Fostering a culture of purpose-driven leadership

Welcome to the hustle and bustle of a full campus! I have to say, that’s the first time I’ve seen over 5,000 people line up for a hamburger… What a welcome back to the Vancouver campus!

The new school year is always a time of promise and new beginnings — this year especially. We’ve had our resilience tested with a narrow escape from wildfire, we’re moving into the exciting possibilities of a new President, and we’re quickly adapting to changing people and structures across the VPFO.

As I get to know you, I have been constantly impressed with your tremendous ability to adapt to change. Some would say it’s the nature of operations people — we see the concrete facts and focus on delivering the work the organization needs right now, whether it knows it or not. That’s an astonishingly valuable skill and a tremendous base to build from!

I want to help us take this strength and enable us to see how our day-to-day work connects outwards; whether across teams, across portfolios, or across the university. Some call this collaboration, some leadership, or even “one VPFO”. Whatever you call it, this skill will multiply and magnify our efforts in all directions.

For example, our senior leadership team is working to clarify the VPFO’s purpose while building their leadership abilities to help everyone deliver on that purpose. That takes a lot of personal reflection, dedicated support, and time.

After our last session, each senior leader posted their personal leadership vision in their office. For example, mine reads:

“I am committed, through my mentorship, collaboration and open communication, to fostering a culture of purpose-driven leadership within the VPFO. Together, we will create an inclusive environment where each team member’s unique strengths contribute to our collective success, encourage personal growth, innovative thinking and a dedication to excellence and innovation”.

I think you can see how my personal vision aligns to where we’re going. All our senior teams’ leadership vision statements are in this PDF. I encourage you to read them and ask them about it.

Of course, these visions will grow and change as our senior leaders clarify our purpose and form the foundation of the “one VPFO” to come. But as they stand, these statements help us see the many leadership strengths we bring.

Thanks for all your hard work and getting the new school year off to a great beginning,

Frank Laezza
Vice-President Finance & Operations