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21 strategic projects from across Concordia are progressing thanks to the university’s Change Resilience Development Program

A new cohort of managers graduated from the comprehensive training in May after a 3-year hiatus due to the pandemic
June 6, 2023
By Nathalie Manley

Source: Human Resources

Joseph Leger, manager of research and graduate communications, receives his CRDP diploma from Natalie Camirand. Joseph Leger, manager of research and graduate communications, receives his CRDP diploma from Natalie Camirand. Photo credit: Lisa Graves

Since 2016, the Human Resources Organizational Development team has guided 125 directors and managers through its Change Resilience Development Program (CRDP). This is in addition to a wide variety of training and professional development opportunities it offers for all employees.

In May 2023, 21 more managers joined the CRDP’s group of graduates, having completed one full training day a month from February to May. Participants included managers from across the university in units as diverse as Campus Wellness and Support Services, University Advancement, Environmental Health and Safety and Sustainability, as well as each of Concordia’s faculties and schools.

During the program, participants’ work revolves around the change management aspects of an initiative they are responsible for planning and implementing in a six-month timespan. Each session gives them the opportunity to further their project with the support of the program’s facilitators and their peers.

“We provide them with tools and approaches to work on their change initiative. There's time for individual reflection, discussions in small subgroups and plenaries, and a lot of networking also takes place, which makes the whole experience very interactive,” says Natalie Camirand, manager of organizational development and one of the program’s facilitators. 
“The fact that participants bring their own change project and real-life experiences to the table also makes it very concrete.”

Tools and resources for managing change in an evolving environment

The CRDP was relaunched in 2023 following a three-year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the program’s content is updated and adjusted for each cohort — based on feedback from previous participants, as well as new management and change trends — this year’s relaunch had added elements.

“Resilience, leadership development and our capacity for implementing and managing changes as we come out of a pandemic continue to be very important,” says Carolina Willsher, associate vice-president of Human Resources. “We need to adapt, pivot with agility and respond to an evolving landscape. The CRDP provides many tools to help support this leadership and change journey.” 

Joseph Leger, manager of research and graduate communications, appreciated how the program helped him on his leadership path by allowing him to connect with fellow managers. “Seeing as I’m in the early stages of my managerial career, I thought it would be a great opportunity for me,” he says.

“The program does an excellent job of providing participants with tools and resources. But perhaps more importantly, it gives you the opportunity to take an existing project you’re working on and have it stress-tested and reviewed by other managers who can share their thoughts and expertise.”

The 2023 managerial Change Resilience Development Program graduates and HR’s Organizational Development team, pictured from left to right: Anne-Marie Lanctôt, Jen Strahl, Sara Baptiste- Brown, Marta Samuel, Cassandra Lamontagne, Serguei Mokhov, Vincent Allaire, Christopher Yiptong, Tanya Volpe-Standing, Gillian Wise, Marc Bedard, George Spanos, Alice Isac, Raji Zreik, Joseph Leger, Natalie Camirand, Ria Rombough, Magalie Kanho, Émilie Fortin, Kate Robayo Sheridan, Joanie Boivin, Nicole Burisch, Michael Rembacz, Andrea Rodney. Not pictured: Arwen Fleming. Photo credit: Lisa Graves

A variety of professional and personal development benefits

Sara Baptiste-Brown, manager at the Institute for Co-operative Education, says she was surprised by how much the group was able to accomplish in just four days.

“I’m also surprised that I was able to take a step back from my day-to-day work to delve into learning, self-exploration and collective meaning-making. It’s not a secret that people need to step away from their quotidian concerns to be able to really advance, but experiencing it was revelatory!” Baptiste-Brown shares.

“Gaining knowledge, resources and strong connections has been invaluable.” 

Michael Rembacz is the engineer in residence at the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science’s Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Aerospace Engineering. He says that his favourite aspect of the program was connecting with other managers and being provided support from the program that felt targeted toward his day-to-day activities. 

“The CRDP helped me navigate the implementation process, enabling me to identify my key stakeholders and effectively manage team dynamics, thus facilitating seamless integration of the proposed change,” Rembacz says.

Get involved in a forward-thinking program 

“The CRDP is an innovative program that we think ‘goes beyond’ and helps managers support the implementation of the university’s Strategic Directions and as we move forward, Future Concordia as well,” Willsher adds.

The next cohort will be open to directors and will take place in winter-spring 2024. Direct supervisors who would like to nominate a director for the next cohort should email Natalie Camirand before the end of this summer. HR will send an email to senior leaders shortly to this effect. 

“The CRDP is for any manager or director willing to truly engage in the hard questions about themselves, their role and how they can help their teams continue to advance,” says Baptiste-Brown. “With an open mind, everyone can grow from participating.”

Learn more about the Change Resilience Development Program on Carrefour.

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