Quality Fair Day – Panel #1 – Panelist 1

Change Management: The People Dimension

 Panelist: Valerie A.R. Keyes, CD, MA


Valerie Keyes was appointed Executive Director of the Canadian Forces Liaison Council at the Department of National Defence and she is the Department’s Member Contact for the National Quality Institute.

In her previous capacity of General Manager, Policy Co-ordination and Communications at the Canadian Forces Housing Agency, she was the lead for managing the excellence programmes of the Agency, as well as for the co-ordination of policy and communications across the country.  Immediately prior to accepting that position, she was Deputy Director, Western Hemisphere Policy (Latin America and Caribbean Relations), Department of National Defence.  She was previously the Team Leader for the Policy Group Resource Review, and served as Special Advisor (Defence) to the Associate Deputy Minister of National Defence. She has also served as the Deputy Director, Mineral and Metal Policy Branch at Natural Resources Canada.

Valerie was born in Toronto and was educated at St Clement’s School, Toronto, and the Königin Luisen Stiftung in Berlin, Germany. She received her Honours Bachelor of Arts degree from Trinity College, University of Toronto. She graduated from the War Studies programme at the Royal Military College of Canada with a Master of Arts in 1980, being both the first woman and the first Reservist to do so.

Valerie joined the Canadian Forces Communications Reserves in 1975, and was commissioned as a Communications and Electrical Engineering Officer in 1976. She served in both part and full-time positions, including Deputy Commanding Officer of the Communication Squadron in Baden-Soellingen, Germany and in Edmonton, Alberta, and as Staff Officer Operations and Training at Command Headquarters in Ottawa.

Upon leaving full-time military service in 1987, Valerie joined the Public Service as an Emergency Planning Officer at Public Works Canada, responsible for the development of the National Emergency Construction Agency.

Valerie transferred to the Department of National Defence in 1990, as a Cabinet Liaison Officer. She then served as the Defence Policy Advisor in the Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat of the Privy Council Office, from 1993 to 1995.

From 1995 to 1997, Valerie was the Special Adviser to the Adjutant General of the British Army on matters relating to peacekeeping policies and doctrine, as well as ethos and leadership.

Upon her return to Canada, Valerie rejoined the Policy Group of the Department of National Defence, this time in the Directorate of Peacekeeping Policy, responsible for humanitarian assistance operations and United Nations peacekeeping in the Middle East and Europe.

Valerie was elected as the first woman President of the Royal Military Colleges Club of Canada in September, 1998 and later served as Treasurer of the RMC Foundation. She is a member of the Atlantic Council of Canada, the National Trust, English Heritage and the Prayer Book Society of Canada, and is a past President of the Canadian Centennial Choir in Ottawa.

Valerie lives in Ottawa with her husband, Commander Keith Keyes, and her two sons, Tristan and Alastair.