The Number 25

I’ve always felt connected to the number 25. The square root of 25 is 5. Add the digits together and you get lucky 7. Did you know there are 25 Councillors on PEO Council? And my birthday is on the 25th.

My campaign team is encouraging me to find a way for you, the P.Eng.s in Ontario to get to know me a little better, and give you a reason to vote for me in the PEO election. Being a good listener, I am putting that suggestion into action. So here are 25 fun facts about Darla Campbell.

  1. I was born on the 25th day of the 5th month. (52 = 25)
  2. I grew up in a small town, population just under 10,000.
  3. Growing up our family had a dog (Petunia) and a cat (Sassy).
  4. My first official leadership role was in 4-H, where I learned parliamentary procedures and participated in speaking competitions.
  5. I played on a softball team, a curling team and in a bowling league.
  6. I was a co-founder of Theatre Amisk, a community theatre company.
  7. During high school I attended the Terry Fox Youth Leadership program in Ottawa where I met astronaut Marc Garneau.
  8. I applied to be an astronaut in the same round that Chris Hadfield was selected.
  9. My daughter is in first year aerospace engineering at Ryerson.
  10. When I first met my husband, I told him that I wanted to make the world a better place. He thought I was joking. I wasn’t… and I still do.
  11. In 1997 I travelled to China as part of a delegation of business women where I presented at one of the universities about the experience of being a women engineer.
  12. In 2001 I was invited by the Canadian Consulate to be a guest speaker at a Women in Business conference in Nagoya, Japan. My keynote address about the advancement of women in business (in Canada) was translated for the audience.
  13. On Parliament Hill, I presented to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women on the topic of women in engineering. During the question period I suggested that what the engineering profession needed was a TV drama series to increase understanding of what engineers do.
  14. Attended the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York City along with my 4 month old daughter.
  15. Co-author of leadership training for women that was launched in Australia to an international audience and has been delivered across Canada.
  16. Appointed to serve on a federal tribunal for Employment Insurance appeals, representing employers and served for 7 years. This appointment was supported by the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.
  17. In 2005, chaired a business session at the International Congress of Business Women in Lucern, Switzerland. I was told that I have a high EQ that supported how well I managed the controversial debates.
  18. Attended a cocktail party on an active submarine in Venice, Italy, as a Young Career Woman representative from Canada. Of all the mentoring questions that I have been asked over the years, I have yet to be able to share my advice on what to wear to a cocktail party on a submarine!
  19. Recruited by an international water company (French owned) to work in New Jersey with projects across North America.
  20. Set a GOAL to publish a blog every day for 30 days. Once achieved, I continued to blog daily for 6 months. Here is the link to the blog redefinepossible.
  21. Set a GOAL to “Go for Gold” in our amateur dragonboat team. Although my team didn’t make it, I offered to help out another team that needed to fill their boat (as you need 20 paddlers), and I helped them win GOLD. Goal achieved (although not the way I had planned).
  22. Delivered keynote addresses and/or chaired meetings in 9 countries on 4 continents.
  23. Spoke at IEEE women in engineering conference and Women in Nuclear conference.
  24. In the role of PEO Vice President, I have attended more than 30 Zoom meetings.
  25. We got a puppy during the pandemic (Oscar) to join our full grown cat (Charlie).
Our “pandemic puppy” Oscar.

Thank you for reading! Vote Darla Campbell for PEO President-Elect.

We are building the future together.

Inclusive Leadership (Listening and Engaging)

The world has changed due to the pandemic and we are leaning quickly how to adapt. Since taking office in May as PEO Vice President, I have attended 25 PEO meetings or events, with an estimate of 89 hours of Zoom meetings. Who would have imagined that so much could be possible without leaving your home office?

This campaign is like no other in PEO’s history. I am grateful to the chapters who have invited candidates to send video greetings or to speak for a few minutes in an upcoming meeting hosted by the Chapter. Inclusive leadership fundamentally requires a level of engagement and more importantly, time to listen and learn.

In the 2017 election I set a goal of visiting 50% of the chapters during the campaign and I achieved it. By visiting the 18 chapters I listened and engaged with EITs, seasoned P.Eng.s and newly licensed P.Eng.s in Chapter AGMs, License Ceremonies, tours and pub nights.

I have also had the opportunity to attend several Regional Congress meetings, GLP Academy and Congresses, Volunteer Leadership Conferences (VLC), Chapter Leaders Conferences and PEO Government Relations Conference and PEO Queen’s Park Receptions.

As your future President-Elect I am setting a goal to visit all 36 chapters during the year leading up to taking the office of President. (What a great training ground to engage with chapters and P.Eng.s across the province in preparation for the role of President.)

During this campaign I’ve been asked what I think the top three goals that should be delivered in the next one year by PEO. My answer is:

  • Continue governance roadmap (which will be completed by spring 2022). This will enable PEO to focus on right touch regulation.
  • Improve licensing process (i.e. reduce waiting time).
  • Put a plan in place to achieve right touch regulation.

I look forward to working closely with the next President, Christian Bellini, in moving PEO forward to meet the expectations of the public in being a modern regulator.

