Serving the Public with Integrity
PHOTO: CRAIG SCORGIE
Written by Agnes Chick
Tom Teahen, BA ‘90 (Political Science) will never forget the year he spent with the seminarians at St. Peter’s Seminary during his studies at King’s. For him, it was the idyllic Catholic experience he was looking for while pursuing a Political Science degree. At the Seminary, Teahen was surrounded by people who cared for the common good and instilled in him a sense of camaraderie and compassion – values that he still carries with him today as the Chief of Staff to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Growing up with parents Roberta, BSW ‘90 and Gerry Teahen, former mayor of St. Marys, Ontario, Teahen became fascinated with public service at a young age and enrolled in Political Science at King’s. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1990, and subsequently earned his Honors designation at Western University the following year. He then went on to earn his Bachelor of Laws from Queen’s University in 1995.
Teahen defines his King’s experience as the foundation to his 18-year legal and political career. “King’s teaches people to be critical thinkers, to approach education and life with Serving the Public with Integrity integrity and concern for the well-being of others,” says Teahen. “One of the things that a Catholic education encourages is an understanding of how to deliver to the common good of people. That’s what I’ve always brought to the different jobs I’ve had over the years.”
After graduation, Teahen worked as a labour lawyer in Toronto before turning to politics. From 2005–2007, he served as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Labour at the time, former Elgin-Middlesex-London MPP Steve Peters. This position pushed him to run for political office in the 2007 Ontario election as the Liberal candidate in Beaches-East York. Although he did not win the election, Teahen continued to seek out public service opportunities and, from 2007-2010, served as chief of staff to Wynne, minister of education at the time.
In 2010 Teahen was presented with a new opportunity as chief corporate services officer for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB). Serving in an executive role within a large government agency, Teahen was able to get hands-on experience in a variety of departments, including human resources, IT, policy and communications.
When the time came for Wynne to select her chief of staff as the Ontario premier, Teahen was her top choice. In the two and a half years working together at the Ministry of Education, they developed a trusting relationship and collaborated on many labour issues in the education sector.
“I know Kathleen on a personal level – she is a person with credible integrity and passion for how to make society better,” says Teahen. “Because of her commitment to building a stronger economy, as well as improving education and health care in the province, people are able to achieve every potential they have.”
In Teahen’s new role as one of Wynne’s most senior advisors, he provides her with political and policy advice, managing her office’s staff, and working with Cabinet ministers to facilitate their communication with the premier. As one of 11 people in Canada to hold this position, Teahen feels honoured to have a job he loves waking up to every morning.
When Teahen is not advising Ontario’s premier and working diligently on the government’s public policy agenda, he spends as much time as he can with his wife Aileen Page and their two-and-half-year-old daughter Alexandra. Reflecting on a successful career and a growing family, Teahen believes the values and skills he learned at King’s help put him in the right direction to this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at Queen’s Park.