Aldéa Landry has done many things in her extraordinary career. She is a former chair of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (the first woman to occupy the position) as well as being a member of the board of directors of the Bank of Canada and of the Security Intelligence Review Committee.
Aldéa was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1987 and to the Privy Council of Canada in 2005, she was awarded the Order of Canada in 2006 and received The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
She holds honorary doctorate degrees from four universities. In 2009 and 2010, the Women’s Executive Network named her one of the Canada’s Top 100 most powerful women. In November 2013, Aldéa was inducted in the New Brunswick Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame.
Aldéa has been a civil servant, co-founder of a law firm, an elected official, a cabinet minister and a deputy premier in Frank McKenna’s government.
Today, Aldéa describes herself as an entrepreneur. She is president of Landal Inc., a consulting firm offering organizational and business development services with this motto: “Making a difference while doing business.” She is also vice-president of Diversis Inc., a consulting firm specializing in immigration and diversity. Aldéa presently sits on the board of directors of several corporations as well as national and community organizations.
Q: Aldéa, you have a lot of diverse business interests . . .
A: I’m a lateral thinker. I don’t want to be in a silo and I don’t want to be safe. I have a multiplicity of interests – I’m not malleable but I’m certainly adaptable.
[Tweet “”I’m a lateral thinker. I don’t want to be in a silo …or be safe.” – Aldéa Landry”]
Q: Where does your drive come from?
A: I was born in a very small village (Sainte-Cécile). You couldn’t find it if you blinked. My father couldn’t read. His parents couldn’t read. My mother left school in Grade 5 to help with the family, although she was brill iant. I think she would have had a tremendous career. Instead she raised 14 children, which was a good career for her.
We didn’t have books. We didn’t have anything. When I went to school in a seven-grade, one-room school it blew my mind open. There was a lot to learn there. I’m not hyper, but I had eyes all around my head. I think those combined classrooms were a blessing for me because it really opened my mind. I listened to everything. I was in Grade 1 and hearing what was going on in Grade 7.
Q: Given where you come from, what is your philosophy for being successful?
A: I believe very strongly in two things – success is not only what you accomplish, but it’s what you help others accomplish. What goes around comes around.
[Tweet “”Success…is what you help others accomplish.” – Aldéa Landry”]
Q: What are you most hopeful for when you look at the leadership in business and politics in the province?
A: First of all, I have a hard time with the word “leadership.” I prefer to talk about “doers.” A doer with commitment and with a cause – that’s what a leader is. Leading has to do with doing. It’s not just pontificating or making big speeches. I’m looking for people who want to do things and commit time, resources and themselves to making things happen.
Q: Do we have “doers” in New Brunswick?
A: There are a lot of people who make things happen in the province. This is a province that has a lot of potential but I think there’s a bit of fatigue on the part of a layer of people who’ve always been engaged and always been involved. I feel it’s now someone else’s turn to take on more prominent roles in the province and I think people are not going to take their turn unless you go and invite them.
Q: What kind of mentorship would you like to see in our region?
A: I think we need what I would call “spontaneous mentorship.” I don’t think it needs to be as structured but we need some structure. I admire greatly what Gerry Pond does in the IT industry. We need more people like that.
Q: What do you mean by “spontaneous mentorship?”
A: I haven’t experienced structured mentorship, it has always been more spontaneous. I meet a person and we go for coffee. It flows out of a need for support. That’s how it’s always started for me.
Q: What do you feel is the most important attribute in mentoring?
A: Openness and being receptive. It’s all about communication. You have to be a good listener but you can’t just listen. You have to probe and challenge. You have to help people stretch.
[Tweet “You have to probe and challenge. You have to help people stretch.” – Aldéa Landry”]
Q: Who inspires you?
A: The people who inspire me are doing two things – they are doers who are reflective. It’s not just doing, it’s doing with a purpose, doing with a goal in mind and creating something bigger and better.
Q: What do you mean by reflective?
A: People who actually do things and get involved will often reflect upon it. They will ask questions like “What do I want for my community? What do I want for my province? What do I want for the country?“
Q: What happens after a leader reflects?
A: Then you have to commit. You can’t just say “yes” to everything and then not put in the effort. I believe you have to be a perpetual, continuous learner. That is how you become entrepreneurial.
Q: How would you finish the following sentence: A leader’s (or a doer’s) job is to…?
A: …to make things happen.
Q: What advice would you give to those emerging or aspiring leaders who want to play a bigger role in our region?
A: I would say put yourself forward. I heard a woman say a long time ago, “Be present. If you’re not there people are never going to notice you.” You have to say “yes” when asked. You have to make the opportunities happen.
[Tweet “You have to say “yes” when asked. You have to make the opportunities happen.” – Aldéa Landry”]
Q: So it’s up to the next generation to step up?
A: Yes. What’s exciting about this is that there is so much to be done. With the aging of the population this opens a whole new world for younger people. My generation is saying, “Oh my God, we can’t find people to be on our boards. We can’t find people to do this.” It’s because we’re always looking in our own little circle of people. We often don’t go beyond what we don’t see.
Q: Any advice?
A: I have a word of advice for the older generation – never miss a chance to tap somebody on the shoulder.