231-6462 / 613-567-1517



Paul A. Guindon CEO


Security solutions: mobile and on-site guarding; non-core police services; digital fingerprinting; pre-employment screening; criminal background checks; threat risk assessments; workplace investigations; mobile alarm response; oaths and affidavits


Costco Wholesale Canada 415 West Hunt Club Rd. Ottawa, ON K2E 1C5 613-221-2000 / 613-221-2001

Wholesale; retail

Andrée Brien senior vice-president and general merchandise manager Pierre Riel senior vice-president and general manager for eastern Canada


Membership warehouse clubs offering an assortment of nationally branded and select private-label products.


TD Bank Group 45 O’Connor St. Ottawa, ON K1P 1A4 613-782-1201

Jane Duchscher senior vice-president of TD Canada Trust


Full range of financial products and services including Canadian personal and commercial banking, wealth and insurance, wholesale banking and MBNA, a division of The Toronto-Dominion Bank.


Nokia 600 March Rd. Ottawa, ON K2K 2E6 613-591-3600



James Watt chief operating officer of IPRT group


Provides fixed, mobile and converged broadband networking, IP technologies, applications and services.


Iron Horse Security & Investigations 884 Churchill Ave. Ottawa, ON K1Z 5H2 613-228-2813 / 613-228-9812



Robin St. Martin president


Security guards; concierge services; mobile patrols; alarm response; private investigations


OTTAWA’S ECONOMIC 2,280 Financial services


WND = Would not disclose. *Did not respond to 2017 survey – using data from previous years. Should your company be on this list? If so, please send details to This list is current as of July 24, 2017. © 2017 by Ottawa Business Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced by any method in whole or in part without written permission by Ottawa Business Journal. While every attempt is made to ensure the thoroughness and accuracy of the list, omissions and errors sometimes occur. Please send any corrections or additions by e-mail to OBJ lists are primarily compiled using information provided voluntarily by the organizations named. Some firms that may qualify for the list are not included because the company either failed to respond to requests for information by press time, because the company declined to take part in the survey or because of space constraints. Categories are drawn up in attempt to gather information of relevance to the Ottawa market. Research by Patti Moran. Please send questions and comments to



This annual event will examine trends and opportunities in the city’s business sector and provide an insightful forecast about Ottawa’s economic future. This event will include: • Guest Speakers: Mr. Robert Black, Executive Vice President of The Katz Group Mr. Rick Daviss, Executive Director, Downtown Arena Project, City of Edmonton • Presentation by Douglas Porter, CFA, Chief Economist & Managing Director, BMO Financial Group


• An important update from Mayor Jim Watson



Thursday, December 7, 2017 Shaw Centre – Trillium Ballroom 11 am - Registration and Networking 11:45 am - Event Commences 1:30 pm - Event Concludes


Ottawa Chamber Members: $60 Non-Members: $75 EVENT SPONSORS

Register now at CORPORATE TABLE OF 10 Ottawa Chamber Members: $540 Non-Members: $675

Allan Snelling is pleased to announce that

Charlene Kavanagh has joined the firm and will carry-on her civil litigation practice.

Ms. Kavanagh began her legal career in Ottawa 18 years ago and practices civil and commercial litigation. She represents individuals, small businesses, and large corporations, providing advice and service on a variety of issues. Ms. Kavanagh is pleased to offer legal services in English, French, and German. Please visit her at

FOR THE RECORD People on the move Mike D’Amico, Stratford Managers’ vice-president and HR practice lead, was named chair of BioTalent Canada’s board of directors. Mr. D’Amico has served on BioTalent Canada’s board for eight years, most recently as vice-chair. Thermal Energy International hired Luc Mandeville as a senior project engineer. Mr. Mandeville has over 30 years of experience in the energy efficiency sector, and was most recently the chief technology officer of Sofame Technologies. Jeff Plowman has joined McMillan’s executive team as vice-president of client services. Previously, Mr. Plowman was executive vice-president, chief strategy officer and director of client services for Havas International, working with clients such as Kraft, Hershey’s and Merck. He also helped launch Zonetail.

Hats off Riviera has been named one of Canada’s Best New Restaurants by Air Canada’s

Contracts The following contains information about recent contracts, standing offers and supply arrangements awarded to local firms.

NORR Architects & Engineers Ltd., Provencher Roy & Assoc. Architects Inc., in joint venture 55 Murray St. Description: Architectural and engineering services – restoration/conservation heritage building structures Buyer: PWGSC $3,983,883

Black & McDonald Ltd. 2460 Don Reid Dr. Description: CHCP: Biomass boiler Buyer: National Research Council Canada $2,645,000

APX received the IEEE Outstanding SME High Technology Company Recognition Award. The award recognizes the company’s rapid growth as an industrial organization focused on high technology for the eSociety. A total of 11 Ottawa entrepreneurs were named recipients of the inaugural WISE 50 over 50 Award. They include Marc Lamarre of Cumulus Dental; Marika Morris of Marika Morris Consulting; Sanjay Belkhode and Mark Kershey of MuzeLounge; Mary Taggart of Ottawa At Home Media; Anne DeButte of Reconnect from Grief; Steve McNally of Renewity Systems; Marlene Armstrong and Maureen Donoghue of Unbridled Coaching; Rudy Richman of VirtualCSO; and Cynthia Bland of Voice Found. Recipients were chosen by a panel of judges from across Canada and the United States.

armour materials and personal protective equipment Buyer: DND $2,230,515 Atwill-Morin (Ontario) Inc. 87 Bentley Ave. Description: Poonamalie Lock 32 heritage stone masonry repairs – Rideau Canal NHS Buyer: Parks Canada $2,084,936 Black & McDonald Ltd. 2460 Don Reid Dr. Description: CHCP: Pryolysis biofuel boiler Buyer: National Research Council Canada $2,055,000 BluMetric Environmental Inc. 3108 Carp Rd. Description: Water purification equipment – repair Buyer: DND $1,977,500 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP 99 Bank St. Description: Financial analysis specialist Buyer: PWGSC $1,718,730 Click-Into Inc. 2150 Thurston Dr.



• Masonry Repairs • Waterproofing 3717 ST. JOSEPH BLVD, ORLEANS, ON, K4A 0Z7 TEL: 613-837-0111 FAX: 613-837-6724 • Caulking • Coatings • Concrete Repairs

Description: Automatic data processing equipment Buyer: DND $1,334,000


3717 St. Joseph Blvd, Orleans, ON, K1C 1T1 Tel: 613-837-0111 Fax: 613-837-6724 SageTea Inc. 900 Lady Ellen Pl. Description: Communications network software (R&D) Buyer: PWGSC $574,914 Advanced Chippewa Technologies Inc. 802 Nesbitt Pl. Description: ADP software Buyer: Health Canada $572,557 Opes Consult Inc. 160 George St. Description: Translation services Buyer: PWGSC $475,109 Marcomm Inc. 2285D St. Laurent Blvd. Description: CCTV Buyer: PWGSC $434,782 Northern Micro Inc. 3155 Swansea Cr. Description: CCTV Buyer: PWGSC $434,782


Gain Valuable Insights into Ottawa’s Economic Trends and Growth Sectors


The report indicates that sales have increased for more than half of the respondents.

