CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health)

As the architect of CAMH’s new strategic plan, One CAMH, I led a year-long journey to coalesce CAMH people, patients, family members, youth, and system partners around the transformative vision of “health redefined.” The plan is an ambitious call to action to work together on a three-year roadmap grounded in the compelling strategic directions of Inspire, Include, and Impact. Launched in spring 2020, it is already helping build connection, and foster innovation and system change inside and out of Canada’s leading mental health and addictions research hospital.

“Thanks, Valery, for your leadership on the development of our strategic plan. We’ve had such an overwhelming response. Its simple messaging and practical milestones make it a powerful living document guiding our work.”

Lori Spadorcia, Chief Strategy Officer and SVP, Communications and Partnerships, CAMH

Free Geek Toronto (FGT)

During the summer of 2020, I collaborated with this not-for-profit technology reuse social enterprise focused on digital inclusion. We engaged community members to reflect on their impact and plan their future at a time when millions in Toronto (and around the world) had to shift abruptly to months of online work, school, service utilization, and social connection. In the resulting new Three-Year Strategy, I supported FGT to make strategic choices around how to focus their work at a time when the importance of digital inclusion could not be greater.

“Valery’s creativity, community-focused approach, and understanding of the social impact sector supported us to move beyond our day-to-day operations to think about the bigger picture regarding our impact.”

Ryan Fukunaga, Executive Director, Free Geek Toronto

Strategy Impact

I have had the honour of working on a number of innovative initiatives and as part of a several outstanding teams during my career. Some examples include:

  • As the Interim Director of Planning and Strategy at Health Canada’s former First Nations and Inuit Health Branch (FNIHB), I led of team of analysts supporting the First Nations and Inuit health policy agenda (a $2B portfolio). Previous to that I spent several years at FNIHB as a senior advisor leading small teams developing Cabinet and policy documents. This included some of the policy work that led to the creation of the first ever province-wide First-Nations Health Authority in British Columbia.
  • At the YMCA of Greater Toronto I helped drive advancement of a 10-year strategic plan building partnerships with key internal and external stakeholders to drive social change. Read about my perspectives on that work in this interview.
  • While advancing mental health systems change at the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, I brought ADMs across two ministries together with leading youth mental health experts and philanthropic change makers to support several integrated youth service hubs across Ontario. Since I helped advance this initial investment the government has continued to expand the model. Ten hubs are now in development to serve as “one-stop-shops” to address the needs of youth aged 12-25 related to mental health, substance use, primary care, education, employment, training, housing and other community and social services.
  • At Health Canada’s former Bureau of Women’s health and Gender Analysis I helped increase openness, transparency, and the application of a feminist lens in policy making as a member of a team supporting public engagement in drug and medical device regulation.