The politics of self-awareness

In two years, Celina Caesar-Chavannes has gone from running her own business, to a household name for many Whitby and Canadian residents. Caesar-Chavannes is the Whitby MP for the Liberal party and Parliamentary secretary for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Caesar-Chavannes spoke to UOIT students on March 15 about enjoying her new job.

“I am the total opposite of politics,” Caesar-Chavannes said, “and here I am today.”

Caesar-Chavannes earned two MBAs at the University of Toronto and started a career in research.

In 2014, she worried for her children’s future as they raised concerns. With the support of her friends, Caesar-Chavannes decided to run in the 2014 Whitby-Oshawa by-election, following Conservative Jim Flaherty’s death.

Standing beside Trudeau during the by-election campaigns, she remembered praying that no one would ask her a question, as she knew nothing about politics. And then it was over. She lost to Conservative Pat Perkins.

She said she accepted her failure, and began to learn more about politics. With a passion for business and evidence-based analytical thinking, Caesar-Chavannes entered the Whitby 2015 general election running her campaign like a business and using her skills to get her ahead. Caesar-Chavannes won this time, beating Perkins.

Caesar-Chavannes said she found a way to ‘marry’ two things she liked and incorporate them into her campaign.

Having a job is great but is it worth it if you don’t enjoy what you do?, she asked students.

She credits her success to her self-awareness.

“I run a company called Celina Inc., Celina Inc. is my company, I run it everyday, and it’s my brand,” Caesar-Chavannes explained. “It’s how I appear, it’s what I do, it’s everything that encompasses me.”

Caesar-Chavannes said everyone should be running ‘You Inc.’.

She said you must find what all your assets are worth. Languages, education, skills, and traits all add up to make your worth.

Skills can be learned, and experience gained, she explained. But “you can’t teach passion, and you can’t teach drive,” said Caesar-Chavannes.