Appointed in 2013, Denise was previously the President & CEO of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation. In her current role, she leads a national organization that is the voice of Canada’s colleges, institutes, cegeps and polytechnics, and an international leader in education for employment in over 25 countries. She has spent a good part of her career with the federal government working in a variety of federal departments and central agencies as a senior executive including her three last posts as Assistant Deputy Minister. Denise has received several national and international leadership awards, a sought-after speaker both In Canada and overseas, and a mentor and coach to many at different stages of their career.
What achievement or contribution are you most proud of?
See members of the different teams I have led grow and become leaders themselves inspiring other leaders.
What’s one thing you can attribute to your success?
I am a builder who is not afraid of challenges; I transform the environments in which I work and think outside of the box through organizational transformations, breaking glass ceilings and acting inclusively.
What is the most surprising fact about you?
My diversified background: I studied not one discipline but three: biology, education and humanities, I speak four languages, I lived in several provinces and one territory, I have worked in many fields whether social, cultural, scientific or economic from official languages, natural resources, multiculturalism, human resources, labour market, Indigenous Affairs, public affairs and education.
Who is your inspiration?
My parents who did not have a chance to study past elementary school, but they made sure their three children would attend universities and studied as long as they wanted. Each of us ended by having at least a degree and a master.
How do you celebrate your success?
Good question. I really did not know how to answer this one. I guess I congratulate those that made it happened. I do not think that success is only one person but a team.
What would be a good theme song for your life?
Imagine….. because I always try to imagine what else, what if , I rarely stay in the status quo…..
What advice would you give to other women who are starting out in their career journey?
Network, get a mentor, get a coach and keep doing exercise.
What is the one thing you knew before you started your career?
I would do something I like and be passionate about and be a leader in my field, no matter which field.
How do you find balance?
Do exercise and a long walk every day. In the Summer I sail on Lake Ontario and in the winter I do ski skating (skate skiing).
What are you most afraid of?
Be irrelevant….I like to feel useful.
What is your favorite thing to do when you are not working?
I like to read and discover new places so I love traveling in places I have never seen. I am very curious and adventurous.
Which Superhero would you be?
The one that can travel by teleportation. It would be magical….and so useful….
What has been the biggest learning experience of your life?
All the different jobs I had in various fields; I learned a lot. Coaching has been a big learning journey for me.