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Job Title
Lieutenant-Commander, Strategic Plans and Global Engagement
Department of National Defence
Al  Compton

Thinking back to your childhood, was there a particular profession you dreamed of entering when you were an adult?

As I was raised by my grandparents on a working farm as a child, I was convinced from a young age that my chosen career path would be that of a farmer. Of course I had no real concept of the arduous nature of farming, rather I associated the farming profession with the many fun, social aspects of the small town farming lifestyle that my Gramps adopted – long Sunday visits with our neighbors enjoying a delicious meal, poker nights once a week in the barn, curling bonspiels and cards at the local curling club, and of course huge bake sales featuring fresh local ingredients straight from the farm.


There are many compelling reasons to undertake an Executive MBA Program. What is your goal for the Telfer Executive MBA Program?

Of course a fundamental goal of the program is to attain my MBA degree. However, there are an array of deeper and more meaningful goals associated with the Telfer Executive MBA, which is why this program stands head and shoulders above any other Executive MBA program out there.

Rather than straight academics, the program immerses each candidate into “live learning” from day one of Orientation. You rapidly integrate with your team and your cohort which is not only beneficial for your own personal learning but also that of your teammates. I personally benefit from top notch instructors and over 30 executive-level professionals who are at the pinnacle of their game. The “live learning” model also incorporates and disseminates my own expertise throughout the class. Ultimately we learn from ourselves, for ourselves (as with any Executive MBA) but we also learn from each other and for each other. This is the magic ingredient of the Telfer Executive MBA – our learning goes far beyond four letters after 21 months.


What do you admire in a leader or mentor? Do you have someone who you consider a strong leader or mentor within your life?

The terms “leader” and “mentor” are synonymous with the very best professionals in society. A leader to me is someone who has mastered the art of influencing people – to motivate them to do something that they would not have done on their own. This ability goes beyond influencing people to simply “do” things – but to also instill a sense of purpose and efficacy in the process. A good leader is a mentor. Someone who sets the best possible example, every day, regardless of how impossible the circumstances are. The strongest leader and mentor in my life was unquestionably my Gramps. He embodies service before self, serving in the Canadian Armed Forces for 35 years before transitioning to farming as his “retirement”. He wanted to give back to the community in which he grew up. Even at 60 years old he chose a life of hardship in order to benefit others. And no matter how early the mornings, how deep the snow, he always had a broad grin on his face.

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