3 leaders from the Cadet Wing answer the call

Closing thoughts from the Top 5

We have reached out to the Top 5 leaders from the Cadet Wing. Three have taken the time to share their thoughts and experiences from what had to be a pretty challenging for all involved this term.

We thank them for the follow-up.

We understand that the  CWC: NCdt Gavin Omand and CWOpsO: OCdt Christopher Roy were busy with essential duties and were unable to meet our deadline.  We do hope that both will be able to respond for our next Issue.

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27370, OCdt Annie Mercier, Deputy Cadet Wing (DCWC) Commander, 00181 Engineers, Génie Civil

Annie Mercier

What were your inspiration / motivation to attend RMC?

RMC was not on my radar leaving high school, as I come from a small community in Northern Ontario where the Forces are not very present or advertised. I attended post-secondary education in Quebec City, and that is where I became familiar with RMC and the military. I wasn’t really satisfied with the lifestyle and challenges at civilian school, and I wanted an environment where I could study in French, be challenged in many aspects, and be surrounded by like-minded people. RMC seemed like a good fit and I do not regret my decision.

What changes would you like to see at RMC which would make it a better overall experience?

Some of the changes I would like to see are already being implemented, especially with regards to the maintenance of a high standard. That’s not to say you cannot have difficulties here, for example, I struggled with pushups in my first PPT of first year, but I made it my goal to never let that happen again. I don’t think the standards at RMC are unreasonable to achieve and maintain, especially with all the resources we have access to here, and I am happy to see that going forward these standards will continue to be essential for all graduates.

What– in your opinion– makes a good leader?

A good leader to me leads by example and holds themselves to a high standard of performance and conduct. They take ownership of their actions, and the actions of their subordinates, and do not try to pass the blame around. At the same time, they have to be personable and have strong communication skills in order to make sure messaging and intent reaches all levels of their team, and to establish trust.

What was the greatest challenge you’ve faced in your cadet bar position? How did you handle it?

The biggest challenge as a member of the Top 5 this semester was working on implementing the large culture-change within the Cadet Wing. As DCWC in particular, my personal challenges came from managing several projects concurrently, while working with many different people and groups. My previous appointments mainly focused on leading people, but as the DCWC I was more involved with leading the organization as a whole. This required a lot of time management, communication skills, and seeking out help, all of which were skills still developed in my previous positions. There is overlap in everything that you do, so the lessons you learn in one job can apply to a completely different role later on.

What are some of the accomplishments you are most proud of in your bar position?

The numerous smaller projects I worked on and committees I was part of won’t affect my graduating class but I am confident that my efforts will help improve the functioning of different Cadet Wing activities and processes for future classes.

Who have been the most influential mentors in your time at RMC?

I worked with Capt Nick Payne on several projects dating back to my second year. As the CW OPI for the Graduation Ball, he was my TW supervisor on my first major project at RMC. Most recently, he was the TW OPI for FYOP 2017, while I was the FYOP OIC. While working with him directly, I learned how to better prioritize and execute smaller tasks in support of a larger objective, and I was given a lot of responsibility, which made me much more comfortable in dealing with superiors further up the chain of command.

By nature of my positions as FYOP OIC and DCWC, I had a lot more facetime with both the DCdts and Cmdt this year than the average cadet. Col Ayotte’s initiative to host PD events for fourth year engineering officers was also invaluable to both preparing me, and getting me excited for, a career in the CME branch. I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to learn from these senior officers on such a direct basis.

What does TDV mean to you?

TDV is a reminder to be honest (to both myself and my colleagues), to place service before self, and to be brave, in situations that are not only dangerous, but also morally challenging.

What is your ultimate goal after leaving RMC?

I don’t want to look to far ahead in the future. My current goal is to continue improving myself so I can become the best troop leader I can be. I also hope to get experience from an operational deployment early on.

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 27320 OCdt Yoonjae (Andrew) Kim – Cadet Wing Administrations Officer (CWAdO)

MOC: 00328 LOG (Air) / Business Administration (Honours)

Yoonjae (Andrew) Kim

What were your inspiration / motivation to attend RMC?

In grade 12, I saw a short article in a newspaper about a Canadian military college. What started as quick research on this enigmatic institution grew into a genuine interest for enrolling in the CAF and RMC. The college’s emphasis on producing a well-rounded leader who is intelligent, fit, and bilingual resembled what I wanted to become after four years of university. As I progressed through the recruiting and selection process, I met a few graduates and cadets who helped solidify my choice to embark on my studies and life at Royal Military College.

What changes would you like to see at RMC which would make it a better overall experience?

This year, RMC has made significant growths in providing military professional development lessons to officer and naval cadets. I think the cadets will have a better overall experience if this trend continues. Cadets would appreciate the opportunities to establish stronger ties to their military occupations which will allow them to embark on their chosen careers in the CAF on a strong footing.

What– in your opinion– makes a good leader?

