Previous Speakers



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Steph Ouellet

Principal, Sailing Stone Solutions

Steph Ouellet is the Principal at Sailing Stone Solutions. He is an experienced leader with over 20 years of experience in areas of strategic planning, project/change management, financial/HR operations, communications & social media, and governance. Through increasingly challenging leadership roles in financial services, healthcare, and information technology sectors, he has built a reputation of delivering results and building trust.

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Steph holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree with Honours in Management Information Systems from the University of Ottawa, and a Masters of Business Administration from the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University.  He also holds the Certified Health Executive (CHE) designation from the Canadian College of Health Leaders.

Steph has also been involved in numerous volunteer/board activities, more recently as board chair of the London Regional Children’s Museum and a regional cabinet member of the Elgin-Middlesex United Way.

Debbie Walsh

RN BN MHS CHE, Vice- President and Chief Operating Officer Eastern Rural Zone, NL Health Services

Debbie Walsh is the vice president and chief operating officer for Eastern Rural zone. She most recently held the position of vice president, clinical services, and chief nurse at the Eastern Regional Health Authority. In this role, she had responsibility for various clinical programs including surgical services, perioperative services, medicine program and clinical efficiency, the Centre of Nursing Studies, and the provincial cancer care program. Debbie has been in this role since April 2023.

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Debbie began with Eastern Health in 1990 and has held more responsible leadership roles throughout her career. She has worked at the senior management level since 2013, starting as director of the regional perioperative program, director of rural health, director of the regional medicine program and executive director responsible for regional surgical services, perioperative services, and the regional medicine program.

Debbie is a registered nurse and holds the designation of Certified Health Executive (CHE). She has a Diploma in Nursing, a Bachelor of Nursing, and a Master of Health Studies (leadership). She has completed Eastern Health’s Learning Leaders’ Program (executive stream) and is currently a member of the Canadian College of Health Leaders (CCHL). Debbie is also an Accreditation Canada surveyor.

Debbie and her husband, Tom, are proud parents to two sons, Andrew and Michael. They enjoy spending quality time together and travelling.

Charlene Brophy

President & CEO, Fonemed

Charlene Brophy is President and CEO of Fonemed, an international tele-medicine company, offering a patient-centered platform that incorporates technology and disease-specific algorithms as well as tele-medicine support and remote bio-metric monitoring to over 2300 client groups and 25 million individuals globally. Charlene has brought her hands-on knowledge of our health care system into developing countries and communities which otherwise would not have access to medical care. Today, Fonemed has close on 300 employees, the majority of which are in NL supporting their Canadian, US and international operations.

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Charlene has been recognized by multiple organizations for her success in the business community. She describes herself as a passionate and tenacious innovator. She was awarded Newfoundland and Labrador’s Organization of Women Entrepreneur’s (NLOWE) Entrepreneurial Excellence Award in November,2020. She has been the recipient of four Business Excellence Awards from The St. John’s Board of Trade. She was awarded the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Innovator of the Year by Atlantic Business Magazine in 2017 and recognized in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 as one of the Top 50 CEO’s in Atlantic Canada. In May of 2021 Charlene was inducted into the Business Excellence Hall of Fame by Atlantic Business Magazine.

In addition to her business commitments, Charlene has a profound sense of community. She supports various local charities through her hands-on approach and is also an active board member for several non-profit organizations. Charlene is a proud Newfoundlander and although spent a great deal of time traveling outside the province prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, she remains very proud to call NL home and to give back to her home province by growing the company locally.

Robert Alldred-Hughes

President & Chief Executive Officer, Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital

Robert Alldred-Hughes is the President & CEO of Hôpital Glengarry Memorial Hospital (HGMH) located in Alexandria, Ontario. HGMH is a small, rural hospital providing acute care, stroke and geriatric rehabilitation, and emergency services in Eastern Ontario.

With a 20-year career in hospitals, Robert has dedicated his work to creating an environment centred in fairness and developing a corporate culture that increases employee engagement, supports leaders of tomorrow, and focuses on quality care at every patient encounter.

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He has dedicated time to his own professional development with a Bachelor’s Degree from Brock University, a Post Graduate Diploma from Georgian College, a Master’s Degree from York University, and certificates in health law, and workplace mental health from Osgoode Hall Law School. Robert’s professional designations include Certified Human Resources Leader, and Certified Health Executive (CHE).

Being a new(ish) Hospital CEO in Ontario, Robert is eager to share learnings and experiences to support others transitioning into senior level roles in healthcare.

Nathan Banda

RN, BSN, MSN, DBA Candidate, Researcher, Director Surgical Services, Grande Prairie Regional Hospital

Nathan Banda is a family man, minority leader, and the Director of Surgical Services at the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth II Ambulatory & Care Centre in Alberta Health Services. He is a member of several Clinical Strategic Networks, Alberta Health Services Talent Supply Working Group, and a Senior Operations Leader on the Provincial Diversity and Inclusion Council.

