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Doug Williamson - The Beacon Group. Toronto, ON, CA

Doug Williamson

President and Chief Executive Officer | The Beacon Group

Toronto, ON, CANADA

A bold thinker and dynamic speaker, with extensive global experience, who can provide unique insights into today's business challenges.



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Doug is President and C.E.O. of The Beacon Group and author of the provocative, forward thinking business book titled "Straight Talk on Leadership" published by John Wiley & Sons in 2013.

He guides the company in providing relevant, state of the art Leadership Development, Organizational Effectiveness, Strategic Planning and Performance Management solutions to private and public sector organizations in North America, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.

Throughout his 30+ year international business career, Doug has been involved in initiating positive transformational change and improving the effectiveness of countless C Suite teams.

Prior to forming The Beacon Group Doug held several senior executive level positions with a number of large international institutions in both North America and Europe and within the Canadian Federal Government.

While in Ottawa, he played an instrumental role in the introduction of legislation to support and encourage the growth and financing of “knowledge based industries” and served as a Special Advisor in the Office of the Prime Minister. As a member of the 1992 Commission on Economic Prosperity, he was the author of their report - Financing the New Economy.

Industry Expertise (7)

Corporate Leadership

Talent Management

Professional Training and Coaching

Human Resources

International Trade and Development

Management Consulting

Corporate Training

Areas of Expertise (11)

Key to Transformational Leadership

Megatrends & Seismic Shifts - Coping With the New Reality

Leading Through Chaos & Disruption

Innovation & Design Thinking

Global Leadership in A Modern World

Science of Strategic Thinking

Leadership Secrets of Hidden Champions

Becoming A Transformational Chro


Key to High Performance

Organizational Transformation

Accomplishments (1)

Author : Straight Talk On Leadership (professional)

Published by John Wiley & Sons (2013)

Education (3)

The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College: Hypercompetive Industry Program, Business Strategy & Leadership

London Business School at the University of London: International Business & Economics - Executive Program

McGill University: Banking & Commerce Program

Affiliations (1)

  • The Beacon Group

Testimonials (21)

Warren Bell, Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer | OMERS

"It is clearly time for Canadian business leaders to confront our national leadership dilemma. In he most recent book Straight Talk on Leadership, Williamson lays out a compelling agenda for leaders to act on to prepare us for a successful tomorrow."

Rupert Duchesne , President & CEO | Aimia (formerly Groupe Aeroplan Inc.)

"Williamson’s approach is effective and real-world: confront truths; wear them; and move forward fast to accountable action. His book Straight Talk on Leadership, is an invaluable recipe as to the how, and why it’s critical to Canada’s economic future."

Eric Siegel, President & Chief Executive Officer (Retired) | Export Development Canada

”Doug's book, Straight Talk on Leadership is for leaders who aspire to make a difference by transforming their organizations for global competitiveness. It is for those who approach leadership as a privilege to be re-earned each and every day, rather than a reward for past successes. Doug covers the landscape of issues facing leaders today in a compelling, insightful manner, and always with the frankness for which he is respected in the business community."

Naseem Somani, President & Chief Executive Officer | Gamma-Dynacare Medical Laboratories

"The turbulent fast changing times we live in pose great leadership challenges. There are no easy leadership recipes. Doug Williamson's unvarnished straight talk puts the environment in global perspective and provides leaders with a competency framework suited to the times we live in. A must read…"

Robert Corteau, Chief Executive Officer | Altus Group Limited

“Succeeding in global markets require an aggressive and competitive style, and Doug has created a "must read" blueprint for success. Open communications and high transparency are the hallmarks of the best run companies. In Straight Talk, Doug Williamson makes a no nonsense, patriotic plea for pragmatic leadership in the boardroom and a wonderful road map for high performance results on the international stage.”

Mark Young, Managing Partner | Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP

”Doug Williamson’s book recognizes the unique position occupied by Canada in a changing global economy. He reinforces the need for Canadian business leaders to take advantage of that perspective by demonstrating a new type of leadership better suited to building not only highly profitable but also sustainable business organizations in this changing world. Rightfully, he sounds a warning in the event we do not heed the call to action.”

