Just what is a Municipal CAO?

Whenever I tell someone, I was a municipal CAO earlier in my career, I see their eyes glaze over and they slowly respond, “Ohhh??”, in a questioning tone and with a realization they have absolutely no idea what that is.

Yet, she or he might be the most important person you’ve never heard of.” [i] .

A municipal CAO plays a role – arguably perhaps the most important municipal role, that affects you on a day-to-day basis.

Here’s the Textbook Description:

Your municipal chief administrative officer is the top administrator in a local government and is directly involved with many key decisions that impact your everyday life.  

They exercise general control and management of the municipality for the purpose of ensuring the efficient and effective operation of the municipality.  They are also visionaries who continually look for new and innovative ways to enhance and improve services for citizens, all the while balancing public expectations with financial feasibility.   

The CAO has a direct influence on everything from planning for the future of the municipality to how your garbage is picked up.

So, why don’t folks know about them? 

Well, mostly because they are typically the unsung heroes who work away in the background. The CAO role is not an elected position and they typically do not act as the public voice for the municipality – that’s the role of Mayor or Council. 

Candidates for CAO positions are hired – generally after a grueling and lengthy interview process, and then appointed to the position by By-Law.  They are highly trained and experienced individuals.

CAOs are not politically motivated, nor are they Chiefs of Staff for a Mayor. They provide recommendations to Council but at the end of the day, Council makes the decisions that govern every aspect of a municipality.

I totally understand why folks do not know what a municipal CAO is.  I sure never grew up saying I was going to be municipal CAO!  But, from my experience, being a municipal CAO is one of the most interesting and rewarding careers you will ever have.

So, get to know your CAO – and consider a career in municipal government!

Susan Shannon, CEO muniSERV.ca

[i]  San Grewal, Urban Affairs Reporter, Toronto Star – Wed., June 1, 2016



You’re Invited: Everything DiSC Showcase!

Today, organizational culture cannot be an afterthought. It must be focused on—intentionally and continually—to ensure recovery and results. That’s where Everything DiSC® on Catalyst™ comes in. Sign up for the Everything DiSC on Catalyst Showcase to learn about how DiSC can benefit your business.

In this 60-minute interactive, virtual event, participants will:

  • Discover the value of strong organizational culture and its connection to success
  • Explore the Everything DiSC on Catalyst learning experience
  • View a live demo of the Catalyst platform
  • Participate in a live Q&A with the showcase presenters


Everything DiSC on Catalyst helps people:

  • Better understand themselves
  • Appreciate and value difference in perspective and approach
  • Readily and consistently adapt to the unique needs of each person or situation they encounter


The Everything DiSC showcase will be on June 7th, 2022 at noon EST. Sign up here: https://forms.gle/jv3uK3E3nzCRdZECA


What is Boolean Logic?

Girl encircled by search icons and AI

What is Boolean Logic?

Have you ever wondered how a computer can do something like balance a check book, or spell-check a document? If you want to understand the answer to this question down at the very core, the first thing you need to understand is something called Boolean Logic.   [i]

Why do you need to understand Boolean Logic?

Well, as the use of artificial intelligence (AI) increases, it will be important for us all to understand it.  I am no expert on it by any means, but here’s my take on what I understand to be the very basic fundamentals of it, in the simplest and broadest of terms.

The term “Boolean” refers to a system of logic developed by the mathematician and early computer pioneer, George Boole.

A Boolean search is a query technique that utilizes Boolean Logic to connect individual keywords or phrases within a single query.
Boolean searching allows the user to combine or limit words and phrases in an online search in order to retrieve relevant results.  Boolean searching includes three key Boolean operators: AND, OR, and NOT which are used to limit, broaden and define the search results.
When these “operators” are used between two keywords, the search will result as follows:
  • A Boolean search for “Cats AND Dogs” will retrieve all documents that contain both words
  • A Boolean search for “Cats NOT Dogs”, will retrieve only documents that contain the word “Cats”
  • A Boolean search for “Cats OR Dogs”, will retrieve documents that contain either the word “Cats” or the word, “Dogs”
Wildcard Characters (? and *) are also used in Boolean Logic. 
  • “?” matches a single character (i.e. the search string “re?” will match both rest and rent)
  • “*” matches multiple characters (i.e. the wildcard search “res*”, will match rest, rested and resting.[ii]
Quotation marks require words to be searched as a phrase, in the exact order you type them. For example, when searching for posts about Asset Management, using the quotation marks will search for the phrase exactly as it appears (i.e., “Asset Management”).  It would not return  documents that contain both the words, Asset and Management, in any other combination.
There are other elements to Boolean Logic, but I don’t want to get you too far into the weeds.  
The main thing I wanted to achieve with this article is; a) to provide an introduction to Boolean Logic, for those of us who are new to it and, b) for you to understand that combining Boolean strings with AI-powered search filters to conduct a search, utilizes a search engine to its fullest, most comprehensive potential for optimum search results.
Susan Shannon, CEO

[i] How Boolean Logic Works, by Marshal Brain, Science Direct

[ii] Gnowit Guide to Boolean Logic – Boolean Primer


Canadian Construction Procurement

This one-day course will provide an overview of the project and procurement models used in construction, the procurement processes, an evaluation of the contracting options and trends emerging for the future for construction in Canada.

