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Doug Tisdale, Regional Program Manager, Canada Border Services Agency, Government of Canada

Doug Tisdale, Regional Program Manager, Canada Border Services Agency, Government of Canada

Career Mentor – Doug Tisdale

25 successful years, 25 career mentors

October 5, 2015 — 

Doug Tisdale [BA/90, MA/02] is one of 700+ Career Mentor volunteers who devote time to meeting University of Manitoba students. Each year, career mentors share their knowledge and advice to guide the career plans and contribute to the success of students. In celebration of 25 successful years, 25 career mentors have agreed to share their career stories and advice…


Briefly, tell us about your job. What do you find most rewarding? What are your greatest challenges within this profession?

I am a manager in the federal public service. I have worked in different levels ranging from clerical to director positions and these have been in a variety of capacities including income tax, agriculture, customs, immigration enforcement, public health, border security emergency management, and various client service roles.

I would have to say the most rewarding aspect of my work is collaborating on multi-jurisdictional, multi-disciplinary teams whose members have very different priorities but whom are working towards a common goal such as public safety.

One of the greatest challenges is motivating multi-generational staff. I have managed teams made up of members born in four different decades whose values and work ethics are very diverse. Although these people may all have chosen a similar career their values systems have been influenced by very different social, economic and technological environments. A prime example of this is the differing attitudes surrounding the use of social media and the effects this has on a person’s professional life. This is especially significant when pursuing a career in law enforcement.

While you were completing your degree, what experiences and activities helped bring you to your career decision or helped you succeed in your occupation?

My career decisions were made as my life unfolded and progressed. I completed both of my degrees while I was working full-time in various jobs.

I would say that one of the main experiences that has helped me succeed in my occupation was the opportunity to work with committed professors who genuinely enjoyed their work and took the time to encourage their students to succeed and to continue on a path of lifelong learning. They were not only role models in an educational capacity but also displayed the importance of enjoying your occupation.

Describe your career planning journey. Please include any highlights, bumps or roadblocks.

My career planning journey has unfolded as opportunities presented themselves. The public service is full of various job choices and opportunities. I have researched many opportunities and proceeded to gain the education and job experience required to apply for these jobs.

One bump or roadblock that has occurred on more than one occasion is going through the job application and interview process, becoming the successful candidate only to have the funding for the position cut. This can be very discouraging, but this is all part of the process whether you are working in public service or private industry.

What inspired you to be a career mentor?

My inspiration to become a mentor is twofold.

Firstly, I firmly believe that nobody succeeds without assistance. Success requires the support of many individuals along the way. I think the University of Manitoba mentorship program is an excellent way to play a small role in some students’ successes.

Secondly, I am proud of my public service career. I wanted to highlight the variety of rewarding careers available within the public service and advise students and graduates on where they can take their careers if they choose this path.

What advice do you have for students who are interested in following in your footsteps?

Learn as much as you can about how the public sector operates and pay close attention to the linkages between various departments and agencies. Pay close attention to the departmental mandates, values and missions to ensure the values match your own values and to ensure the work undertaken by the department is important and interesting to you. Seek the input and advice from members of the public service to learn the ups and downs of this type of career.

What career advice do you have for university students?

Value and embrace diversity. When I say diversity I am not simply referring to diverse cultures. In addition to cultural differences individuals bring their own education, expertise, experiences, opinions and knowledge to the table. I have learned a great deal by accepting people’s differences and working with these individuals to achieve common goals.

Build relationships based on trust and respect. You never know when you’ll get the opportunity to work with people you’ve developed a relationship with in the future. As long as people trust you and respect your opinions and work ethic, they will be a part of your success and you will play a part in their success.

Never close the door on an opportunity without giving it careful consideration. I have had a very rewarding career that has taken me in directions I would never have dreamed of and afforded me opportunities to accomplish important and exciting work.


Stay tuned for more career mentor profiles! From September 25 to November 2 the Career Mentor Program will be profiling 25 dedicated and wonderful mentors from across several sectors. To view more career mentor profiles and learn about the anniversary event on November 2, 2015, please visit the CMP 25th Anniversary website.

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