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Leadership Series 2009

Information Morning Leadership Series - Fall 2009

Posted by Jonathan DeRouchie


A series of conversations with prominent and influential Cape Bretoners about the elements of effective leadership. 

The Information Morning Leadership Series originally aired in the fall of 2009, and was subsequently adapted to book form and published by CBU Press as "Getting It Done: Conversations with Cape Breton Leaders". 

Below you can find all the interviews as they ran in the original series.

Irving Schwartz

Posted by Jonathan DeRouchie

leadership_irving-schwartz.jpgThe person we've chosen to kick things off was someone who had a thing or two to say about getting things done... I guarantee it!

Irving Schwartz had been involved with more than 30 different companies over the years, from the Schwartz Furniture Showrooms and Seaside Cable, to nursing homes, computer software & oyster fishing. Irving was also co-founder of the Canadian International De-mining Corps. He said his proudest accomplishment was being appointed to the Order of Canada.

We talked in the summer of 2009 at his office in Sydney.

Irving Schwartz died on September 18, 2010 at age 81. 

Irving Schwartz  (runs 13:52)

Flora MacDonald

Posted by Jonathan DeRouchie

leadership_flora-macdonald.jpgFlora MacDonald is originally from North Sydney. She served as the MP for Kingston, Ontario, and in 1976,  she became the first woman to mount a serious campaign for the leadership of the federal Progressive Conservative Party. She later became the first female Minister of Foreign Affairs.

These days, at the age of 83 - she makes regular trips to Afghanistan in her capacity as founder of a development organization called Future Generations Canada.

She came into our Ottawa studio for our chat.

Flora MacDonald  (runs 17:45)

Rodney MacDonald

Posted by Glenn Carey

Rodney MacDonald3.jpg

Rodney MacDonald was 27 years old when he was first elected to Province House in 1999. The next ten years were a steep learning curve, from cabinet minister, to party leader and Premier of Nova Scotia.

On Thursday, September 10th, he announced his official resignation as the MLA for Inverness.

But before he goes off into the sunset, we sat down on the back deck at his home along Route 19.

Rodney MacDonald  (runs 17:02)

Dave Gunn

Posted by Glenn Carey

Dave Gunn 1.jpgDave Gunn was born in Boston, but his people are from Cape Breton. He's been in charge of some of the most complex subway systems in North America, including New York, Washington, and Toronto.

He's mentioned in The Tipping Point as the guy who got rid of the graffiti on the New York subway cars. Dave got a lot of media attention back in the early 2000s as President of Amtrak, the national rail service in the U.S. He was fired by the Bush administration in 2005.

He now lives in the old family home in St George's Channel. We sat down for a chat at the kitchen table.

Dave Gunn  (runs 12:51)

Rita MacNeil

Posted by Glenn Carey

Rita MacNeil.jpgRita MacNeil got her start as a singer in the women's movement back in the 70's.  After early struggles with no money & a marriage breakdown, she became a trailblazer for Cape Breton artists. But she's more than a singer-songwriter. She's had her own book & TV show, and of course, she's been operating Rita's Tea Room in Big Pond for 27 years. Rita & Steve Sutherland sat down at her favourite table over - what else - a nice warm pot of tea.

Rita MacNeil passed away April 16, 2013 from complications following surgery, she was 68. 
Rita MacNeil  (runs 14:51)

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Bernd Christmas

Posted by Glenn Carey

Bernd Christmas.jpgWhen Bernd Christmas quit his job at a Bay Street law firm to come back to Cape Breton in 1995, Membertou First Nation was in trouble. They had a 1-million dollar deficit on a 4-and-a-half-million dollar budget. The unemployment rate was 95 percent.

By the time Bernd Christmas left: Membertou had a 76-million dollar budget; 45-million dollars in assets; and the number of people employed by the band had grown by more than 2,000 percent.

Bernd resigned as the CEO of Membertou three years ago. He now runs his own law firm in Toronto.

Bernd Christmas  (runs 17:11)

Fabian Joseph

Posted by Glenn Carey

Fabian Joseph.jpgWhenever Fabian Joseph took to the ice, fans admired him for his grit, his work ethic, and his positive attitude.

That grit won him many accolades in his career. He's been captain of the Cape Breton Oilers & the Canadian Olympic hockey team. He's also a two-time winner of the Olympic silver medal.

Fabian Joseph knows a thing or two about getting things done OFF the ice, as well. He's been head coach of the Dalhousie Tigers. And these days: he's Associate Coach of the Moncton Wildcats, competitors of the CB Screaming Eagles in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Steve Sutherland spoke with him from our studio in Moncton.

Fabian Joseph  (runs 13:23)

Ray Ivany

Posted by Glenn Carey

Ray Ivany.jpgRay Ivany has always been an achiever. When he took over at the Nova Scotia Community College: the institution was floundering.

