Can you share with us a specific project or accomplishment that you are particularly proud of and why?
I’m proud of having led the establishment of a standards-based solution in Canada that we call Other Recognized Documents. It is a standards document developed to address the needs of a fast-paced and changing market or regulatory environment when an existing standard (domestic or international) is not available. Its development is faster than a standard, which allows organizations to quickly respond to a need while fulfilling the high level of assurance regulatory authorities require.
How do you spend time outside of work?
I love spending time with friends and family. Being active and in nature are also passions of mine, which is why we moved to the countryside and are building our house. I spent part of last summer installing soffit and fascia around the house!
What do you think is the biggest factor affecting the TIC industry (certification) at the moment?
Smart standards and artificial intelligence are two examples of rapid technological advances that are transforming the way we live and also do business. The TIC industry needs to be deeply involved in defining how these tools are used and will be used as they will likely have a tremendous impact on the trust that the TIC industry has been delivering to the world for many decades.
In three words only, what is the secret to your success?
Just Get it done!
Can you tell us about your background and how you got started in the TIC sector?
My background is environmental engineering, and I entered the TIC sector when I was appointed Vice-President of Accreditation at the Standards Council of Canada (SCC) in 2012. This role gave me the opportunity to enhance conformity assessment and accreditation solutions within Canada’s standardization system. It led to the branch shifting to a customer-focused approach, and the positioning of SCC and Canada as a leader in international forums. It led to my nomination at CASCO, a high-profile International Organization for Standardization (ISO) committee responsible for conformity assessment, and at the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), the worldwide association of accreditation bodies and other bodies interested in the fields of management systems, products, processes, services, personnel, validation and verification and other similar programs of conformity assessment.
Collaboration is at the heart of standardization, and i took this path to create an environment where people see themselves reflected in our success.
C.E.O. of Standards Council of Canada
In this exclusive interview with Red Swan Partners, we talked to Chantal Guay whose customer-focused approach has allowed her to position the SCC and Canada as leaders on the international stage. She also describes her leadership style of collaboration, open communication and creating a caring culture to "get things done" and how she believes the TIC industry can be central to the implementation of AI and other technological advances.
How do you prioritize and manage your workload to ensure success?
I take a risk-based approach. For example, I work with our executive team to prioritize our high-profile projects, set clear goals, keep communications open, understand stakeholder priorities. I trust my team and delegate based on their expertise. I also squeeze in regular exercise to practice self-care.
I believe humble self-confidence is the cornerstone of exceptional leadership. I focus on compassion, collaboration and people.
Can you speak to the biggest challenges you have faced in your career and how you overcame them?
When I became CEO in 2018, one of the biggest challenges was evolving SCC’s culture into a people-focused organization. Collaboration is at the heart of standardization, and I took this path to create an environment where people see themselves reflected in our success. To start, I made cultivating a high-performance and caring culture a strategic priority. Investing in our culture and people allowed transparent communication to flourish and fostered inclusion and diversity in everything we do – from our recruitment process to our flexible work model, to professional development programs to our annual Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign. Today, I’m proud to share that SCC has won Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures Award for a second time in a row!
Investing in our culture and people allowed transparent communication to flourish and fostered inclusion and diversity in everything we do.
What is your approach to leadership and team management?
I believe humble self-confidence is the cornerstone of exceptional leadership. I focus on compassion, collaboration and people. I always tell my staff that I’m a member of our team with a specific role just like every other member of the team. I walk with my team, not ahead of them because a leader walks alongside us to show what we can do. We cross the finish line together in everything we accomplish as an organization. People are your most important resource, and every employee should feel empowered to grow and develop.