If we haven’t already met at one of the PEO events that I’ve attended in the past, I look forward to meeting you in the future and learning from you as we build the future together.

Chapters Visited (2017 – 2020)

(in alphabetical order)

  1. Brampton
  2. Brantford
  3. Chatham-Kent
  4. East Toronto
  5. Etobicoke
  6. Georgian Bay
  7. Grand River
  8. Hamilton-Burlington
  9. Kingston
  10. Kingsway
  11. Lake Ontario
  12. Mississauga
  13. Niagara
  14. Oakville
  15. Peterborough
  16. Scarborough
  17. Sudbury (host of regional candidate meeting 2018)
  18. Toronto-Humber
  19. West Toronto
  20. Willowdale/Thornhill
  21. York (host of All Candidates meeting 2017)

Leadership in 2021

Not only is the world changing, it’s changing fast. It’s no longer “business as usual”. The current PEO Council has advocated to move forward to adapt to a changing world. PEO must continue this positive change to remain relevant.

As PEO’s Vice President-elect, I serve on the Executive Committee (EXE) and the Joint Relations Committee (JRC). Previously I have served on the Government Liaison Committee (GLC) from 2011 to 2017, in the last two years as chair. I attended many “Take Your MPP to Work” events across the province, hosted by local chapter’s Government Liaison Program (GLP) chair. I often stated that we had our “finger on the pulse” of PEO.

Souvenir bag from Joint Government Relations Conference (PEO and OSPE)

The GLC has hosted several joint government relations conferences and receptions at Queen’s Park, as well as Regional Congresses which provided training and opportunities to meet with local MPPs. The most recent conference was a virtual event on November 6th where I had the privilege to interview MP Marilyn Gladu, the first woman engineer elected to Parliament, on her important contribution as a role model.

Leadership in engineering includes communication of the role of engineers, the value of the engineering “brand”, the value of being part of a profession, and the value to the public and industry in hiring professional engineers. All these messages support the regulatory role of PEO. A strong P.Eng. brand supports protecting the public interest.

Key regulatory messages include:

  • The self-regulatory model that PEO is priveleged to operate under in Ontario;
  • The role of regulation and standards in serving and protecting the public interest; and
  • Differentiating PEO’s mandate (as a regulator) from OSPE’s mandate (as an advocacy body).

To achieve a sustainable future of self-regulation for our profession, one of my priorities is Enhancing the Value of P.Eng. I commit to enhancing the value of your license from EIT through all stages of your professional career.

Vote Darla Campbell for PEO President-Elect 2021.

#PEOElection #EngineeringMatters #redefinepossible #BuildingFuture Together

Strategic Thinking

On February 7th I attended Chatham-Kent chapter’s AGM. One of the smallest chapters in the province (approx. 330), the chapter delivered a sold-out event. How did they do that? They needed to think outside the box.

Back on November the chapter decided that they needed to do something different to get good attendance at their AGM from a cross-section of their membership. With some strategic thinking the executive decided to plan a bus tour to three restaurants (appetizers, dinner and dessert stops). They planned to run the business of the AGM on the bus with new license certificates presented at the dinner stop.

What started out as a possibly risky venture (trying something new) ended up a resounding success. Congratulations to Chapter Chair Angela Scott and her team! Thank you to the chapter for your hospitality on Friday night.

I really enjoyed meeting the chapter members and especially the conversations about opportunities for PEO to consider changes as part of the modernization initiative. Some bold ideas and strategic thinking could be applied at the PEO Council table and that’s why I’m running for Vice President!

Chatham-Kent Chapter hosting their AGM as part of a bus tour to three restaurants.
Chapter presented six new license holders with their certificates, the most in recent memory.
Angela Scott making announcements at the dessert stop of the AGM tour.

Proven Leadership

On Saturday morning I joined the PEO Scarborough Chapter for their AGM which included an opportunity for all candidates in the Council election to speak for two minutes. After all the speeches we were invited on stage to answer questions. This was a great engagement session with the chapter.

Scarborough Chapter AGM – February 1, 2020
Speaker: Keivan Torabi, PhD, P.Eng., East Central Region Councillor

I told a story about my leadership role with the Canadian National Exhibition Association (CNEA). You may have heard about the CNE, one of the largest fairs in North America, held annually in Toronto. I was elected to the Board at the time of great change for the organization. In fact, that was why I was running for the position. The organization was moving from being part of the City of Toronto to being a not-for-profit, completely independent of the City. I felt that my governance experience would prove to be an asset to the organization.

I found that there were many opportunities to contribute to important decisions of the organization. Seeing it through the lens of an engineer, I was able to identify risks and opportunities that my colleagues hadn’t noticed. I served on the Governance Committee and as chair of the Policy, Strategy and Innovation Committee. Together we delivered a very innovative and thoughtful strategic plan for the next five years and identified the necessary changes to governance to ensure long term sustainability of the organization.

It is this proven leadership experience that I bring to PEO Council. The challenges are different, of course, but taking a collaborative approach to moving forward with the best interest of the overall organization in mind, I’m bringing experience that will support PEO in its modernization initiative.