In my opinion, a good leader is someone who displays authentic leadership. A good leader should be able to acknowledge their weaknesses. A good leader does not shy away from failures. Rather, they have the ability to own them and learn from them. At the same time, a good leader is able to discover the strengths in their subordinates and empower them to reach their full potential.

What was the greatest challenge you’ve faced in your cadet bar position? How did you handle it?

The greatest challenge I had during my time as the CWAdO was managing and coordinating the daunting amount of administrative work of the Cadet Wing, comprising of around 1,000 officer and naval cadets. Every administrative task involved challenges and exceptional circumstances. However, I was able to handle them thanks to my Administrations Officer (AdO) chain in the Cadet Wing. My Cadet Division AdOs and their Cadet Squadron AdOs were absolutely amazing this semester and through this opportunity, I thank each one of them for a great semester. I could not have done it without them.

What are some of the accomplishments you are most proud of in your bar position?

I am most proud of having had the opportunity to be the cadet Officer of Primary Interest (OPI) for the Professional Development session for the Logistics Officer and Naval Cadets in February 2018. Under the direction and support of my mentor Major Chris Thibault (Special Advisor to the Director of Cadets), the PD session featured distinguished LOG officers including BGen V. Tattersall (DComd MPG) and Col B.K. Johnson (Log Branch Advisor) along with several experts from each specialty within the LOG branch. The cadets that attended the event benefitted from the rich experiences of the attending officers and Chief Warrant Officer. Events like this enhance the link between cadets and their occupations, and I am proud of having been a part of organizing the first-of-its-kind PD session.

Who have been the most influential mentors in your time at RMC ( EX Cadets when you were in I, II, III?

At RMC, I had the fortune to have Major Chris Thibault as a mentor during my tenure as the CWAdO. From my mentor, I learned passion for one’s military occupation, genuine care for one’s subordinates, and how to lead people from the heart. My mentor is an officer who possesses both the experience and the expertise to compel subordinates to follow him. Having the opportunity to work alongside the Major was one of the best opportunities that I had at RMC.

On the academic side, the management and economics department played an important role in my development over my four years of study. I would like to credit both Professor Kurt Schobel and Dr. Geoffrey Pond for their guidance. These two professors were the ones I sought to discuss future career progressions in business, professional designations, and other odd conversations. I truly appreciate their professional mentorship in my program of study.

What does TDV mean to you?

To me, TDV means having the moral and ethical courage to do what is right and just for the service, despite adversities.

What is your ultimate goal after leaving RMC?

My ultimate goal after leaving RMC is to become the most competent officer in my military occupation who has the professional expertise to provide second-to-none support services to the CAF. I also want to become an officer who can be trusted and respected by all the subordinate members within the CAF service.

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27341 OCdt Victor Lessard, 27341-Cadet Wing Training Officer – 00180 INFANTRY -Politics

Victor Lessard

What were your inspiration / motivation to attend RMC?

I always wanted to join the military and RMC offered a great range of opportunities: subsidized education, leadership experience, and physical fitness. For me, those were all things I wanted to get from a work experience and RMC provided me with them, and a lot more challenges as well.  

What changes would you like to see at RMC which would make it a better overall experience?

There needs to be a lot more military exercises or technical application of what we learn. It is one thing to crack the books open and have theoretical knowledge of stuff, but to me, nothing is more valuable than someone who is able to actually apply the things they have learned in the real world.

What– in your opinion– makes a good leader?

To me, leading by example is what defines best a great leader. Only by displaying what one wants from his soldiers that he is truly to obtain respect from his subordinates. This principle is applicable to all aspects of our life here at RMC, and so much more.

What was the greatest challenge you’ve faced in your cadet bar position? How did you handle it?

The CWTO position is filled with multiple challenges. If I were to pick one, I would say that disagreeing with my peers (other members of the team) was the biggest one for me. Multiple times, myself and other members of our team have disagreed WRT decisions being made. Sometimes I wanted to do things my way, or didn’t really agree with the propositions of others.
This is truly a leadership challenge: you have a few great minds that all come together and try to function as one unit, but everyone is trying to pull their piece of the rope in a different way, which doesn’t make the unit function. In the end, even though I might have disagreed with my peers, compromises were made and we were able to work things out.

What are some of the accomplishments you are most proud of in your bar position?
Personally, my biggest accomplishment lies not in my leadership position, but rather by getting my degree. Previous to joining RMC, I had been out of school for a couple years and never thought about going back. Needless to say, it was a significant challenge when I enrolled and was confronted to writing essays or simply studying. I also thought about quitting so many times because I despised school. Ultimately, I am still here today and hopefully will be getting my degree in a couple weeks.

Who have been the most influential mentors in your time at RMC?

I do not have a single individual in mind. It is rather the combination of good and bad leadership examples that I witness daily that marked me the most. I take the things from people which I consider to be positive, and try to include them in my lifestyle. Similarly, when a see leadership incompetence, I avoid it like plague.

What is your ultimate goal after leaving RMC?

Complete phase training and become an infantry platoon commander.
After that, I want to keep developing myself as a successful leader for my troops.  

 

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