INTERNATIONAL ACQUISITIONS “In M&A we’ve got lots of deals going on. And what we’re seeing that’s very encouraging is Canadian companies are the buyers, rather than being the ones acquired. There are a lot of transactions going across borders to the U.S. and Mexico. We are seeing a slight tightening in that respect because international buyers are adopting a wait-and-see approach with the Trump administration and the rhetoric around the changes to NAFTA.” — LORRAINE MASTERSMITH, PARTNER, GOWLING WLG This data is part of the Ottawa Business Growth Survey. Conducted by Abacus Data and made possible by Welch LLP, the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and the Ottawa Business Journal, the survey gathered input from hundreds of local businesses. A free 40-page report can be downloaded at


Med-Eng Holdings ULC 2400 St. Laurent Blvd. Description: Design, integration and prototyping services for

John Sicard, president and CEO of Kinaxis, is this year’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Ontario winner. Mr. Sicard joined Kinaxis in 1994 and has helped make the Ottawa-based supply chain software company a leader in its field. He was also awarded the Enterprise Technology category win.


Boless Inc. 15 Buteau St. Description: Fit-up Place du Centre floors 5 and 10 Buyer: PWGSC $3,435,200

enRoute magazine. The Sparks Street restaurant placed seventh on the list.


“Companies recognize that modern, attractive and efficient offices are needed to attract and retain talent.”






Check out Best Offices Ottawa for the latest in local office design and trends!




ional camaraderie Your resource for profess and fresh insights.






Your resource for professional camaraderie and fresh insights.




15 • NOVEMBER 6 2017





VOLUME 21 • ISSUE 15 • NOVEMBER 6 2017

Contributors wanted! For individuals interested in contributing, articles must be submitted via email to updatemagazine@ by no later than Sept. 15, 2017.



Article Format 3 Articles must be sent in either .doc or. docx format

Word Count


3 Please ensure your article is no greater in length than 800 words

3 JPEG format & 300 DPI, CMYK 3 Measuring no smaller than 2” x 3” 3 No cropping of the head area



Ottawa’s CRG emPerform helps organizations revive the employee appraisal


erformance appraisals aren’t dead, but they do need some serious attention,” said John Smith, Director of Enterprise Business Solutions for Corporate Renaissance Group (CRGroup). For more than 15 years, CRGroup’s performance management solution, CRG emPerform, has been living and breathing employee performance management by helping companies move away from the traditional, manual employee appraisal and automating their approach to this vital business process. We asked John about his take on the recent wave of companies looking to kill their appraisals and what is actually being done out there in the world of HR: The recent spotlight on appraisals isn’t news to emPerform. For years its team has worked with companies that have reached the same conclusion about their performance management processes: it just isn’t adding value. Modern companies simply do not have the luxury of waiting 12 months to check on employee progress, and new generations of employees are expecting feedback and direction on a much more frequent basis. That being said, appraisals are far from dead and even companies that claim to have “killed” them have simply reworked their perception, process, content and structure. “The reality on the ground is that

performance appraisals aren’t going anywhere,” John said. “They are still the best means of standardizing and reporting on job expectations, goals, achievements, development and potential. They also remain a critical element for determining merit and rewards. But we agree that the status quo has to die.”

They are still the best means of standardizing and reporting on job expectations, goals, achievements, development and potential. emPerform urges its clients to invest the time needed to evaluate and update their appraisals to ensure that people, process and content align with what employees need and expect, as well as what the business is trying to achieve. “We advise updating the content and frequency of appraisals,” John said. “Some of the easiest updates to make have to do with what’s being asked and ensuring goals, competencies, values, development plans and any other

John Smith explains how CRG emPerform is helping organizations revive and re-tool performance appraisals. evaluation criteria are not only specific to each employee, but are crystal clear in what’s expected and how progress is determined.” The trick after that is to modernize the process for employee feedback and check-ins so that it is timely and keeps performance top-of-mind throughout the year. A good place to start is by building a quarterly check-in process. During these meetings, managers and employees

can discuss progress related to goals and expectations along with observations and plans for the next quarter. “These meetings make it much easier for managers to stay on top of their teams, for employees to get the acknowledgement and feedback needed to develop and succeed, and for HR to feel confident that staff members are being evaluated fairly and consistently on relevant aspects of their roles,” John said.

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11 MENTORING 101 /27 /17

Looking to give back to the HR community by becoming a mentor? Searching for someone to help you progress in your career? Join us for an opportunity to spend an evening with Mentor City president Shawn Mintz, who will be in Ottawa to share how to use the Mentor City platform. TIME: 5:30 P.M. TO 9 P.M. LOCATION: SALA SAN MARCO (215 PRESTON ST.)


to the fall 2017 issue of HR Update, a joint publication of the Ottawa Business Journal and the HRPA Ottawa Chapter. This publication can also be accessed as a virtual edition at and If you have any questions about this publication, please contact us via email at

For individuals interested in contributing, articles must be submitted via email to by no later than March 19, 2018 to be considered for the next edition.

HRPA Ottawa Chapter kickoff





hrpaottawa on the go @OttawaHRPA

HRPA, Ottawa Chapter


Introducing the 2017-18 HRPA Ottawa board


he Human Resources Professionals Association, Ottawa Chapter, provides leadership, assistance and education to those working in and studying the field of human resources. We have more than 1,800 members who come from diverse work backgrounds such as the public service, professional services, not-for-profit, hospitality, tourism, manufacturing and financial services sectors, among others. To assist in providing our members with networking and professional development opportunities, including volunteering and mentoring, we rely on the generosity of our sponsors and our volunteers. As we get set to enjoy another wonderful year, I would like to take a moment to introduce you to our 2017-18 board of directors. It is through their continued commitment to our chapter, and the hard work of our committee volunteers, that we continue to provide value for members. Like so many not-for-profit organizations, we rely solely on our chapter volunteers to play a role in offering a rewarding member experience. Our volunteers dedicate time from their busy schedules and lives to give back to our HR profession and make our chapter more vibrant. Without them, we would not be able to offer our array of programs, which includes mentoring, events, personal development and student outreach. Once again, we are very fortunate to



President: Melissa Bellocchi-Hull Past-president: Kevin Barwin Treasurer: Cheryl Banks Secretary: Dan Palayew Director, community relations and marketing: Soley Soucie Director, membership engagement: Aida Hadziomerovic or Director, membership development: Erin Taillefer Director, professional development: Mersiha Mesic

have many members come forward and give their time this year. Every volunteer hour dedicated to our chapter has an impact and we would not be able to function

Director, mentoring: Anthony Lawley

without you! On behalf of the HRPA Ottawa Chapter board of directors, thank you and I look forward to a great year!

