Recognition of Entry to the Executive Ranks Ceremony 2020

Highlights of Recognition of Entry to the Executive Ranks Ceremony
November 17, 2020


In a nod to our new reality, on November 17, 2020, APEX hosted its first-ever virtual ceremony to recognize the entry to the executive ranks of 626 talented public servants*.

APEX CEO Jacqueline Rigg welcomed this large group of new executives, together with the Clerk of the Privy Council, Ian Shugart, and the Chief Human Resources Officer, Nancy Chahwan, plus the new Chair of the APEX Board of Directors, Daryell Nowlan, and over 70 Deputy Heads. Participants joined the online ceremony from across Canada, and even several from around the world, representing a wide diversity of people, departments and agencies, and areas of talent and knowledge.

The message of the day for new executives was on leadership, and the qualities and commitment that are needed to succeed in a changing Canadian landscape.

Ian Shugart delivered a powerful message on the sacrifice and humility required to be an effective leader, but underscored that “the sacrifice is worth it. The challenges, the opportunities we face, the problems that we are called upon to solve cannot be paralleled anywhere else in any other sector. And we do this for our country and for our fellow citizens. We do this for our children and for children we have not yet met.”

The Clerk also spoke to the overarching challenge of addressing systemic racism, and the role that every part of the public service must play.

“Let us arrive as soon as we can at the place where we are no longer tolerating or inadvertently or consciously accepting mistreatment of others because of their color, because of their ability, because of their faith, because of their sexual orientation, because of anything about them. Diversity, inclusion; these are not just ideas, these are not just things to check a box, this is about making room for any and all who want to serve, and who can.”

Nancy Chahwan underscored the importance of being a purposeful and authentic leader, and  one who uses diversity as a leadership asset.

“Be true to your own leadership style because your character will shine through: your qualities, values and traits. Tomorrow’s leaders are trusted unifiers, facilitators and change agents in a digital and fast-changing world. They have to be empathetic to understand employees, partners and Canadians needs. For me, leadership is a simple equation: credibility, courage and purpose.”

The Chair of APEX Board of Directors, Daryell Nowlan reminded new executives of the vital role that APEX plays in fostering a sense of community for executives across Canada, urged new executives to cultivate their leadership networks throughout their careers, and especially to think regionally and nationally as public servants.

As host of APEX’s first-ever virtual recognition ceremony, Jacqueline Rigg shared some reflections on joining the executive community from a number of this year’s participants. She also invited the 2020 Cohort Representative, Susanna Ogunnaike-Cooke of the Public Health Agency of Canada, to receive a certificate from the Clerk, on behalf of the entire group of 626 new executives.

In closing the event, Jacqueline Rigg spoke from the heart, telling the group that they are “the next generation of leaders for Canada, spanning so many fields of achievement”, and that “Leadership is not a journey to rise in the ranks; it is a journey to help those around us rise. Make that your passion!”

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