We are Justice

Thérèse Thy Ngo

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Thérèse Thy Ngo is a woman who clearly enjoys variety.

After completing her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Ottawa, she re-entered university in pursuit of a teaching degree.

Having obtained her teaching credentials, Thérèse next decided to study law.

Three years later, law degree firmly in hand, Thérèse realized that continuous learning was clearly a priority in her life. Her next challenge was to identify a career path versatile and dynamic enough to support this passion – a challenge she has successfully met working at the Department of Justice Canada.

“A career at the Department of Justice is not limited to what they teach you at law school,” she says.

“Here you can do almost anything. If you want, your job can completely change every few years, since a person’s skill set can easily be transferred to another area of legal practice.”

Thérèse joined the Public Service in 2000, as an Employment Equity Advisor for the Visible Minorities Portfolio.

“I believe in diversity in the workplace,” she says with conviction. “It is important to be representative in order to serve Canada. I wanted an opportunity to work with the Department to help advance the implementation of this policy.”

In 2005-2006, after a year as co-chair, Thérèse became the chair of the Department’s Advisory Committee on Visible Minorities. In this role she advised the Deputy Minister on issues affecting the hiring, retention and career development of visible minority employees.

“I want to help those who don’t have a voice. If I’m in a better position to raise an issue, I can be their spokesperson. I would want that for me if I were in a position of disadvantage.”

In 2003, she started work with the Professional Development Division. She developed programs tailored to the continuing legal education needs of the Department’s lawyers and helped design materials for legal workshops, courses and conferences. She loves helping employees progress along their career paths.

While working part-time toward a Master of Arts degree in Education, Thérèse became Counsel and Programs Manager in the Human Resources Directorate.

As the lead on two important human resources initiatives – the National Mentoring Program and the National Outreach and Recruitment Strategy for Public Service Renewal – Thérèse has found a means of sharing her passion for growth.

Recognizing that an important part of learning comes from interpersonal relationships, especially among co-workers, the Department has added less conventional methods to its continuing education programming.

Mentoring is a learning relationship in which both the mentor and the associate (the person being mentored) have an opportunity to share and develop their professional and personal capacities. This relationship can be a valuable way to pass on corporate values and departmental knowledge and also assist in integrating new employees.

“A career at the Department of Justice is not limited to what they teach you at law school.”

“You don’t want to watch 20 years of expertise walk out the door whenever someone retires. It is important to create an opportunity for employees to share their experience and knowledge with one another. I help to facilitate this.”

Since its launch in September 2008, more than 680 employees have registered for the Program, evidence that many of her colleagues share this same vision.

In addition to the versatility of her work and the opportunity to advance her interests, Thérèse has also enjoyed the flexibility that comes from working in the Public Service.

“We have the technology for things like teleworking. You can have access to everything from almost anywhere,” she says.

She has worked compressed and flexible hours since she started with the Department, and with two small children, she loves being able control the start and end of her workday.

“As long as you do your hours, there is a lot of freedom. It is important to have a frank discussion with your manager about your working arrangements. Managers are really supportive; I have been really inspired by some of my superiors,” she says.

An inspirational employee herself, Thérèse is enjoying her newest role as counsel supporting the implementation of the Department’s Change Agenda, to ensure that the Department remains relevant and effective as the government faces everchanging demands.

This next phase of Thérèse’s career should prove to be yet another new learning experience – just how she likes it.

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