Director, communications: Angela Zimmer



he world of business has become more volatile, fast-paced and ever-changing than we’ve ever seen before. The recent ousting of Uber’s CEO after allegations of a toxic culture, and the farreaching scandal of a Google employee’s anti-diversity manifesto are just two of many headlines that rocked the business world in recent months – and created huge reputational and business risks for those seemingly rock-solid companies. There’s no denying that we live in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world and that the pace of change is only accelerating. These kinds of business risks are only intensifying and increasing in complexity. And that’s where HR comes in.

they happen. HR is a critical and strategic part of your business, which is why it’s imperative that your HR professionals are designated. HR professionals are tasked with adding value to the organizations in which we operate. As a self-regulated profession in Ontario, we are also tasked with protecting the public. HR professionals must be a highly trusted, highly competent and rigorously knowledgeable bunch. And as trust, competence and knowledge are difficult things to quantify, there has to be some way of validating them. That is precisely why we need respected designations.


In Canada (and beyond), the designation of note for the past few decades has been the Certified Human Resources Professional (the CHRP), offered through the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA).

HR professionals are the gatekeepers – the stewards of employment standards legislation, tasked with mitigating risk and eliminating scandalous headlines before 4 HR UPDATE FALL 2017


More recently, two new tiers of HR designations offered by the HRPA have emerged: the Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL), and the Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE). These are the designations business leaders respect and value. Eight in 10 executives believe HR professionals contribute positively to business success, with 49 per cent saying they contribute very positively, according to a targeted national research survey of 200 C-level executives conducted by LegerWeb. Some other figures to consider: • Six in 10 would place more value on an HR professional who had any of HRPA’s three HR designations (CHRL, CHRE and CHRP); • 62 per cent of Ontario respondents said that HRPA’s designations enhance the contribution of human resources in the company; • 58 per cent said designations elevate the strategic position of HR in the company;

and • 74 per cent said designations enhance their view of the professional’s ability to find the right people for the right job. By the same token, the view of business leaders is that the HRPA is doing a good job regulating the profession. These results are quantifiable evidence that the CHRP, CHRL and CHRE designations are aligned with what the business community wants from HR. They are a resounding validation of the direction we have taken and the work done to advance the competency framework that supports our three-tier designation framework and our rigorous validation processes. The numbers are in. Designations and effective regulation matter – and you don’t have to take our word for it. Melissa Bellocchi-Hull is the chapter president of HRPA Ottawa.





Four ways to get your jack-out-of-the-box TOP TIPS FOR LIVING AUTHENTICALLY


often hear people talk about themselves as if they are chameleons changing who they are to fit their surroundings, especially in the workplace. I’ve even heard, “I can’t be the real me at work.” Suppressing who you are and contemplating how others perceive you requires a considerable amount of energy. If we all had the confidence to be our authentic selves and live as “jacks-out-of-the box,” we could focus our minds and energy on the important things in life and become more productive. I’ll never forget sitting around the boardroom table brainstorming ideas to land a big advertising account. An idea immediately popped into my head, but I didn’t blurt it out because I thought I could do better. After 20 minutes, a colleague voiced my idea and everyone thought it was brilliant. I got tired of living as a jack-in-the-box, suppressing certain parts of myself at work, so I decided to make changes. I underwent coaching training and worked with a coach myself. The more authentic I am, the more powerful the ripple effect on those around me. Here are a few of my top tips for living authentically:

The next time you have a project or problem, experiment with shifting your perspective. Consider how the issue would be viewed by your child, favourite superhero or manager.

LIVE IN ALIGNMENT WITH YOUR VALUES When you identify what is important to you and get clear on what your top values are – be it fun, compassion, kindness or other principles – making decisions for your life is easier. Use your values as an internal authenticity compass to point you in the right direction. What are your top five values and how do they show up in your life?

PUT YOUR STRENGTHS TO WORK First, identify your strengths. What do you excel at? What energizes you? Consider an online strength assessment tool or ask others for input. Leverage and celebrate your strengths, as well as the strengths of others.

CHALLENGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE Changing your perspective can help you think differently and move you forward when you feel stuck. For example, take the earlier perspective of, “I can’t be the real me at work.” Instead, what if you operated from the standpoint of “I can’t not be the real me at work”? What would that look like? The next time you have a project or problem, experiment with shifting your perspective. Consider how the issue would be viewed by your child, favourite superhero or manager.

EXPAND YOUR COMFORT ZONE Stepping beyond your comfort zone will get you to start living as a jack-out-of-the box because that is where growth happens. Through the ladies group I organize, I’ve witnessed women tackle their fear of heights and meet new people. I see their confidence

grow when they stretch beyond their safe zones. What will your next comfort zone adventure be? Living as a jack-out-of-the box is freeing and has made me a more effective leader. It may not be easy, and it takes courage, but it is worth it and sometimes it takes only one person to lead the way for a family, circle of friends or a workplace. Courtney McLeod is a coach at Kick Ass Coaching.

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GOING GIG: A BLENDED WORKFORCE BLUEPRINT FOR YOUR ORGANIZATION Engaging on-demand ‘free agents’ can deliver greater adaptability


n 2016, General Motors CEO Mary Barra predicted that the auto industry will change more in the next five to 10 years than it has in the last 50. Meanwhile, an educational study a year earlier suggested that nearly two-thirds of students entering grade 4 today will be employed in jobs or industries that don’t currently exist. We read these headlines every day. None of this is news to anyone responsible for leading and renewing our organizations. Our people and our organizations need to be more agile, adaptable, experimental and resilient to shock. HR’s role is to help build an agile workforce in an adaptive organization. How can HR professionals accomplish that? DESIGNING FOR ADAPTABILITY The organizational design question is how can we continue to deliver shortterm performance while developing the adaptability to quickly respond to unknown conditions in the near future. The “employee workforce” concept is an industrial age design and the HR toolkit is still optimized around managing that type of workforce. It operates best when there is conformity of work, predictability of conditions and – at best – only slow, steady change. And yet the modern workplace is filled with contractors, consultants and freelancers. We’ve always used such “free agents” as an ad-hoc response to short-term needs. Evolving free agents into a functioning workforce platform promises huge gains in organizational adaptability. To deliver, we’ll need to operate differently and build new tools. The design goal is a blended workforce of full-time employees and on-demand

The design goal is a blended workforce of full-time employees and on-demand free agents, knowing when and where to use one versus the other, and knowing how to gracefully switch between them. free agents, knowing when and where to use one versus the other, and knowing how to gracefully switch between them. It is workforce design at its most essential, championed and facilitated by HR. To make this happen, here’s a pragmatic five-step blueprint that delivers short-term targeted performance improvements while laying a clear path to delivering much greater organizational adaptability.


PICK A PARTNER, PICK A TARGET First, select an internal business partner and together pick a well-defined performance target to focus on. In picking your internal partner, find one willing to experiment and driven to make serious performance gains. Choose a businesscritical target where your combined efforts matter.


