Former Medicine Hat College (MHC) Students’ Association president Blaine Woodcock will be honoured this week as one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40. This prestigious award recognizes leaders, visionaries and innovators from across the country who are committed to giving back to their communities and improving the lives of Canadians.
Woodcock’s professional experience is impressive and the award recognition well deserved, says MHC’s interim vice-president academic, Terry Chapman.
“Blaine’s passion for education and his quest for knowledge was a marvel to see and experience,” recalls Chapman, who used to teach history and political science. “During his years at Medicine Hat College, Blaine’s drive to be the best that he could be, while helping others and the institution, was an inspiration to us all. He set the bar high. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Blaine on his journey.”
That journey has led Woodcock into the highest levels of government, strategic roles within private corporations and leadership positions at an international professional services firm.
But before Woodcock reached this level of success and recognition, he was a student, a Rattlers athlete and a leader at MHC. Enrolled in university transfer commerce and social sciences, he made his first foray into politics as president of the college’s Students’ Association (SA). In his second year of leading the SA, he also served as president of ACTISEC, a collective body representing all provincial college students’ associations.
During his time as SA president, he helped negotiate the first tuition freeze in over a decade, working with provincial cabinet leaders and giving a voice to college students across Alberta. There were also significant projects and initiatives on campus that involved his leadership, including capital investment for expansion of the library, referendum on the student health plan, and future planning for the Brooks campus.
“That experience gave me a good appreciation for how the business world worked and the number of different elements to being a leader in any organization,” says Woodcock.
“I think the willingness to put myself out there and have those conversations gave me confidence. The lessons I learned in the classroom and the activities I was involved with at Medicine Hat College were transferable and have served me incredibly well.”
Woodcock transferred to the University of Ottawa after three years at MHC, where he completed an undergraduate degree in social sciences. After graduation, he started his career as a field worker on the Paul Martin leadership campaign and was offered a role within the federal government, working with senior cabinet ministers on immigration, intergovernmental affairs, and human resources and skills development. He later completed his MBA at the University of Western Ontario and joined Deloitte in corporate strategy before becoming the vice-president of corporate development for The Stronach Group.
Now back at Deloitte, Woodcock is a partner and chief of staff to the CEO. In that role, he has executive responsibility for the firm’s corporate communications in Canada and Chile. He has also been an integral part of establishing the Future of Canada Centre, which encourages debate around how government, business and academia need to come together in order to help the country be more prosperous.
As the official professional services sponsor for the Canadian Olympic Committee, Deloitte is also a key partner in the development of Game Plan. This high performance athlete wellness and transition program focuses on education, skill development, health, network, and career management.
“Together we helped create the world's first total athlete program, making it easier for all Olympic athletes, aspiring Olympic athletes and Paralympic athletes to transition out of competition and be as successful in their careers after sport as they were during their careers in sport,” explains Woodcock.
Success in these initiatives depends largely on the ability to work together to achieve a common goal, and that’s something that Woodcock credits to growing up in Medicine Hat and attending MHC.
“I learned the importance of relationships. Coming from a smaller, more intimate community you got to know people - who they were and what was important to them – and how important that was in order to make progress and get things done,” says Woodcock.
“It’s been a wild ride, for sure. I've been very fortunate. From my time starting at the college through to today I’ve been supported by incredible teams and had the opportunity to work with incredible people. That's the reality of this award. I get to be the one that receives it, but I'm really a product of all the people who have helped me along the way.”
Woodcock will be recognized at Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 Awards Ceremony in Toronto on Wednesday, Nov. 21. He will also be in attendance at a recognition event for Prairie award winners in in Calgary, AB on Wednesday, Nov. 28.
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