The job that ate up speechwriters

Barbara Leimsner, recognized and honored for editing Canada Post’s employee magazine, takes on the job of writing speeches. Video

Barbara Leimsner, recognized and honored for editing Canada Post’s employee magazine, takes on the job of writing speeches

In 2006, after 20 years at Canada Post, 15 of them as head of employee publications, Barbara Leimsner was going into a new job within that organization. A job so fraught with pitfalls, she says, that when she told people what she was going to be doing, “I could see the pity in their faces.”

“I was told that if my boss used 30 percent of what I wrote, I would be doing very well,” she remembers. “That was not my definition of success.”

Her new job? Speechwriter for the first woman CEO of Canada Post, Moya Greene, and a dozen senior vice presidents.

Greene’s reputation as a demanding boss was well-earned. In the first months of her tenure, Greene auditioned and rejected the writing samples of no fewer than eight speechwriters brought in from the outside.

Leimsner wasn’t even in the running for this job then. “The grapevine had it that her response to most of the draft speeches she was given by these outsiders was ‘Who wrote this crap?’”

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