The 2012 Outstanding Achievement Award of the Public Service of Canada

2012 Outstanding Achievement Award Program Booklet

The Outstanding Achievement
Award of the Public Service
of Canada
Rideau Hall

The Government of Canada introduced The Outstanding Achievement Award in 1966. Considered to be the most prestigious award in the public service, this award is presented to senior public service employees who have distinguished themselves by a sustained commitment to excellence.

Selection Committee

Recipients are selected by a committee of distinguished Canadians appointed by the prime minister of Canada.

  • L. Denis Desautels - Chairman
  • Peter MacKinnon
  • The Honourable Larry Smith
  • Kay Stanley
  • Barbara Stymiest

Recipient of the 2012 Outstanding Achievement Award

Susan M. W. Cartwright

Privy Council Office

Susan M. W. CartwrightSusan M. W. Cartwright has had a long and distinguished career in the federal public service, one which is marked by innovation, resourcefulness and acumen. She has always demonstrated an extraordinary enthusiasm for her various public service roles, especially where transformation and change are the orders of the day.

Ms. Cartwright's career has taken her to many postings around the world and within the Public Service of Canada. She spent most of her career with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, enhancing Canadian interests in some of the largest global markets in Africa, India and Australia, as well as serving as the Canadian ambassador to Hungary, Slovenia and Albania during a period of turmoil and regional instability.

After leaving an indelible impression on staff, colleagues and partners while serving as the assistant deputy minister of policy at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Ms. Cartwright joined the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. She worked in several sectors, providing sound advice and support to Treasury Board ministers, and ensuring that programs were well-managed, realized value for money, and achieved results for Canadians. It was also during her time at the Secretariat that she was asked to develop a central piece of legislation for the government: the Federal Accountability Act. This Act sought to strengthen accountability and increase transparency and oversight in government operations. With this project, Ms. Cartwright demonstrated true leadership and perseverance. Her policy development and consultation skills were also manifest, as she carefully balanced national and regional perspectives in the development and delivery of the Act. The result of Ms. Cartwright's work on the Act is a model for excellence in change management in the public service.

Her leadership continued with her appointment as the associate deputy minister at Health Canada. She was then named the foreign and defence policy advisor to the Prime Minister and deputy secretary to the Cabinet. In this role, Ms. Cartwright dedicated herself to supporting the Prime Minister on international, defence and security related issues during a challenging period as the government established its international agenda.

More recently, Ms. Cartwright took on the challenging assignment of leading the legislative review of the Public Service Modernization Act. When building the team to develop this complex piece of legislation and its action plan, Ms. Cartwright felt that it was important for young people to participate, since they represent the demographic that will become the future managers of the public service. In the make-up of the review team and in the consultative process, she sought out and clearly valued the input of a broad range of public service employees. The result was the development of a report that reflects expert perspectives and honours past efforts at human resource reform, while taking into account the future requirements of the public service, as well as the cultural and institutional barriers to change.

Ms. Cartwright's impact has also been felt outside of the public service, thanks to her service on the board of directors for the Ottawa Hospital Foundation, where her ability to inspire and engage her fellow public servants has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of world-class patient care and research.

Ms. Cartwright's career has all the hallmarks of the ideal Canadian public servant: demonstrated loyalty and unfailing commitment to deliver the agenda of the government of the day. She has brought talent and tenacity to all of her work, and has shown a genuine sense of caring, humility and humour to everything she has done and to everyone with whom she has engaged throughout her career. She is truly an impressive leader, and her optimism, drive and conviction should serve to challenge and inspire her fellow public servants.

In March 2012, after 31 years of service, Ms. Cartwright retired from the Public Service of Canada. She continues to serve Canadians as a part-time commissioner of the Public Service Commission.