2013 PAFSO Award Recipients

Left to right: Claudie Senay, Robert Forest, Jennifer Hart and Thierry Weissenburger

PAFSO is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2013 PAFSO Canadian Service Officer Awards presented on June 13 at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.

Citizenship and Immigration’s Robert Forest is credited with training a generation of Immigration Foreign Service staff, inspiring them with a passion for the importance of their role in selecting future Canadian citizens and instilling a deep respect for the laws they administer and the clientele they serve. When the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) came into effect in 2002, Robert was designated as ‘IRPAman’ and provided advice to visa offices around the world 24/7, sometimes sleeping in his office. A popular trainer and motivational speaker, he combines authoritative instruction with an enthusiasm that entertains participants while driving home the values of client service, team work and innovation. Robert’s PAFSO Award recognizes his ability to educate, inspire and mentor as well as his role in shaping the professionalism of Canada’s Immigration Foreign Service.

The main link between Headquarters and the Canadian Embassy in Kabul on operational issues, Jennifer Hart provided unstinting support to Canadian staff in exceptionally hazardous conditions. She has been their staunch ally in difficult times and has protected them from everything from unreasonable demands for visits to proposals to cut hazardous duty entitlements. Jennifer worked to enshrine the highest possible standards of care and championed measures to minimize the negative impacts of Afghanistan assignments on employees and their families. She is responsible for the Critical Civilian Incident Strategy which shapes Canada’s response to the injury or death of employees in Afghanistan and has earned enormous respect for the brilliant manner in which she has ensured the Government of Canada is prepared for events we all hope will never happen. Jennifer receives her PAFSO Award for providing outstanding support to her colleagues on hazardous duty in Afghanistan.

Claudie Senay is recognized for excellence during four turbulent years in Lebanon and challenging assignments at the Privy Council Office (PCO) and at Headquarters subsequently. Amid ongoing intercommunal violence, her extensive contacts throughout Lebanon’s ethnic and religious communities and her ability to read evolving situations enabled her colleagues to work effectively while avoiding unnecessary risk. Her calm, resourceful coordination during the evacuation of 40,000 Canadian Citizens from Lebanon won high praise. Subsequently, at the PCO and in her current assignment, she demonstrated superb action management capability and sound judgement. As point person on various challenging issues, Claudie’s communications and team working skills permitted her to be an effective bridge between the PCO and DFAIT, playing a very important role translating PCO and PMO requirements to the Department. The PAFSO Award recognizes that Claudie Senay’s consummate professionalism, her commitment to excellence, her sound judgment, incisive analytical capacity, superior communications and leadership skills are of the highest order.

Convinced that Canadian high-tech companies would benefit from linkages with California’s Silicon Valley, Trade Commissioner Thierry Weissenburger persuaded expatriate Canadian high-tech executives there to establish the C100, a mentoring and coaching network. This network represents over $17 billion in venture capital equity. He then built the mechanism to bring Canadian start-up entrepreneurs to the Valley, to the business incubator known as the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA). The CTA is designed to support Canadian early-stage companies in developing tenable business models, gathering market intelligence, identifying and pursuing key clients, attracting financing, and engaging strategic partners. Over 170 Canadian companies have participated in the Silicon Valley CTA network, and upwards of 500 million dollars in funding has been secured by Canadian-led start-ups. The model Thierry created has spread to other cities and to the health and clean technologies sectors. The PAFSO Award recognizes the intellectual rigor and client focus of Thierry Weissenburger’s transformative, imaginative and inspirational work.

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