Recognition of Entry to
the Executive Ranks Ceremony


Please check out the links below for highlights of the November 17, 2020 virtual Recognition of Entry to the Executive Ranks ceremony. Stay tuned as more highlights will be added in the coming weeks!


APEX CEO Jacqueline Rigg

APEX CEO Jacqueline Rigg

Full Article on Highlights of the Ceremony

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

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.

Clerk of the Privy Council Ian Shugart

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.”

APEX Board Chair Daryell Nowlan and Chief Human Resources Officer Nancy Chahwan

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.

Clerk of the Privy Council Ian Shugart and 2020 Cohort Representative Susanna Ogunnaike-Cooke.

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!”

*The recognition ceremony includes executives appointed to level between July 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020

Spotlight on the new executives

APEX asked new public service executives from the 2020 cohort to tell us, in their own words:


“What does it mean to you to join the community of executives of the Government of Canada?”




I am very proud to have the opportunity to be an executive in the public service of this wonderful country of ours.  The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the impact that the public service can have on the daily lives of Canadian.  This role allows me the privilege of contributing to the health and wellness of Canadians.

Susanna Ogunnaike-Cooke, PHAC – Ottawa-Gatineau
2020 Cohort Representative at the Nov 17 ceremony


Joining the community of executives of the Government of Canada means enhancing my opportunity to serve my country and to make a meaningful investment in its security and prosperity.  It means having the privilege of working alongside a leadership group that has inspired and propelled me during my time in the public service.

Benjamin Tame, CSBA – Coutts, Alberta


Joining the community of executives of the Government of Canada provides me as an Indigenous woman, the opportunity to improve the Department’s relationship with stakeholders, especially with Indigenous peoples.

Annette Rumbolt, DFO –  Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland & Labrador


It means that I am able to generate a greater impact in the transformational journey of my department so the Indigenous population of Canada may benefit as well, by living in one of the greatest countries in the world!

Dean Dubois, ISC – Montreal, Quebec

Clearly it is a responsibility to take seriously. For me, the sense of gravity is mixed with enthusiasm: it is exciting to join a community of leaders who share the values of public service and who work for the good of Canada and Canadians.

Veronica Coulter, IRCC – Mexico City, Mexico


To me, being an executive of the Government of Canada means joining a top class diverse employer, with a rewarding mandate of serving Canadians and the world. An employer that provides me with endless opportunities while permitting me to be the mother that I need to be for my family. Being an executive means that I am directly implicated in decisions affecting Canada while allowing me to help develop talent under my leadership to become the leaders of the future.

Eliane Habib, GAC – Ottawa-Gatineau


Joining the executive ranks of the Government of Canada represents an exciting challenge, and an even greater responsibility. I look forward to being given the chance to empower my team, in the same manner that I have been empowered, to create better outcomes for Canadians.

Kevin Wagdin, ESDC – Ottawa-Gatineau


Me joindre à la communauté des cadres supérieurs du gouvernement du Canada m’offre la possibilité de demander avis et conseils autant au près de mes collègues qui vivent comme moi, les mêmes défis, que chez les resources expertes mises à notre disponibilité.

Isabelle Corriveau, PSPC – Ottawa-Gatineau


As a new executive, there are always new things to address and so it is reassuring to have a community of peers from across the country experiencing similar challenges available to me to connect with and learn from.

David Whitehead, NRC-IRAP – Vancouver, British Columbia


Joining the ranks of executive with the Government of Canada has meant becoming part of a circle of dedicated, intelligent, and supportive colleagues. I feel that this is a group that looks out for each other and works to support, bolster, and guide others in order to achieve common goals. This feels like a real community.

Erica Vezeau, ESDC – Ottawa-Gatineau


For me, joining the Government of Canada executive community means noticing and emulating valiant leadership, standing shoulder to shoulder in support of, or in reliance of my fellow colleagues, and enabling and empowering employees. Being located in a Regional Office has led me to discover a vast network of executive colleagues across Canada, including the Federal Councils in the Pacific, Prairie and Northern regions.

Grace Kim, AAFC – Burnaby, British Columbia


First, it is an honour to join such an established circle of GC leaders – coast to coast to coast. Secondly, for me, this means that I will have access to a dedicated bank of experiences, knowledge, best practices, and most importantly – inspiring peers to draw from. Though the experience is quite humbling, I do hope to further sharpen my leadership and communication skills through the available resources and lasting professional bonds. Bravo to all new members!

Christian Lachance, VAC – Moncton, New Brunswick


Becoming an executive just before a global pandemic hit showed just how important being a leader in the public service is to me. The work my team has done over these last seven months has helped communities to save lives and reinforces what an incredible privilege it is to join this community of executives.

Janet Gwilliam, ESDC – Ottawa-Gatineau


Joining the community of executives in the Government of Canada is exciting to say the least.  Having the opportunity to make an impact on the lives of Canadians while fostering an environment of continuous learning, diversity and inclusion within the workplace is my honour.  I have always been motivated by working with people and developing talent and in this leadership role I can continue to make an impact on a larger scale.

Rachelle Grannum, CRA – Scarborough, Ontario




Our Valued Sponsors

APEX would like to recognize and express its gratitude to our two valued sponsors of this year’s New Executives Recognition of Entry Ceremony:


Desjardins Caisse de l'Administration des Services publics

Created in 1939 by and for public service employees, the Caisse Desjardins de l’Administration et des Services publics has been a proud partner of APEX and the executive community since 2018.

TD InsuranceWe also welcome our new affinity partner, TD Insurance Meloche Monnex, a leader in the insurance industry for over 65 years