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Leading like a Woman to the Top | Lieutenant-General (Retired) Christine Whitecross | Episode 209

Christine Whitecross is a Canadian retired lieutenant-general. A graduate of Queen’s University and the Royal Military College of Canada, she has served in Germany, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. Whitecross has twice been named one of Canada’s 100 most-powerful women. She was commandant of the NATO Defense College in Rome. She has been made a commander of the Order of Military Merit, received the Meritorious Service Medal (United States) for service in Afghanistan and the Canadian Meritorious Service Medal for her role as secretary-general of the International Military Sports Council.] Whitecross was the first female three-star general to be appointed in the CAF.

Whitecross has held several high-level staff posts including as Director of the Infrastructure and Environment Corporate Service, Chief of Staff for the Assistant Deputy Minister, Joint Engineer of Canada Command, Executive Assistant to the Chief of the Air Staff, and Chief Military Engineer of the Canadian Armed Forces. In Bosnia, she was head of logistics and manpower for the engineer contingent of UNPROFOR and was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications with ISAF in Afghanistan. Whitecross has commanded 1 Construction Engineer Unit and was deputy commander of Canadian Operational Support Command.

In February 2015 Whitecross became head of a team tasked with responding to allegations of sexual misconduct in the CAF. She was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general on 26 May 2015, becoming the most senior female Canadian military engineer. Whitecross was appointed commander of Military Personnel Command in June 2015.[4] In summer 2017 she became commandant of the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy, being elected by representatives of the 28 NATO member states.She is the first woman and the third Canadian to hold the position. Whitecross retired from the military in December 2020.

Topics

During this interview Christine and I discuss the following topics:

  • What drew her to military life and becoming a leader
  • Her experiences as a brand new officer
  • How to get pass coworkers who were difficult to work with
  • How to stick to the moral high-ground
  • How she handled members of other cultures
  • How to get a team to achieve peak performance
  • How she felt when she was promoted to Lieutenant-General
  • Lessons learned about culture change in organizations

Guest Resources

If you are interested in learning more about Christine’s resources be sure to check out the following links:

 


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