My name is Dan García and I am the COO of Principia Assessments, which focuses on independent competency assessment and consultation for the legal sector, associations, not-for-profits, and other professionals.
I initially joined CSAE for the CAE program. After completing the program, I knew that I wanted to have a more active role in this community that has helped me develop personally and professionally. My first involvement was with the Edmonton Network in planning and supporting local events. After that I began participating in the Leaders’ Forum, some national task forces, and the Board’s Nominating Committee. I am currently a Board member, on the Government Relations committee, and a member of the Young Professionals Task Force.
What do you get out of your membership with CSAE?
As a CAE holder I believe it is important to stay up-to-date on current issues, trends, and innovations in the associations sector; CSAE offers a lot of chances for me to do that. The national and local events I attend are great opportunities for me to connect with talented leaders in the industry, learn from others in the community, and hear from experienced educators. Above that, the CSAE community is important to me because of how helpful it has been to my career and I believe that it can continue supporting other young professionals in a meaningful way. I want to be part of that.
What’s one positive or innovative idea you are currently working on in your position?
We—as in most of us—deal with and experience conflict regularly. Whether it’s talking about social issues, dealing with generational divides, political differences, or workplace trust, virtually every major issue confronting us in the work world today is rooted in challenges around lines of difference. Our ability to navigate these challenges depends on our cultural (or intercultural) competence. In my position today, I am excited to be using high-quality instruments to defensibly measure intercultural competence. We use these tools to help individuals and groups develop meaningfully in this incredibly important area; it has been a transformative experience for me and the clients we work with. Adding a bit of positivity to our society is one of the many reasons I love my job!
How do you overcome the challenges you face at work?
I talk…a lot. I am very fortunate to have a strong network of people that support me through the challenges I face at work. My colleagues are exceptional and supportive; my mentors encourage my development by considering alternative perspectives; and I connect with other industry leaders to better understand how they have overcome similar obstacles. Although I really enjoy talking to others, I’m very much an introvert. Reading and self-reflection are key aspects that complement my problem-solving approach to complex challenges I face.
What is your greatest achievement?
On a personal level, my greatest achievement is starting a family with my wife, Caitlin. Coming home to my family is always the best part of my day.
Professionally, one of the accomplishments of which I am most proud is my part in transforming an under-performing organization into an award-winning team. I worked closely with the Executive Director to redefine our hiring approach to develop a fluid, responsibly-autonomous team. Not only did we need to change the corporate culture, organizational structure, job descriptions, and garner Board support, but the team needed to believe in themselves and each other. The transformation was not easy and included some turnover, but within a couple of years of our changes the organization was recognized as one of Alberta’s Top 70 employers (the first of three consecutive honours). At the time that I left the organization it was well set up for future success.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
If you asked me what my dream job was, I would tell you that I already have it. I don’t see myself leaving Principia anytime soon. Wherever I may be in the future, I still want to be part of an organization that has strong core values. The values that really matter to me are:
- Meaningful: that the effort that is invested to achieve a result has significance and purpose;
- Engaging: that the work is fulfilling, enjoyable, and…yes…even fun;
- Sustainable: that there are lasting resources to continue enjoying meaningful and engaging work; and
- Committed: being dedicated to a vision that creates space for flexible and innovative action.
These are the core values that we (at Principia) believe in and use as a roadmap for our growth and relationships. I hope that wherever I am 5 years from now, I can look at this list and believe that the team I am part of and clients we work with exemplify these values.
What is your number one travel destination?
Barcelona. Every time. Not only is it a beautiful city with a rich history and culture, but the beaches, food, and football (read: soccer) team make it that much better. I don’t have the opportunity to go as often as I would like, but I am fortunate enough to have spent time there with my best friend.