Last week I celebrated my first anniversary at HealthPartners and got a bit reflective on what has changed and what I’ve learned. My three main lessons are:

1. Together, we go farther.

Ok, this first “lesson” is a bit of a cheat. I’ve always believed in that African proverb “alone, we go fast. Together, we go far.” I got to deeply learn about the power of collective action when working on the National Diabetes Framework, and my belief in what we can achieve when we come together to solve big problems is a big part of why I came to HealthPartners (more on this in a future blog). We are unique in that we were founded to be a collaboration among national health charities who recognize that we can raise awareness and money more effectively together than individually. As HealthPartners has raised nearly $10 million in my first year, I’ve seen time and again that these results could not have been achieved except by our 17 member charities coming together to support one another and our sector. It is inspiring.

2. Strong ESG approaches include workplace giving campaigns.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but I didn’t really understand the value of workplace giving campaigns until I got to HealthPartners. Earlier in my career, when I worked at Export Development Canada, I was proud to contribute to its annual workplace giving campaign, and one year I even got to lead the campaign myself. But I didn’t fully appreciate how powerful a workplace campaign is for the employer hosting it. It makes employees about twice as happy and engaged; it builds corporate reputation by meaningfully enhancing ESG practices (which we are ALL so focused on these days); and, ultimately, builds the bottom line. My mission in 2024 is to help more Canadian employers realize this untapped potential for themselves!

3. Health charities are stepping up, but need more support.

We’ve all heard in recent years that charities from all sectors have been experiencing increases in demand. In the case of health charities, a spike in demand was triggered by the onset of the pandemic, when limitations on accessing health care drove many Canadians to patient organizations for information and support. That increase demand has not slowed down – HealthPartners’ member charities alone supported tens of MILLIONS of Canadians just in 2023! But what we are only just starting to see now is how much charitable giving has been declining at the same time as demand has been rising. Charitable giving overall has dropped by 12% since 2010. For HealthPartners’ member charities, revenue declined 13% – or $74 million – between 2019 and 2021 alone. That means that each of us – individuals, corporations, governments, and others – need to pause to consider: if I value what patient organizations do for Canadians, am I doing all that I can do to help them do so? That’s a question I’ll be asking of everyone – me included – throughout this next year.

Is any of this news to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts, or any questions you may have. Reach out to me anytime at