In the Spotlight

Open Letter to the National Managers’ Community from Karen Ellis, NMC Champion

I am humbled, honoured and enthusiastic to have been asked to be the Champion of the National Managers’ Community (NMC). I am pleased to continue the work of my predecessor, Suzanne Vinet, who has done so much with the NMC to promote a Public Service that is innovative, high-performing and adaptable. I have received great advice from Suzanne Vinet and her predecessor, François Guimont.

As you may already be aware, I was the Champion of the Managers’ Community at Department of National Defense (DND) as an Assistant Deputy Minister and Champion of the Managers’ Community at Natural Resources Canada as Associate Deputy Minister, both roles that I adored.

I like to think that I know who you are as a community, and I am keenly aware that you carry many responsibilities. I know that without you, well equipped and doing your jobs effectively, the performance of the Public Service cannot be optimal. As individuals and as a community, you must embody and demonstrate the flexibility, the adaptability, the resilience and the positive energy that thousands of public servants need as we transform what we do and how we do it through Destination 2020.

You are, first and foremost, the voice of managers across the Public Service. Your ability to mobilize the community in every region is legend. In this way, you are able to identify issues, support critical initiatives and the associated change management, provide timely feedback, and wield material influence with senior leaders. This is a testament to your collective power as a network. The excellent work you are doing on the roll out of the new performance management directive is a superb example of your mobilizing power.

I know that the transition to the new model for the NMC is front of mind. I want to reassure you that a reduced budget does not mean reduced impact or influence. It does mean doing different things and doing things differently. It compels greater focus, more innovation and creativity, and deeper impact. It drives us to the core power of what it means to be a network.

We need to renew the NMC to reflect the new reality, that the Canada School of the Public Service has the sole responsibility for the delivery of formal training and learning to managers. Our job now is to mobilize and engage the community through our network in order to identify their learning needs to the School, so as to provide timely and valuable feedback on their curriculum for managers. The team at the School is counting on our support as it rolls out the new core curriculum and I am glad to know that you are already well involved.

We have a great opportunity to showcase the capacity and spirit of the NMC with the next conference in early 2015. It will be virtual – and this is where you can unleash your well-known creativity and energy, working with the School and other partners. Relationships with the School, other networks and the Destination 2020 team will continue to be of vital importance and enrich our work.

Recalling my first day at a new department, I will share that one of my new senior managers introduced herself, and then simply asked “How may I be of service?” And this is my question for you as we identify key priorities for the next 12-24 months, determine what you will do as a community to achieve them, and my role in guiding and supporting your work at a strategic level.

My other responsibilities as your Champion include: generating awareness of your issues amongst my colleagues; consistently looking for opportunities to advance and promote the Community; and being a visible champion at public and special events for managers.

I will also respond to your invitation to provide insight, guidance and candid advice on your ideas and regarding the context we are working in and how it is evolving.

 We are moving forward with a different focus. As we begin our journey together, we will honour the past and dive into the present to set the agenda for the future that ensures a strong voice for managers in the public service, using modern tools and partnerships that will give us even greater reach.

And like Hans and Franz of Saturday Night Live fame (circa 1975) – I am here to “pump you up!”

Let’s go!

Karen Ellis

Message from the NMC Chairperson

I am very pleased today to share with you some important news about the NMC.

To begin, I would like to welcome our new NMC Champion Karen Ellis, President of the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).  As we have seen in her recent open letter to the Community, Ms. Ellis knows and understands the managers’ community.  I am confident that her leadership and support will enable us to make our voice heard by Deputy Ministers and Assistant Deputy Ministers about the issues that concern us.  Further, I know that she will be well able to advise and inform us on the government’s priorities so that we can make informed decisions that will benefit the community.

Also, effective June 30, 2014, the NMC has moved to the Canada School of Public Service.  The NMC will keep its own governance structure, but will administratively be supported by the School. We would like to thank the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat for hosting the NMC in recent years.  This change will allow us to work effectively with the School and to share feedback and ideas from the Community to ensure that their new curriculum for managers responds to our needs. The NMC will continue to support excellence in public service managers through the following four strategic priorities identified by the Governing Council and staff:

1.       Voice

Continue to create opportunities for managers to express needs, interests and concerns to senior management, central agencies, and other key partners.

2.       Learning and Development

Ensure that managers across Canada have equal access to the knowledge and learning opportunities that will enable them to make use of the tools needed to manage in new and virtual ways.

3.       Networking

Continue to develop new and innovative ways to build and strengthen relationships between managers, manager groups, other horizontal and functional communities and other orders of government.

4.       Sustainability

Continue to strengthen and streamline business processes to ensure that the NMC’s activities are sustainable over time.

The NMC is beginning a new chapter.  As stated by our Champion, let’s honour the past, dive into the present and set the agenda for the future!


Kevin Leahy

Chair, National Managers’ Community