Johanne R. Bélanger, President | AVW-TELAV Audio Visual Solutions

"If you are currently a leader in Canada, or aspire to be a successful one someday, this is a must read book. From the title of the Introduction – “Moving Backward at the Speed of Light” - Doug’s book, Straight Talk on Leadership has forced me to stop, think and plan action to change."

John Martin, Founder and retired CEO and later Chairman of Maxxam Analytics Inc. | Maxxam Analytics Inc.

"Doug Williamson understands the fabric of Canada. Strategy has been his forte and his book , Straight Talk on Leadership brings this to life. He sees the need for new leadership in business so that Canada itself is a global leader. This is lofty, but necessary thinking. I would hope that not only business leaders, but that many of our political "leaders" would read and follow Doug's teachings. He has hit the nail on the head!”

Judson Whiteside , Managing Partner & C.E.O. | Miller Thomson LLP

"Doug's book, Straight Talk on Leadership takes us out of our comfort zone. He challenges us to not accept the established norms and lets us know the consequences if we do. A mandatory read for all those who realize that businesses and institutions lacking in visionary leadership won’t reach their potential and often will actually fail".

Nick Orlando, President & C.E.O | Martinrea International Inc.

"Motivating employees is the key to successful growth, both in Canada and elsewhere. The challenge for managers of international growth, is the tailoring of management and incentive tools to reflect the cultural differences of employees in different countries. Doug's years of experience in assisting managers to identify and resolve these business issues are now available for all to read in his book Straight Talk on Leadership."

Mary Ellen Carlyle, Senior Vice President & General Manager | Dome Productions

"The world is now more than ever a changing landscape. Straight Talk on Leadership - Solving Canada’s Business Crisis, is an excellent and thoughtful read that extends the knowledge base of leadership and provides valuable insights. It clearly defines the challenges facing the modern business leader. This book rises like Everest, above all other leadership books."

David Harris, President & CEO | Kinectrics Inc.

“It is refreshing to find a uniquely Canadian perspective on leadership – the business challenges we face and the opportunities afforded us. This is what Doug delivers best…”straight talk…” without pulling any punches.”

Douglas Harrison, President & Chief Executive Officer | VersaCold Logistics Services

”Straight Talk is a must read for all current and future Canadian leaders. As a country, Doug's call for greater leadership and transformational leadership is timely and well warranted."

Phillip Crawley, Publisher & C.E.O. | The Globe & Mail

“The Beacon Group’s program proved to be a transformational experience for our staff, and has created a new, more open culture of creativity and collaboration that has given The Globe and Mail a marked and measurable competitive advantage.”

Doug Lord, President of United States Solutions Group | Xerox Corporation

“The Beacon Group delivered cutting edge perspectives on many human capital topics that were tailored and customized to our company in a way that we could not have obtained at more generic, cookie-cutter advising shops.”

Sylvia Chrominska , Group Head Global Human Resources & Communications | Scotiabank

The Global HR & Communications senior team engaged Doug Williamson in shepherding us through a unique strategic planning process that involved an outside-in view of our current and future workforce and how this aligns to our business strategy. Thanks to Doug and his team it was a thought provoking process that sharpened our strategic thinking and, in the end, made our strategy stronger.”

Suanne Nielsen , Senior Vice President & Chief Talent Officer | Foresters

“Top-level thought leadership, combined with practical, cost-effective solutions—that’s the real value the Beacon Group team brings to bear on Foresters talent challenges.”

Don Forgeron , President & CEO | Insurance Bureau of Canada

Doug Williamson and his team were of invaluable assistance in helping our organization navigate through a completely new strategic planning process and emerge with a three year plan resoundingly endorsed by our Board. Doug’s global perspectives and ability to drive consensus was an integral part of our success.”

João Ricciarelli , President | SKF Canada

“SKF approached The Beacon Group to develop our Talent Management program. The process implemented by Doug Williamson and his team was extremely important for us in determining how to execute the program on a clear, organized and systematic way. This was one of our most important projects that will enable us to ensure our sustainable growth.”

Tony Ambler , President | Swish Maintenance Limited

The big contribution was The Beacon Group challenged our culture and our comfort level. We then arrived at a clear plan of concise deliverables that we needed to execute to move forward on our vision.”

