Position Profile

Job Title:  Director, Mission and Visits Planning

Work Unit:  

Ministry:  Alberta Economic Trade and Development

Competition Number:  1042755

Date:  June 2017

Position Summary


This position provides leadership and coordination for the comprehensive planning of international missions by the Premier and IIR Minister and of incoming governmental groups (e.g. consul generals and ambassadors). The Director collaborates with senior ministry and government representatives, including HR Executive Directors responsible for various geographic areas, representatives of Alberta International Offices, and Protocol, to facilitate integrated planning of, and reporting on, such missions and visits. In addition, this position provides readership for the provision of consultation, advice and guidance to other ministries in relation to mission planning initiatives as requested.

The Director also has key accountabilities for international travel request processes initiated by Alberta Government ministers and elected officials, including managing preparatory and assessment processes. This position ensures travel requests are thoroughly assessed, recommendations developed, packages assembled, and relevant advice provided to the HR Minister and the Premier.

The position requires a high level of awareness of the political environment within which the ministry operates, particularly in relation to international travel approvals for ministers and elected officials, and mission planning for the IIR Minister and the Premier. Given the need to operate effectively in the political context, the Director is expected to exercise sound judgement, possess the ability to quickly assess risk, respond to situations strategically, and proactively manage communication to ministry staff and to senior officials.

The Director leads the delivery of other programs essential to the ministry's achievement of business plan goals, including translation services, and the gift bank.

The Director plans and manages operations to effectively and efficiently deliver unit outcomes, including developing, implementing, and evaluating strategies, guidelines, and processes to ensure integrated, comprehensive and innovative approaches to mission and visits planning and associated accountabilities. This position guides and mentors team members as they contribute to defining and achieving unit goals and provides strategic advice and recommendations to the division and ministry leadership teams for complex issues and initiatives relating to the unit mandate.

Reporting to the Executive Director, International Policy and Strategic Services, the Director functions within the parameters of applicable government and ministry legislation, regulations, policies, directives, and procedures.

Specific Accountabilities


Leadership, strategic advice and coordination are provided to ensure international missions by the Premier and HR Minister are effectively planned and managed to support achievement of Alberta's International Strategy and government and ministry strategic and business plan goals and ensure compliance with relevant legislation, regulations, policies and guidelines.


  • Leads international mission planning for the Premier and HR Minister, including facilitating communication and coordination with the Premier's office, Minister's office, senior division representatives for applicable geographic areas, Communications, other ministries, and Canadian embassies as appropriate to develop itineraries, briefing information and documents, budgets, etc.
  • Builds strategic partnerships, both internally and externally to ensure Premier and IIR Minister missions are managed and positioned to deliver on the Government of Alberta's goals and expected outcomes and advance strategic initiatives to further Implementation of Alberta's International Strategy. Leads and coaches staff to ensure complex timelines, distribution lists, and other planning mechanisms applying to international missions of the Premier and IIR Minister are developed and adhered to.
  • Provides leadership for the arrangement and coordination of logistical aspects of missions, including flights and transportation, accommodations and meals, hosting, promotional materials and gifts, etc.
  • Directs activities to ensure costs associated with missions are accurately and efficiently reported and published.

Incoming visits of consul generals and ambassadors to Alberta and other major visits are effectively planned, managed, and coordinated to support achievement of relevant government and ministry strategic and business plan goals and ensure compliance with relevant legislation, regulations, policies, and guidelines.


  • Collaborates with Protocol representatives, senior division representatives for applicable geographic areas, and other government representatives to plan incoming visits, including contributing to development of itineraries and facilitating development of ministry briefing memos and other documents.
  • Partners with Protocol to ensure complex timelines, distribution lists, and other planning mechanisms for incoming visits are developed and adhered to.

Strategic advice and assessment provided to the IIR Minister to ensure international travel engagements of Alberta Government Ministers and elected officials are aligned with the goals and objectives of Alberta's International Strategy and deliver on expected outcomes.


