Interview for new RMC Alumni Association Board Member 20714 Steven Boychyn, Class of 1997

We sat down with 20714 Steven Boychyn, recently elected Board member of the RMC Alumni Association, to chat about RMC in the 90’s and what he’s been up to since Graduation.

Tell us what RMC was like in the 90’s

In general there was a palpable focus on succeeding in all tasks assigned regardless of the perceived barriers create by the circumstance, administration, or contrasting goals of the academic and military wing. I perceived a clear understanding that we are all there to grow as officers with the opportunity to receive an education during the process.

It was also a captious time, when in second year they announced the closure of Royal Roads and St Jean. The following year (Sep 95) amalgamation brought forth a subculture of debating traditions and their value to the individual and collective growth of Cadets to Officers. By and large though, the closure of the other campuses brought a layer additional growth, providing a safe environment in which to test leadership styles in a contentious and sometimes delicate forum.

What made you want to attend the College in the first place?

My older brother having paved the way, reinforced that it was the best place to achieve the combined goals of giving back to our community and setting the conditions for future success. My family, through various organizations, has always had a strong commitment to the community and inculcated a service culture to subsequent generations. It was a natural step to move from serving our local community in volunteer roles to service of our country as officers in the CAF.

With so many years of experience in leadership, what does being a leader mean to you?

Leadership is really about being and improving ones personal competence; communicating effectively; knowing your people and promoting their personal and organizational welfare; making decisions and accepting the benefits or consequences; and enabling your people to grow and surpass your own successes.

Your LinkedIn profile says you’re “consistently recognized for eliminating redundancies and identifying areas of improvement and growth in manufacturing and/or technology businesses” – how do you typically go about doing this?

This is directly related to my leadership philosophy – allowing the space for those that are intimately involved in the execution of the processes advise on improvements. I believe that the majority of people when coming with a suggestion, are not doing so because they are lazy and seek to ‘deke’ and avoid work, but genuinely are seeking to improve. Being ready to listen and mould the suggestion to comprise both enhancements to the process and benefits for the organization (cost benefit) offers innumerable opportunities to improve.

How important is it to you that you create a work environment that welcomes everybody and includes different perspectives?

The concept of appreciating my own strengths and limitations and persuading self-improvement is the driving factor for an open and diverse environment. If we can’t get past our own mindset and worldview, we’ll never be open to the possibilities of growth that exist. I am fortunate to have Ukrainian and Acadian heritage, learning the very different perspectives these cultures have on certain behaviours has provided me a cherished gift of understanding that there’s an infinite way of perceiving everything.

Culture change is a topic at the top of a lot of minds lately – how can we create safe environments where people feel included and respected, while also upholding long-standing traditions and values?

There’s a quote for which I unfortunately have no attribution that I believe fits well – “Your goals and the journey used to attain them must align”. Although reiterated and reworded in “Trusted to Serve” I would suggest our long standing values have not changed; Respecting the dignity of all persons, Serving Canada before self, and Obeying and supporting lawful authority have always been the core of our profession of arms. If the traditions serve to reinforce the growth of Cadets, or members of the CAF in general, they are useful, if not, then they may in fact be a hinderance. When CMR and RRMC were closed, a great number of traditions were changed at the amalgamated RMC/CMR, but the change in the way we all wore our college #5’s (aspects taken from each of the colleges) didn’t change the fact that wearing the uniformed identified us a team that needed to be cohesive and competent. Allowing for individual aspects to be recognized and celebrated is created by making space for everyone to participate and learn; the practical application of respecting the dignity of all persons. The method by which a environment where people feel included and respected is a unique as each individual in and out of the group and as universal as having a genuine respect for each of their worldviews. Balanced with service before self no individual or subcultural belief, way of life, or worldview can undermine the cohesion and competence of the team.

This isn’t your first time being a member of a Board of Directors – what is it about this work that makes you keep coming back?

Generally, all of the boards I have participated with are those that are focused on the protection or the betterment of the public or a subset thereof. It is the continued service to others that draws me to organizations that I believe will profit from my skills and expertise. I was privileged to serve on the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority of Ontario, and when the organization matured beyond the need for my input, I left the board knowing I had contributed to the extent that the organization and the public needed. I expect that I’ll bring value to the RMC Alumni through the diligent application of my contributions to the RMC Alumni Association as a board member.

Tell us about the work you will be doing on the Board of Directors for the RMC Alumni Association.

I’ll be participating as a member of the Audit Committee and the Engagement Committee. As I have a chance to review the terms of reference for these committees and those of the rest of the committees and the board itself, I’ll better understand how and where I can best contribute to the alumni and assist the RMCAA.

What are some goals that you would like to accomplish during your time on the Board?

To assist with the continued growth post amalgamation and driving the goals of bringing together our alumni and other members for their mutual benefit, support,mentorship and camaraderie; and promoting and advocating for the mission of the military colleges.

If you could sit down with your younger self, what advice would you give him?

I’d plant the seed to be able to understand earlier that it is better to render Beings in my care competent that to protect them – a failed soldier is often one that has been failed; and reinforce that it becomes the responsibility of every person, upon realizing they lack the truth, to seek it out.

Help those that I lead to grow and flourish and take pains to learn and not take knowledge for granted.



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