Jessica McDonald is a management executive and a consultant specializing in relationships and the resolution of disputes between governments, the private sector, and Aboriginal communities. She has led landmark discussions, including the negotiation of the "New Relationship" between government and First Nations in British Columbia. Acting as chief negotiator or key advisor on numerous major development projects, she is recognized for her skills and experience as well as her respectful approach.
Following a decade with the provincial public service and a number of years consulting on Crown land and natural resource management, Ms. McDonald served from 2003-2009 as deputy minister to Premier Gordon Campbell in British Columbia. From 2005 onwards, she held the most senior public service position in the provincial government, that of deputy minister to the premier, cabinet secretary and head of the BC public service, responsible for the oversight of all aspects of government operations.
As head of the BC public service, Ms. McDonald initiated a bold human resources renewal program that produced a ten-point increase in employee engagement with positive gains sustained over multiple years and through an economic downturn. These results were complemented by the organization's first-ever recognition as one of BC's Top 50 Employers, Canada's Top 100 Employers, Canada's Top 25 Family-Friendly Employers, and Canada's 30 Greenest Employers.
Ms. McDonald is a member of the BC Arbitrators' and Mediators' Institute and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Canada, and has served on the Board of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada, including as chair of international programs.
Ms. McDonald has been recognized nationally for her leadership in innovation and employee engagement, earning, for instance, the IPAC/Deloitte National Gold Award for Public Sector Leadership. She was named one of Canada's Top 40 Under 40(tm) and one of Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women(tm), and was appointed to Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women Hall of Fame(tm).
Ms. McDonald joined Heenan Blaikie Consulting, Heenan Blaikie LLP's consulting arm, in January 2010.