PERFORMANCE-TUNE THE TARGET Within this bounded experiment, embrace the team and provide the latitude and tools to help them identify and remove the roadblocks holding back performance. Focus on this for two consecutive quarters


and you’ll deliver an impressive and sustained performance boost. In delivering this performance improvement, leverage the goodwill produced to promote your long-term design strategy of an agile workforce in an adaptive organization.


SWEAT THE DATA, INSIGHTS AND TAKE INVENTORY Here is the real value of this approach. You now know a lot more about the inner workings of this part of the organization and what it takes – in terms of human and physical capital – to deliver the desired performance outcomes. Your targeted “turbocharging” activity has led to (a) greater clarity about linkage between performance and human and physical inputs; (b) establishing the baseline performance available with current resources; and (c) fresh thinking into performance scaling with employees (your “own” option) or free agents (the “rent” option). You’ve developed clear insights into how performance scales through human efforts, regardless of source. In short, you have the data to support informed “rent vs. own” decisions when seeking to scale performance.


RINSE AND REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT Now go and find another internal business partner and target another performance improvement, and run through the turbo-charging blueprint. And then do it again…and then do it again...and again…


SYSTEMATIZE WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED By moving your turbo-charging efforts around the organization engaging different partners, you’re capturing a huge amount of data, team performance insights, work practices, work process improvements and the like. That’s all data for your new HR/ business system on workforce inputs and performance outcomes. Where does this lead you? You’ve now developed deep insights into effectively leveraging a free-agent workforce as a “performance scaling overlay” to your employee workforce. Additionally, you have a toolkit for helping the leadership design and implement powerful adaptive strategies. Let’s fast-forward a few years. Being able to rapidly engage – and disengage – highly qualified free agents within your blended workforce has now become a routine strategic response to your organization’s continual need for adaptability. Delivering a truly agile, blended workforce reinforces your value as a strategic partner in the organization by helping to develop the organizational adaptability these turbulent times demand. Tim Ragan is a performance engineer at Career Constructors. FALL 2017 HR UPDATE 7



keeping you connected



I MILLENNIALS AREN’T THE PROBLEM. WE ARE. Successful leaders bring out the best of each generation

ntergenerational conflict in the workplace is hardly a new concept. However, effectively leading the five different generations that currently make up today’s workforce is a different challenge altogether. Each bring their own unique life experiences, expectations and inherent biases. With the right leadership, this provides an organization with powerful benefits. Today’s successful leaders need to move beyond the stereotypes and clichés that so often typify these groups and bring out the best of each generation. The days of pinning conflict and poor results on myopic perspectives of demographic cohorts are over.

WHO’S WHO The five generations that make up the presentday workforce include: • Traditionalists (born between 1900 and 1945); • Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964); • Generation-X (born between 1965 and 1979); • Millennials (born between 1980 and 1999); and • Generation-Z (born after 2000) These five generations are bookended by Traditionalists, who widely shaped our modern workplace (although are now seen at the office in limited numbers), and Gen-Z, who have just started to join the workforce as teenagers. Meanwhile, Gen-X, the second largest cohort of workers – arguably in the prime of their careers – find themselves largely left out of the generational discussion. Occupying centre stage and dominating HR discussions is the ongoing battle between Millennials and Baby Boomers, both of whom

continue to receive the most attention, hype and media rhetoric. Millennials are now the largest group in the workforce and are set to comprise 50 per cent of all workers by 2020. They’re no longer just new grads in entry-level roles. They have become critical contributors who cannot be ignored, changed or fixed. Meanwhile, the Baby Boomer retirement exodus never materialized, with many choosing to remain in the workplace longer or return post-retirement for contract and project roles. With no mandatory retirement age, and the youngest boomer turning only 53 this year, Boomers will remain part of our multigenerational workforce for years to come.

DIVERSE WORKPLACE Individuals can control only themselves, and all age groups are responsible for seeing the best in others. Senior leaders and HR professionals attempting to position their organizations to effectively engage and lead all five generations should start by asking these powerful questions: • How capable and equipped are our leaders to adapt to a diverse workforce? • What do our people need to effectively navigate our systems, processes, and culture? • How do we leverage our millennial workforce as a competitive advantage? Intergenerational conflict is not new, but intentionally leading all five generations in our fast-paced, interconnected and competitive world will bring distinct advantages as organizations seek to drive their business. Jeff Lucier is the founder of Aspirant Leadership Coaching & Consulting. He can be reached at

Talent & Leadership Development • Career Solutions • Executive Search & Recruitment Lee Hecht Harrison Knightsbridge helps companies simplify the complexity associated with transforming their leadership and workforce so they can accelerate results, with less risk.

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LOOKING TO NETWORK AND LEARN FROM OTHER PROFESSIONALS IN VARIOUS INDUSTRIES? HRPA Ottawa Chapter hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Visit for details.

How to create a learning culture ®


one are the days when an education lasted a whole career. The world of work is evolving quickly and organizations can’t expect to rely on outdated activities, hierarchies and processes to keep up. Here are a few sobering statistics that paint a picture of change in the workplace: • Skills acquired during formal education are rapidly out of date, with estimates that nearly 50 per cent of subject knowledge obtained during the first year of a four-year technical degree will become outdated by the time students graduate. • The World Economic Forum also reports that by 2020, more than a third of desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not considered crucial today. • According to Deloitte, 90 per cent of CEOs believe their company is facing disruptive change driven by digital technologies, and yet 70 per cent say that their organization lacks the skills required to adapt. Combined with the disinterest inherent in today’s typically disengaged workforce, many organizations face an uphill battle. If we accept that teams need to be engaged and ready to adapt to changes as they occur, and that knowledge and skills face a continual decline towards obsoletion, learning is the obvious answer as to how organizations can keep their teams competitive.

CONDITIONS FOR ENGAGEMENT Leaders should not think of learning as a one-off event and instead work towards creating a learning culture – an environment focused on evaluating knowledge gaps, supporting skills acquisition, providing a space to practice new competencies on-the-job and embedding learning at the team level. These elements will create the conditions required for engagement and agility. Most importantly, embedding learning in daily operations will improve business outcomes. Organizations with a strong learning culture are better equipped to navigate the shifting business landscape. CEB identifies three elements to creating a productive learning culture: opportunity, capability and environment. Opportunity refers to resources and

materials. Content is ubiquitous. A quick search will reveal a myriad of online courses, articles, tutorials and resources to teach just about any skill you’d care to learn. To create opportunities, organizations must curate the resources that are relevant to their employees, and create a culture that views learning as a priority. Capability is related to the ability to learn effectively. Only 10 per cent of learning occurs in a formal educational setting, while 20 per cent occurs in peer-to-peer interactions and a staggering 70 per cent through practice and application. The role of organizations should be to create the conditions that allow employees to learn by doing. Learning environment considers the question of whether an organization’s culture allows people to ask others for help, to take the extra time required to look up answers, and to brainstorm solutions. Are team members supported by their managers in pursuit of new skills? Leaders at all levels of the organization should model learning to their teams. Teams should be building skills needed to face change as it arrives. Organizations need engaged, agile employees who can think strategically, collaborate effectively and engage with change. An effective learning culture will be a differentiating factor between the organizations that thrive, and those that get left behind. Sara Saddington is the Managing Editor for She can be contacted at info@