The course is designed for those both new to Construction Procurement and for those wanting to learn best practices in order stay ahead of the curve in this complex area of procurement.

Date & Time: May 31 & June 1, 2022 | 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM EDT

  • Procurement/Sourcing Managers with or without procurement construction experience
  • Owners, Project Managers/Property Managers and who want to learn about how improve procurement for your construction projects

Individual Member Price: Early Bird (until April 25, 2022) – $536 + HST | Regular: $595 + HST

Individual Non-member Price: Early Bird (until April 25, 2022) – $806 + HST | Regular: $895 + HST

Group Price (for a team of 4 or more): 20% off regular price for members and non-members. (Cannot be bundled with other offers)

CPD: 5 CPD Points


If you are thinking of a corporate training session (for a team of 10 or more) with the above topic or any other topic that is relevant for your organization, please review this Supply Chain Canada Training Brochure – Public Sector.


Leadership Series 3.0: Supplier Diversity


The term diversity has evolved over the last decade, but never quite as fast as it has in the last 2 years. While a few years back supplier diversity primarily referred to suppliers from underrepresented groups like women owned businesses, or small-scale businesses or minority owned businesses, today the realm of diversity has expanded to far more communities such as the Indigenous People, LGBTQ, communities with disabilities and more. It is no longer a choice, but an imperative for an organization to be consciously selective of their suppliers and give back to the customers by paving way for underserved communities to shine. This day will tackle how supplier diversity strategy not just helps the suppliers but also your supply chain operations and customer expectation management.

Non-member registration will include a membership until April 30, 2023 (for ON residents and new members only


8:45 AM Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:00 – 10:15 AM Leadership Panel:  Gaining Competitive Advantage and Operational Resilience Through Supplier Diversity

10:15 – 10:30 AM Networking Break/Breakout Rooms

10:30 – 11:30 AM Driving Diversity and Sustainability Initiatives Through Supply Chain

11:30 – 12:00 PM Lunch Break

12:00 – 1:00 PM Session TBD

1:00 – 1:15 PM Networking Break/Breakout Rooms

1:15 – 2:15 PM Establishing an Effective Supplier Diversity Program

2:15 – 2:30 PM Break

2:30 – 3:30 PM Session TBD

3:30 PM Closing Comments

TEAM OF 4+(PP)$125
Click here for more information
Click here to register

Leadership Series 3.0: Sustainable Supply Chain

We are delighted with the roaring success of the first installment of our flagship offering, Leadership Series 3.0: Digital Transformation in Supply Chain, held on Jan 28, 2022. 500+ participants came together, to network and learn.

The Leadership Series 3.0: Sustainable Supply Chain session, which is to be held on February 24, 2022 via Zoom already has a stellar line-up of speakers from leading organizations such as The Kraft Heinz Company, OPG, Universal Health Network, LUSH, Mattel, BC Hydro, Telus and more. With a compelling agenda and powerhouse speakers, we are already at 400+ registrations with only 3 more weeks to go. We encourage you to attend with your teams, save up to 37% and maximize your learning. Learn more.

Group registration (4 or more): 125 pp. Save 37%

Individual registration: Member – $149 + HST | Non-member – $199 + HST (Get a 14-month membership valid until April 30, 2023, included with the registration. This is valid for Ont. Residents who have not been members in the past 18 months.)


Our powerhouse line-up of speakers include:

We look forward to seeing you on Feb 24, 2022. In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding registrations please reach out to Katie Cheshire at [email protected]


Municipal Work Opportunities for Our Professional Members!

Ontario Supports Modernization of Small and Rural Municipalities

The Ontario government is providing up to $24 million to support the modernization of 224 small and rural municipalities across the province. This investment will help improve the delivery of critical programs and services that people rely on every day, while saving taxpayers’ dollars.

A total of 254 projects have been approved for funding under Intake 2 of Ontario’s Municipal Modernization Program. Municipalities will use the funding to find efficiencies and implement a wide range of initiatives to digitize, streamline and/or integrate programs and services with neighbouring communities.

The funding will help municipalities administer the cost savings measures in time for the 2022 municipal budget cycle.

Here’s the List of Municipalities who received funding for various Municipal Service Delivery & Efficiency Projects.

