Q&A with neWCHapter: WCHF's young professionals committee

2019-02-28 11:28:50 AM

neWCHapter: WCHF’s young professionals committee is inspiring the next generation of trailblazing leaders

This International Women’s Day, Women’s College Hospital Foundation (WCHF) is celebrating the powerful women in its community who are leading change through philanthropy.
One such group of women is WCHF’s young professionals association: neWCHapter. Dedicated to championing Women’s College Hospital in the community and raising important funds for its greatest priority needs, neWCHapter is following in the footsteps of WCH’s revolutionary leaders by creating a healthier and more balanced world.
neWCHapter co-chairs Michelle Myers and Katie McGarry share why they’re so passionate about Women’s College Hospital and how the committee to helping to create change:  
WCHF: Why did you first decide to get involved with neWCHapter?
Michelle: I first came across neWCHapter through one of their events. The thing that I loved about the committee is that it brings awareness to people about Women’s College Hospital, and not just from a fundraising point of view but from an awareness perspective. The committee shares who Women’s College Hospital is and what it has to offer. That’s what I found really interesting - the awareness that it brings to the community about women’s health.
Katie: It was the same for me. Four years ago, I was invited to a neWCHapter movie night - which are still hosted a couple of times a year, and it was a great event! At the time, the group was looking for some help to lead the committee and that’s when Michelle and I both joined. What I really like is that the events aren’t just about raising money; there’s always an educational component on an important women’s health issue. I think it’s important to incorporate that educational piece. I’m also a patient of Women’s College Hospital so I’m proud to be involved and to give back to the hospital in this way. 


WCHF: What do you think is so unique about Women’s College Hospital?

M: For me, it is the holistic view around health that’s so important. In today’s society, there is a lot of emphasis on health and staying healthy both in mind and body. The entire culture at Women’s College Hospital really focuses on that – on keeping people out of hospital. That’s really important to me.
K: I think it’s the ambulatory care model that Women’s uses. It is something different in our healthcare system. The hospital has made great progress and is leading by example to make changes to our healthcare system that, I believe, are positive and necessary.
WCHF: Your signature event, Women Paying it Forward, is coming up on April 24th. Can you share a bit more about what people can expect from the event?
M: The event format is based on the Women for Women’s luncheon, the Foundation’s annual signature fundraising event, whereby it is a Ted-Talk style event this year and where the “paying it forward” theme comes in is that it is an opportunity for female leaders in the community to” pay it forward” to a mentee or young woman in their life by giving them the chance to learn about Women’s College Hospital and mostly importantly, to learn more about a health or healthcare issue that may sit close to home! It’s also an opportunity for us to reach a broader demographic and focus on the awareness piece that is so important to the work we’re doing while offering young female leaders the chance to network while supporting a great cause. And it’s also a lot of fun! This year we’re doing it in the evening with an informal talk by Dr. Sacha Bhatia, co-founder of the hospital’s institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care – an aspect of care that Women’s College Hospital is bringing more and more into their care model to great success.
WCHF: You’ve decided to direct funds raised at Women Paying it Forward towards the Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care (WIHV). What inspired you to support virtual care?
M: One of the areas we’ve supported in the past was the Virtual Mental Health Program at WCH, which is a program that creates access to mental health services for women from anywhere through the use of mobile technology. I think that technology is such an important part of today’s society and when its combined into healthcare we can create a really integrated health system that many younger people will be able to identify with. We’re taking things that our generation is interested in and how it’s being applied at the hospital to show how it can then be applied to their own healthcare. I think it’s really important for us to demonstrate for people how technology and healthcare are being integrated together, and the impact it can have on our care.
K: For instance, an example that is particularly relevant to neWCHapter members is technology being developed for new mothers who may be suffering from postpartum depression. For those young moms, having access to doctors or other care providers through an online app could be life changing. It’s a really great example of how technology is transforming care in a tangible way and we want to share that with our community.
WCHF: Can you share some of your goals for neWCHapter’s continued growth?
M: Our fundamental goal is to continue to raise awareness for people - the more awareness we can bring, the better! That’s our underlying cause and we will always continue to do that. But, of course, it’s to raise a lot more money, too!
WCHF: What inspires you most about the neWCHapter committee members you work so closely with?
K: One thing that inspires me is the diversity of the people on our committee. We have people from all different backgrounds – from the public sector, charity, business people, and lawyers. So, it’s really the diversity and bringing all of those ideas and views together that is really exciting.
M: Definitely the diversity, like Katie said. But for me, it’s also seeing the commitment from the other people on the committee that continues to inspire me to do more. 
WCHF: And finally, do you have any advice for other young women in the community who are hoping to make a difference?
M: The main thing that I’ve found is that you have to find something that you believe in. If you find something that you believe in, then it’s easy to make a difference because it’s something you want to pursue. I think that’s the most important part – if you don’t believe in what you’re working at then you’ll never be successful. I’ve thought about other organizations and done other charity work but until I found something I really believed in, it was hard to put my mind to it!
K: I think the other really important piece is don’t underestimate the amount of impact you can make in your community. Even though you are just one person, when you really put your mind to it, you can make a difference. And there are organizations out there, like neWHCapter, who are looking for young leaders to help them grow, so get involved!
Thank you so much for chatting with us, Michelle and Katie!

To learn more and purchase tickets to Women Paying it Forward, click HERE.

For more information about neWCHapter and how to get involved, visit their website HERE or email either Michelle or Katie at:

Michelle Myers: michellemyers@kpmg.ca
Katie McGarry: klmcgarry@kpmg.ca