Interview with Qalipu First Nation Councilor, Francis Skeard

by Keri Hyde MES (Pl.), RPPTeam Lead, Ministry of Transportation, Ontario Public Service

Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Qalipu First Nation Councilor Francis Skeard. Mr. Skeard is currently serving his second term as a Qalipu Councilor for the Glenwood Ward and works as the Regional Ecosystem Director for the Forest Services Branch, Forestry and Agrifoods Agency. He has been an Institute for Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) member for many years and has a wealth of knowledge and experience, which he was happy to share with us. Mr. Skeard was born in Mount Moriah, Newfoundland and now lives in Gander, Newfoundland with his wife, Deneka, and two daughters.

Why did you become an IPAC member? 

Francis Skeard Qalipu FN.jpg
Francis Skeard, Qalipu First Nation Councilor

I worked in the forestry sector for the Newfoundland government for many years and while there was ample opportunity for professional development focusing on forestry I felt that a broader lens was needed. IPAC provided the opportunity to broaden my perspective of what public sector management was, in the context of natural resource management. IPAC offers an incredible number of opportunities to learn with a particular emphasis on how to effectively manage people in the public sector and how to manage public resources for the greater public good. I really valued the IPAC structure that saw local groups feeding into IPAC national, and even – in some cases – international, initiatives.

Are there any other thoughts you would like to share?

I worked in the forestry sector for the Newfoundland government for many years and while there was ample opportunity for professional development focusing on forestry I felt that a broader lens was needed. IPAC provided the opportunity to broaden my perspective of what public sector management was, in the context of natural resource management. IPAC offers an incredible number of opportunities to learn with a particular emphasis on how to effectively manage people in the public sector and how to manage public resources for the greater public good. I really valued the IPAC structure that saw local groups feeding into IPAC national, and even – in some cases – international, initiatives.

How have you benefited from your experience with IPAC?

My experience with IPAC has been invaluable as it has provided me with opportunities to better understand how the different levels of government – municipal/regional, provincial, federal – operate and interact as well as meet senior staff across a variety of sectors and levels of government. These opportunities have not only deepened my awareness and expanded my network but provide the space for organic, transformational change to happen.

I have also had the pleasure of meeting many colleagues through the Young Professionals Program, which is a wonderful program of benefit to both new and seasoned professionals. Through these interactions I gained insights into many different perspectives through which to view and analyze issues. It was truly a “give and take” relationship as I learned as much from the young professionals I interacted with as, I hope, they learned from me.

Why would you encourage other Indigenous administrators or students of public admin and governance to become IPAC members? 

Indigenous public sector management is similar in operations to general public sector management. Therefore, it makes sense to learn from and be a part of IPAC, where a wealth of knowledge and experience is available and common values are shared, and then apply the learning and best practices to the management of a First Nations organization. In my opinion, this is one of the best ways for Indigenous governments to move forward for the betterment of our people.

There are many successful, thriving Indigenous governments across Canada. Contributing to and having a voice in a national organization, like IPAC, would be a step in the right direction towards helping the general public understand that Indigenous governments are very often exceptional in their service. It is important to celebrate successful First Nations governance models in the broader public sector context.

[Keri Hyde holds a Hons BA in Environmental Studies and Canadian Studies from the University of Toronto and a Masters in Environmental Studies (specialization in Planning) from York University. Keri has spent the last eight years working in the areas of active and sustainable transportation, planning and road safety with a focus on developing social marketing campaigns and programs designed to influence positive behaviour change.

Keri currently works for the Ministry of Transportation’s Safety Policy and Education Branch (Marketing Office), coordinating research and marketing programs designed to improve road user safety in Ontario. She is a Registered Professional Planner (RPP) with the Ontario Professional Planners Institute and a member of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (Toronto Chapter). Keri was also an invaluable contributor to the success of the 2016 IPAC National Annual Conference in Toronto, and is a dependable, congenial, and positive influence on all of her colleagues in Public Administration.

IPAC would like to thank Mr. Skeard for providing his views in this first of a series of interviews with Indigenous IPAC members and colleagues highlighted this year. 2017 is the IPAC National Year of Dialogue for Reconciliation and Renewal of Indigenousrelationships, and we are celebrating it through cross-Canada events hosted by our 19 regional groups and our National Reconciliation workshops and events culminating in PEI (August 20-13). For more information on these, please visit our website athttp://reconciliation.ipac.ca/ and write to us to contribute.]

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