Spotlight Symposium

Leader Character for Courageous Leadership


Friday, 25 October

11:45 – 12:45


Shaw Centre

Meeting Room 215

Available For Sponsorship

Click here for details.

Spotlight Symposium – Leader Character for Courageous Leadership

The challenges and opportunities we face personally and professionally require strength of character that exceed our current capacity both as individuals and in organizations. In this workshop, we will engage participants and unpack what leader character is, why it matters, and how it can be applied personally and professionally in organizations. Mary Crossan and Bill Furlong, both from the Ivey Business School, will set up the underpinnings for leader character and Steve Virgin, Director of Character Based Leadership at Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), will engage participants in the story of how they have used character-based leader selection to help embed character leadership in their 40,000 person organization.

The symposium will take a workshop format engaging participants, with the following general structure.

  • Foundations of Leader Character – Mary Crossan and Bill Furlong
  • Leader Character and Selection – Steve Virgin
  • Q&A

This spotlight symposium sequences well with the Developing Leaders: Embedding Character workshop that takes a deeper dive into the development of leader character and its application in courageous conversations.

Mary Crossan 225 x 300

Mary Crossan, Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Strategic Leadership at the Ivey Business School, Western University

Mary is one of the most highly cited researchers in her field. Her research on leadership character, organizational learning and strategic renewal, and improvisation is published in the top management journals including the Academy of Management Review, Strategic Management Journal, Leadership Quarterly and Organization Science.

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Mary’s article on “Developing Leadership Character in Business Programs” was awarded the Outstanding Article of the Year for 2013 in the Academy of Management Learning and Education. The book, Developing Leadership Character, is a culmination of the team’s research on leader character. In a joint venture with The Second City, she developed a management video entitled Improvise to Innovate. Her textbook “Strategic Analysis and Action” is widely used in strategy courses. She has been identified as one of the top 40 case-writers in the world with her Starbucks business case selling over 100,000 copies to business schools worldwide. Her research, teaching, and consulting have provided her with exposure to a variety of companies and industries in North America, Europe and Asia.

Bill Furlong 225 x 300

Bill Furlong, Executive-in-Residence at the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership at Ivey Business School

Bill is a senior financial services Executive and Regulator with 25+ year track record in Canadian and International Capital Markets.

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In January 2019, Bill completed his final term as a Commissioner at the Ontario Securities Commission where he held responsibilities related to Board Oversight, Policy and Adjudication, and was Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee. He previously held global, senior leadership roles at TD Securities where he retired in 2012 as Vice Chair. Bill is currently an Executive-in-Residence at the Ian O. Ihnatowycz Institute for Leadership at Ivey Business School, writing, presenting and lecturing on Leader Character to students and business leaders across North America and the U.K.

Date: 27 Mar 2017
Location: Ottawa, ON  Formal portrait of Steve Virgin, taken in studio at CFSU(O) Imaging Services.  Rank: Civilian
First Name: Steve
Surname: Virgin
Initials: A.
Current Position: Director Information Management Comptroller and Business Management
Unit: Assistant Deputy Minister (Information Management)  Photo Credit: Private (Pte) Tori Lake
Canadian Forces Support Unit (Ottawa)/ Unité de soutien des Forces canadiennes (Ottawa)
© 2017 DND-MDN, Canada

Steve Virgin, Director, Character Based Leadership, Human Resources Branch, Canada Revenue Agency

Steve joined the Canada Revenue Agency in July 2018 as the new Director for Character Leadership.

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Steve is a former senior naval officer in the Canadian Armed Forces and he joined the Public Service in 2015.  During his military career, he was fortunate to have a variety of leadership experiences including submarine captain, frigate command, and a variety of strategic leadership appointments in National Headquarters in plans, policy and strategic resource management.  His final appointment in the Forces was as the Deputy Commander of Canada’s Special Forces Command.  As an Executive employee in the Department of Defence, he was the Director of Business Management and Director of Analytics for the Defence CIO.

Steve holds a Bachelor of Military Arts and Science from the Royal Military College of Canada, he is a graduate of the Canadian Forces Command College, he is a fellow of the National Defence University of the PLA Beijing, and he recently completed a Certificate in Regulatory Leadership at the University of Ottawa.  He is a volunteer citizenship presiding official with IRCC where he very much enjoys the opportunity to welcome new Canadians.  He was invested into the Order of Military Merit in 2015 and he was awarded two meritorious service medals during his career.