Job Title:Director, Departmental Liaison
Employer:Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Grad Year:2004
Degree(s):B. Public Affairs and Policy Management
Major(s):Economics, Political Science
Expertise:Public Policy
Industry:Public Policy

What makes you a good mentor?

I am interested in working with like-minded people, building on diverse experiences, and further exploring the confluence of people, public policy, and innovation.

About Nicholas Charney

Nicholas Charney - MentorMy name is Nicholas Charney and I am a passionate, experienced, and community minded leader that brings a significant and demonstrable history of success working directly with public, private, and not-for-profit partners to achieve measurable results. I am at my best when interacting with multiple stakeholders in high volume and high velocity environments because I am able to leverage my ability to influence, communicate, and build consensus to further my organization’s short, medium, and long-term objectives. With over 15 years of experience in the public service – and over 8 of those years in leadership positions – I recognize the importance of equity, diversity, inclusion and the need for public policy to reflect the communities within which they are delivered and the role meaningful community outreach and engagement can play in shaping them.

I am currently the Director responsible for coordinating federal COVID-19 health science-policy and research on behalf of Health Canada’s National COVID-19 Task Force. This work includes liaising directly with leading health researchers and public health experts across the country and coordinating numerous scientific tables for the Deputy Minister.

Prior to joining Health Canada, I worked at Natural Resources Canada where I was responsible for the creation of the Office of Energy Research and Development’s $75M Impact Canada Initiative, a first of its kind challenge based energy innovation program. During this time, I built the program from the ground up, writing its strategic and operational plans, hiring a diverse, multilingual, and interdisciplinary team, designing individual challenges, and engaging directly with thousands of stakeholders across the country and abroad. I personally developed our program’s engagement methodology, designed stakeholder engagement workshops, and facilitated all in-person engagement sessions across the program. I was subsequently responsible for managing all operational and business activities, including:

Overseeing approximately 75 active agreements with proponents and partner organizations (ranging from $25k to $5M in value) and making final decisions around time horizon, agreement and financing structure, dollar value, technical and legal review;

– Liaising directly with stakeholder groups such as incubators, technology providers (in different technology verticals), international partners, indigenous leaders, not for profits, industry associations, subject matter experts, and research laboratories;
Resolving technical, social, and economic barriers within the program, managing ongoing interactions with external stakeholders, and directing corrective actions; and
– Ensuring proper project management, communicating and tracking proponent projects, responding to inquiries, issuing payments on time, and identifying scale up opportunities and additional commercialization supports for partners.
During this time, I also worked concurrently as a Trade Commissioner for Canada’s Consulate in Denver Colorado, where I represented Canada in multiple international fora, including meetings with US heads of state and countless company representatives seeking to build strategic alliances with Canada and Canadian firms. I won a departmental leadership award for ‘living leadership’ for my work during this time and the program won multiple awards for innovation and stakeholder engagement. Moreover, I did not lose a single staff member to attrition during my five years managing and directing the program.

Prior to my work at Natural Resources Canada, I was the Director of Innovation at the Ottawa based not for profit Institute on Governance where I was responsible for delivering both advisory services and experiential learning activities through the Institute’s Learning Lab, Executive Leadership Program, and private consultation practice. My work included research, course development, direct in class instruction to executives, and providing government relations advice to private industry in the fields of technology, stakeholder/client relations, innovation, and vulnerable communities (i.e. indigenous peoples) and remote environments (i.e. the North).

The sum total of these experiences inform my people first leadership approach, an approach that I documented in my instructional handbook Scheming Virtuously, I have delivered this presentation as an interactive learning activity in every province and territory in the country and internationally. It continues to resonate with audiences and is evidence of my ability to help others develop their leadership and relationship building skills, inspire others to action, and my ongoing commitment to supporting continuous growth and innovation.

I hold a Bachelor’s Degree with High Honours from Carleton University in Political Science, International Relations, and Law; a Master’s Degree in Conflict Studies jointly conferred from the University of Ottawa and Saint Paul University. Finally, I am functionally bilingual, speaking both English and French.