May 19, 2020

Conservative Party Leaders Must Save Pro Business Image

Bizclik Editor
4 min
Conservative Party Leaders Must Save Pro Business Image

The Conservative Party of Canada’s pro-business image took a major hit this past fall when The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, blocked a BHP Billiton hostile takeover of Potash Corp. Clement cited the Investment Canada Act when declaring the acquisition did not pass the ‘net benefit test’ to Canada.

The Conservative Party traditionally runs on a platform of lower taxes, smaller government and more decentralization of federal government powers. The Conservative Party’s actions left pundits asking how intervening in the free market aligns with the party’s conservative principles.

The Conservative Party and Clement didn’t provide a rationalization for the Federal Government’s intervention. Making matter worse, BHP Billiton made public the terms and conditions of the takeover. From an outsider’s perspective, the ‘net benefits’ looked beneficial to Saskatchewan and Canada as a whole.

Thus, many Canadians are wondering what the Conservative Party stands for and who are the politicians to return the party to its base. The Conservatives haven’t strayed far from their socially conservative principles, but the party does need to show leadership on economic issues via conservative fiscal policy. The global economy is starting to recover, but Canada’s economy is starting to slow. The chorus is going to grow louder.

Who are the Conservative politicians who must step up and show leadership?

Stephen Harper:

Harper and his Conservative Party were thrust into power when the then-ruling Liberal Party became embroiled in the sponsorship scandal, causing the dissolution of Parliament. In his time in office, Harper has cut taxes while increased spending, a departure from fiscal conservatism.

Worse, by September 10, 2009 the deficit had reached $55.9 billion dollars. It is estimated the deficit over the next 5 or more years will be double what was originally reported in the 2009 budget, adding about 170 billion dollars to the Canadian debt. Harper, if he wants his party to retain power, must make amends for the free-wheelin’ Economic Action Plan, show fiscal austerity and adhere to the Conservative Party’s founding principles.

The Red Tape Reduction Commission is a good start.

Christian Paradis:

The Honorable Christian Paradis, Minister of Natural Resources, also has Harper’s ear as the Quebec Lieutenant to the Prime Minister.

With such a close working relationship, Paradis has the potential to be extremely influential in policy decisions. Paradis has a background in corporate law and as the Minister of Natural Resources—one of Canada’s most important Cabinets—he must use his position and experiences to loosen the regulatory climate in Ottawa.

As the global recovery gains momentum, businesses around the world are going to be looking at bountiful Canada’s natural resources to sustain growth. Many foreign companies are leery of doing business in Canada as result of the Potash dealings.

It is up to Paradis to ensure the Federal Government creates a favourable business climate for foreign investors.

Tony Clement:

It should come as no surprise that Tony Clement, Minister of Industry, makes this list of Conservative politicians who need to regain their pro-business edge. Clement was at ground zero of the Potash decision and is a major reason why foreign investors want to see an olive branch from Ottawa instead of a no vacancy sign.

As Industry Minister Clement has the lead role in developing and implementing Canada's economic strategy to become even more competitive and innovative. He does have a monumental task of growing Canada's automotive and aerospace industries, formulating a leading-edge digital economy strategy and investing in Canada's research and discovery infrastructure.

Clement needs to rediscover his inner small business owner mindset and entrepreneurial spirit. He has worked in the private sector in his career. Should Clement return to those values and foster investment, the recent economic slowdown must just be a blip on the map as opposed to a double dip recession.

As Conservatives return to their familiar pro-business stance, Clement should also leverage his special responsibility for Northern Ontario as Minister responsible for FedNor, the federal economic development agency for the region. Clement has the opportunity to tout conservative fiscal policy successes at FedNor on the national stage.


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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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