But under his leadership, the 13 campuses were united under one brand; the college saw the single-largest capital investment ever in its history; and the NSCC underwent a period of rapid growth in enrolment.

He's been executive V-P of Cape Breton University; former chair of the Workers Compensation Board; and named one of the top CEOs in Atlantic Canada.

And earlier this year, Ray Ivany took on a new challenge. He's now the President of Acadia University.

Steve Sutherland spoke with him from our Halifax studio.

Ray Ivany  (runs  17:28)

Billy Joe MacLean

Posted by Glenn Carey

Billy Joe.jpgWhat can you say about Billy Joe MacLean? He's a character - a straight-talker - a storyteller. An entrepreneur, a bar-owner - a former MLA & cabinet minister. A big Tory.

Not everything's all hunkey-dorey with Billy Joe's life story, though. Back in the 80s, he was expelled from the legislature for expense account fraud.

But these days: he's one of the longest-serving elected officials in Nova Scotia. He has so much support as the Mayor of Port Hawkesbury - no one even bothered to run against him in the last municipal election.

Steve Sutherland talked with Billy Joe this summer at his office in the Civic Centre.

Billy Joe MacLean  (runs 16:48)

Anita DeLazzer

Posted by Glenn Carey

Anita DeLazzer.jpgSome people know the business side of Anita DeLazzer, whether it was in her previous lives at Deloitte & Touche or Seaside Communications, or now, as Publisher & General Manager of the Cape Breton Post.

But she's also an energetic community organizer.

She's been involved in everything from golf tournaments & fundraisers, to big-time events like the Grand Encampment at Louisbourg; the World Junior Hockey Championships; and the Q-League Draft in 2008. She was also one of the many Cape Bretoners who earned their stripes organizing the Canada Games back in 1987.

Steve Sutherland sat down with Anita in her office earlier this summer.

Anita DeLazzer  (runs 12:26)

Marty Chernin

Posted by Glenn Carey

Marty Chernin.jpgMarty Chernin has literally changed the face of downtown Sydney. From the Commerce Tower & Harbour Place, to the TD Bank and the new office building going up where the Vogue used to be: Marty Chernin & his partners love to build stuff. He loves to OWN stuff, too: Joe's Warehouse; Cape Breton CableVision; Techlink; and Laurentian Energy Corp are all things he's had a stake in.

Marty Chernin's official title is president of Harbour Royale Developments. But his staff calls him - jokingly - the President of Everything.

Steve Sutherland sat down with him this summer, in an office in yet ANOTHER building he owns, at 500 George Place.

Marty Chernin (runs 15:00)

Victor Tomiczek

Posted by Glenn Carey

Victor Tomiczek2.jpgHis methods were controversial. His strategies were over-the-top. But there's one thing you can't deny: he certainly got your attention.

Victor Tomiczek is a trade unionist from way back.

He's been a draftsman; a machine operator; a coal miner. He was even a policeman!  But most of his career was spent as a labour union rep with the Canadian Auto Workers. He retired from that job two years ago.

Steve Sutherland sat down with Victor Tomiczek on his front deck overlooking Dominion Beach this summer.

Victor Tomiczek  (runs  15:04)

Mayann Francis

Posted by Glenn Carey

Mayann Francis.jpgMayann Francis started out in the Pier. Her dad - who was originally from Cuba - was the pastor at St. Philip's African Orthodox Church. Her mother was from Antigua. Mayann Francis went on to work and study in New York & Toronto.

In 2006, Mayann Francis became the first black person ever to be appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia.

She was in Cape Breton last month, for an event celebrating the third anniversary of her installation.

Steve Sutherland had a chance to sit down with the Lieutenant-Governor in the front pew of her father's old church.

Mayann Francis (runs 16:35)

Greg MacLeod

Posted by Glenn Carey

GregMacLeod.jpgIt's hard to explain exactly what it is that Greg MacLeod DOES. Technically, he has two vocations: Professor of Philosophy, and Catholic Priest. Generally, you could call him a person of vision.

He's a founder of New Dawn Enterprises; BCA Holdings; and the Tompkins Institute at CBU. He has written several books on community economic development. His work has produced retail buildings, affordable housing, and the first condo in Cape Breton. He's also had a hand in running a radio station, a clam plant, and a rope company - among many other things.

Steve Sutherland interviewed Greg MacLeod at his house on the Esplanade in Sydney.

Greg MacLeod (runs 13:28)

Elizabeth May

Posted by Glenn Carey

Elizabeth May.jpgPeople in Cape Breton first heard the name Elizabeth May back in the 70s. That's when, as a fresh-faced waitress just out of high school, she took on the fight against pesticide spraying for the spruce budworm. And won!

And, she's been fighting ever since. She's taken on clearcutting... global warming... the Sydney Tar Ponds... even Peter MacKay! She's written seven books, including How To Save the World in Your Spare Time.

A few years back, Elizabeth made the jump from activist, to politician. And she's had to learn a whole new way to fight in her latest role as Leader of the Federal Green Party.