  • Leads the review and strategic analysis of international travel requests initiated by Alberta Government ministers and elected officials and makes recommendations to the IIR Minister prior to submission to the Premier.
  • Directs review and assessment processes for ministerial international travel requests, including facilitating assessment by division representatives responsible for appropriate geographic areas; ensures recommendation or non-recommendation for international travel approval and associated advice to the IIR Minister are provided within applicable timelines.
  • Liaises with the Minister's office to coordinate complex timelines and activities associated with international travel request approval process, including development and delivery of detailed and complete travel request packages and associated information to Approvals and Priorities Committee prior to meetings.
  • Develops, manages, evaluates and continually enhances processes associated with approval of ministerial international travel requests.
  • Manages preparation, updating and distribution of associated ministerial and ministry documents on a continual basis, including Minister's Calendar of Events and Upcoming Visits and Events Calendar.

Consultation and guidance are provided to other ministries in relation to planning international missions and visits.


  • Liaises with and provides consultation, leadership and expertise to other ministries in relation to planning ministerial and senior official missions to other countries and incoming visits of international delegations and visitors to Alberta.
  • Ensures best practises, guidelines, checklists, etc. are shared with other ministries in relation to international missions to promote coordinated planning approaches across the Alberta Government.

Leadership and guidance is provided in the delivery of comprehensive strategic support services to further successful international engagements, senior official discussions, international relationships and mission outcomes.


  • Comprehensive and effective translation services are provided to ministry and government representatives:
    • Manages processes and liaises with ministry and government representatives requesting translation services to ensure services are delivered in a timely manner.
    • Manages contract with Federal Translation Bureau to provide translation services to the Alberta Government, including negotiating contract terms and resolving associated issues or concerns.
  • Gifts and other marketing supports are available to support the requirements of incoming and outgoing ministry and government missions and visits:
    • Develops and maintains inventory and tracking processes for gifts and marketing materials, including
      determining applicability and effectiveness of gifts and requirements for replacements.
    • Ensures continual availability of materials and gifts for international missions, visits, delegations, etc. to promote Alberta.
    • Provides consultation and advice as to appropriateness of gifts for various missions, visits, and other events.

Leadership, coaching and strategic advice is provided to ensure the Mission and Visits Planning Unit is effectively managed and unit outcomes are delivered in accordance with business and operational plans and aligned with Alberta's International Strategy.


  • Provides leadership, coaching and mentoring to staff members to support continual improvement, capacity development, and effective decision-making.
  • Defines, clarifies and reinforces accountabilities of team members to ensure alignment of efforts and support them to achieve success and exceed expectations of clients (e.g. recognition and accountability).
  • Supports employee learning needs and developmental opportunities; actively involves staff members in the development of operational plans; and supports and encourages a healthy workplace.
  • Strategies, processes, and standards for unit programs and functions are developed, implemented and evaluated within the context of applicable legislation, regulations, policies, frameworks and best practices; innovative approaches relating to unit accountabilities are championed and promoted within the ministry and government.
  • Strategic options, briefings, recommendations, and perspectives relating to issues and opportunities associated with unit programs and initiatives are prepared for the Executive Director and other senior ministry representatives.

Knowledge / Experience


The Director, Mission and Visits Planning requires broad and comprehensive knowledge of:

  • Government strategic business plan goals and policy directions, particularly as they relate to the ministry mandate.
  • Ministry business plan goals, strategic priorities, issues, programs, resources, and relationships.
  • Alberta's and Canada's international policies and international trade promotion, business and diplomatic priorities.
  • Alberta's strategic plan; economic, political and business environment; government structure and organization; and economic, political and social issues and trends.
  • International mission planning and associated financial reporting principles, processes, guidelines and requirements.
  • Inter-cultural knowledge and cultural sensitivity.
  • Protocol and gifting principles and practises associated with international missions and visits.
  • Operational planning principles and techniques, including applicable policies and guidelines.
  • Financial planning and management principles, including contracting and hosting processes and practices.
  • The client, partner, and stakeholder community affected by the unit and ministry mandate, including relevant organizations, committees, industry groups, and representatives.
  • The political environment within which the ministry operates and decision-making processes of the government, particularly in relation to international travel approvals for ministers and elected officials.
  • Applicable legislation, regulations, and guidelines (e.g. Financial Administration Act; Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act; travel and subsistence regulations; international travel reporting guidelines).
  • Business productivity software used to carry out job responsibilities.