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For more information on reaching Kanata North contact | 613-238-1818 ext 240 @OttawaHRPA • THE HUMAN RESOURCE PROFESSIONALS ASSOCIATION OTTAWA CHAPTER PUBLICATION


THE CHANGING FACE OF LEGAL LEADERSHIP IN OTTAWA Law firms are looking beyond traditional candidates to bring entrepreneurial mindset, fresh perspectives to profession steeped in history


he legal profession is about to undergo unprecedented change, and law firms are working hard to stay ahead of the curve. For Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP, that meant looking outside the profession when recruiting its chief operating officer. Instead of going the traditional route of hiring a lawyer to oversee the firm’s Ottawa office, the company brought in top talent from the tech sector. And, for a profession that is steeped in history, it was seen as an incredibly bold move. “I bring a new perspective – a different set of eyes to any problem or any issue,” explains Mia Hempey, Nelligan O’Brien Payne’s chief operating officer. “I was really impressed by how innovative the firm was to see the value of bringing a business person into the role who had no legal industry experience.” At 48, Hempey is one of the youngest members of the firm’s executive team, and she brings with her a keen ability to navigate disruptive change and empowers others to embrace it. In the legal sector, that change means updating the billable hour structure to make it more client-focused, breaking down the silos that exist between the legal team and support staff, succession planning and embracing new technology. “Lawyers are professionally trained to analyze risks, so they look at all the risks that are possible in every situation,” Ms. Hempey says. “Whereas I come with an entrepreneurial background, and I look at the probability of risk. I can make a timely decision with limited information, and once I make that decision I throw my energy into making it a success.” One of her biggest priorities for the next year is working to incorporate millennials and their working style into the environment. “You really have to take a different approach to managing millennials. They want to understand the purpose and why

you are asking them to do something,” she says. “It may take a little more time and patience to explain and provide the detail they require, but it’s worth it.” MOVING BEYOND HIERARCHICAL SYSTEMS Down the street at another law firm, McMillan LLP is also revamping its team. As part of a national initiative to reflect a younger demographic, the company appointed 40-year-old Martin Thompson as its office management partner in January 2016. “Certainly it can be a bit stressful being in this position at a young age, but I very much welcomed the challenge,” Mr. Thompson says. “For this role, listening skills are very important, and I have always been a proponent of listening when people are talking, as opposed to just preparing to speak.” Mr. Thompson sees the composition of the office transforming, moving away from the traditional hierarchical system to a more horizontal management style that is focused on collaboration and teamwork. “You need to be able to connect with everyone on the team,” he says. “And understand and respect the unique role each person plays and how it all works together.” One of the biggest challenges facing Mr. Thompson is the constant struggle to find that perfect balance between his work and his home life. With two young daughters, he has made it a priority to schedule dedicated family time so he can be there for the girls’ dance recitals and ski lessons. “It’s tough to set those boundaries, especially when you are connected pretty much all the time,” Mr. Thompson says. “You really need to carve out that time so that you can be fully present. It’s required some discipline, but the benefits are significant.”



“I come with an entrepreneurial background, and I look at the probability of risk.” MIA HEMPEY, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, NELLIGAN O’BRIEN PAYNE

– By Shannon Bain

Bill 148: The role of HR professionals


n February 2015, Ontario’s labour minister initiated the Changing Workplaces Review to consider the broader issues affecting the workplace and assess how the current labour and employment law framework addresses these trends and issues. In response, Ontario introduced Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act on June 1, 2017. The role of HR professionals as advisors,


educators and advocates will become even more prominent as the landscape evolves in light of Bill 148’s proposed changes. As business partners, HR professionals will play an important role in ensuring that employee handbooks, policy manuals and collective agreements reflect the new provisions of Bill 148, together with the proposed changes to the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act.

These changes will affect pay and benefits, scheduling rules and statutory leave provisions in addition to providing for specific penalties for the misclassification of employees as independent contractors, among other important changes. If we are to remain ahead of the coming changes, we will need to open a dialogue within our organizations with employees, leaders and unions. Outside our organizations,

we will need to establish links with other worker advocacy groups and employment standards officers. The goal is to develop highlevel educational materials based on the new legislation, aimed at creating better workplaces in Ontario by making the act easy to access, understand and administer. Karen Brownrigg is the founder and CEO of iHR Advisory Services.






Organizations can capitalize on workforce trends to improve talent retention


cross Canada, firms are looking to become more competitive. Mercer’s recent 2017/2018 Compensation Planning Survey found that salary increases are largely holding steady, with a national average salary increase of 2.5 per cent in 2018; up slightly from 2.4 per cent in 2017. The survey also found that top performers are receiving significantly larger increases – up to 1.8 times higher than those average performers will receive. In other words, employers are beginning to make tentative first steps towards growth by making strategic investments in top talent. It is important to ensure that employers get that investment right. If your organization is looking to improve its retention of top employees, or ensure it is armed with the people it needs to succeed in the workplace of the future, compensation planning decisions cannot be made in a vacuum. Compensation and rewards plans must be built as part of a broader, future-oriented talent strategy. And that means looking at the

trends transforming the global workplace. At Mercer, our 2017 Global Talent Trends study identified four trends that employers need to be mindful of when building their talent strategies: GROWTH BY DESIGN An increasingly robust economy is boosting business confidence from coast to coast; businesses are increasingly willing to reorient their organizations to grow and thrive. For 46 per cent of organizations polled in Canada, this means altering job evaluation methods in response to the changing workplace. A SHIFT IN WHAT WE VALUE There is an increased focus this year on the contractual aspects of the employment equation: pay competitiveness, benefits and job security. Employees want to understand how their rewards are being calculated, and the vast majority – 97 per cent of those polled in Canada – say they want to be recognized and rewarded for a wider range of contributions.

A WORKPLACE FOR ME Companies are moving beyond segmented pay and benefits to a more nuanced value proposition – one that responds to individual interests and is brought alive through technology. This is especially evident in trends such as flexible working. Companies looking to keep the talent they require should look to invest not only in pay and benefits, but also in a culture that supports flexibility, and the technology to make that flexibility real. THE QUEST FOR INSIGHT As the workplace becomes more digital, the amount of data produced by organizations will increase exponentially. Companies that invest in the analytics necessary to derive workplace

insights from this data are armed with the tools needed to make better – and more strategic – decisions. The organization of the future is an organization that intends to grow, and is willing to make the changes necessary to achieve that growth. It understands employee preference and the power of personalization. And it uses all the data at its disposal to ensure executives can make the best, most well-informed decisions possible. Cynthia MacFarlane is a principal in Mercer’s Ottawa career practice, specializing in total rewards, classification strategy, human resources strategy and performance management.


