I’m at once very grateful and also humbled at the reaction to my Feb. 3 commentary. Many with whom I have interacted with over the years reached out with very generous notes of thanks, anecdotes from the past and personal comments, which I will cherish for as long as I live. But it made it seem like this was all about me, and that’s definitely not the case. My work over the years couldn’t have been done without an incredible amount of support. If you’ll indulge me, a few notes on those who made it happen.
1. Past experience. I arrived at Export Development Canada (EDC) with a different skill set than most. I came aboard out of the econometric modelling world, where we began with raw data and cooked up a story based on the salient facts of the day. That grounding enabled our EDC team to make forecast decisions that are often contrary to the consensus—and mostly come out right. I salute those I worked with and under at the Conference Board of Canada for all that they taught me—it was instrumental to my work here.
2. Stephen Poloz. He was chief at EDC before me, and brought me in to be his deputy—the greatest career compliment I’d ever received to that point. Among the “chief” gifts he gave me was the knack of communicating with business audiences. Stephen’s parables and analogies were genius, and he was a tough act to follow when he handed me the chief role in 2008. His prep more than got me through what proved to be the most challenging year in my career. What boots to fill, and what a year to do it in!
3. The core team/family. In keeping with having some of the best team-name acronyms in the building (can you beat EPIC?), I’m blessed to have worked with bright-minded, hard-working, socially conscious, family-oriented people who’ve become family to me. I couldn’t possibly have fronted our work without the well-oiled machine creating, challenging, honing, innovating, incessantly. It’s hard to leave you, I miss you all terribly already, and I thank you for all you’ve done (and put up with) over the years. A very special shoutout to my assistant, Tina, that lovely voice on the other end of customer phone calls. She has been a mainstay for me in almost all of my years at EDC, managing chaotic schedules and making sure I was always where I needed to be. My dear team, keep up the great work and culture.
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The EDC Research Panel’s January survey highlights the challenges imposed by the global pandemic.
4. Key supporters. Life in the fast lane has meant working with employees who are highly motivated and prepared to take on something new with only a moment’s notice. The column you’re reading right now relies on copy editing, translation and video production support—made up of a crack team of super-smart, quick-acting and very patient people, to whom I’ll always be endeared. EDC’s awesome Marketing team deserves high praise for the years of solid support they’ve given to all my external activities. Finally, my work would’ve been impossible without the direct support of a lengthy list of senior EDC leaders, who’ve consistently stood behind me and made sure I had the bandwidth to…well, just tell the truth. I’m ever grateful to you all.
5. My leaders. Travel took me away from the office a lot. Thankfully, I have been blessed with a rock-solid, loyal leadership team who worked tirelessly to keep the ship upright. One in particular is a name you may actually never have heard, working in the background and essentially running the Economics team for the last four years, maintaining rock-solid quality products and creating a culture whose scores were the envy of many teams at EDC. Words can’t express how grateful I am to have enjoyed your support and friendship over the years.
6. Our customers. We do it all for you. No joke. But there’s another dynamic. As Jackson Browne famously said, “…you have the power over what we do, you can sit there and wait, or you can pull us through…you know that you can’t go wrong.” Without your support, no organization, no standup economist is going to go anywhere. I deeply appreciate the support and encouragement you have consistently offered me over many years, and the trust that you have shown, with many inviting me in to advise your senior leaders on global, trade and other strategic issues. You have made my work a delight, and my hope is that you continue to prosper wildly as you harness the dynamic of global growth: Go for it!
7. Stuart Bergman. Well, here’s a name that you’re going to hear a lot more over the coming weeks. Stuart and I have worked closely together for most of my 17 years at EDC. He architected the team structure we have today, then moved across to other EDC teams to get more rounded experience. Thankfully, we were able to lure him back just in time. As EDC’s deputy chief economist, he’s been doing my chief duties since late last fall, and acing it. Be assured that you’ll get stellar customer service from him. Best wishes, Stu, go get ’em!
The bottom line?
As the credits of the movie have rolled, again I’m reminded that it’s people that make every act work. I’ve been richly blessed to have been surrounded by a large number of wonderful people. Space doesn’t permit giving credit to all. I can’t thank you enough, and I wish you all God’s blessing. You’ve enabled me to serve in the way that I have—and it’s made all the difference. For the next column, it’s up to you, Stu!
This commentary is presented for informational purposes only. It’s not intended to be a comprehensive or detailed statement on any subject and no representations or warranties, express or implied, are made as to its accuracy, timeliness or completeness. Nothing in this commentary is intended to provide financial, legal, accounting or tax advice nor should it be relied upon. EDC nor the author is liable whatsoever for any loss or damage caused by, or resulting from, any use of or any inaccuracies, errors or omissions in the information provided.