Leadership and Business Know-How


The Director, Mission and Visit Planning requires well developed and demonstrated:

  • Strategic thinking skills to develop and encourage commitment to new approaches; work within a broadly defined conceptual framework; and manage multiple complex issues and programs while delivering results.
  • Interpersonal and facilitation skills to consult and negotiate effectively with senior ministry and government representatives, public and private sector partners, and stakeholders with varying perspectives, expectations, requirements, and priorities.
  • Leadership skills to influence decisions and actions; build consensus while balancing diverse needs and interests; and motivate others to accept new approaches while ensuring consistency with broad frameworks and directives.
  • Relationship management skills to develop and maintain collaborative working relationships within the ministry, across government, and with stakeholders and partners.
  • Conceptual, critical, analytical, and problem solving skills, including ability to analyze information and options and make decisions and recommendations in alignment with strategic directions and business plan goals.
  • Verbal and written communication skills, including ability to respond to complex inquiries and interpret policies and guidelines for clients and partners within and external to the ministry.
  • Organizational skills and project management skills, including ability to function at strategic level while simultaneously directing staff and resources involved with specific initiatives and projects.
  • Human resource and financial management skills.
  • Commitment to staff development, team and capacity building, collaboration, and continuous improvement.
  • Professional judgement, tact, and diplomacy, as well as the ability to function effectively under pressure.

The Director is relied on to manage, coordinate and facilitate the diverse activities of teams engaged in various mission planning-related initiatives and programs. This position provides strategic and business advice to influence decisions in relation to planning international missions and visits and managing international travel approval processes.

The Director also provides leadership, direction and expertise for the design of innovative approaches for international mission and visit planning, including the engagement of senior ministry representatives in the adoption of new approaches and initiatives. This position models a highly collaborative approach when reaching decisions and acceptable outcomes within broad policies and guidelines, both within the ministry, and when consulting, negotiating, and communicating with senior representatives of other departments, governments, and external stakeholder and partner organizations.

Problem Solving


In addition to directing planning efforts for international missions of the Premier and HR Minister and incoming diplomatic visits to Alberta, the Director provides leadership for the development and continual enhancement of complex processes for reviewing and approving international travel requests from government ministers and elected officials. All responsibilities require superior analysis, reasoning, evaluation, judgement, and problem solving skills along with a strong awareness of the broad objectives and priorities of the ministry in relation to international and inter-governmental relations, trade and investment.

A major challenge for the Director is to facilitate decision-making processes involving senior ministry and government subject matter experts and decision-makers, requiring sensitivity to the complex relationships that exist between the ministry, government, partners and stakeholders. This position requires excellent professional judgement and diplomacy given the politically sensitive nature of information and international relationships. The Director uses strong facilitation, collaboration and consensus building skills to identify critical issues, risks and opportunities associated with international missions, visits and related accountabilities; determine which senior representatives to involve and consult with; and develop response strategies that result in effective solutions.

Another key challenge for this position is the need to reconcile input and direction from a wide range of sources in relation to planning, coordinating, and reporting on high-profile international missions. The Director must display innovative thinking to develop approaches for dealing with alternative and occasionally conflicting viewpoints. This position also requires the ability to develop and manage strategies and processes to meet critical and fixed deadlines for concurrent initiatives, while ensuring the unit is responsive to unanticipated demands for guidance, solutions, and direction on a wide range of international mission and visit planning-related issues.

