When she was 12 years old, Katie Telford did a stint as a page at Queen’s Park. It was the first official step on a path towards a political career that has led her to become one of the most powerful women in government, all before the age of forty. As Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister she’s co-leads the PMO, managing the senior staff, attending cabinet and caucus meetings, and acting as a trusted advisor on all matters. One of Trudeau’s top strategists, he has referred to her as the “core of my inner circle” — giving Katie influence that extends across the country, and beyond.
We’ve mapped out her biggest milestones.
1990 – Spends several weeks working as a page in the Ontario legislature, at the time controlled by the NDP and Premier Bob Rae (Katie’s former neighbour, and inspiration for her political aspirations)
2001 – Graduates from the University of Ottawa with a political science degree, and begins work at Queen’s Park on September 11, as a legislative assistant for Liberal MPP Gerard Kennedy.
2004 – Becomes chief of staff to Kennedy, who was appointed Ontario Education Minister after the Liberal win in 2003. One of the youngest to hold the important role, at just 26, Katie was representing the province in labour negotiations with teachers’ unions.
2006– Kennedy resigns to make a bid for the Liberal Party of Canada leadership, with Katie heading his ultimately unsuccessful campaign. A then-unknown Justin Trudeau offered to pledge his support — meeting with Katie at a coffee shop, where the two immediately clicked.
2007 – Continues her work with the official opposition party, under the winner of the Liberal leadership, Stéphane Dion. After a year as policy secretary, director of policy and stakeholder relations, she spends 2008 as his deputy chief of staff.
2009 – Begins work as a senior consultant for StrategyCorp in Toronto, a public affairs, communications, and management consulting advisory firm.
2011 – Katie and her husband, Rob Silver, welcome their son George into the world in June.
2012 – Justin Trudeau announces he’s running for Liberal party leadership on October 2, with Katie heading his campaign. Six months later, he’s officially elected to the position.
2015 – Serves as Trudeau’s campaign co-chair and director during the federal election (the longest in modern Canadian history, at 78 days) and helps him achieve a majority government coming from a third-place position in the House. Katie becomes the 15th Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister — and just the second woman to hold the title — assuming office on November 4
2016 – Katie pitches the idea that leads to the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders — officially announced at the first meeting between Trudeau and Trump.
2017 – Telford asks in a finance meeting if gender analysis had been considered as part of the process of creating the federal budget — leading to Canada’s first-ever Gender Statement in a federal budget.