34th Christmas Dinner: Counter-intuitive Leadership

34th Christmas Dinner: Counter-intuitive Leadership

The annual Christmas Dinner is the highlight of the Christian Embassy’s year. This year we welcomed 186 diplomats, parliamentarians and business leaders, representing 56 nations.

The festive evening allows busy leaders and their spouses to relax, network and enjoy special music and meaningful reminders of the season. Diplomats appreciate what is often a first opportunity to experience Canadian Christmas traditions.

Leaders from various backgrounds participated in readings, reflections and seasonal music. Richard Magnussen, Chairman of the American Furniture Association, gave the keynote address entitled Counter-intuitive Leadership.  

Richard shared his thoughts on the key virtue required of a successful leader, one that is a core characteristic of God and interwoven throughout the Christmas story: humility. He gave a number of examples of how he has grown in humility.

Richard concluded by stating, “I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I have learned so many lessons through my simple faith in the humble Jesus of the Christmas story.”

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Roundtable Luncheon: The Rt Hon. The Baroness Cox

Roundtable Luncheon: The Rt Hon. The Baroness Cox

Leaders were riveted as they heard the The Right Honorable Baroness Cox recount a several stories about her life’s work at a Christian Embassy roundtable luncheon on September 25, 2017. As the founder Trustee of MERLIN (Medical Emergency Relief International), and the founder and President of HART (Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust), she has visited many remote areas of the world.

Seeking to be a voice for the voiceless, she has found herself in situations where she has been afraid and dismayed, “[You] have to learn to cross that frontier of fear…and when you do cross that frontier of fear, you meet the most amazing people. You meet heros and heroines of faith. And we always come back humbled and inspired, receiving more than we could ever ever give.”

She took her listeners on a journey to three different conflict zones where she witnessed first hand the people affected by horrific tragedies carried out under the radar from most of the world. These tragedies included the destruction of churches and mass persecution of Christians. She has clearly been impacted by the powerful stories of suffering of brave men and women and emphasized that we live in countries where we have the freedom to stand up for those with no voice and that we must not take this valuable freedom for granted.

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Networking Luncheon: “Debate without Hate”

Networking Luncheon: “Debate without Hate”

Our world seems increasingly divided over politics, social issues, and religion. As emotions run high, people make hostile and insulting statements about “the other side.” In the process, much anger is generated with very little understanding. The issues are forgotten and people are devalued.

Is there a way out of this cycle of anger? Abdu Murray discusses how we can respectfully discuss our deepest differences by rediscovering the source of human dignity.

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Leading the Leaders Seminar – Part 4: Conflict Management

Leading the Leaders Seminar – Part 4: Conflict Management

What are the most common sources of conflict? Mr. Bowater highlighted four main sources of conflict resulting from differences in:
– roles and responsibilities – especially when there is misunderstanding over a person’s level of authority.
– management styles – Producer, Administrator, Entrepreneur and Integrator
– interests
– values and beliefs

How does one go about managing these different sources of conflict? Mr. Bowater underlined the critical roles of mutual trust and respect within the organisation. Mutual trust and respect are fostered by staying engaged, dealing with the issue at hand, being willing to work with all in the room, owning the conflict, staying focused on solving the issue and respecting one another. Character plays a significant role in building a culture of mutual trust and respect, the ground rules for constructive conflict.

The employees must also develop a clear understanding of why the organisation exists in the first place. What is the service that the organisation offers to society? The answer to the why drives what the organisation does, how it does it, who within the organisation does it and when it gets done.

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Workshop: How Global Mobility Affects Adults and Children – Insights for Parents and Other Diplomats with Tina Quick

Tina Quick, a nurse, cross-cultural trainer, author and founder of International Family Transitions, taught and facilitated an interactive workshop for 40 diplomats and their spouses. Her insights – based on lifelong experiences growing up in a military family and marrying a medical doctor working in global health management – provide guidance to families in transition or living cross-culturally.

Tina asked the audience to consider what actually takes place in families during a global relocation. What are the challenges they face and what strategies can they implement? Specifically, why do the children in such families feel different: “from everywhere but belonging nowhere”?

