Nadia Theodore . Consul General of Canada to the Southeast USA . Government of Canada

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"Canada as a country has always had a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, but that diversity hasn’t always been reflected in executive offices – both in the private and public sector."

Nadia Theodore

Consul General of Canada to the Southeast USA . Government of Canada . Beyond Beauty Series . Driven Honoree

 University of London; Carleton University  Majors: LL.B; Political Science  Birthplace:  Ottawa, Ontario

Twitter: @theodore_nadia

What type of company do you run? The mission of the Consulate General of Canada in Atlanta is to advance the interests of Canada across 6 states of the Southeast: Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, and to serve and protect Canadian citizens in those states. Day-to-day, the office aids Canadians who need emergency travel documents, or other consular assistance; we help Canadian companies who are looking to do business in the Southeast market with on-the-ground intelligence, qualified contacts, partnership opportunities and practical advice; and we promote Canadian culture. I am the leading Canadian diplomat in the region.

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Who are your greatest influences and mentors? Personally, my parents. They immigrated to Canada from Saint Lucia and both worked for the federal government; my dad, as an economist; my mom, as an administrative clerk. My mom, especially, was into public service. She was very involved in the church, volunteered at soup kitchens and collected clothes for the homeless; so, I grew up in a culture of service. My father was all about excellence. He was THAT dad: if I got 90 per cent on a test, he would ask me where the other 10 per cent went!

Professionally, Kirsten Hillman, Canada's Deputy Ambassador to the United States and former Chief Trade Negotiator for Canada; Christine Hogan, Canada’s former Deputy Minister at Global Affairs (roughly equivalent to the US State Department) and now Executive Director for Canada, Ireland and the Caribbean at the World Bank; and Janice Charette, Canadian High Commissioner to the UK and former Clerk of the Canadian Privy Council. I worked directly for Kirsten and Christine and closely with Janice. They are, to me, a perfect combination of what leadership in public service should look like: a laser focus on excellence; deft navigation of a civil service leadership role that has them close to the political level of government, but also requires management of a large team of fellow public servants; and not taking themselves too seriously.

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What career challenge have you faced/overcome? Canada as a country has always had a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, but that diversity hasn’t always been reflected in executive offices – both in the private and public sector. While it is changing (too slowly in my opinion!), as a young, black woman, I am definitely not the stereotypical image of a senior Canadian diplomat. I sometimes struggle to be taken seriously; people want to dismiss me on appearance. I have to make sure that when I speak there’s no doubt about my knowledge and abilities – there is little room for error. It takes a lot of preparation, as well as mental and emotional energy.

What's been your most successful approach to building relationships in your work? A combination of curiosity and personal contact. I’m interested in what everyone has to say – from the administrative staff to the CEO – and I’ll pick up the phone myself to find out. I love chatting with people – my friends joke that I go to the grocery store and leave having made new friends of the store employees! I get that from my mom – she would make friends with people on the bus ☺ Suffice to say I’m not big on titles and hierarchies; sometimes they’re just barriers to communication and collaboration.  

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What pressing goal would you like to accomplish before year’s end? One of my personal passions is around kids/youth and education – especially literacy. I volunteer with the literacy non-profit Everybody Wins! Atlanta and would love to get more involved in children’s reading initiatives with local community leaders.

Professionally, I want to do everything I can to inform people and businesses about the importance of the Canada-US trade relationship and the huge benefit that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has brought to companies on both sides of the border – especially small and medium sized companies. I truly believe that local businesses who are able to grow and then export their products and services abroad contribute enormously to the economic development of their communities. We should be doing everything we can to support that growth.

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What book have you enjoyed recently? The Hidden Light of Northern Fires by Daren Wang, the founding Executive Director of the Decatur Book Festival. It’s about the Civil War and the role that Canada played. I love reading and wish I had more time for it. I’ve also attended plays more since arriving in Atlanta (Sept. 2017). How Black Mothers Say I Love You is a must see! It’s on now at the Horizon Theatre and the playwright is Trey Anthony – an Atlanta-based Canadian.

What is your mantra or favorite quote?  Depends on my mood.Live What You Love” is a favorite. I recently heard Rodney Bullard (Executive Director of the Chick-Fil-A Foundation) on a podcast and something he said really resonated with me: “You can’t allow someone else’s perceptions of your limitations guide you or limit you.”

Define Beyond Beauty? Being authentic. Being comfortable in your own skin (which I admit is sometimes hard!). Being able to look within to drive forward towards your goals.

Interviewed by Maryan Aiken exclusively for CityBox Media . Beyond Beauty Series . Driven Honoree

"Beyond Beauty is a group of dynamic women sharing their fire and wisdom while building & cementing new alliances with like minded individuals of all ages designing and driving a meaningful and optimized version of their journey.
Women who are instinctively & driven tapping into their inner fuel leveraging their fire and wisdom to catapult dreams into a fiery reality. "



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