get unapologetically visible

Episode 44: Unmistakably Excellent: Nadia B. Theodore: Head of the Permanent Mission of Canada in Geneva – Ambassador to the WTO

On this episode I speak with Nadia B. Theodore, the head of the Permanent Mission of Canada in Geneva. She is also the Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO. This interview left me in a deep state of reflection. Nadia gave us a masterclass on how to lead with authenticity, and how to carefully think about the evolution of our careers. Enjoy!

Nadia began her public service career at the Canada Revenue Agency in 2000. She subsequently worked with the Department of the Solicitor General, and she joined International Trade Canada in 2004. At Headquarters, she has served as director of the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, director of the Secretariat for the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement and chief of staff to the deputy minister of international trade. Abroad, she served at the permanent mission in Geneva from 2009 to 2012 and as consul general in Atlanta from 2017 to 2020. Most recently, she worked as a senior vice president at Maple Leaf Foods, a Canadian consumer packaged goods company and the world’s first major carbon neutral food company.

Nadia’s Word: Excellence

04:15 – Nadia speaks her childhood, and how she started a petition to be allowed to go to sleepovers

08:35 – How her thirst of understanding the why and why not, led to her being called Koffi Annan 2.0

11:32 – Nadia explains the role of a diplomat, particularly in the international trade space, and why she entered this space

17:25 – We discuss the idea of power, the evolution of power dynamics, and how we can better support different types of leaders

23:15 – On leading with excellence, and the evolution of her stance on it

26:05 – We share thoughts on how asking for permission can stunt our growth, and stop us from reaching our full potential

35:16 – I ask her on the challenges of being visible, and how she manages the pressure that comes with it

40:56 – Nadia’s key takeaways: be careful who you give credibility to in your life, and be gracious but not grateful

You can find Nadia on LinkedIn, and Twitter


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