Dominic Giroux: The Power of Connection, Communication and Community

Cover art for episode 64 of Healthcare Change Makers with Dominic Giroux

(Access show transcript) Dominic Giroux has always been a go-getter, from being elected a school board trustee at only the age of 19, to now President and CEO at Hôpital Montfort. 

Show Summary 

When Dominic Giroux transitioned into the role of President and CEO and Hôpital Montfort, he took a unique and personalized approach. This approach included having 1 on 1’s with a variety of people in the organization to get to know their views and what’s important to them.

“You need to get to know your people first and earn their trust, and they will tell you what your priorities should be”, says Dominic when explaining the importance of engaging with staff and providing a listening ear.

In this episode, Dominic opens up about what helped him transition into his CEO role, what patient safety means to him personally, his hopes about healthcare moving in one direction, and more!

Mentioned in this Episode


Imagine you could step inside the minds of Canada's healthcare leaders, glimpse their greatest fears, strongest drivers, and what makes them tick. Welcome to Healthcare Change Makers, a podcast where we talk to leaders about the joys and challenges of driving change and working with partners to create the safest healthcare system.

Philip De Souza: Hey, listeners, it's Philip from HIROC here. How's your day going? Mine is going great, as I get to share a fresh new episode of Healthcare Change Makers with all of you. Speaking of all of you listening right now, thank you. Our show wouldn't be what it is without your support and yes, your downloads too. So please keep listening and also share our show with your friends and colleagues. Now you're all in for a treat today as we've got Dominic Giroux on the show with us. Dominic is the CEO and President at Hopital Montfort in Ottawa, and he also chairs the board of directors of the Ontario Hospital Association. I personally was amazed to hear about Dominic's career journey, and might I add, it started when he became a trustee at the age of 19. What were you doing when you were 19 years old?

You'll also want to have a pen and paper handy as Dominic shares some insightful points on his transition as CEO between organizations, some great leadership lessons for sure. Finally, be sure to stick around for the lightning round, as Dominic infuses some nostalgia during our chat about how he'd spend his time after coming home from school when he was a kid. Okay, let's get to it. Welcome, Dominic. We're so happy to have you on the show today.

Dominic Giroux: Thank you very much for inviting me.

Philip De Souza: Of course. So Dominic, tell us a bit about yourself for those who don't know you and how did you get into healthcare?

Dominic Giroux: Well, I often say that I was born in Eastern Ontario, fell in love in Southern Ontario, with a woman from Northern Ontario.

Philip De Souza: Oh, wow.

Dominic Giroux: So that's my providential tour de chapeau and perhaps my path toward healthcare leadership is certainly an unconventional one. I'm Franco Ontarian. During my undergraduate studies at the University of Ottawa, I was elected as a school board trustee at age 19.

Philip De Souza: Wow.

Dominic Giroux: And as a school board chair at age 21. I've been a lifelong public servant. I started in Toronto in Ottawa as a senior executive in two new local French language school boards, and then going to Queen's Park at age 29 as assistant deputy minister at the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities. And then to Northern Ontario to lead a university and serve as vice chair Universities Canada, and then change lanes completely in 2017 to take the leadership of Health Sciences North, which is the regional academic health science center. And it also has a research institute. And we were serving a region larger than several countries in Europe combined. And at the time, during the pandemic, I was co-chairing the pandemic response in Northern Ontario for Ontario Health. So before coming to healthcare in 2017, I'd been exposed to the sector. I had served as board chair of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

I had co-chaired the National Consortium for French Language Health Training and served on the Drummond Commission on the reform of Ontario's public services that had made about 100 recommendations related to healthcare. And now I'm in Ottawa at Hopital Montfort since August. I've been able to bring together all my background in government education and healthcare to lead Montfort, which is Ontario's Francophone teaching hospital. And it's somewhat of a homecoming for me. I was born at Montfort, so was our son Simon, and I served on the board of the hospital in '97, '98 when I was 22 at a time when Ontario was looking at closing the hospital. And obviously, since then, Montfort has doubled in size. It's now among Canada's top 40 research hospitals. It's a high performing academic center, so unconventional path for sure to healthcare.

