Photo: Laura Gray
If you want to make a real difference in the lives of Canadians, becoming a public policy advisor or analyst is a great place to start.
Canada faces complex policy challenges in many domains, from healthcare and the environment to social welfare and immigration.
There is steady demand for skilled policy leaders who can develop effective solutions and drive positive change.
Laura Gray is one of those leaders. She has extensive experience working at the provincial and federal level as a policy advisor and senior consultant.
She also provides government relations and communications services as Managing Partner of Holstein|Gray, a bipartisan consulting firm.
In addition to her consulting work, Laura has signed on as instructor for our new Public Policy Administration certificate.
In this interview, she shares some of her own fascinating background in government relations, and explains what to expect from the new course.
Q: Laura, can you tell us about your education and professional background in public policy?
Laura: I hold a BA in Political Science from Acadia University and an MA in International Policy & Diplomacy from Staffordshire University, UK.
More than a few years ago, I started my career working with the Government of Ontario as a Policy Advisor with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
It was here that I recognized how important this larger initiative was to public life and the formation of policy across Canada.
Following this experience, I worked on policy in the areas of Children and Youth Mental Health and Education before embarking on work with the Federal Government as a Senior Consultant in Public Health.
I am now the Managing Partner of Holstein | Gray, where we provide government relations, strategic communications, and private equity services to our clients.
We work with organizations large and small across Canada and globally, on a host of government relations issues that require involvement with respective government officials and entities.
Q: What are the main learning goals of the Public Policy Administration Certificate?
Laura: The Public Policy certificate accelerates and deepens students’ grasp of the processes and dynamics affecting public policy and policy making.
We delve into the challenges of implementation facing all policymakers and some of the major issues that have become notable in the field.
Students walk away knowing best practices in policy making, and a practical toolkit of skills designed to enhance their careers as policy advisors and analysts.
Q: Who is this training geared toward? Who would benefit from taking the Public Policy certificate at Kompass?
Laura: Most applicants are early career policy makers.
However, we also have students from diverse professional backgrounds who have a general interest in public policy making, and want to learn more about the process.
The online format enables students to attend from across Canada.
Q: What type of education is required to start a career in public policy?
Laura: An education in political science or public affairs would be ideal (BA in Political Science or BA in Public Policy/Affairs).
But we also have students who don't have these degrees, but are working in an entry-level policy role and want to improve their skills and knowledge.
People come to public policy careers from all backgrounds and walks of life.
Q: Why are policy making skills in such high demand? What makes now a good time to enter this field?
Laura: A career in public policy offers the opportunity to create and implement policies that promote public wellbeing.
On an international and national level, governments consistently need more effective leaders, improved outcomes and a skilled workforce.
Certainly, with the introduction of the current public health crisis (COVID-19), there is an increase in demand for public policy professionals at all levels of government to solve this complex public health problem.
Generally speaking, working in this field is a consistent way to make a difference at all levels of government. The scale, complexity and impact of the work is unrivalled.
Q: What are the biggest rewards of working in public policy?
Laura: There are many rewards connected with working in public policy. There are general benefits, like developing an enhanced knowledge of the field and ability to evaluate complex problems.
And of course there are rewards in making a difference in the lives of Canadians by helping to implement effective policies.
There is also good job stability in this field, and numerous career opportunities within government, advocacy groups, NGOs, and the private sector.
Thank-you Laura for walking us through the course and shedding some light on the field of policy making and government relations.
Learn more about the Public Policy Administration Certificate
The Public Policy Administration certificate runs for 7 weeks (extendable up to 14 weeks).
Training focuses on how policy is developed, the realities of working in a policy role, and the specific skills and attributes required to succeed in policy making.
The certificate is delivered online with dedicated instructor support.
Click below to explore the training in more detail and chat live with an Admissions Advisor.