CACC President Brian Hansen expressed a warm welcome to Angela Bogdan, the new Canadian Consul General to Sydney, at a cocktail reception held last week at the consulate’s offices in the Rocks.
In his remarks, Mr Hansen noted that Canada’s former Chief of Protocol, was not the first protocol chief to take on this job: Ms Bogdan’s good friend, Rick Kohler, had pipped her to the post a few years before.
He said the CACC’s relationship with the Consulate General of Canada was important and there were many things they would work on together once Ms Bogdan had settled into the role.
More than 70 business leaders, CACC members, consulate staff and government representatives attended the meet and greet with Ms Bogdan, a career diplomat who first joined Foreign Affairs Canada in 1984.
Most recently, Ms Bogdan was Canada’s Chief of Protocol and Champion for Women based at Foreign Affairs and international Trade Canada in Ottawa.
She has also worked as High Commissioner in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and was Ambassador to the Former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in Belgrade. She has worked in postings around Europe, including a NATO delegation, and various director roles in Ottawa during her 32-year career.
As Chief of Protocol, she worked with former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and more recently with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the organisation of state visits before taking up her new post in Sydney.
Ms Bogdan expressed gratitude to the “terrific and dynamic” team of consulate staff who were helping her to settle into her new role.
“It was like coming home, coming to work in Australia”, she said, explaining how she had married an Australian, had started her career in Melbourne, and her children were Australian.
She said while “it took 32 hours by plane to come to Australia, it was like visiting your cousin and we could make that work for us” and she hoped to bring Rick Kohler’s energy to her new role.
As Canada’s Chief of Protocol, Ms Bogdan had learned to be “flexible, to solve problems, to anticipate them before they happen” and joked she had also learned “to step out of the way of the picture very quickly.”
She talked about the composition of the current Canadian government, saying “this new PM and government didn’t just happen: a lot of really intelligent people had rebuilt the party over a period of time, going out to recruit and select some of the best and brightest Canadians to serve.”
She said the Canadian government was “working to regain Canada’s place in the world as well as focusing on bigger infrastructure to create wealth and growth.”
She talked about how the Trudeau government “was religious about living up to its promises, including the plan to get 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada quickly and safely, and how an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women was building a spirit of reconciliation as Canada’s 150th birthday approached.”
She urged Australian businesses looking to get a foothold in Canada or take their business to the next level to read the government’s party platform and mandate papers as they were being followed religiously, and to think about how Canadian companies might take advantage of Australian free trade agreements in the Asia-Pacific region through their location in Australia.
She praised the CACC’s new SME enterprise, saying it parallels the work of the Canadian government, noting there was a recent delegation of 50 government leaders to successful SMEs led by women. “It’s not just about SMEs, you need to think about SMEs run by successful women entrepreneurs,” she said.