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Celebrating International Women's Day

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024

Lakeridge Health Foundation is dedicated to investing in women’s health – an ongoing focus of our fundraising efforts for nearly five decades.  In the last few years, we’ve raised millions of dollars for a surgical robot that is transforming gynecologic oncology care, replaced critical equipment in the Heather Griffith Breast Assessment Centre and helped Lakeridge Health purchase a game changing tool called a MyoSure that prevents unnecessary pain, fertility issues and hysterectomies. Every day our team is working with our community to advance health care for women in Durham Region.

Within our own Foundation, nearly 70 per cent of the Foundation team is female and both senior volunteer roles of Chair and Vice-Chair are women. This International Women’s Day we highlight female leadership at our most senior volunteer role – Chair of the Board.  

Janet Stewart has been a donor and board member of Lakeridge Health Foundation since 2016. She took on the role of Vice-Chair in 2020 and progressed to holding the title of Chair in June of 2021. Janet is a leader and consultant in the health care field and has been an executive for more than 20 years, particularly on the manufacturing side of the industry.

While her passion and expertise in health care was certainly a part of what inspired Janet to join the Foundation Board, it was finding ways to serve her own community that sealed the deal.

"When I started looking for a volunteer opportunities I was at a place in my life where I had more capacity to give. I came across an advert for board members and thought – wow, this is a great way to be part of the future of health care in my community!”

Janet considers her time on the Board an incredible learning experience and exceedingly rewarding. She also feels honoured to be one of two female leaders steering the Board of Directors and supporting the Foundation team.

On International Women’s Day we asked Janet to reflect on her challenges and inspirations as a female leader. “One of the biggest learnings I had early in my career was building confidence in myself.  Finding my voice and figuring out the most constructive ways to have input,” reflects Janet. “Finally landing on how to navigate the world and feel confident in your opinions and voice is a gift to yourself and others.”

“I had a female leader early on who I’ve admired ever since. Her advice was to take stock in your strengths while understanding your gaps. Surround yourself with leaders who bring those strengths out and have skills that you don’t. At the Board level, I try hard to facilitate this. Not everyone needs to look and speak like you. We encourage input from everyone to make the best decisions. As Chair, I want to create a culture of trust, welcome collaboration and diversity of thought. It’s about how we come together to succeed.”

The theme for International Women’s Day in 2024 is Invest in Women, and Lakeridge Health Foundation is doing just that. Janet explains, “We’re investing time and energy as board volunteers to ensure gender equity and representation at both the board and staff level. Equally important, we strive to work closely with Lakeridge Health and the Durham Region community to ensure funding is available for women’s health care and research priorities. This International Women’s Day, and every day in between, thank you for investing in local health care.”