HRP: Describe your job today.
CF: I’m VP of leadership at Maple Leaf
Foods. It’s a wonderful job; I’m extremely
happy with the portfolio I have now. I
can influence the leadership culture of the
organization, so my passion for leadership
is satisfied. My team creates solutions for
talent acquisition, rewards and recognition,
performance and talent management,
learning and development and HR systems
and services. We deliver these people solutions
through an integrated network of
HR generalist and specialist professionals
throughout the business. I’ve been in the
position for a couple of months, but I have
worked at Maple Leaf Foods for nine years
HRP: What do you love
about your job?
CF: I love the variety of my job right now.
Maple Leaf Foods is an amazing organization
if you’re really driven to master
things, and then put up your hand and ask
for more and craft your own career path.
We are all about learning and personal
growth here. I work with some very talented
people, and we have an opportunity to
set the people and leadership strategy for
the organization, which is a lot of fun.
HRP: What are the
challenges of your job?
CF: One of the biggest challenges when
you’re leading an HR team can be big organizational
changes. Maple Leaf, like so
many companies, has taken on massive
■■ First job: I worked at U-Haul taking reservations,
processing pickups and drop-offs and reconciling the
accounts. I was 17, and it was kind of a meaty and
stressful role for my first job.
■■ Childhood ambition: Back then, I had a list. I was
going to be a doctor/hairdresser/ballerina/author/
painter. It’s still a bit depressing that I have to pick one
career. I still to this day want to be everything all at
■■ Best boss and why: I have gotten something important
from every single boss I’ve ever had. They’ve all been
part of creating who I am now. But, there are two I
want to highlight. Bill Vickers was the first boss who
really helped me with career planning, and he taught
me the value of humour at work. The other one is Les
Dakens, who I worked with here; he taught me to think
bigger and farther than I was ever comfortable thinking
■■ Current source of inspiration: My parents. My mom
and dad just celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary
and they are strong, very smart and so caring to other
people. They’ve weathered all the ups and downs over
their 52 years together; now in their early 70s, they are
more supportive of each other than they’ve ever been.
They are a real inspiration.
■■ Best piece of
advice I ever got:
Bill Vickers once
told me, “Don’t
I loved it; it was
blunt and heartfelt
and perfect for the
moment. It was
a career planning
what came out of my mouth was, in fact, ridiculous.
■■ Favourite music: I will sing or dance to pretty much
anything at the drop of a hat – but if I had my choice,
I’d put on Neil Young or Peter Gabriel.
■■ Last book you read: I haven’t been reading a lot lately,
but the last book I read was David Copperfield by
Charles Dickens. It was a good escape.
■■ How do you spend your time away from work?
Reading, walking along the trails near Etobicoke Creek
and working on the board of Spectra Community
Support Services – we provide phone support services
to people in need. I also love binge-watching Netflix
shows with my kids, aged 19 and 23. I love them,
they’re my heroes.
IN A NUTSHELL
52 ❚ JANUARY 2015 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL