RCN Digital Leadership series: LCdr Dawn Macdonald
By Naval Personnel and Training Group
In this series, we showcase digital leadership across the RCN to illustrate how our enterprise solutions are successfully leveraged for the benefit of our teams.
Dawn Macdonald was born in Lethbridge, A.B. and raised in Fort St James, B.C. As a high school student, she was attracted to the military for the same discipline that she had enjoyed while playing sports and studying martial arts. She continues to play soccer with a Halifax women’s league and has a first-degree black belt in taekwondo. Her grandparents both served in the CAF and spoke very highly of the Canadian military. In 2000, she enrolled and began studying mechanical engineering at Royal Military College and is now a Naval Technical Officer.
Currently, Dawn is the Maritime Systems Engineering Officer (MSEO) with Sea Training Atlantic, and has been in this role for the past two years. Together with her team, she validates and assesses the readiness levels and collective team training of our force elements when preparing for deployments. When Sea Training embarks with a unit, her team looks to verify their readiness level by looking at their management of personnel, equipment, parts, and training. Every aspect of this work is linked to digital tools. On a day-to-day basis, the MSC application tools are used to ensure personnel are properly represented in Monitor Mass (MM); qualifications are trackable; feedback notes can be entered; and prompt course loading can be executed. Specifically, verifying personnel qualifications and training without MM becomes a difficult task with little visibility.
Aside from studying C++ at RMC, Dawn’s digital competencies have been derived from CAF-available training opportunities. She believes firmly in taking advantage of digital training opportunities whenever available.
For those interested in following in her footsteps, she recommends:
- Developing digital champions both at executive and operational levels
- Attending training sessions, applying the key learning points, and diligently tracking the outcomes
- Continuing to improve your remote collaboration skills
- Paying attention to adoption obstacles and stakeholder resistance
- Remembering the importance of usability as a vehicle for adoption
- Having a business plan to address system outages
- Accepting that some operational tools are not suited for digitization
- Avoiding stove-pipe solutions which undermine our enterprise goals
- Keeping policy as a primary focus when developing solutions