If you offer any of the services these municipalities are looking for, select the municipality you would like to work with and watch their websites for RFPs for any Third-Party Review or Implementation opportunities.  You might also want to watch muniSERV’s Find RFP’s section and/or bidsandtenders listings.

For more information on the Municipal Modernization Program and the June 30th announcement, click here.


More Speakers for the Leadership Series – Public Sector

WHAT’S NEW: NEW SPEAKER ALERT – Leadership Series: Public Sector


Topics on the agenda include:

  • Procurement’s Influence on Organizational Effectiveness
  • How have Government Agencies Dealt and Learnt from COVID: Improving Citizen Experience
  • Sustainable Procurement
  • Sustainable Goods Movement
  • Impact of Trade Agreements/Trade Agreements in a COVID world

Please see the full description of the Event Here

Date and Time: June 17, 2021 8:30 am to 4:00 pm EST
CPD: 5 CPD Points
Price: Member: $149 + HST | Non – member: $199 + HST | muniSERV Members get 12% off non-member price with code MUNI12 – Group (4 or more): $99 pp + HST. SAVE UP TO 50% (note – the muniSERV discount cannot be bundled with the group offer)



Interested in sponsoring this event with your branding – or if you want more information, please contact Tanaya Jain at [email protected] or +1 416.977.7566 Ext. 2142.


Ask For Directions – Business Training

Ask For Directions Business Training

Who is it for? Entrepreneurs who are starting and growing their businesses

This program has been inspired by the Grow Vantage training program. For the past 17 years, we have trained entrepreneurs to start up and grow their businesses, in an in-person environment. The program is consistently updated and taught by experts who are also entrepreneurs with their own businesses. We train the practical side of business and during the past year of the pandemic, we’ve updated and expanded the information we teach – adding 60% more content and sequencing classes from the idea stage to exit strategy.

What is the program made up of?

7 Modules of classes (from 5-6) released once per month:

Set Up Your Business: 3 modules – covering business concept, set up and registration, initial marketing approach and brand, insurance and financial guidelines

Grow Your Business: 4 modules – covering communications, personality profile, and personal skills, sales, marketing strategy and vehicles(advertising, media, PR), rules and regulations (including HR, privacy rules and contract guidelines), financial planning, accounting and cash flow.

Weekly group coaching calls throughout the program for mentorship, advice, analysis, strategy and peer mentorship.

A private Facebook group to enhance community collaboration

When does the program begin?

Doors will open on May 21st and the program will begin with a group call on May 19th

Registration: Will open soon

For More Information Contact: 

Patricia Dent, Business Mentor, Grow Vantage

[email protected]

Bus: 705-727-0789
Cell: 705-229-4969



Building Blocks to Business Bootcamp

Building Blocks to Business Bootcamp: ** (Friday May 14 – Saturday May 15)

When: Friday May 14th12:00 noon, and Saturday May 15th

Do you want to start a business? Or have you started one but aren’t sure that you are on track?

Think about it: are you tired of the extra pressure of working for someone else? Of doing the work that someone dumps on your desk? Work that may have very little meaning? (At least to you?)

You may already be working from home. Wouldn’t you love to stay there – only be doing something for your family, doing something that has an impact on the world, or working on your own business – for your family and for you? Putting your family’s schedules and needs first?

Is this the right time to start a business…. In the middle of a pandemic?

Well… yes. It can be. Why?

Businesses have learned a lot from this pandemic – how to get around restrictions and what is needed to grow – even in this environment

Vaccinations have begun to be distributed widely which means although we’ll be restricted for a little while – it giving new businesses time to prepare.

Finally, typically an economic downturn is followed more often than not by accelerated business growth. The economy actually began to recover last summer as businesses opened up…

And BDC (the Business Development Bank of Canada) has projected a growth rate of 4.5% GDP this year (assuming vaccinations continue).

Now is the time to learn what needs to be learned to start a successful business!

But: What if you don’t know where to start?

What if you aren’t sure about what’s involved?

What if you could benefit by learning how to reduce the risk of starting a new business as we come out of a pandemic?

Building Blocks to Business Bootcamp is a 1 1/2-day event from May 14 – 15th in which we will prepare potential business owners to start their businesses with confidence. Note: our original time frame was postponed a week to allow people to better manage their schedules in a lockdown.

Building Blocks to Business Bootcamp:  what you need to know:

What will you accomplish?

  • Turning your dream into reality
  • Stages of becoming an entrepreneur
  • Identify your resources and skills
  • Reduce risk
  • Maximizing money (investments, pricing, revenue)
  • Determine what you’ll need to plan and prepare
  • Develop your entrepreneurial mindset
  • Tools and techniques
  • Where do you start?
  • And more … including case studies

You are invited to a webinar.
When: May 14, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: Building Blocks To Business Bootcam

Fee: $197.00 + HST ($221.61)

Register in advance for this webinar:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.