The fact is though that both of those do result in better patient care and the amount we spend on them is small. We are working hard to create a better and more respectful work environment, whether it is through making more welcoming team rooms and green spaces, or ensuring management is more accessible so that staff feel comfortable bringing forward concerns without fear of retribution. I believe that if you can give people the Q: What qualities do you look for in the leaders and future leaders you hire at HSC?
A: The first thing I look for is someone who can solve problems with understanding and with emotional intelligence. When they’re dealing with a challenge, the first thing they must ask themselves is what the impact will be on the patient. I want people who can handle a stressful environment with enough compassion and tenacity to recognize how their decisions may affect patients. I also want someone who is willing to challenge me. I try to surround myself with people who are much smarter than I am so the last thing I want is someone who says yes to everything I come up with. Likewise, they can’t take criticism personally. Our senior management meetings are filled with healthy and respectful debate, and I think that’s the best environment to be in. If you think something isn’t working, speak up. If you think something can be done better, let’s talk about it. Q: Is there a particular mentor in your past who taught you important lessons in leadership?
A: I would have to mention Tom Closson, the former CEO of the University Health Network in Toronto and the current president of the Ontario Hospital Association. We worked together when I was VP at Sunnybrook Hospital. Tom led by example and the most important thing I learned from him was the value of being honourable and straight-up honest with people. It’s a two-way street. As a leader, I never want to be caught off-guard or find out about something long after the fact, and at the same time, I have an obligation to make sure people know what I’m thinking about when it comes to the future of the organization. Tom taught me the importance of that as well as the value of integrity. If you lose your integrity, you not only lose credibility, you lose your leadership potential. So I try to emulate what I learned from Tom in everything I do and live up to being an honourable and honest leader each day.
— With reporting by Barbara Chabai