She said the overarching challenge for such families is understanding and managing the five stages of transition:
– Involvement (a sense of belonging)
– Leaving (anticipation vs. sadness)
– Transition (chaos, emotional instability)
– Entering (desire to connect, vulnerability)
– Re-Involvement (feelings of security & intimacy)

Quoting Robin Pascoe, author of Raising Global Nomads, Tina said, “Children are silent partners in relocation,” and that transitions work best when children are informed, know what they are getting into, and have at least one parent to count on as a stable presence.

While acknowledging that a few transitions can be so difficult as to require help outside the family, the reality is that the transition experience offers positive ways for families and children to grow. “It is my conviction that being a TCK is not a disease, something from which to recover. It is a life healthily enriched by this very TCK experience and blessed with significant opportunities for further enrichment” (Pollock and Van Reken).

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Networking Luncheon: Facing Global Health Challenges – Pursuing your Passions without Losing your Family

Dr. Jonathan (Jono) Quick, who served for eight years with the World Health Organization (WHO) as Director of Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy, and his wife Tina, formerly a health officer for the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, addressed an audience of almost 100 heads of mission, diplomats, parliamentarians and business people. Their presentation was a study in contrasts between a workaholic doctor and a wife raising three children alone – and the turning point which brought their family from the brink of disaster to wholeness and reconciliation.

Jono said that we all need a passion – a sense of purpose – for our lives, but that no passion, job or pursuit is worth losing one’s family for. In his journey of faith where Jono grew in his relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, he learned that, when God and family become one’s primary passion, other priorities fall into place.

When the Quicks were asked what their primary recommendation is for families that are threatened by a busy lifestyle, Tina replied that, the most stabilizing activity for families is to eat one meal together each day, even if it requires some members to skype in.

Together, they now enjoy wholeness and fulfilment in their faith, marriage and relationships with their children. Says Tina, “It’s never too late, and things are never too bad, to mend a strained or broken relationship – if everyone is willing.”

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Letting Your Voice Be Heard in Heaven: Dr. Barry Black

Letting Your Voice Be Heard in Heaven: Dr. Barry Black

U.S. Senate Chaplain and Rear Admiral Barry Black, keynote speaker for the National Prayer Breakfast held in Washington, DC on Thursday, February 2, 2017, spoke on “Letting Your Voice be Heard in Heaven”. His challenge was to pray for all people and particularly for those who govern.

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Leading the Leaders Seminar – Part 3: Character and Values in Leadership and Conflict Management

Leading the Leaders Seminar – Part 3: Character and Values in Leadership and Conflict Management

What are the most practical tools for leaders and managers? What are the most important qualities to model to your team? What are the primary sources of conflict and how can we make it work for us instead of against us?

The Leading the Leaders seminars are designed to develop current and next-generation leaders and managers. The third seminar, held on January 31, was led by Barry Bowater, a Certified Adizes Associate with Adizes Institute Worldwide, for an audience of diplomats.

Barry discussed the differences between leadership and management; and what leaders should know about themselves, about working with others and about how to strengthen their leadership style.

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33rd Annual Christmas Dinner: The HEART – A Leader’s Most Valuable Asset, with David MacLean

33rd Annual Christmas Dinner: The HEART – A Leader’s Most Valuable Asset, with David MacLean

We welcomed almost 200 diplomats, parliamentarians and business leaders to our 33rd Christmas Dinner. David MacLean, Chair for The Executive Committee Canada, gave the keynote address: The HEART – A Leader’s Most Valuable Asset. He identified the fundamental qualities of an effective leader using the acronym HEART:
– Humility
– Empathy
– Authenticity
– Risk
– Tenacity

David went on to say that with the birth of God’s Son on earth, God offers to all people the greatest free trade opportunity in history. Jesus’ birth opened up the exchange of:
– a hard heart for a heart of flesh
– a broken heart for a healed heart
– a proud heart for a humble heart
– an angry heart for a kind heart
– a passive heart for a passionate heart
– a weak heart for a strong heart

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