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MHA Presents: CEO Forum on Lessons in Leadership

May 15, 2019 |


No other sector demands the same level of complexity as our health care system. Our leaders must exercise influence while building consensus and creating work environments that motivate high-quality, patient-centered care. Hear from three CEOs from BC’s Health Authorities on their strategies for building teams, setting priorities and leading change.

Hosted by Master of Health Administration instructor, Howard Waldner, who has opened up his classroom for our alumni and SPPH community to join in this inspiring dialog.

Event Details

Date: Friday, June 21

Time: 5.30 to 8:00pm

  • 5:30 to 7:00 pm – Panel Discussion and Q&A
  • 7:00 to 8:00pm – MHA year-end reception for all students, alumni and guests (light refreshments will be served)

Location: Theatre, UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson St.


Join us for this complimentary event – advance registration is required. Please RSVP by Friday, June 14, 2019.

Alumni are also invited to attend the 10th Anniversary celebration for the School of Population and Public Health on Monday, June 17.


Howard Waldner – Adjunct Professor, School of Population and Public Health, UBC

Jen Duff – Corporate Director, Strategic & Operational Projects, Providence Health Care

CEO Panel 

Susan Brown – President and CEO, Interior Health Authority

Kathy MacNeil – President and CEO, Vancouver Island Health Authority

Cathy Ulrich – President and CEO, Northern Health Authority

Panelist Biographies

Susan Brown

Susan Brown’s career in health spans over 30 years and reflects her deep commitment to improving the care experience for patients, families and communities. She became Interior Health’s President and CEO in October of 2018, following seven years of service on the Senior Executive Team, most recently as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Hospitals and Communities.

Working with teams across Interior Health, Susan engages staff, volunteers, and local partners in the delivery of service that best addresses the needs of our communities. She has led transformation efforts across hospital, home and community sectors, championing innovation and practices that make it easier for the people we serve to receive care close to home.

Additionally, Susan’s responsibilities have included allied health and patient transport programs, Assisted Living, Cardiac Program, Surgical Network, and the Ethics Council. She has also been Interior Health’s operations liaison for the University of British Columbia’s Southern Medical Program, and is recognized as a health system leader at several provincial tables.

Prior to joining IH, Susan worked with Fraser Health Authority as the Executive Director, Medicine Program for Fraser Health’s 12 hospitals. Susan is a Certified Health Executive and holds a Master of Health Studies and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

Jen Duff

Jen Duff is a University of British Columbia MHA alumni (2007). Her career spans 18 years in the health industry with a track record working in clinical and clinical operations, change management, and project management. Her experience spans across acute and community health, local and provincial governments, community not-for-profits, and both private and public sectors.

Jen was named Business in Vancouver’s (BIV) Top 40 Under 40 and was awarded the Canadian College of Health Leaders Young Leader award while holding progressively expansive roles including leading Vancouver Coastal Health Authority as Regional Director for Mental Health & Substance Use and working within the Ministry of Health collaborating with the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions and Overdose Emergency Response Centre. Jen has worked in various clinical operational leadership roles in mental health, maternity and neonatal intensive care, and surgery. Jen currently holds the position of Corporate Director, Strategic and Operational Projects at Providence Health Care.

A lifelong learner, Jen is passionate about improving our health system and ensuring its sustainability now and into the future.

Kathy MacNeil

Kathy MacNeil is driven by her passion to improve the health and care of patients, staff, medical staff and communities.  She was named Island Health’s President and CEO in February of 2018 after serving as Executive Vice President, Quality Safety and Experience since 2015.

Kathy engages patients and families as partners in health and care alongside volunteers, employees and physicians to achieve superior clinical quality and service excellence, and fosters a patient and family centred culture that promotes learning and collaboration.

As an experienced health-care executive with 30 years of progressive leadership experience, Kathy came to Island Health from the former Capital Health Region in Nova Scotia where she served as the Vice-President of People. She holds a Masters of Arts in Leadership (Health Specialization) from Royal Roads University, and a Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy from Dalhousie University. She is a Certified Health Executive with the Canadian College of Health Leaders (CCHL) and an active member of the Vancouver Island Chapter of CCHL.

Kathy serves on the Board of the Health Employers Association of British Columbia and the United Way of Greater Victoria.

Cathy Ulrich

Cathy has held this position since 2007. From 2002 to 2007, Cathy was the Vice President, Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Officer for Northern Health. Before the formation of Northern Health, she worked in a variety of nursing and management positions in Northern British Columbia, Manitoba, and Alberta.

Most of her career has been in rural and northern communities where she has gained an understanding of the unique health needs of rural communities. Cathy has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Alberta and a Masters of Science degree in community health sciences from the University of Northern BC (UNBC).


Howard Waldner

Howard Waldner is an experienced teacher and senior healthcare leader who has taught the leadership course within the MHA program for the last 3 years. He is the past President and Chief Executive Officer of Vancouver Island Health Authority (now Island Health), having held this role from 2004 until 2013. He is currently the Principal and Chief Executive of Caledonia Solutions, a strategic consulting company he founded in 2013.

Prior to joining VIHA, he was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the former Calgary Health Region from 1999 until 2004. Before moving to Calgary in 1999, he held a number of senior leadership roles within the Scottish National Health Service, most recently as the Chief Executive of Dundee University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

He received the Canadian College of Health Leaders National Award for Innovation in Health Care in 2013, and has gained an extensive knowledge of health and social care, during an exemplary career spanning some 35 years. He also has significant board governance experience, and is a certified member of the Canadian Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD.D). He received his Executive MBA from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, is an active Certified member of the Canadian College of Health Leaders and is a Fellow of the United Kingdom Institute of Health Care Managers.