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Nathan has a passion for healthcare workplace improvements especially in rural  and remote places including a passion for diversity and inclusion issues in healthcare workplace and has in the past presented, “A Minority, Black Employee’s Perspective on the Unspoken Racism in AHS,” at the Socially Engaged Applied Doctoral Research in Canada. His Doctoral Research, “Factors that Affect Nurse Retention in Rural Canada: Managing Nursing Shortages in Rural Alberta” focuses on rural nurse retention.

(John) Chris Smith

HBSc, ACP, Lead Researcher, Peterborough County-City Paramedics

Chris is an international award-winning researcher, Advanced Care Paramedic and a lover of all things data. Starting as a Paramedic 15 years ago, Chris has always been interested in research. After an injury led to Chris needing temporary light duties, Chris pushed for his service to be more involved in research which led to the creation of an adjunct “Research Lead” position, which Chris still holds today.

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After completing his Masters in Applied Modeling and Quantitative Design at Trent University, Chris initiated the position of Data Coordinator and Analyst for the Government of PEI’s Department of Health and Wellness – Emergency Health Services Division where he began the process of integrating the province’s paramedic data into the larger healthcare system and promoted data driven decision making. Chris is a

  • Fellow with the McNally Project for Paramedic Research;
  • A member of Dalhousie Department of Emergency Medicine, EMS Division;
  • The Paramedic Representative on the Provincial Data Quality and Management committee of the Ontario Provincial Base Hospital Group.
  • And a technical advisor on the CSA’s Canadian Paramedic Information System.

Today, Chris continues his love and research of all things data while working full time as a front-line paramedic in Peterborough Ontario, where he lives with his amazing wife, two brilliant daughters and co-author/dog Delliah.

Jennifer Gillard

Vice President, Patient Experience, Public Affairs and Strategic Partnerships, Northumberland Hills Hospital

Jennifer brings a senior, dedicated and expert focus to continually enhance patient, caregiver and volunteer experience, while overseeing the complementary areas of Public Affairs, Health Records (including Admitting/Registration and Switchboard), Privacy and Volunteers. As senior lead for Patient Experience, Jennifer works alongside patients, families and caregivers to improve patient experience and advance quality improvement and system transformation.

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A member of the hospital’s senior leadership team since 2007, Jennifer shares responsibility for co-designing and achieving the goals of the hospital’s strategic plan and in creating an environment that promotes best practices and excellence. She led the creation and steady growth of NHH’s Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC) and, as a founding member of the Ontario Health Team of Northumberland (OHT-N), she has a direct hand in advancing OHT-N’s strategic planning and community engagement activities including the creation and expansion of the OHT-N’s Experience Partner Council.

Bonnie McKee

PFAC Chair, Northumberland Hills Hospital

A member of the PFAC team since July 2022, Bonnie was initially recruited to serve on NHH’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She quickly responded to calls for interest by other working groups and is currently a member of NHH’s Patient Experience Measurement Working Group, Seniors Care and Palliative Best Practice Working Groups, amongst others. Bonnie assumed the role of the PFAC’s inaugural chair in April 2023.

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Bonnie hails originally from Toronto but lived for 16 years in the U.S. prior to moving to Port Hope in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. She holds degrees from Queen’s University and a Master’s of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership from Buffalo State University as well as multiple professional certifications.

Professionally, she’s spent over 25 years working with multinational companies in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. as a consumer insight and innovation analyst developing new products and services.

Bonnie’s interest in health care – specifically, senior care – was kindled when she was an essential caregiver for her father who suffered with advanced Alzheimer’s and other physical challenges during his time as a patient in the Veteran’s hospital in London, Ontario. During that time Bonnie sat on a number of committees to improve the quality of patient experience at Veterans and across the St. Joseph Health Care campus. At NHH, Bonnie has had personal experience with the COVID-19 Clinical Assessment Centre, screenings in the women’s health unit and emergency care.

Heather Bensler

Assistant Dean Academic Partnerships, Associate Professor (Teaching), Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary

Dr. Heather Bensler joined the Faculty of Nursing in August 2017 as a tenure-track assistant professor (teaching) and the Director of Indigenous Initiatives with a focus on faculty and curriculum development. She is the Assistant Dean Academic Partnerships for the Faculty of Nursing. In this role, She is responsible for ongoing development, sustainment, and extension of collaborative partnerships with rural and Indigenous academic partners in the profession of undergraduate nursing educational programs.

Leigh Chapman

RN PhD, Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), Health Canada

Dr. Leigh Chapman is committed to advancing the nursing profession in Canada to ensure equitable access to quality care. As CNO for Canada, she provides strategic advice to Health Canada, plays a convening role on key nursing issues, and represents the Federal Government at public forums.

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Leigh is a registered nurse (RN) who received her PhD from the University of Toronto’s Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing. Over the past 20 years, she has gained a deep understanding of nursing by working in both frontline and  clinical leadership capacities. In addition to her role as CNO for Canada, Leigh continues to work at a community-based consumption and treatment site in Toronto, where she provides harm reduction services and frontline care.

