DND students participate in virtual welcome event

July 2, 2020 – Defence Stories

Video / July 2 , 2020


And so, we are going to mine your knowledge and use you to teach us as reverse mentors -supporting us as we move into this different way of doing business. As you can see, you are here at the right time to contribute to positive change and to help us shape our future.

We welcome your ideas and your diverse perspectives. I look forward to awesome conversations and your input.

So, during your time with us I want you to work hard. Get to know your colleagues and ask questions including why things are done the way they are. “Because it’s always been this way” is the worst answer to any question. Ask the questions and demand good answers.

If you see something that can be done differently, ask if you can try. Learn from the incredible expertise that you will meet with in your teams and above all make yourselves at home within the Defence Team because you’re welcome here and you belong.

On Monday June 15, Deputy Minister (DM) Jody Thomas held a virtual event for student employees of the Department of National Defence (DND). Hosted over Office 365, the DM took the opportunity to virtually welcome new and returning students to the department, and took questions from participants about what they can expect from their Defence Team experience, as well as how they can make the biggest difference during their time at DND.

The discussion touched on important topics, such as the current work environment brought on by COVID-19; racial discrimination; and the importance of young minds and knowledge in the internet era, emphasizing the importance of staying connected. She explained the uniqueness of DND as a civilian and military environment and essential collaborative work between civilian and military Defence Team members.

On the topic of racial discrimination, DM Thomas shared her thoughts saying, “We know we have much work to do to end all discrimination. The Defence Team is committed to doing that work to build a diverse team that upholds equal rights and where every member of this team feels valued, included and supported.”

She also discussed the important role that students and young minds play in this internet age, stating that “We are going to mine your knowledge and use you to teach us as reverse mentors, supporting us as we move into this different way of doing business.”

Deputy Minister Thomas and Youth Champion ADM(Pol) Peter Hammerschmidt encouraged students to ask questions, participate and challenge the existing way of doing things in order to help evolve the department. Hammerschmidt emphasized the role of youth perspective in the imposed COVID work environment, and encouraged students to get involved with organizations such as the Youth Advisory Council for ways to contribute. 

Guest speaker David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data, talked to students about “digital first” being the new reality and generational stereotypes. Coletto shared some of his keys to success and encouraged students to enjoy the ride and focus on being present and reflect on where you are in your journey. He answered questions about networking and building relationships in the current COVID environment and encourages students to be patient and make the effort to connect virtually as much as possible.

If you are a DND student who was unable to participate in the event and would like to watch it, please contact: DND Community Management Team.

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