Lifetime Achievement Award – Angela Coke

Speech delivered by Jean Tourigny, CPSQA Co-Chair of the Ottawa Public Sector Quality Fair

The Ottawa Public Sector Quality Fair has presented every year since 2009 its Joint CPSQA – Excellence Canada Public Sector Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award.  Les gagnants précédents étaient;

  • Le Dr. Ivan Fellegi, Statisticien en chef émérite du Canada en 2009;
  • Brian Marson, Conseiller supérieur au Secrétariat du Conseil du Trésor et Art Daniels, ancien Sous-ministre adjoint de la fonction publique de l’Ontario en 2010; et
  • Mme Liseanne Forand, Sous-ministre déléguée principale de RHDCC et Chef de la direction de Service Canada, en 2011.

This year, the Fair is very pleased to present the Public Sector Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award to Angela Coke, Associate Deputy Minister, HROntario in the Ministry of Government Services, and Chair of the Public Service Commission. After this introduction, we will have the pleasure of listening to Mrs. Coke as she delivers a short address.

The criteria for the Lifetime achievement award are posted on the Fair Website but in summary, candidates for this award are living role models in their fields during their performance of service in the Public Interest.  They hold or have held organizational or business leadership roles in the Public Sector and have achieved significant milestones in quality, excellence or in creating a healthy work place. In the case of today’s winner, Mrs. Coke clearly combines significant achievements in both the areas of Excellence and healthy workplace.

On a personal note, I clearly remember hearing Mrs. Coke present at a previous Fair in 2009 and I was struck by her personal warmth, a quality that is very valuable for a leader, especially at a senior level.  We certainly need caring leaders in the times that we are living in to help managers and employees through challenging transitions.

To be considered for this award, the recipient must have demonstrated the following criteria;

  • Leadership in the advancement and implementation of Excellence Principles;
  • Outstanding commitment to excellence for all stakeholders; 
  • Having fostered a continuous improvement environment and encouraged the development of employees at all levels; and 
  • Having championed the principles of a Healthy Workplace through the involvement of employees.

Would it surprise you if I said that Mrs. Coke achieved her success in great part through Collaboration, Innovation and Excellence, the theme of today’s Fair? After having held in the 90’s a series of positions in the areas of communications and media relations, Mrs. Coke became acting director of the Business Improvement Office where she led the provision of internal business improvement consulting services to clients within the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. She quickly became Director of the Corporate Management Branch and, after 3 years, Acting Executive Director of the Corporate Services and Organizational Development Division, in the same Ministry. From her responsibilities in corporate service functions, she went on to lead transformation projects and the Center for Transformation, Innovation and Excellence prior to becoming Assistant Deputy Minister of the Modernization Division of the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services between 2005 and 2008.

Her key professional achievements in this position include;

  • Leading the design and roll out of the first OPS-wide employee engagement survey of 65,000 employees;
  • Developing and implementing the first corporate OPS Service Directive;
  • Creating the OPS Ideas online program;
  • Setting up the OPS Innovation Fund;
  • Developing and implementing the first OPS Employee Recognition policy;
  •  Establishing the OPS Project Management Centre of Excellence responsible for developing corporate management frameworks, methodologies and tools, and providing learning and consulting services related to project management, business transformation and organizational excellence; and
  • The Modernization Division was certified by the National Quality Institute (now Excellence Canada) as part of its Progressive Excellence Program (PEP).

Presently, Mrs. Coke holds not one but two positions!  She has been the Associate Deputy Minister of HROntario in the Ministry of Government Services since 2008 and she is Chair of the Public Service Commission since 2010.  

Some of her recent achievements include…

  • Establishing HROntario’s vision, mission, organization, and new service delivery model;
  • Providing executive leadership for five corporate divisions that make up HROntario: HR Service Delivery; HR Management and Corporate Policy; Employee Relations; Centre for Leadership and Learning, and Centre for Organizational Excellence;
  • Developing and implementing multi-year corporate OPS Human Resource Plan with strategies to attract and retain diverse talent, build capacity, and engage employees;
  • These strategies have contributed to the OPS receiving a number of external awards, including Top 100 Employer in Canada for 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

When you add to the above an inspirational leadership and strong support for diversity and the principles of Excellence, Mrs. Coke clearly combines significant achievements in both the areas of Excellence and healthy workplace, as I said before.

The selection committee for the award considered a number of other worthy candidates for the Award.  I do not know if the committee was given a choice between a Mr. Pepsi and a Mrs. Coke, but with a list of achievements such as the above, the choice was clear! (One of the soft drink company tag lines is “Live Positively”, a mantra that also suits Mrs. Coke very well.)

It is now our pleasure, Steve Davies and myself as Co-chairs of the 2012 Ottawa Public Sector Quality Fair, to hand out the CPSQA-Excellence Canada Public Sector Excellence Lifetime Achievement Award for 2012 to Mrs. Angela Coke.  Congratulations to Mrs. Coke!