John Ferguson , President & C.E.O. | SCI Group Inc.

“Through its sound and strategically practical business knowledge and experience The Beacon Group has and continues to assist SCI in better understanding and enabling our organization to build engaged teams and leadership capability to help make our supply chain clients more competitive.”

Event Appearances (24)

Straight Talk on Leadership: Why Learning How to Lead Matters



Straight Talk on Leadership series

Habitat Canada Annual Appreciation Conference  Toronto


The Art of Strategic Thinking

ISSA/INTERCLEAN Orlando 2014  Orlando , FL


Straight Talk on Leadership

The Executive Committee (TEC) July Forum  Toronto


Leading In A Global Environment

Strategic Capability Network (SCN)   National Club - Toronto


Straight Talk on Leadership

GIHRG Spring Forum  Toronto


The Secret Sauce:: How Canada's Leading Innovators Engage Employees and Create a Culture to Drive Innovation Results

Conference Board of Canada - Business Innovation Summit 2014  Toronto, Ontario


Transformational Leadership

Conference Board of Canada: Change Management 2014: Engaging the People, Managing the Process  Toronto, Ontario


Straight Talk on Leadership

Retail Council of Canada - 2014 Retail Human Resources Conference  Toronto, Ontario


Straight Talk on Leadership

Strategic Leadership Forum - SLF  Toronto, Ontario


Creating Followers

HRPA 2014 Annual Conference & Trade Show  Toronto, Ontario


Straight Talk on Leadership

Cannexus 14 - National Career Development Conference  Ottawa, Ontario


Queens University - Business Conference

Queens Conference on International Business  Toronto, Ontario


Transformational Leadership

Soundview (Executive Book Summaries) Webinar  Toronto, Ontario


Straight Talk on Leadership

Sandermoen Speaker Series  University of Fredricton, Fredricton , NB


Innovation Canada: 20 Ideas That Matter

11th Annual Canadian Business Leadership Forum  Toronto, Ontario


On the Global Stage: Exporting Canada's Innovations

Canadian EdTech Leadership Summit 2013  Toronto, Ontario


Leadership, Rising to the Challenge

Canadian Institute of Management (CIM)  London, Ontario


Young Professional Development Program

ISSA Conference  Chicago, IL


Leaders, Followers & Followership

Schulich School of Business  York University, Toronto, Ontario


Transformational Leadership

Toronto Board of Trade  Toronto, Ontario


The Traits of Modern Strategic Leadership

School of Business & Economics  Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario


Deny, Defend, Disrupt: Developing Leadership for Chaotic Times

Change Management 2014:: Engaging the People, Managing the Process  Toronto, Ontario


Straight Talk on Leadership

Leadership Development Summit 2015 - Conference Board of Canada  Toronto, ON


Sample Talks (5)

The Art of Strategic Thinking

The turbulent world in which we currently live, requires leaders to develop their organizational strategy in some new and more relevant ways. The long held Strategic Planning bias and methodology of the past has given way to an new emphasis on the power and benefits of Strategic Thinking.

The Secrets to Transformational Leadership

The role of the leader today is not to enforce order and discipline but rather, to ensure the organization can readily transform itself in ways which will allow it to better serve its stakeholders. The skills and attributes of the transformational leader are different than those required in more stable and certain times.

Megatrends & Seismic Shifts - Coping with the New Reality

We are all subject to significant economic, social and technological forces which are shaping the context in which we live and lead. As much as we might wish otherwise, these forces are not under our own control. Understanding what they are and how they impact our organization is a major leadership responsibility.

The Leadership Secrets of Hidden Champions

The business press likes to feature articles and analysis on the big, well known organizations and their trials and tribulations - sometimes even their success. However, there are countless, less well know organizations who have found a way to quietly dominate their own "space" on a global scale. These organizations provide valuable lessons for the enduring success of any organization.

Leading through Chaos & Disruption

There is an emerging body of thought leadership suggesting the best way to survive, thrive and dominate today is to embrace a "hypercompetitive" posture. This means embracing chaos theory and practising the principles of disruptive innovation. While it may sound dangerous on the surface, it is a much better alternative than a slow, painful death caused by the inability to compete in a demanding environment.



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