Kirsten Miller

MD FRCPC, BC Northern Health Authority Medical Lead, Child and Youth Health Program, Co-Lead, Sustaining Pediatrics, Rural and Underserved Communities (SPRUCe), Paediatrician, Prince George, BC

Kirstin completed medical school at the University of Ottawa and then Pediatric residency training at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver. She has been a general pediatrician in Prince George, northern BC, on the traditional unceded territory of the Lheidli T’enneh people, for almost 20 years and she provides visiting pediatric clinics in Masset and Daajing Giids, on the lands of the Haida Nation.

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Kristin is the regional lead for Pediatrics for BC’s Northern Health Authority and co-leads SPRUCe (Sustaining Pediatrics in Rural and Underserved Communities), a clinical network for rural pediatricians in BC. She also works as a pediatrician on call for the CHARLiE (Child Health Advice in ReaL-time Electronically) virtual pathway. Kirstin enjoys working with medical learners as a UBC Clinical Assistant Professor in Pediatrics and love rural medicine to trainees!

Tanya Solberg

Executive Director, Allied Health Programs, Yukon Hospital Corporation

Over the last 20 years, Tanya Solberg’s work in healthcare has focused on improving access to care and engaging teams to improve both workplace culture as well as the patient experience. She is the Executive Director of Allied Health Programs and People Services & Culture, for the Yukon Hospital Corporation (YHC), based in Whitehorse Yukon. In this role, Tanya oversees the Medical Imaging, Laboratory, Rehabilitation, Pharmacy, Visiting Specialist Clinic, Chemotherapy, Medical Daycare as well as Human Resources, Learning & Organizational Development and Employee Wellness for the territory’s three acute care hospital. 

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Tanya has helped advance the expansion of Whitehorse General Hospital’s Emergency Department and the addition of a state-of-the-art Outpatient Laboratory Department. She also led the consolidation of Microbiology services, stewarded Medical Imaging’s transition to a fully-digital environment, was instrumental in the planning, development and opening of the first MRI service in Canada’s North and currently supporting YHCs Indigenous Workforce Strategy.  

A leader who is passionate about strengthening health systems, Tanya serves on the Access to Specialty Care Committee, Pharmacy & Therapeutics Committee and two Union/Employer Committees, and leads the Recruitment Working Group – part of Yukon’s Health Human Resource Strategy. Tanya previously served on YHC’s Board of Directors, and was a member of the Board’s Executive Committee, Quality Council and Pension Committee during her nine year tenure.    

Tanya holds Diplomas in Business Administration and Health Sciences, Medical Radiation Technology; she completed the Governing for Quality and Patient Safety program with HealthcareCAN and is a member of the Canadian College of Health Leaders. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration through Yukon University. When she’s not working, Tanya enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, ages 14 and 12. They spend Yukon weekends at their family cabin on the lake, where there’s no shortage of fishing, biking, hiking, and storytelling around the campfire – under the northern lights.

Laura Salmon

Director of First Nation Health Programs, Yukon Hospital Corporation

Laura Salmon started her professional career in nutrition when she moved to the Yukon almost  25 years ago. She is the Director of First Nations Health Programs (FNHP), and oversees a wide variety of Yukon Hospitals programs and services for Indigenous patients. She works with partners to ensure that the holistic health needs of self-identified patients are met by Yukon Hospitals.  She also contributes to the planning and direction of corporate initiatives like Indigenization: transforming spaces, services, policies and programs with a focus on youth and the future of healthcare. 

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Originally from the Nak’Azdli Wh’uten First Nation in BC, she is now a seasoned Yukoner and enjoys the changing seasons. She makes the most of the long winter with skiing and the long summer days with running and cycling.

Andrea Tuchlinski

Director, Clinical Governance & Quality, Island Health

Andrea is the Director for Quality and Clinical Governance at Island Health. She has dedicated the last 10 years to quality improvement, patient outcomes and engagement. She has held leadership roles in clinical governance, quality and safety improvement at health authorities in British Columbia and Alberta. Her passion lies in implementing evidence-based decision-making and innovative health service delivery models to elevate the standard of care.

Max Jajszczok

Executive Director, Community Hospitals Centre/North Island, Rural Remote Strategy and Ops, Island Health

I have had the privilege of working across multiple provinces, guiding healthcare administrators and practitioners to challenge traditional methods and innovate to improve programs and care delivery across the healthcare continuum. I am currently the executive director for, community hospitals (centre/north island) and rural and remote care and strategy with Island Health.

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My journey in the healthcare sector is characterized by a diverse range of experiences, from direct patient care in intensive care units (ICU), coronary care units (CCU), Surgery/Oncology, and Primary Care, to leading provincial multidisciplinary teams in the development of policies, quality improvement initiatives, and system enhancements. I have also been responsible for public sector business and procurement leadership, managing $450M in clinical product contracts.

I am a researcher within the University of Calgary, Cumming School of Medicine, Community Health Sciences portfolio focusing research specific to health system quality and performance indicators targeting outcomes driven by community based care. My academic experience encompasses supporting academic research initiatives, evaluating new technologies, implementing system-wide quality improvement measures, enhancing innovative programs, developing community-focused analytic frameworks, formulating complex clinical and process policies, and leading full-scale system change.

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