25366 Mike Shewfelt recently had a chance to sit down with 18799 Capt Fiona Haines, the new commander of 9 Sqn.
18799 Fiona Haines: In coming to RMCC, I had the expectation that I would need to “earn my way in” with the Training Wing, but mainly with the Cadets themselves. Respect for a person is not something you can command; you have to earn it. This takes time. I knew that some cadets in 9 Sqn had worked with 5 different Squadron Commanders in their 4 years here and that their “guard was up”. In addition, I expected to be challenged to my very core of who I was ethically, and that has certainly proved to be true. I needed to be prepared to be the example, not dictate what the example should look like.
e-Veritas: What do you most enjoy about working with the Cadets?
18799 Fiona Haines: Every day, I am amazed. Admittedly, sometimes I am amazed at the degree in which events can unfold and the variations of the events! However, I am mainly amazed by how capable and superb the Cadet Wing really is. Their energy, if harnessed, could power a large city! Moreover, the Cadets really value what you have to say, the experience you bring to the table and the mentorship you offer. In return, all they ask is that you take an interest in them and listen.
e-Veritas: Any advice that you would have for the Cadets?
18799 Fiona Haines: My advice to the Cadets would be to remain humble and treat all people as you wish to be treated. You can never go wrong with this principle. You are going to see all types of leadership styles while a Cadet at RMCC, both at the College and while on summer training. Some styles you will not like and some you will want to emulate. Instead of complaining about the forms of leadership you least prefer, you need to rise up and shadow the leadership style you respect most. Also, enjoy this invaluable experience. Don’t get bogged down by dwelling on the mistakes you have made in the past or things that you perceive as “unjust”. This is part of why you are here…to learn and grow, so that you are ready to be the ethically sound and resilient officers in the Canadian Forces. If you never fall on your face, you will never know how to get back up. Therefore, experiencing mistakes and set-backs is part of your RMCC experience.
e-Veritas: Any goals that you have for the position you are now in?
18799 Fiona Haines: I have many goals while at RMCC as the 9 Squadron Commander. One of my main goals is to ensure that the Cadets know that I take an invested interest in their life, not just with respect to the 4 Pillars but also in relation to “who they are” and “what they are about”. I requested to be posted to RMCC with the intent of paying forward what was gifted to me by the leadership I benefitted from while I was a cadet at RMC and RRMC. Also, my continuous goal is to be an effective mentor. I expect that things are not going to go perfectly 100% of the time. Again, this is all a part of learning and growing so that the Cadets feel prepared and are ready to graduate. When you care about and invest in people, they know it and they strive for excellence. Attempting to make a personal contribution to the future graduates of RMCC and to assist in producing solid, well-rounded officers that we can all be proud of….What better goal is there?