In honour of the Champlain Saint-Lambert’s 50th anniversary, the college has followed up with 50 of its alumni to see where their paths have led after their time in Cegep. These 50 former students have gone on to accomplish amazing things and their paths show just how much is possible for a Champlain grad.
Former Cavaliers football captain becomes leading voice on anti-racism.
Ryan Trudeau has delivered over 50 keynote speeches on anti-racism to over 16,000 people from 25 different government departments in the last two years.
Trudeau (Social Science, 2007), now in training to become a Canadian diplomat abroad, accomplish this in his prior functions as a Senior Analyst for the Anti-Racism Secretariat at Global Affairs Canada.
“Outside of my normal responsibilities, I do a lot of extra work talking and educating people about white privilege and white fragility,” he said. “It’s an honour to do this. It’s something I’m extremely passionate about.”
Trudeau said his leadership journey began in sports when he was named team captain of the Cavaliers first ever football team in 2006.
“I was so honoured to be part of that first team,” he said. “I had an amazing experience at Champlain. I had some great years at that place.”
His success on the field took him to play football at McGill University where he completed his bachelor’s and a master’s degrees in International Development.
Trudeau said a research trip to Haiti proved to be “lifechanging” for him. “It was the pivotal moment for me in deciding what I was going to do for the rest of my life,” he said.
With a young child at home at the time, Trudeau started applying to work in some capacity for the federal government.
His first job was as a Passport Clerk, but he quickly moved up, finding a place at Global Affairs Canada.
He said the killing of George Floyd in 2020 was a wake-up call for him as it was for so many others.
“Six months later, a racist event happened to my son at school. That, for me, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
Trudeau is white, but his wife and children are visible minorities. He said he felt it was time to get educated and figure out a way to make an impact and contribute to anti-racism work happening on a global scale.
That’s when Trudeau started to find his voice, developing a keynote speech and using his own privileged position to communicate with thousands of public servants.
“It’s allowed me to discover this hidden talent I didn’t even know I had as a speaker,” he said. “It’s led to conversations with the audiences which are very important.”
Trudeau’s advice for current students and future grads: “You need to figure out what you’re passionate about and you need to pursue it, no matter how difficult things can get. You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you aren’t passionate about your work – you won’t perform well and you won’t be happy. You need to be happy in what you’re doing every day.”