The Director functions within the context of policies, directives, and guidelines developed by Alberta Finance and Enterprise, Treasury Board, and Cabinet. Government policies and statutes provide direction for major outcomes expected of the unit, with key pieces of legislation setting parameters for the work including the Government Accountability Act and the Financial Administration Act. The Director is also subject to policies and guidelines established by Cabinet and Alberta Finance and Enterprise with the input of the Auditor General, the Minister, and the Deputy Minister.

The Executive Director determines overall goals for the unit; assigns major accountabilities; and is available for consultation and guidance as necessary. Within these parameters, the Director is delegated extensive authority to determine approaches to responsibilities and provide leadership to operations. This position is relied on to independently develop associated strategies, processes and systems, balancing ministry, government and partner requirements and perspectives to de1iver consistently high quality results and outcomes.

Relationships / Contacts

Clients Frequency Nature and Purpose of Contact

Unit Team Members

Frequent and ongoing

Provide leadership, direction, training and mentoring; resolve issues; enhance understanding of business and operational plan goals to ensure coordinated efforts; lead development of unit plans; facilitate collaboration in relation to unit operations.

Executive Director

Frequent and ongoing Review mission and visit planning matters; manage issues; develop strategies; plan and implement programs.

Senior Representatives of International Relations Division and Alberta International Offices

Frequent and ongoing Collaborate on mission and visit planning; provide strategic direction and advice; coordinate preparation of comprehensive briefing memos, ministerial travel recommendations, etc.

Other areas of the ministry (e.g. Communications, Corporate Services)

Ongoing Collaborate on initiatives; exchange information; resolve issues.

Premier's office, Minister's office, Deputy Minister, Executive Team members

Ongoing and as required Provide briefings, recommendations and advice; facilitate mission and visit planning; provide calendars and other information; coordinate processes and information for ministerial international travel approvals.

Representatives of other ministries and agencies, including Protocol

Ongoing and as required Collaborate on planning of ministerial missions and visits; provide advice, consultation and guidance relating to planning and coordinating missions and visits; participate in cross-ministry initiatives; communicate ministry perspectives and requirements; develop effective partnerships and working relationships.
Representatives of targeted industry sectors, other governments (e.g. municipal and federal), and Canadian Embassies Ongoing and as required Collaborate on international mission and visit planning activities; communicate ministry perspectives and requirements; develop effective partnerships and working relationships; exchange information and best practices.

Impact and Magnitude of Job (Scope)


Long-term direction for the Mission and Visits Planning Unit are determined by senior ministry and government officials, with relevant legislation, regulations, policies and other frameworks providing broad parameters for operations. The work carried out is complex, politically sensitive, and affected significantly by decisions and priorities established in the Alberta Government strategic and business plans and the ministry business plan.

The Director is accountable for the planning, facilitation and reporting of international missions for the Premier and IIR Minister and for incoming visits of ambassadors and consul generals. This position is accountable for defining goals, objectives, and priorities for·the unit; assigning responsibilities, roles, and projects; and clarifying and reinforcing the unit mandate and focus. The Director is delegated considerable freedom to develop and implement processes, determine strategies, and set direction for programs and initiatives, working in close collaboration with senior representatives of the division, ministry, government, and Alberta International Offices to ensure coordinated and integrated approaches to international mission and visits planning.

This position is the primary ministry resource for mission and visit planning and is also relied on to provide consultation and advice to other departments in relation to associated accountabilities. The Director ensures the division and ministry executive teams are apprised of major related issues and is expected to determine the most appropriate approach to complex and sensitive missions, visits and associated initiatives in consultation with the Executive Director and senior ministry representatives. This position displays initiative within situations where few precedents exists and determines approaches to facilitate the delivery of high quality, organized, and efficient mission and visit planning services to senior political and government leaders.

This position is responsible for results that affect a complex ministry, with results having direct impact on the ability of the Premier, IIR Minister, ministry representatives and partners to represent and deliver Alberta messaging to international audiences. Information and advice provided must be well-researched, balanced and sound, with the Director relied on to demonstrate high degrees of attention to public accountability and transparency In international mission delivery and sensitivity to the significant impact of missions and visits on building and strengthening provincial relationships with targeted international markets.

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