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Everyone expects you to solve their problems. Could you be better at resolving conflicts and keeping relationships intact? How well do you deal with employee disputes? How do you deal with upset and stubborn people? Do you help employees negotiate when they have problems? Can you identify talents and personality types? Are you expected to implement people strategies that support the organization’s business objectives? Our training will provide you with the tools you need to excel at the tasks you face every day.

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HRPA, Ottawa Chapter


L 50 % than the Canadian national average.

ess than one-third of the world’s entire workforce is fully engaged when they come to work. Ineffective leadership has proven to be a key contributor to both low engagement and low productivity in the workplace – so much so that Gallup’s 2014 State of the American Workplace report estimated that disengaged employees cost the U.S. economy approximately $550 billion per year in lost productivity. Of that, an average $86 billion is lost annually as a result of disengaged leadership.

A LEADERSHIP SHORTFALL The leadership shortage is one of the biggest barriers to the growth, prosperity and sustainability of organizations. In fact, developing new leaders is the top talent challenge facing organizations worldwide, with 86 per cent of companies rating it “urgent” or “important.” This leadership talent challenge becomes even more pressing as aging leaders retire and millennials assume leadership roles. Millennials will be our future leaders, yet many organizations are not adequately preparing them. These organizations are choosing not to invest in their current millennial workforce because of their proclivity to “job-hop.” According to Stephen Burnett, professor of management and strategy at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, millennials’ loyalty is something a company must earn. It is understood that millennials job-hop when they see that they won’t be able to fulfill their career goals with their current employer. Once they see the organization is making an investment in them, for many, their trust and loyalty will follow.


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The key to retaining and engaging your millennial workforce is to provide them with the professional development and stretch assignments they need to advance their career. According to a 2015 Mercer survey, “more than three-quarters (78 per cent) of employees report they would stay with their current employer if they knew their career path.” These conditions actually pose a tremendous opportunity for organizations that choose to focus on growing their own leaders. Organizations that invest in their workforce have a competitive advantage over those that choose to do nothing or to recruit leaders from outside. This advantage comes from developing quality talent, retaining engaged employees and developing aspiring leaders Talent development programs that include leadership development

The key to retaining and engaging your millennial workforce is to provide them with the professional development and stretch assignments they need to advance their career. programming create a leadership pipeline with a pool of strong internal candidates who know and trust your organization. View these developmental efforts as parallel to your efforts to attract and retain customer loyalty. Treat your employees like your customers, and you will gain their loyalty.

OFF-THE-SHELF, CUSTOM CONTENT OR…? Investing in talent development and, ultimately, in leadership development will keep your people engaged, productive and loyal as well as feeding your leadership pipeline into the future. The question then becomes whether you should buy off-the-shelf leadership development courseware or customize the content. The biggest advantage of customization is that you get exactly what you want. The courses are customized to your organization, values and culture. The downside is cost. They can be quite expensive and may

require more internal resources if the development takes place in house. Off-the-shelf content is typically less expensive, but the courses are not customized to your organization. There is no real opportunity to shape loyalty by exploring the values and culture upon which the organization is built. However, there is a third alternative: a hybrid approach that involves selecting offthe-shelf courseware content that is then customized to reflect your organization. A hybrid leadership development program captures the best of both worlds: It retains the main benefits of a custom solution, but comes at a lower cost. Adopting a hybrid approach to developing quality leaders from within your organization will become your secret recipe for retaining engaged employees, developing aspiring leaders and staying competitive in the marketplace. Alexandra Salamis is a leadership coach and organizational consultant with more than 25 years’ experience.



BECOME A VOLUNTEER WITH HRPA OTTAWA CHAPTER! Volunteers are integral to HRPA’s success. Current volunteer opportunities with HRPA Ottawa Chapter include:​​ • • •

Professional development / networking committee chair; Keep in Touch committee member; and Mentoring committee member

CHRP members who volunteer with HRPA are eligible for CPD hours. Apply to become a volunteer at

Wherever you need experienced employment and labour law professionals, we’re there. Honoured as Employment Team of the Year at Chambers Canada Awards 2015, our dedicated team delivers tailored, effective and high-value services to our clients at a local, national and international level.

Law around the world

Ottawa Karen Jensen 613 780 8673

Toronto John Mastoras 416 216 3905

Montréal Marie-Hélène Jetté 514 847 4650


Québec Gilles Rancourt 418 640 5036

Calgary Bill Armstrong 403 267 8255


HRPA Ottawa Photo Gallery Check out additional photos from our recent events.


WHO WILL BE Ottawa company is cultivating a culture where employees are empowered and engaged REPLACED BY M A ROBOT? any of us transition into different careers, but it’s rare to go from being one of Canada’s most successful venture capitalists to a high-growth CEO. Even more rare is to do it twice. Andrew Waitman is the CEO of Assent Compliance, an Ottawa-based firm that specializes in software that ensures multinational firms and their suppliers are following an ever-growing list of government regulations on everything from human rights to health and safety standards. The company’s revenues increased at a compound growth rateman of 121 s theannual barriers between andper cent over themachine past three years and the teamhow has continue to dissolve, grown from todone moreand thanwho 275does employees work25 gets it will in less than three years. More recently, Assent continue to change dramatically. To prepare made byrevolution, landing a $40-million for thisheadlines significant business and series-B equity HR leaders needinvestment. to understand how to Spendtechnology some timetoatreplace Assentor and one sees leverage complement thathuman the company is cultivating culture the workforce in order toa improve where employees are empowered and also productivity and business results. They engaged. wantto tomanage talk less the about how of need to beThey prepared impact they gotassociated here but rather discuss where they of change with the changing nature are going. work and the workforce. We recently caught up with Andrew Waitman at the cafe where he often hosts his

“Coffee with the CEO” sessions, near Assent’s Ottawa office. We wanted to learn from one of the city’s successful CEOs about the influence of HR on his career.


What business and HR leaders need to know


HOW CAN A: MyTECHNOLOGY first CEO role was in a services AFFECT business in JOBS which your people are your

product. Youhas need take to care of people so Technology theto ability have a positive they take impact oncare jobsof in your threecustomers. ways, eachSecond, of which we operate in a highly competitive, highprovide potential costs savings as well as functioning knowledge employee work opportunities to better leverage human environment in which the best-of-the-best, workers. world-class folks have optionality … they have choices. Without proactive, thoughtful REPLACING HUMAN WORKERS and first strategic attention to peoplecan initiatives, The way that organizations use programs, leadership (employees) technology to improveand the culture, outcome of a will seekjob work environments that genuinely specific function is by completely replacing care about (their staff ).

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MENTORING 101 Looking to give back to the HR community by becoming a mentor? Searching for someone to help you progress in your career? Join us for an opportunity to spend an evening with Mentor City president Shawn Mintz, who will be in Ottawa to share how to use the Mentor City platform. TIME: 5:30 P.M. TO 9 P.M. LOCATION: SALA SAN MARCO (215 PRESTON ST.)


