I have discovered that to be truly in service in leadership is to let go of all ego and pretense about one’s self. For me, that has meant working to open myself up to challenges that would have equal potential for failure or success. To advance, one is hardly ever recognized for their successful failures. Yet, I have found that it is often through failure that the greatest opportunities arise. I have worked at appreciating that conundrum and growing comfortable with being open about my own strengths and weaknesses.
I believe everyone has something to contribute and that, as a leader, my duty is to enable people to take risks, be courageous in their efforts and actions, even if they sometimes fail. To get others to take risks so, I have to model that behaviour. Health care is a competitive field, and that competition can be an impediment to collaboration. But how else, except through collective action and partnership, will we succeed in building the health care system of tomorrow?
I have been fortunate to work with teams that generously share their expertise, communicate genuinely and openly with one another, and support the growth and development of their peers. My inner work has been focused on accepting that change and progress take time. I have grown adept at differentiating between that which is hard, and that which should be easy—in other words, that which we can change today, and that which we must patiently co-create for the future.
I learn every day from my team what is possible, and from the clients and families we serve, I learn about hope and resilience. These are the foundations of fulfillment for me in my role at Holland Bloorview.
On the Importance of Role Models and Mentors
The person who has had the most impact on my career is my father. He believed that through hard work and commitment great things are possible. He cared deeply about service to others. He believed that anyone can create impact, but that the impact co-created by a group of people, equally committed, had no limits. He recognized gifts in everyone, but did not value half-measures or competition. He motivated me to seek out opportunities to work with others equally passionate about co-creating the best possible health system for clients and families. His message was always to hold hope close. He would note that, after all, hope is free and in abundance if we just look for it. He helped me understand that a career in healthcare is about the privilege and opportunity to serve. I believe that what I learned from him led me to Holland Bloorview, where the foundation does indeed exist for all that is possible.