Kellie Garrett - MA in Leadership (MAL)
Increasing employee satisfaction

I am the senior vice-president of business strategy and reputation for Farm Credit Canada in Regina, Saskatchewan.

I heard about the Royal Roads University Master of Arts in Leadership (formerly MALT - MA in Leadership and Training) program on a bus in Santa Fe, New Mexico from one of the first alumni of the program. He told me I’d love this program. I’d never heard of RRU or MAL. Then I just kept hearing about it. It’s one of those synchronicity things – you hear about it and you keep hearing about it. Besides, I love medieval things, so when I found out there was a castle involved, I was done. The castle is a very special part of this campus.

The program has changed how I deal with people at work. It sound wonky, but it’s changed my life. I’m a strong personality, impetuous, impatient and bright, so I tended to mow people over – not on purpose – and now I’m much more aware of my impact, much more interested in ratcheting myself back, so that I can help others voice what they’re thinking.

My major research project was about how to increase employee engagement and employee satisfaction at my company. I was basically asking employees their views, as opposed to asking leaders who tend to impose their ideas on employees. In the middle of doing the research, job satisfaction jumped dramatically. Even though we’re one of Canada’s top fifty companies to work for, I still found ways to increase employee satisfaction even more.

The program fits together so beautifully. It was quite multi-faceted. I’m amazed that they crammed in as much in as they did. At first we were all asking how all this is related and it’s like a puzzle that eventually becomes clear. Certainly, I would have to say, the relentless feedback was the biggest element for me. It’s easier to ignore feedback from one or two sources, but when it converges and it is quite similar, and not all that positive, in some areas, it is quite humbling and it creates change.

Kellie Garrett was named as one of Canada's 100 most powerful women by the Women's Executive Network in 2007.