June 30, 2021

Veterans' Transition in the Digital Age

12:00 - 1:00pm (EST)
Crowdcast (online)
Register now


The Policy insights Forum (PIF), a nonpartisan research division of Samuel Associates, helps improve policy and decision-making through independent research, analysis and engagement. The PIF is honoured to bring together veterans, veteran organizations and thought leaders together to discuss the importance of helping to facilitate the meaningful transition of our veterans into civilian life. As the veteran community becomes younger, the job market becomes more technical and career opportunities become more niche, the PIF seeks to explore the options open to Canada's veterans in obtaining new skills, effectively utilizing their current skills and networks to their benefit and to discuss the current systems in which the Canadian Armed Forces and society assist veterans find meaningful careers. Our guests and speakers will touch on their personal experiences with this transition, shed light on the evolving job market and discuss how best government and private industry and fit the skills of veterans into post-forces positions that will not only benefit the individual but also the nation.

Guest Speaker(s)

Lieutenant-General (Ret'd) Christine Whitecross


Lieutenant-General Chris Whitecross enrolled in the Canadian Forces in 1982, Successive postings have taken her from Germany and across Canada, notably to undertake a range of staff duties such as those of A4 Airfield Engineering Operations at 1 Canadian Air Division, Executive Assistant to the Chief of the Air Staff at National Defence Headquarters, Director of Infrastructure and Environment Corporate Services for the Assistant Deputy Minister; Joint Engineer, Canada Command; and Chief of Staff for Assistant Deputy Minister.

Whitecross has also performed the duties of G1/G4 for the Force Engineers of the United Nations Protection Force deployed to the Former Republic of Yugoslavia; Wing Construction Engineering Officer, Greenwood; Commanding Officer, 1 Construction Engineering Unit, Commander, Joint Task Force (North), Deputy Commander, Canadian Operational Support Command, DCOS Communications, ISAF HQ, Kabul, Afghanistan; and Canadian Armed Forces Chief Military Engineer at National Defence Headquarters.

She holds a Bachelor in Chemical Engineering from Queen's University and a Masters in Defence Studies from the Royal Military College of Canada. She is also a graduate of the Advanced Military Studies Course and the Command and Staff Course. An Officer of the Order of Military Merit (OMM), she was awarded the United States Defense Meritorious Service Medal for her service at ISAF HQ, and the Meritorious Service Medal (US) for her service as the International Military Sports Council (CISM) Secretary General. Lieutenant-General Whitecross was named one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women of 2011.

In February 2015, Lieutenant-General Whitecross was appointed Commander of the Canadian Forces Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct, and assumed the duties as Commander, Military Personnel Command in June 2015 upon promotion to Lieutenant-General. In November 2016, Lieutenant-General Whitecross was appointed Commandant of the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy.

Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret'd) Eleanor Taylor

Eleanor Taylor of Antigonish, Nova Scotia served for 25 years as a regular force infantry officer in the Canadian Army and now runs Eleanor Taylor Consulting, a company that develops teams and leaders who thrive in adversity. Her time in uniform included multiple deployments overseas, work with the Special Operations Forces Command, and deployment to Kandahar during which she led operations with soldiers from the Canadian, US, and Afghan armies. Taylor was the only female to lead a NATO infantry combat sub-unit in Afghanistan. Taylor continues to serve the Army as a part-time soldier in 36 Canadian Brigade Group.

In 2013, the Women's Executive Network named her as one of Canada's Top 100 Women. In 2019 she was invested into the Order of Military Merit.

Vice-Admiral (Ret'd) Mark Norman

Former Vice Chief of the Defence Staff of Canada

A 39-year veteran of uniformed service to Canada, Mark Norman retired from the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in the rank of Vice-Admiral (VADM) in 2019. VADM Norman rose through the ranks to be the Vice-Chief of Defence: the second-highest appointment in the Canadian Armed Forces.

As Senior Defence Strategist at Samuel Associates, VADM Norman looks forward to helping clients achieve their full potential in supporting the defence and security of Canadians.

His military career has seen him serve at sea domestically and internationally, command a warship, the Atlantic Fleet and ultimately the Royal Canadian Navy. VADM Norman also has extensive experience in training sailors, supporting operations, strategic planning, managing major procurement projects, institutional leadership, and organizational change.

VADM Norman is motivated by dynamic organizations that see value in people, seek continuous improvement and contribute positively to society. He holds a degree in Economics from Queens University and is also a graduate of several professional education programs, including executive leadership courses with the US Armed Forces. He has been awarded several medals and commendations over his four-decade-long career, including the Order of Military Merit and the US Legion of Merit.

VADM Norman is now applying his energy and passion to new challenges such as contributing to the national defence and security discourse as a Fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, helping sailors, veterans and their families as the Champion of RCN Benevolent Fund and consulting and mentoring.

Kiera Antaya

Coding for Veterans, Former Naval Officer

Kiera Antaya is a leader with diverse interests and experiences including, working as a Naval Warfare Officer with the Canadian Armed Forces, lab and computational-based research with Queen’s University, and most recently, an education in networking and cybersecurity through Coding for Veterans and the University of Ottawa.

Steve Vincic

President and Managing Partner, Kavin Group

Steve Vincic is the co-founder of the Kavin Group and serves as the company’s President and Managing Director.

Steve oversees all aspects of the company’s domestic and US customer service relationships, the contracting process as well as corporate planning. In addition, Steve is responsible for recruitment, personnel training and acts as the company’s Chief Security Officer.

Over the years, Steve has held various positions in automotive operations, transportation, warehousing and manufacturing fields. He has led organizational transformation initiatives, management training and was responsible for driving process change and product quality improvements with companies such as Fiat Chrysler Automotive, Allied Systems (Canada) and Cassens Transport Company.

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