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 held senior roles in organizations including the YMCA of Greater Toronto, Health Canada’s First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

Valery has served as a Director and the Chair of the Board of the digital inclusion social enterprise Free Geek Toronto. She is a former 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 seven-year-old stepdaughter in Ottawa, which is located on traditional and unceded Algonquin Anishinabek territory.


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

Life Without Us Podcast

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

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