Check Out My Interview on Everybody Loves Your Money

What does it take to be a successful leader?

Toronto-based business strategist and management consultant Brad Fauteux agrees with many of the qualities that grab the most attention these days as being necessary for excellence in business leadership.

Confidence. Creativity. The ability to communicate. Honesty. A positive attitude. The ability to inspire and engage others. The list can go on at length.  With that said, Brad Fauteux believes that sometimes such less tangible characteristics get so much attention that the tangible skills that are equally important get lost in the shuffle.

On that front, he says, financial leadership skills rank high as must-haves, whether you’re an entrepreneur or advancing the corporate ladder, as he explains in more detail.

If the need for financial skills is glossed over by the media, do you think it’s something that managers themselves don’t recognize is a necessity?

Bradley Fauteux: Well, I believe that too many managers in areas outside of the finance department don’t have enough of a basic grounding in finance to understand the financial implications of their decisions. There are any number of decisions that can impact their organization’s financial performance – and that spans those made not just by operational managers, but by managers in the “softer” disciplines, like human resources and marketing.



Interview: Brad Fauteux on YoungUpstarts

Bradley Fauteux (Brad Fauteux) has spent the majority of his career finding ways to champion the environment and enlisting others in support of sustainability initiatives and the preservation of our natural resources.

To a significant extent, that’s given him an inside/out perspective. Brad Fauteux, who today is an environmental consultant, has worked for years within the system as a leader of government agencies charged with protecting and promoting public lands in Canada. It’s work that has given him an understanding of what it takes to increase community awareness, support and, ultimately, broader advocacy for environmental imperatives.

Check out the FULL INTERVIEW here.

How Polar Bear Provincial Park Was Restored to a Natural State

It’s home to the world’s southernmost population of polar bears, but that’s only part of the Polar Bear Provincial Park’s ecological importance on a global scale.

The 23,552-square-kilometre park on the western shore of Ontario, where the James and Hudson Bays join, features the world’s third-largest wetland. As Ontario’s largest park and its furthest north, it’s been designated a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention since May 1987.

Polar Bear Provincial Park shelters a vast assortment of wildlife, in addition to the 200-plus polar bears that known to be roaming the sub-arctic terrain. Woodland caribou and moose, marten, fox, and beaver are also found across the land. The Park is of international significance for migratory birds and the coasts and estuarial areas are popular among seals, walruses, and beluga.

The world’s most temperately located tundra, the terrain is carpeted in peat soils, bogs and muskeg, and much of it’s given to permafrost.  In the spring and summer, certain plants – Lapland rhododendron, crowberry and mountain cranberry – flourish. And a distinct tree-line encircles the bays. To its north, no trees grow, but south of it, trees like willows, spruce and tamarack slowly rise.

It’s a park not easily accessed by visitors. It takes special permission to get in, and then, is reachable only by air. There’s no visitor’s centers or any amenities to speak of. In fact, those who do make the trek are encouraged to be prepared for …anything. Since bad weather can delay flights, a week’s worth of extra supplies is encouraged. And tents can’t be too high – they can easily be lost to strong winds.

Polar Bear Provincial Park’s primary purpose is to preserve its most unique habitat. To that end, the park was the focus of a massive remediation project – the largest ecological restoration project in Ontario’s history – to remove the remnants of its Cold War history. The Mid Canada Line Project spanned, all told, over 15 years with the goal of returning the land to its natural state.

It was a huge job. In the 1950s and 1960s, numerous military radar sites were built in the park – known as the Mid Canada Line – as a means of detecting potential incursions from the Soviet Union. When the radar systems were rendered obsolete by new technologies, the radar stations were abandoned. However, left behind were contaminated steel and cement buildings, abandoned machinery and radio towers. Not only were they an eyesore, but they were sources of chemical and physical hazards.

The workers removed:

● 7,070 empty drums;
● 1,640 litres of PCB liquids;
● 292 metric tonnes of PCB hazardous soils and debris;
● 3,970 tonnes of low-level PCB contaminated soils;
● 10 petroleum, oil, lubricant tanks;
● 2 buried septic tanks.

