Dionne brings with her more than 36 years of clinical experience, with 16 years in a variety of leadership roles. Most recently, at Southlake Regional Hospital, Dionne was Clinical Director of the Medicine Program, and Director, Diversity Cultural Advancement, where she focused on addressing gaps and developing strategies to create a more equitable workplace.
Dionne was an active member of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario Black Nurses Task Force, and is the founder of the Canadian Black Nurses Network.
We spoke to Dionne about her commitment to front-line staff, why mentorship, leadership development and training opportunities are so important to her, and why she’s excited to be at CAMH.
“I am excited to be in the VP Clinical Operations and Chief Nursing Executive role at this critical time where the need for CAMH’s services has never been greater.
I strongly believe that front line staff are the foundation of CAMH. Without a strong foundation, any organization can crumble. That’s why it’s important that staff feel valued, appreciated and supported by their leaders.
Over the course of my career, I’ve been at the bedside working nights for more than 11 years. I know what it is like to be on the front lines and not have your opinions or feedback taken seriously. That’s why, as Chief Nursing Executive, I walk the units and listen to the concerns of the staff on the frontlines and make decisions with their feedback and concerns at the top of my mind.
My top priority is to support and retain clinical staff who have worked tirelessly during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s crucial that our staff feel included and know that their voice matters because of the important work they are doing.
Earlier in my career, I had a wonderful mentor, Mr. Bernie Blais, who, at the time, was the CEO of Bruyere Continuing Care. Bernie taught me the importance of being my true and authentic self at work and in life. Everyone deserves to feel a sense of belonging in their workplace and feel they have an equal opportunity to be promoted if that is their desire.
Fostering a fair, equitable, inclusive, and diverse workplace is an important priority for me. That’s why, as a role model and Black Executive, I strongly support the work we are doing at CAMH to address diversity, equity and inclusion – particularly through the Dismantling Anti-Black Racism strategy and the Truth and Reconciliation Action Plan.
Inclusion is one of the major themes of One CAMH and our strategic plan. It is important to me that, in my role, I ensure employees are aware of, and are striving towards, our strategic priorities and living our values of courage, respect and excellence.
One way we can support our teams in excellence is by equipping our people with the tools they need to do their jobs effectively, while supporting their professional development. We also need to expand training opportunities for new clinical staff joining CAMH, and enhance existing growth opportunities for future healthcare leaders.
I can trace my healthcare leadership journey back to the mentorship I received early in my career. Mentorship and creating pathways for our excellent clinical team members to grow in their professions will be a priority as I work with our teams across CAMH.
Through listening to, and supporting our people, and working with renowned practitioners, researchers and care providers, CAMH will continue to be at the forefront of innovation as we address the emerging health care needs of a post-pandemic world.