Q: WHAT TRAITS DO YOU LOOK FOR WHEN HIRING TOP TALENT FOR YOUR TEAM? A: I seek talent that’s quick, clever and

curious, who are coachable and who are selfdriven, self-aware, exercise self-control and are ambitious and have a winning mentality. Folks who have a strong work ethic who know how to make a difference in any context in which they get involved.

Q: WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE JOB INTERVIEW QUESTION? A: How would your current team lead/


Communicate. Communicate. Keep communicating. Encourage communication, collaboration and cooperation toward coherence. Heidi Hauver is the CHRO and managing partner of Keynote HR.

manager describe you?

Q: HOW DO YOU STAY CONNECTED WITH YOUR EMPLOYEES? A: Walking around. Coffee-with-the CEO. Being curious.


A: In the early stages of a company, HR plays a critical role in the impute of a company. Just as sales account executives and business development reps can have a profound impact on the success of outbound sales and prospective customer engagement, HR can plan, coach and create the right conditions for new employee engagement including onboarding, setting expectations and handling issues post-start with check-ins and working with managers for fit and contentment.

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What’s the best advice you ever took? Don’t sweat the small stuff.

What is the most challenging thing about being a CEO? Judging what’s important (right) now.

What tip you would share with new graduates? Read a book on artificial intelligence.

What is one word that describes your leadership style? Curiosity. Lifelong learning

What book are you reading? Master Algorithm

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mployers who care about their employees’ welfare as they transition into retirement often seek to assist them by providing valuable information on post-retirement matters such as pension and benefits, financial matters, retirement options and long-term care considerations. Rarely, however, do employers include education on funeral planning. Most people will retire, some will face disabilities and possibly need long-term care, but every one of us is guaranteed to eventually die. Ironically, despite this inescapable eventuality, very few people take the opportunity to plan on how they would like to be remembered and the great majority are unaware of all their options. The opportunity to learn about funeral planning options and considerations is actually a benefit to all employees, as many have to assist with elderly family members and some simply like to plan ahead. Planning in advance is something everyone can do on their own, from start to finish, as is editing as necessary. To be clear, planning does not require signing up with a funeral home and pre-paying.

PLANNING AND OPTIONS Most people would agree that life’s greatest moments are worth celebrating. Births, graduations, awards, achievements, anniversaries, birthdays and retirements are often marked by some special event to commemorate the occasion.

remembering it for years with fond memories. Imagine creating those same memories for loved ones, friends and family at one’s funeral. There is power and connection in a meaningful, personalized commemorative funeral event that helps people grieve and heal in a healthy way. The key to creating a memorable commemoration of life is planning – in advance. Employees who are planning their retirement, or looking after elderly persons, should plan for this eventuality too. Without advance knowledge of the deceased’s wishes,

Providing employees with funeral planning education and resources is a great value add to their total rewards that completes the retirement benefits offerings Yet, when it comes to death – the final chapter of each person’s very unique life – the ubiquitous traditional funeral whitewashes the life of the deceased rather than commemorating a distinctive life. Sadly, this is overwhelmingly due to lack of awareness regarding planning and options. Everyone has a unique life story, their own personal and eclectic collection of experiences, adventures, personality traits, tastes, accomplishments, interests, cherished memories and more. A great event has people

the abruptness of a death curtails the time that loved ones have to plan and research options, of which there are many. If cremation is selected – the preference for two-thirds of Canadians – the options are almost limitless to create a meaningful and memorable celebration of life. Without advance knowledge of the deceased’s wishes, loved ones face the stressful situation of hastily making many decisions (up to 100!) within the span of a couple of days, often picking from a limited

menu of options offered by a funeral home, and second-guessing themselves in the process and afterwards. Providing employees with useful information to help them plan how they would like their life commemorated has many significant benefits on both practical and emotional levels. These include: • The ability to create the memorable experience they would like for their family, friends and loved ones to laugh, cry, grieve and say a final goodbye; • The opportunity to ease the burden on loved ones by making the decisions in advance and thereby eliminate emotional decisions, second-guessing and pressure; • Peace of mind knowing that their wishes are articulated and that money will be spent according to those wishes, likely saving thousands of dollars that might otherwise be spent under pressure and emotional duress. For employers, providing employees with funeral planning education and resources is a great value add to their total rewards that completes the retirement benefits offering and complements other wellness benefits. Given the reality of today’s demographics, employees will appreciate this unique, and thoughtful, benefit. Irene Lis is the founder of Aligned People Strategies and vice-president of HR Consulting at Stratford Managers. She can be reached at

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How leaders can teach resilience STEPS TO BUILDING MENTAL TOUGHNESS


y first job in sales at a small Canadian printing company more than 20 years ago was far from easy or glamorous. I sold printers out of a van and had to meet a daily quota of at least 30 cold calls. This entailed lugging a printer from my van into prospective customers’ offices to provide demonstrations and free trials. I was tempted to hand back the keys to my van and pack it in many times, but I stuck it out for a year – a lifetime in that role. Along the way I discovered I had a trait that has served me well throughout my career and positioned me to be an effective corporate leader: resilience. Persevering in the face of adversity is critical to getting ahead. It has the power to take us farther than IQ, education or experience alone. It’s applicable across all roles and all lines of business in every industry around the world. And yet, we don’t spend nearly enough time developing resilience in our workforce. While some people seem to be born with thicker skins, for most of us resilience is a skill that we need to learn and practise.

RESILIENCY TRAINING American psychologist Dr. Martin Seligman has spent the last 30 years studying resiliency to understand why some people rebound after a setback and why others fall into a state of learned helplessness. He and his team at the University of Pennsylvania created the Penn Resiliency

Program. They train businesses in resiliency and reduce the number of those who struggle in adversity and increase the number of those who grow. Corporate leaders must first help employees build mental toughness. This requires recognizing their emotional response to failure is based solely on their own beliefs about what it means to fail.

Resilience is a skill that we need to learn and practise. If they believe failure means not getting something right on the first try, they’ll stop trying. Being mentally tough means you know this moment is temporary and you have the emotional sophistication to shake off negative thoughts and try again. Next, employees need to learn to recognize their unique strengths and how they make a positive contribution to the project or the organization. This helps to give employees the confidence to innovate and push forward, even after temporary

setbacks. The last step is about changing the way we communicate and respond to our colleagues. Responding in an active and constructive way versus a passive or dismissive way will help them become more resilient. Think about the manager that merely says, “Good work,” in a performance review versus the one that praises specific achievements, their value and a worker’s personal growth. Employees of the second type of manager will rebound much quicker from a setback because they have an active and engaged relationship and can see their value.

