Retiring the Chief Commissioner position

New national leadership model:
Creating roles for 21st century volunteers

From the beginning, Guiding has been all about girls and women taking the lead and shaping Girl Guides of Canada as an organization that reflects their interests and goals. We recognize the incredible time and commitment our adult members dedicate to Guiding each and every week, whether as Guiders, or members of local, provincial or national councils.

As Guiding has evolved and grown, so has the scope of many of our volunteer positions, none more so than that of the Chief Commissioner. Today, the role requires an extremely broad range of skills and the ability to dedicate more than 40 hours a week to the work of the Chief. This can be a barrier for many and ultimately limits the number of volunteers who feel comfortable in applying for the position. As we look to continue to grow Guiding, the time has come to restructure this role.

As such, I wanted to advise you that we will be retiring the title of Chief Commissioner. The responsibilities for this position will be split between two exciting new volunteer roles – Chair of the Board and Director-Guiding Experience. The Chair will lead our Board of Directors on governance issues and the strategic operation of the business of Guiding. The Director-Guiding Experience will oversee membership growth, program delivery and the member experience – the very heart of Guiding. This Director will also be the face of Guiding to our membership. We recognize that the title Director-Guiding Experience does not accurately reflect the scope of the role. We believe it is important to engage our membership in selecting the name – details on this engagement will be available in the coming weeks. I encourage you to be part of this process.

We will begin recruitment for the new position on February 3. The posting will be highlighted in the February GuidePost and on the national website. Applications will be reviewed by the Board’s Nominating Committee and a slate of candidates will be put forth for our national Annual General Meeting in June 2017.

I know that you’ll join me in thanking the women who have served as Chief Commissioners for their limitless dedication to our organization. It is because of their foresight and commitment that we are the leading organization for Canadian girls and women today.

Throughout our history, Guiding has prepared girls to meet the challenges they face in their lives head on. As an organization, we must also be prepared to be responsive and ready to evolve. The Board of Directors is confident that this evolution of our national leadership is a necessary step to ensure we can attract a broad spectrum of candidates to these roles and that we are well positioned to not only grow as an organization, but to thrive. I look forward to continuing to be part of this growth as I transition to the role of Chair in June 2017 for my remaining year on the Board, with a focus on providing strategic leadership to the organization.

Yours in Guiding,
Pamela Rice
Chief Commissioner
Girl Guides of Canada–Guides du Canada


Who can apply to be the new Director-Guiding Experience?

This position is open to all adult members. It is not a requirement to have previous experience on the Board. The ideal candidate will thrive on engaging with members at all levels of the organization, and be skilled at inspiring and managing volunteer teams. This is a unique opportunity for a member who is a champion for inclusion and girl engagement, and who is confident as a spokesperson and role model within the organization.

Recruitment for the new Director-Guiding Experience position will begin on February 3. The posting will be highlighted in the February GuidePost and on the national website. Applications will be reviewed by the Board’s Nominating Committee and a slate of candidates will be put forth for our national Annual General Meeting in June 2017.

What will happen with the Chief Commissioner’s Awards?

We will continue to offer this series of awards in recognition of Rangers’ achievements in the Guiding program. We will determine in the coming months whether the name of the awards will change.

Girls currently working on any of the award levels will receive their awards. Guiders can continue to recognize girls’ achievements with the current Chief Commissioner’s Awards certificates.

Why not keep the title Chief Commissioner for one of these new roles?

As we launch these new positions, we’ve determined it’s best to give each of them unique new titles that truly reflect the scope of responsibilities and 21st century leadership structures.

Will there still be a Deputy Chief Commissioner?

The position will remain the same but the title will be Vice Chair.

Will we be eliminating the word ‘Commissioner’ in other position titles?

Other position titles will remain as is at this time. As we move forward as an organization, we will be assessing position titles in consultation with our members.

Are we the first organization within the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) to move away from the Chief Commissioner role?

No, there are several Member Organizations that have established a Chair or similar role as the Board leader and another leadership position to focus on key responsibilities such as programming and membership development and growth.