Valery is a strategist, facilitator, and community builder with more than fifteen years of experience helping people and organizations make better decisions, have greater impact, and co-create deeper connection.

Her career as a health and social sector executive has spanned levels of government and crisscrossed the not-for-profit, charitable, community, hospital, mental health and addictions, and social innovation sectors.

Photo of Valery Navarrete

A lifelong mental health advocate, Valery’s most recent role was as CAMH’s Director of Planning and Strategy where she led the development of the hospital’s new strategic plan, One CAMH.

Prior to that Valery worked in mental health and addictions system reform with the Government of Ontario before becoming the driving force behind the national 150 Leading Canadians for Mental Health advocacy project.

During her years at the YMCA of Greater Toronto she helped to bring more of the Y’s high quality health promotion programs and services to more people in more communities as a Senior Manager in the Office of the President and CEO.

The early part of Valery’s career was spent as a federal public servant with Health Canada. She began as a Policy Analyst with the Bureau of Women’s Health and Gender Analysis. She later moved to the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch where she rose to the role of Director (A/) of Strategic Policy and Planning.

Valery is a past Director and Chair of the Board of the digital inclusion social enterprise Free Geek Toronto. She is a former volunteer crisis counselor with Distress Centres Toronto.

Valery holds a Master of Arts, Canadian Studies from Carleton University, with a focus on gender and diversity studies. She also holds a Bachelor of Journalism (Hons.) from the same alma mater.

Valery is one of six co-founders of Clarens Commons, a cohouse in Toronto that has been featured in the Toronto Star, CBC Tapestry, VICE and other media outlets.

Valery lives with her partner and eight-year-old stepdaughter in Ottawa, which is located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe People.


Valery is a mixed-race, cis-gendered, Latinx woman-of-colour, and a caregiver to family members with disabilities. Her personal experiences at the intersections of privilege and oppression are a driving force behind her efforts to work with others to build healthier, more inclusive organizations, communities, cities, and societies.

A practicing intersectional feminist, Valery is dedicated to learning, unlearning, and unraveling the systems and structures in our society that push too many people to the margins.

Core to all of Valery’s work is a passion for connection. She believes that positive personal, community, and social support networks and connections are critical to helping each one of us move from surviving to thriving.

“Relationships move at the speed of trust, but social change moves at the speed of relationships.”

Reverend Jennifer Bailey


Valery offers consulting, facilitation, coaching, and speaking services to people and organizations dedicated to social change. Click here to learn more about her services.

Life Without Us Podcast

Valery is the producer and host of the Life Without Us podcast, available wherever you listen to podcasts. The podcast shares stories about community and connection to inspire more of us to have more “us” in our lives.

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