May 19, 2020

The Canadian Parliament Seeks a New Usher of the Black Rod

Stephen Harper
Canadian Prime Minister
Canadian parliament
Parliamentary procedure
Bizclik Editor
3 min
The Canadian Parliament Seeks a New Usher of the Black Rod


This position is the most senior protocol officer held in Canadian Parliament. Following the Sovereign and the Governor General, the Usher of the Black Rod fills the third longest continuously held state office in Canada. The origins of this position date back to 1348 under King Edward III and in Canada the office dates from the appointment of the first Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod to the Legislative Council of Lower Canada in 1791. In 1997, the word ‘gentleman’ was dropped from the title when Mary McLaren was appointed to the position. In observance to the Westminster Parliamentary tradition, the Usher of the Black Rod discharges his or her duties as personal attendant to The Queen when entering the Parliament Buildings.

Ceremony is a large piece of this position. The Usher of the Black Rod leads the daily Speaker’s Parade to and from the chamber and directs all logistical, protocol, and administrative details relating to the official Parliament of Canada ceremonies. Such as: opening of Parliament, Speech from the Throne, and the Royal Assent. This person also directs an internal parliamentary committee, inclusive of security, communications, and protocol, logistical and other officials, from both chambers. The Usher of the Black Rod is responsible for Senate ceremonies as well as the organization and delivery of a number of other ceremonies that are held on an annual basis in the Senate Chamber. The User of the Black Rod has an important role in other events held in the Senate Chamber such as the installation of Governors General and liyings-in-state.  He or she is, therefore, ultimately responsible for the effective execution of the ceremonial functions of the Senate of Canada. 

The job description describes that the ideal candidate should posses a degree from a university or an acceptable combination of education and job-related experience. He or she should have experience in managing projects and staff as well as success coordination protocol, logistics, and administration for ceremonial events and programs. Having a good understanding of legal, historical, and cultural conditions of parliamentary institutions in Canada and abroad, is required. Understanding the Canadian parliamentary system, legislative processes and the constitutional mandate is essential. Knowledge of ceremonies that are a part of Canada’s parliamentary heritage, current political agenda, current legislative initiatives, and current domestic issue would be considered an asset to this role. This person should be an engaging team builder, hold high ethical standards and integrity, sound judgment, great communication skills both written and orally in both official languages.

Further details about the Usher of the Black Rod and the roles and responsibilities of the position can be found on the Senate of Canada web site at

Interested candidates should forward their curriculum vitae by April 8, 2013, to the Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet (Senior Personnel), Privy Council Office, 59 Sparks Street, 1st Floor, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0A3, 613‑957‑5006 (facsimile), [email protected] (email).

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Jun 13, 2021

Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl

Kate Birch
5 min
Former CMO for IBM Americas Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl. Maria talks about her new role and her leadership style

Former Chief Marketing Officer for IBM Americas, and an IBM veteran of more than 25 years, Maria Bartolome Winans was recently named CMO for Kyndryl.

Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.

With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.

You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?

I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.

We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.

What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?

I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.

The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.

I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.

What does success look like to you?

I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.

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