General Rick Hillier

General Rick Hillier

Former Chief of the Defence Staff for Canadian Forces

Leadership requirements on the front lines of business are not so different than those on the front lines of combat, says General (Retired) Rick Hillier. Each position requires a strong and sound vision to lead a united and skilled team. Drawing from more than 30 years of experience with the Canadian Forces, including the three he served as Canada’s Chief of the Defence Staff, General Hillier takes audiences through the principles of leadership that he learned on the battlefield, and how they can be applied to civilian life.

General Hillier joined the Canadian Forces in 1973 through the Regular Officer Training Plan program. Ascending in rank throughout his career, he commanded many troops—from platoon level to multi-national formation level—within Canada, Europe, Asia, and the United States. He has also worked as a staff officer in several headquarters: first, in Montreal, at the Army level; later, in Ottawa, at the strategic level.

In 1998, General Hillier was appointed as the first Canadian Deputy Commanding General of III Corps, US Army, in Fort Hood, Texas. In 2000, he assumed command of the Multinational Division (Southwest) of NATO’s Stabilization Force, serving in Bosnia-Herzegovina. In 2003, he was appointed as Commander of the Army and, later that year, was selected as Commander of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Forces in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In 2005, General Hillier was promoted to his present rank, when he assumed duties as the Chief of the Defence Staff. He retired from the Canadian Forces in 2008. His first bestselling book, A Soldier First, recounts his role and experiences within the Canadian military, while his latest (also a bestseller), Leadership Matters, emphasizes the important role that a great leader can play in the lives of others.

Leadership in Tough Times

Through the stories of the men and women who represent our country around the world, supported by their families, and doing the toughest jobs imaginable, Hillier illustrates how at its core, leadership is about people. This presentation is both funny and moving. Hillier uses stunning and poignant visuals of our troops “in action” to demonstrate how leaders are made, not born, and this presentation is certain to resonate with a wide spectrum of audiences.