The Week That Was…And More

Life-Long Student of Leadership Shares His Story with RMCC

Article and Photos by 25366 Mike Shewfelt

With the Pre-Exam Study Period now in place, activities at the College may have slowed down some, but the parade of guest speakers continues. This past Wednesday, Dr. Joe MacInnis spent two hours talking leadership with Staff and Cadets. Dr. MacInnis was behind the successful IMAX movie on the RMS Titanic, and he has made over 500 dives in the Arctic, developing techniques to swim and survive in the frigid waters of the North. He has also worked with James Cameron, director of the Academy Award winning movie “Titanic,” on several expeditions, including the record-setting Marianas Trench dive in the spring of 2012. He has also worked with the Canadian Forces, including trips to Afghanistan and aboard HMCS Toronto while on deployment to the Caribbean.

Dr. MacInnis drew on these experiences while sharing his insights into leadership. One of his 12 Principles of Leadership, high empathy communication, he illustrated with a story from his first dive to the wreck of Titanic. “I am an alpha coward,” he joked with the audience, “and the crew of the submersible knew they had a coward on their hands. When we finally reached the bottom, I thought we’d head right to the wreck, but instead they parked the sub, got out champagne and sandwiches, and we had a pic-nic. And before long, I had totally forgotten where I was. They knew I was nervous, and they gave me the gift of confidence. In their actions, they said “We are so good at we do that you don’t have to worry.” After that, it was a blast. You have to be aware of, and prepared to meet, the unspoken needs of your colleagues.”

Dr. MacInnis shared many such stories from his experiences over the years, including several from his recent involvement in James Cameron’s Marianas Trench expedition. This expedition, in which Cameron reached the bottom of the Marianas Trench in a one man submersible, Dr. MacInnis called “the most difficult thing I’ve ever done.” He went on to say that it was “60 days of undersea guerrilla warfare. We had endless problems, and we ran most of the time on exhaustion and adrenaline. The funny thing is I almost didn’t go. Cameron’s expeditions are emotional and physical roller coasters, and I knew that. But sometimes you have to do things you don’t necessarily want to do, and I’m glad I did. It was an amazing opportunity to look at leadership in action.”

From that trip, Dr. MacInnis drew his advice for the Cadets in the audience. “Steal everything. On that trip, we became wizards of theft. Cameron had enough energy to power a small city, and we stole that and made it our own. The guy in charge of our submersible team had a real fire, and a determination to see things through. We stole that and made it our own, too. So explore the leadership pathways, and then steal them and make them your own.”

Dr. MacInnis finished up his presentation by showing his video “Warrior’s Honour,” which was produced with the CF Leadership Institute and which examines leadership through the eyes of Canadian Forces personnel at all ranks on the ground in Afghanistan and at sea on board HMCS Toronto during operations in the Caribbean.


Sawyer Building Renovations Well Underway

Article and Photos by 25366 Mike Shewfelt

The renovations to the Sawyer Building Complex, now into their third year, are a fact of life to those living and working at the College. Renovations to Sawyer Modules 1 and 2 are complete, while Mod 5 is about 2/3 of the way done. Mod 4 is next in line, with Mod 3 and Girouard Building last in line before the May 2016 finish date.


Ten Cadets Represent College at Vimy Dinner

Article by 25450 OCdt (IV) Sean Keoghan

On Friday, 9 Nov, 10 RMCC Cadets had the opportunity to attend the Vimy Award Gala Dinner held at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa. The evening was organized by the Conference of Defence Associations Institute who was also the gracious sponsor of 7 of the Cadets in attendance, with the other 3 cadets being sponsored by ATCO.

At the Vimy Award Gala Dinner, there are two prizes awarded each year. This year, Honorary Colonel Frederick Philip Mannix received the 2012 Vimy Award for his significant and outstanding contribution to the defence and security of our nation and the preservation of our democratic values. The second award is the Ross Munro Media Award, which was presented to Adam Day of the Legion Magazine for his significant and extraordinary contribution to increasing the public understanding of Canadian defence and security issues.

The Cadets in attendance had the great opportunity to converse with many great contributors to the defence and security of Canada, both in uniform and out, serving and retired. It was a great experience had by many, to have the opportunity to speak with this year’s winner, Col Mannix, as well as past winners including Gen Vance, and other members in attendance such as Gen Natynczyk.

It was a fantastic night. I am glad that I had the opportunity to attend thanks to CDAI, and highly suggest that others attend in the future, if the chance presents itself.