Elizabeth May spoke with Information Morning host Steve Sutherland from our Halifax studio.

Elizabeth May (runs 15:51)

Bob MacEachern

Posted by Glenn Carey

Bob MacEachern1.jpg

If you hang around the Strait area long enough... the odds are good that you're going to run into this guy at some event, sooner or later. The odds are also good that he's the guy who ORGANIZED the event!

Bob MacEachern is first and foremost a radio guy. He owns The Hawk in Port Hawkesbury, among several other endeavors. But he's also been involved in a remarkable number of community organizations. He's on the board of Festival Antigonish; the Cape Breton Fiddlers Association; the Career Development Association of Inverness-Richmond; and the Port Hastings Historical Society. He's past president of the Strait Area Chamber of Commerce. He was head of the steering committee for the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, AND for the Canso Causeway 50th Anniversary Celebrations - at the same time! 

Steve Sutherland talked with Bob MacEachern in his office at The Hawk. 

Bob MacEachern  (runs 14:56)

Russell MacLellan

Posted by Glenn Carey

Russell MacLellan.jpg

Russell MacLellan knows his way around the House. He knows his way around TWO Houses, in fact. For 18 years, Russell MacLellan was the Liberal Member of Parliament for Cape Breton-The Sydneys. After that, he jumped to provincial politics - and spent a rough-and-tumble two years as the Premier of Nova Scotia.

He's now senior counsel with Wickwire Holm in Halifax. And he stays in fighting form in more ways than one - as a long-time devotee to Tae Kwon Do.

Steve Sutherland spoke to Russell MacLellan earlier this fall.

Russell MacLellan (runs 16:01)

Murdena Marshall

Posted by Glenn Carey


Murdena Marshall is the kind of person that everybody seems to know. Her notoriety doesn't come from standing on a soap-box, though, thundering away at the sky. She leads by example, in her community.

Murdena Marshall is a former professor at CBU. She's also a storyteller... a spiritual guide... and a keeper of language. Her grandfather, Gabriel Sylliboy, was Grand Chief of the Mi'kmaq Nation for 46 years.

Steve Sutherland spoke with Murdena Marshall this summer.

Murdena Marshall (runs 15:27)

Paul Gallant

Posted by Glenn Carey

Paul Gallant.jpgPaul Gallant likes to take things that some people say are improbable - and try to make them happen.

In his job as artistic director of Le Conseil des Arts, he's helped make the Festival de l'Escaouette a cultural - and an economic - force in the community of Cheticamp. This summer, they had attendance numbers of almost 16-thousand for shows like Soleil, le Grand Cercle, and la Soiree chez Gelas.

Paul Gallant also has a passion for working with kids. In August, he became the first-ever recipient of an award for youth development from the National Acadian Society. Steve Sutherland interviewed Paul Gallant this summer.

Paul Gallant  (runs 17:55)

Steve Drake

Posted by Glenn Carey

Steve Drake.jpg

Steve Drake served as president of the United Mine Workers District 26 for six of the most tumultuous years in the history of DEVCO. The fight was for the very survival of the industry. Cape Breton coal miners - and their president - regularly found themselves headlining the nightly news - and often in conflict with politicians, community leaders, and DEVCO administrators. Steve Drake parted ways with the union in 2000, just before the last mine shut down for good. He's never talked publically about his time at the UMW until now.

Steve Drake  (runs 17:17)

Annette Verschuren

Posted by Glenn Carey

Annette Verschuren 1.jpgAnnette Verschuren learned the basics of inventory and money management growing up on the family dairy farm in North Sydney. Now, she's not just one of the most capable business leaders in the country, she's also the kind of leader that OTHER leaders look to for advice.

Annette Verschuren is president of Home Depot Canada, which employs 27-thousand people. She's also in charge of Home Depot's expansion into China. Last year, she became one of eleven people appointed to the federal finance minister's advisory council on the global economic crisis. Ms. Verschuren is also the chancellor of Cape Breton University. She was in Sydney last month to attend fall convocation.

Steve Sutherland had a chance to sit down with her at CBU.

Annette Verschuren (runs 18:38)

Allan J. MacEachen

Posted by Glenn Carey

Allan J. MacEachen.jpgThe Honourable Allan J. MacEachen served under five different prime ministers over a career in politics that spanned 39 years.

He held many different cabinet positions, including labour; health & welfare; external affairs; & finance. He was Pierre Trudeau's right-hand man as the first-ever Deputy Prime Minister of Canada. After he left the House of Commons, he took over as leader of the Liberals in the Senate.

Allan J. MacEachen is now in his 89th year.

As you listen to the interview, keep in mind that he's had two strokes, which sometimes affect his speech.

Steve Sutherland met Allan J. in his living room at Lake Ainslie - which, by the way, is covered wall-to-wall with tartan carpet.

Allan J. MacEachen  (runs 15:26)