Profiles in Leadership

Mark Norman’s Military Leadership Enables Business Wins for His Defence Sector Clients

The Samuel Associates team has deep knowledge, passion, and energy to promote institutional leadership and drive organizational change for elite Canadian businesses dealing in a government marketplace. These assets were explored in a recent episode of the Profiles in Leadership podcast, where host Jerry Pitzul interviewed Vice-Admiral (Ret.’d) Mark Norman, the firm’s Senior Defence Strategist.

In his 39 years of uniformed service, Mark directly shaped Canada's national security and defence discourse. He rose to the rank of Vice-Admiral of the Royal Canadian Navy and finished his career as Vice-Chief of Defence; representing the second-highest appointment in the Canadian Armed Forces. To him, leadership is not a buzzword, but an honourable quality showcased in his everyday work with major corporations in the Canadian security and defence sector.

To support the firm's clients, Mark applies principles he has developed throughout his career. He tries to understand what his clients are trying to achieve, why they are trying to do so, and where opportunities and overlaps exist. When coordinating with the public sector, he asks: where are the policy or programmatic needs? Mark pushes his clients to look at the situation from a wider lens and connect dots that may not be obvious at first glance.

Mark describes leadership as "getting people to do things they wouldn't otherwise normally want to do." The essence of leadership is inspirational and motivational, focusing on the interpersonal dimension of relationships. It can be as applicable in an office or corporate space as in a military or operational environment. Management is the effective allocation of resources (including people, time, and money) to the overall administration of the work that needs to be done. Mark believes that leadership and management are interconnected: those who can do both will be extremely successful.

Lastly, Mark shared several observations about his transition to strategic consulting. Government relations work requires translation to genuinely comprehend what both sides are trying to accomplish. Excellent strategists enable conversations where people understand one another, creating a higher possibility of success. On top of that, the impressive diversity and experience of the Samuel Associates team helps clients view their issues from a different but necessary perspective. Mark credits his ability to navigate complex government processes while keeping in mind the bigger strategic picture, enabling the best Industry outcomes for his clients.

Want to learn more about Mark and how Samuel Associates supports its clients? Contact us at