Johanna Read CV

Please note: this page is intended for the reference of Jodi Ettenberg. It is posted here for convenience, and is not intended to be shared. 



Freelance travel and food writer / photographer

And retired Government of Canada policy executive

TravelEater (at)

When not travelling, based in Vancouver, BC, Canada



  • Research, analysis and advice: isolates the essentials within multi-dimensional issues, makes linkages and provides cogent advice. Excellent writing and briefing skills for all audiences at all levels.
  • Administrative: proofreading, editing and rewriting documents; organization of information; creation or fine tuning of processes and procedures; anticipation of needs, consequences and next steps.  I just might be the best assistant you’ve ever had!
  • People management: optimizes others’ potential and effectiveness; creates an empowering, positive and team-oriented working environment. Sought out as manager, coach and mentor.
  • Change management: flexible and adaptable, seeks out rapidly changing environments, skilled at successfully bringing about renewal to organizations in collaborative manner.
  • Networking: adept at establishing and maintaining networks and effective working relationships within and across organizations, governments, sectors, and with the public.
  • Results oriented: creative, thorough, shows initiative, judgement, and integrity to achieve goals; always looking to bring about a win-win.
  • Diverse experience: including wide variety of policy, programs and planning leadership; Prime Ministerial, Cabinet and deputy ministerial (DM) decision making; advice to DMs, Clerk of the Privy Council, ministers, and Prime Minister; HR, financial and information management; consensus building and negotiation; regional, central agency, front-line management, policy, program and corporate services experience … plus solo travelling in countries where I don’t speak the language and successfully created a new career as a travel writer and photographer!

Fluent English / functional French (ECC), politesse in another dozen languages.  Secret security clearance (top secret expired 2014).


Travel and food writer / photographer (freelance) / May 2013 to present

Travel to and writing about six continents for print and online publications, including Dreamscapes, SnowSeekers, World Nomads, Taste and Travel International, The Globe and Mail.  Contributing Editor, Binders member.  Links to all my work at

Supervisory Voting Officer, Elections BC (Vancouver) / May 2013

For the May 14, 2103 provincial election, maintained voting integrity as supervisor of 9 polls (including absentee voting) through managing 22 new and returning staff.

Executive Director (ED), Policy, Systems and Programs; then ED, Change Initiatives, Human Resources, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (Ottawa) / 2008- 2013 

Leveraging CFIA’s separate agency status, identified and resolved leadership / people issues. Led team of 50 responsible for HR policies & programs (e.g. talent management, staffing, renewal, Peoplesoft). Led CFIA’s flagship Public Service Renewal initiative, the HR Process Lab, shortlisted for 2010 IPAC innovation award. $4.3M budget. APEX Departmental Rep (2009-2012), APEX Health Committee (2011-2012).

Director, Planning & Integration, The Leadership Network; then Director, Leadership Policy, Leadership and Talent Management Sector, Treasury Board Secretariat (Ottawa) / 2005-2008 

Public Service-wide strategic policy files (e.g. leadership development programs; Executive talent management and census); 16 staff, $1.8M budget. Transformed administratively-oriented team to strategic one; oversaw $22M branch budget, managed $1.6M budget. APEX Departmental Rep.

Interim Director, Bureau of Food Safety Assessment, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada (Ottawa) / 2004-2005

Led national program evaluating effectiveness of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s food safety activities, through a largely regionally-based team of evaluators; $1.3M budget.

Director, Policy Planning and Priorities Division, Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada (Ottawa) / 2001-2004

Created division for policy leadership and advice on Cabinet submissions, policy planning, preparations for throne speeches and transition planning. Branch lead 9/11 health security policy response. Simultaneously acted as Director, Policy Analysis and Coordination in 2002 and 2003. $.5M and $1.2M budgets.

Senior Policy Advisor, Horizontal Policy Division, Health Policy and Communications Branch, Health Canada (Ottawa) / 1999-2001

Managed and provided advice on horizontal policy files. Developed strategies / tools to enhance department’s capacity for policy development, integration, and the challenge function. Policy lead to build consensus and clear policy options for national pandemic influenza strategy.

Chief of Staff to the Head, Management Priorities and Senior Personnel Secretariat, Privy Council Office (Ottawa) / 1998-1999

Assessed and analyzed information and policy advice on Public Service management reform and Governor-in-Council appointments for the Clerk of the Privy Council and Prime Minister. Provided functional direction and managed day-to-day operations of the Secretariat.

Deputy Registrar, Convention Refugee Determination Division, Immigration and Refugee Board (Toronto) / 1997-1998

Planned and directed activities for administration of case processes and courts. Led team through transition to new organizational structure and new procedures for managing the refugee determination process. Selected as member of national team designing model for Refugee Board of the future.

Officer, Machinery of Government Secretariat, Privy Council Office (Ottawa) / 1995-1997

Advised Prime Minister, Clerk and senior officials on the organization and structure of government, responsibility of ministers, and Public Service renewal. Analysis, position presentation, policy/program assessment and development; wrote DMs’ and ministers’ mandate letters. 1996 Cabinet shuffle and 1997 election transition teams.

Coordinator, Implementation Task Force; Officer, Operations, Policy and Planning; Officer, Human Resources, Immigration and Refugee Board (Ottawa) / 1993-1995 

Strategic planning, writing and analysis of policy papers for development of new refugee determination model. Project/priority management, consultation and liaison with regional offices, governmental and non-governmental stakeholders. National Coordinator of Interpreter Program. Developed HR planning and training initiatives.


  • Living Leadership – The Executive Excellence Program, Canada School / 2008-2009
  • Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference / May 2004
  • Leadership Development Program, CCI Leadership Institute / 2000-2001
  • Government of Canada’s Management Trainee Program / 1993-1998
  • Master of Public Administration, Queen’s University (Queen’s Graduate Award) / 1992-1993
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Psychology & Sociology, Queen’s University (Dean’s list scholar) / 1988-1992

What do you think? Your comments are most welcome.

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