The park is within the traditional territories of a number of First Nations. The project was delivered in partnership with both the First Nations communities of Weenusk at Peawanuck, Fort Severn, Taykwa Tagamou, Moose Cree and Attawapiskat First Nations and the Muskegowuk Tribal Council.  There were a number of community members actively working with MNRF to the tune of over 1,800 hours of training and 27,000 hours of work at the site.

The project was a huge undertaking that has earned significant kudos for its impact. Earlier this year, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry won the prestigious Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Recognition Award for its cleanup efforts.

In presenting it, Dianne Saxe, Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner, said: “This was an effort that took about 15 years. It’s a more than $80 million cleanup, and to come up with that amount of resources on top of everything else that the ministry was doing in times of, basically, continuous cutback, was a real achievement.”

“To plan it, to organize, to do the environmental assessment, to get the money, to keep the money … and the weather, and the ice roads becoming unreliable, and polar bears sniffing around, they had all kinds of obstacles,” she said. “And you had to take the material so far away — there’s nowhere local up there that can safely handle mercury and PCBs and toxic soil.”

“They did a tremendous job.”

Brad Fauteux, Credit Valley Trail Moves Closer, Uniting Interests Around Resources, Environment

It’s been 60-plus years in the making, but the vision behind the Credit Valley Trail remains as relevant as ever: protecting and sustaining the environment and ensuring the Credit Valley Trail is honored as the treasure it is, even as the greater Toronto community grows around it.

Late this year, the Credit Valley Trail Strategy – the roadmap for ensuring the vision continues to come to life and is completed – is expected to be published. It’s exciting and rewarding to be able help keep this legacy project moving forward.

The Credit Valley Trail will be the main artery in a network of trails – footpaths for walking, hiking and biking – that have been pieced together over the years by the communities that have formed throughout the Credit River watershed.

Some two-thirds of the network is in place. When the Credit Valley Trail is completed, it will link those paths as it stretches for 98 km along the Credit River’s banks, from the headwaters near Orangeville to the river’s mouth at Lake Ontario in Port Credit.

The strategy will articulate what needs to be done over the short and long terms to make this happen. A tremendous amount of credit goes to Credit Valley Conservation and its Foundation, along with the Credit Valley Heritage Society for sustaining the trail effort over the last 60 years, and the Greenbelt Foundation for supporting the strategy’s development.

The Credit River has played an instrumental role in the Toronto area’s history, particularly with Indigenous peoples. However, the Indigenous peoples of the area, an Ojibwa group called the Mississaugas did not refer to it as the Credit River and instead honoured it with the name Missinnihe, or “trusting creek,”. The name Credit River or Rivière du Credit came from French fur traders who supplied goods to the Mississaugas on credit against the next spring’s delivery of furs. In the modern context, the entire river falls within the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation who in the context of reconciliation will play an important role in the future development of the trail.

The Credit River watershed is rich in more than just history. Ecologists and citizens scientists alike treasure the plants (1,330 species) and animals that make its environs so important to preserve. Chinook salmon and rainbow trout spawn in areas of the river – among the 64 fish species that draw fishermen in. Various mammal species (41 in all) also call the valley home, as do 244 species of birds, along with turtles, snakes and amphibians. As a bastion of near-urban biodiversity, the watershed is of principal importance for conservation.

In 1956, a young Mississauga councilor named David Culham was mindful of the health of the river and its border. Then 31, he pushed his colleagues to adopt a policy that was before its time in how it set the tone and significant precedent for the protection of the lands around the river: The policy required developers to dedicate valley lands to the city – and convinced them to help pay to construct trails through the town and along the river.

An 18-km section of trail in Mississauga carries David Culham’s name and honors his efforts. In his 70s now, he’s still carrying on with the cause and is a big supporter of the central Credit Valley Trail concept. He sees it as a way to “instantly plug city dwellers into their better selves,” as blogger John Stewart put it.

But there’s a lot more to it than that. Ultimately, the Credit Valley Trail will join a multitude of interests: Nature appreciation, fitness, environmental protection and historical awareness — not to mention economic growth at its brand grows as a destination.

First Nations people and early European settlers forged the early paths of what is evolving into The Credit Valley Trail. As urbanization advances, moving closer to the completion of this unique connection to our natural and cultural history is more important than ever.