Woman Navy Commander – Interview with Michele Tessier

In honour of Remembrance Day, an interview with Michele A. Tessier, retired Navy Commander, OMM, CD.

Michele Tessier was born and raised in Grand Bank, Newfoundland.  She started her career in the Royal Canadian Navy by joining the Naval Reserve at HMCS CABOT in St. John’s as a direct entry officer in 1996, on completion of a Bachelor of Arts degree at Memorial University.

Over the past 25-plus years, Cdr Tessier’s career has included numerous sea and shore postings and participation in international exercises around the world. She was the third woman in the history of the RCN to be appointed to command of a sea-going ship. Her career highlights include four command tours – HMCS NANAIMO, HMCS GRIFFON (Thunder Bay), Commander Coastal Forces Pacific, and the first Commanding Officer of the future HMCS MARGARET BROOKE. She worked in the Arctic with the Canadian Coast Guard and was a Canadian representative on the multi-national Newport Arctic Scholars Initiative.

Michele was named “Alumnus of the Month” by Memorial University’s Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in May 2017 and was further honored to be named one of the Women’s Executive Network’s “Canada’s Most Powerful Women – Top 100” for 2017. In December of 2018, she was named to the Governor General’s 69th List of appointments to the Order of Military Merit.

Michele retired from service in October 2021. She continues to mentor young officers at the Navy’s navigation and bridge simulator in Victoria, BC, where she lives with her partner, Dustan. She enjoys reading, writing, theatre, football, dance, and yoga in her spare time.