EQUIPPING EMPLOYEES Studies have shown that resilient people are happier and have higher life satisfaction. In the workplace, resilient people experience less stress and are able to grow in their careers from what they have learned from their challenges or setbacks. They take less time off, are more productive and can adapt more quickly to change. The rapidly expanding global market is transforming the way we work and confronting organizations with an

unprecedented pace of change. Change can be a force of good, pushing individuals to learn and develop and drive organizations to evolve and grow. It can also become overwhelming for employees and businesses, if they are ill-prepared. As leaders we need to focus on equipping our employees with the resilience and the mental agility to adapt and thrive in this ever-changing world. We all want to be happy, productive and successful, while delivering incredible value to our customers and the people with whom we work. Our success is not guaranteed and our failures don’t need to define our careers. It’s our optimism and resilience that will help us respond positively to challenging situations and will give us the opportunity to dream big and push forward. As leaders, we can help create resilient employees who can steer through change, pressure, uncertainty and ambiguity and have the coping strategies to manage stress, overcome setbacks and continue to innovate. Ernie Philip is senior vice-president of document outsourcing services at Xerox Canada.

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ACCOMMODATING EMPLOYEES’ CHILDCARE REQUIREMENTS In leading case, court finds that customs inspector can’t be forced to work rotating shifts because of parental obligations


oth the federal Canadian Human Rights Act, and the Ontario Human Rights Code impose a legal duty on employers to refrain from engaging in discrimination on the basis of “family status.” While the Ontario legislation prescribes a definition of family status – “being in a parent and child relationship” – the federal legislation is silent. Nonetheless, in the leading case of Canada (Attorney General) v. Johnstone, the Federal Court of Appeal held that employers have a duty to accommodate “childcare obligations” as a component of their duty to accommodate an employee’s “family status.” Here’s a brief summary of the facts in that case. Ms. Johnstone worked for the Canada Border Services Agency as a customs agent at Toronto Pearson International Airport, as did her husband. CBSA employees worked varying and rotating shifts. In January 2003, following the birth of her first child, Ms. Johnstone requested accommodation by way of a fixed daytime shift schedule that coincided with the childcare available to her. CBSA was unwilling to provide Ms. Johnstone with fixed shifts on the basis of an unofficial policy that said the she would have to work varying shifts, unless she had a legitimate reason for accommodation. After confirming that “family status”

includes childcare obligations, the Federal Court of Appeal added the following caveats: It is also important not to trivialize human rights legislation by extending human rights protection to personal family choices, such as participation of children in dance classes, sports events like hockey tournaments, and similar voluntary activities. The childcare obligations that are contemplated under family status should be those that have immutable or constructively immutable characteristics, such as those that form an integral component of the legal relationship between a parent and a child. Put another way, the parental obligations whose fulfillment is protected by the Canadian Human Rights Act are those whose non-fulfillment engages the parent’s legal responsibility to the child. At its most basic, accommodation of family status requires employers to accommodate parental obligations that engage the parent’s legal responsibility for the child, such as childcare obligations, as opposed to personal choices. Although the Johnstone case concerned childcare obligations, cases concerning the obligation to provide care to a parent are not unprecedented and only likely to increase. In the case of Misetich v. Value Village Stores Inc., the employee claimed discrimination on

the basis of her need to provide eldercare. Like all requests for accommodation, employers must pause and consider all the possible ways by which the employee’s care obligations could potentially be accommodated. If the employer can implement one of the possible accommodations, without causing undue hardship on the employer

– considering the cost, any outside sources of funding and aby health and safety requirements – then such accommodation must be provided lest a complaint of discrimination be raised. Sean Bawden is a partner with the law firm Kelly Santini LLP, specializing in employment law and civil litigation.

An HR guide to travel safety and security QUESTIONS TO ASK PRIOR TO DEPARTURE


he risks associated with travel continue to increase. Much of that time is spent with employees. So let’s help managers make the most of their everyday conversations. Extreme weather events, such as this year’s hurricanes that wreaked havoc across Texas, Florida and several Caribbean countries, occur with seemingly greater frequency. Meanwhile, domestic and international terrorist attacks have sent violent shockwaves through otherwise peaceful cities. But despite these recent events, the vast majority of travel will be safe, uneventful and, hopefully, an amazing experience. Nonetheless, it is important to take the time to plan. Imagine a simple scenario where you have arrived for work in a town with which you are not familiar. Your plane lands, you clear customs and then head to the reception area to meet your arranged driver. Unbeknownst to you, the driver was in a motor vehicle accident while en route and does not arrive. 18 HR UPDATE FALL 2017

Does your organization have a travel security program? What will you do? It is important to take the time to research and plan for these eventualities before they happen, and not at the moment they appear.

PRE-TRAVEL QUESTIONS While not an exhaustive list, here are a few simple questions you should always ask yourself before you travel:

• Does my cell phone work where I’m travelling? If not, what is my plan to stay in touch? • If there is a problem with my hotel, do I have a backup in mind that is convenient to my travel (close to meetings, or in a safe neighbourhood)? • If my driver does not show up, or there are no taxis, do I have contact information for an alternate? • Have I researched the local holidays (which can cause local businesses to close for several straight days) and current political environment? Have I been following the local news so that I get a sense of what is happening where I’m travelling? • Where is the nearest medical facility that can provide me with adequate care should I need it? These common sense tips, and the time taken to plan in advance, will promote safer and more secure travel. But what about the organization’s responsibilities? Consider the following questions:

• Does your organization have a travel security program? • Have you been briefed on safety dos and don’ts? • How will your organization respond if there is a safety or security incident while you’re travelling? • Can your organization locate you if phone service goes down? There is a great deal of information that can be provided for each of these questions. It is important that you know what your organization expects of you and what you should expect of your organization. At a minimum, check the Travel Advice and Advisories page published by Global Affairs Canada Whatever the situation, you are the one most responsible for your own safety. Advance planning can greatly enhance your personal security while travelling. Bill Danielsen is chief security officer and manager of administrative services at the International Development Research Centre.



HRPA Designations Speak For Themselves Canadian businesses agree*

86% of jobs “prefer or require” CHRP, CHRL, or CHRE **


of businesses believe a designation from HRPA enhances their view of HR’s ability to find the right people for the right job *

58% of businesses believe a designation from HRPA changes the strategic positioning of HR in the organization *

Businesses need HRPA designated professionals. HRPA equips HR professionals to take businesses to peak performance thanks to CHRP, CHRL and CHRE designations. Businesses can trust they’ve got the right person to help lead their organization forward. Hire the professionals who will lead your business forward. * March 2017 national LegerWeb survey of 250 C-level business executives, accurate +/- 6.2%, 19 times out of 20 ** 2016 annual average of 2,200 Hire Authority job postings




ional camaraderie Your resource for profess and fresh insights.






Your resource for professional camaraderie and fresh insights.




15 • NOVEMBER 6 2017

THE LABOUR AND EMPLOYMENT LAW EXPERTS Emond Harnden is trusted, not simply as advisors, but as an integrated member of our clients’ HR departments and senior management teams. We are devoted exclusively to advising management on labour relations and employment matters. It’s a forward-thinking approach to labour law.








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