Sean Boots

Technology, public services, and people. But mostly people.

Category: Public service heroes

Public service heroes: Deepika Grover

Deepika Grover is a strategist at Finance Canada, a member of the Free Agents program, and a long-time practitioner and advocate for equity, inclusion and anti-racism work in the federal public service. Deepika has played a role in many of the public service’s innovation programs over the years. We’ve been friends on social media for many years and I’m always grateful for her thoughtful and candid insights on how to make the public service better. We chatted by email in February, followed up by virtual convos in April and May. Read more →

Public service heroes: Nick Wise

Nick Wise is a long-time technology leader in the Canadian public service, most recently serving as the Chief Information Officer of Public Safety Canada. Previously as an executive director in the Office of the CIO, he was responsible for the GCtools team and for the small team that became the Canadian Digital Service. I’ll always be grateful for Nick’s insightful and humble style of leadership, and for his thoughtful stewardship of the teams he led. We chatted by email in October. Read more →

Public service heroes: Shannah Segal & Sheena Samuel

Shannah Segal and Sheena Samuel lead the experience design and technology chapters, respectively, at the Ontario Digital Service. They’re brilliant and thoughtful leaders, and have brought experience from their careers in the private tech sector into government. Friends all across ODS speak very highly of working with them, and it was a real honour to hear about their experiences over the past nearly five years working in government. We chatted in late October. Read more →

Public service heroes: Sameer Vasta

Sameer Vasta is a founding member of the Ontario Digital Service and one of the kindest human beings I know. He currently works on the Talent team at the Ontario Digital Service and until recently taught the “Government in a Digital Era” course at the University of Waterloo’s Masters of Public Service program. Sameer is on the board of several community organizations, an advisor to a number of small non-profits, and a mentor to early-career public servants. We chatted by email in June. Read more →

Public service heroes: Ryan Hum

Ryan Hum is the Chief Information Officer and VP of Data at the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), a federal agency based in Calgary, Alberta. He’s an inspiration to so many of the best designers and design researchers I know in government, and he’s championed user research work at PCO, at IRCC, and in projects with a wide range of departments. At the CER, his team has done above-and-beyond work in data visualization, mapping, open data, and technology transformation. We spoke on July 7. Read more →

Public service heroes: Christopher Scipio

Christopher Scipio is a long-time champion for a more diverse, equitable, and anti-racist public service. He’s currently the senior strategic advisor to the Black Executives Network, and has previously worked in a number of policy roles at DND, ESDC, ISED, and Justice Canada. We’ve been Twitter friends since 2014 and his perspectives on the challenges facing the public service today are always insightful, candid, and eye-opening. We chatted by email in August. Read more →

Public service heroes: Aubrie McGibbon

Aubrie McGibbon is a long-time open data and public sector innovation expert with the Nova Scotia government. They’re currently the data strategy lead for the Nova Scotia Digital Service, and they previously co-led NS Govlab, Nova Scotia’s first social innovation lab. Aubrie and I have been Twitter friends since my very first month working in government; I’m so glad they could be part of the series. We chatted by email in June. Read more →

Public service heroes: Chris Allison

In the federal public service, so many of the building blocks of digital government and tech modernization are thanks to Chris Allison. An early leader of the GCtools team and the CSPS Digital Academy, he’s now the Chief Data Officer at the Public Health Agency of Canada. He’s also perhaps the only senior federal public service leader who is fluent in Python programming. He’s a lifelong hero and inspiration of mine; we spoke on May 3. Read more →

Public service heroes: Madelaine Saginur & Melissa Toutloff

Madelaine Saginur and Melissa Toutloff work at the Privacy Management Division for Health Canada and PHAC. They’re two of the most kind and most brilliant public servants I’ve ever worked with. We worked together from the earliest days of COVID Alert onwards, and the app’s positive reception from Canadian privacy experts is very much credit to the two of them and their (equally brilliant) director Andréa Rousseau. I learned so much from them both on privacy policy and legislation along the way. We chatted on May 10. Read more →

Public service heroes: Beth Fox

Beth Fox is a service designer and digital strategy lead at the Nova Scotia Digital Service. She’s an amazing public speaker, a champion for users, an occasional blogger, a maker of awesome stickers and buttons, and one of my first-ever public service Twitter friends. We chatted on May 3. Ask her about her (excellent) sound-check warm-up phrases. Read more →

Public service heroes: Honey Dacanay

Honey Dacanay is a digital government legend in Canada – part of the founding team at the Ontario Digital Service, and an early leader of the CSPS Digital Academy. She currently works on Service Canada’s Digital & Client Data team and teaches at McMaster’s Public Policy in Digital Society program. Honey is a longtime inspiration both for her digital policy and legislation work, and for her writing and speaking on digital government. We chatted on April 25. Read more →

Public service heroes: Rumon Carter

I’m really thrilled to be kicking off this series of blog posts with Rumon Carter, a hero of mine for years since I first saw his work with the BC Dev Exchange. He replied immediately after I reached out, rejected the “hero” label entirely, and we chatted the following day on April 21. Read more →

A small series: Public service heroes

Although our public service institutions are full of systemic issues and barriers to change, the people within these organizations are brilliant and inspiring. I’m really lucky to have met public servants that are lifelong inspirations, from the very start of my career to today. Over the months ahead, I’ll be sharing small interviews with public servants that I really look up to. I’m calling this series “Public service heroes”, because I think we should celebrate the awesome and often unsung work that public servants do. Read more →