Winnipeg Free Press - Section H - - CAREERS -

Q: How did your pre­vi­ous po­si­tion with AFM help pre­pare you for your new role at ICID? A: I was at the AFM for a lit­tle over 11 years, which in­tro­duced me to work­ing with gov­ern­ment, how to look at pro­vin­cial, na­tional and in­ter­na­tional poli­cies and what it meant to be part of work­ing groups that de­vel­oped poli­cies not only for Canada, but for coun­tries around the world, as well. I think the op­por­tu­nity helped pre­pare me for my role at ICID. The other thing I found in­ter­est­ing once I got here is the clients I worked with at the foun­da­tion have sim­i­lar is­sues to those in­di­vid­u­als who are af­fected by in­fec­tious dis­eases. Al­though we don’t de­liver client ser­vices di­rectly, we still have an im­pact in re­la­tion to the poli­cies and ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams we de­velop. For in­stance, we re­cently signed an MOU (mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing) with UNICEF Ukraine to de­velop an in­ter­ven­tion pro­gram in part­ner­ship with the Univer­sity of Man­i­toba that will be de­liv­ered to sex-trade work­ers and in­jec­tion-drug users to help re­duce the spread of HIV. We are ex­cited about this ini­tia­tive. Q: Most new CEOs want to make an im­me­di­ate im­pact. What changes did you im­ple­ment right away? A: When a new CEO comes in, there are go­ing to be some things that make them won­der, “Why are they do­ing it that way? Wouldn’t this way be more efficient?” Yet, it’s im­por­tant to bite your tongue and bide your time be­cause you’re not fully aware of the dy­nam­ics be­hind those things. Un­til you do, it’s bet­ter not to make whole­sale changes. As hard as it is, you re­ally have to fo­cus on be­ing the lis­tener and not the “sayer.” The only way to learn about the his­tory of the busi­ness and the rea­son why things are done a cer­tain way is sim­ply to ask ques­tions and to lis­ten. When I came to this or­ga­ni­za­tion in Oc­to­ber, I made a com­mit­ment not to make any ma­jor changes for 90 days, and I’m glad I did. My views on how we might do things dif­fer­ently changed as I came to learn more about the busi­ness and un­der­stand how peo­ple worked and how their in­di­vid­ual strengths and skill sets can con­trib­ute to where this or­ga­ni­za­tion will go in the fu­ture. Q: You came in just as ICID was de­vel­op­ing a strate­gic plan. Was this tim­ing ben­e­fi­cial to you? A: Six weeks into this job, I was for­tu­nate to be able to take part in a strate­gic plan­ning session with our board, and that was a very help­ful process as it al­lowed me to share my vi­sion of where I think this or­ga­ni­za­tion should be. It was also very timely. Over the last cou­ple of years, one of ICID’s main fo­cuses was bring­ing an HIV vac­cine man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity to Win­nipeg. When this pro­ject was can­celled by the fun­ders, ICID needed to re­fo­cus and re­de­fine its direc­tion. An eval­u­a­tion of our stake­hold­ers helped us to iden­tify what was most val­ued by those who use our ser­vices and bet­ter ar­tic­u­late our role in this busi­ness. One of the stake­hold­ers told us we’re an or­ga­ni­za­tion of 100 bright lights — we’re just not sure which one to fo­cus on. So my chal­lenge has been to get greater align­ment and to nar­row our fo­cus on a few main­streams of busi­ness ac­tiv­ity. One we have had some suc­cess with is in the area of biosafety train­ing. We work closely with the Na­tional Mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy Lab here in Win­nipeg on train­ing lab per­son­nel from around the world on work­ing within and man­ag­ing safe and se­cure labs. One day, I can see us ex­pand­ing our re­la­tion­ships with other po­ten­tial part­ners to de­velop a biosafety and biose­cu­rity cen­tre of ex­cel­lence in Win­nipeg. With our vi­sion, mis­sion and val­ues in place, we can start to fo­cus our ef­forts, de­fine our prod­uct of­fer­ings and nar­row those beams of light from 100 to, hope­fully, 10.

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