Philip De Souza: That path is an amazing path. I feel like I should have been with you at every moment to learn something. But Dominic, when you made that change lanes from education and to Health Science North, what spawned that? What got you to do that, make that change?

Dominic Giroux: Well, obviously, at the time, there were big challenges in healthcare and that's why the hospital approached me to consider that role. What I love about healthcare is the teamwork, the level of commitment by, quite frankly, the smartest and most dedicated professionals I've ever met. There's not a day that goes by that I'm not amazed by one of my colleagues. I love the immediate impact of our actions. Sometimes colleagues will complain to me that we don't have as much flexibility as they wished we had because of external constraints. But I find that in healthcare, we have more control on what we do than in other sectors I've worked in, whether it's in academia and government or in school boards. I'll give you an example. When I became hospital CEO in Sudbury seven years ago, physicians told me three things. We needed a second MRI, we needed more beds, we needed a regional electronic medical record that involved all the 23 acute hospitals in Northeastern Ontario.

These were pragmatic things that would have a real impact for patients across the region. And quite frankly, significant progress was made on all of those three fronts. And here at Montfort, we're now engaging in a broad joint strategic planning process for the hospital, for our research institute and for our business development corporation. We're about to have a public lecture series. Matt Anderson, the CEO of Ontario Health, will be one of our guest speakers. Andre Picard from The Globe and Mail will be one of our guest speakers. We're going to consult internally and externally and at the end, we're going to have a strategic plan for the next four years that's going to be focused with five key goals and about 15 outcomes to be achieved by 2028. That's when we'll be celebrating our 75th anniversary. So that's what I love about healthcare. We have big challenges, big pressures, but we can do tangible things that have a real impact for the patients that we serve.

Philip De Souza: Hearing all about that, you definitely sound like a doer and you make things happen. And I think a lot of people, that's why we reached out to you is a lot of people mentioned that to us about you is your can do spirit and you just let's get things done. And so speaking of let's get things done, you mentioned you started at 19 when you were 19 years as a trustee. So I remember when I was 19, I was thinking about going to the movies, going to the mall. Where did that drive come from for you to be so active and give back to your community?

Dominic Giroux: Well, I was quite engaged in the community through high school, especially with the Francophone Association here in Ottawa. And I started attending school board meetings at the time, and parents and union leaders said, "Well, you know what? There's a lot of people in their sixties and seventies around the board table and not a lot of younger people, so why don't you consider running as a trustee?" And so for me, it was at a time when it was before the creation of French language school boards across the province. So there was unfair funding for the French language system at the time. And being Franco Ontarian I thought was important for the community to have access to quality education across the province. So we were part of several of us, there was a broad movement across the province to gain governance by and for Francophones in education.

And that was achieved thanks to the work of many people over a number of years. So that's really what drew me to at the time to be involved in education. And I have to say, it's not different than what we do here now at Montfort in terms of healthcare. Montfort is an iconic institution in Canada in terms of linguistic rights for official linguistic minority communities. Montfort was identified for closure in 1997 by the Ontario government, and there was a court of appeal decision in 2001 that to quash that decision and that core decision became jurisprudence for linguistic minority rights across the country. So Montfort has really become a social symbol for linguistic communities across the country. So it's definitely a source of pride and privilege to be leading Montfort at this time. And essentially, it's the same aspects, the same mission or similar mission to what attracted me to community engagement more than, well, now 30 years ago.

Philip De Souza: Wow, that's an amazing story. And so along this amazing story you just told and along this journey, did you have any mentors?

Dominic Giroux: Yeah, so I've often been the youngest serving the various roles that I've served in over the years. So I was fortunate to be surrounded by exceptional people, whether supervisors, peers or external partners. And I watched them in action and learned from each of them. And there's definitely pieces of advice that stuck with me along the way in the various sectors that I worked in.

Philip De Souza: Very cool. And so many of our listeners are leaders and their experience spans from emerging leaders to very experienced leaders. And I must add, a lot of majority of listeners are from the healthcare sector, but we actually, we've been hearing how we've been fortunate to have listeners from outside the sector who really value the leaders we have on our show, and that's why you're on, and it shows how people appreciate the advice from the healthcare sector as well. So Dominic, can you share three to five things that have helped you as you transitioned into your new role?

Dominic Giroux: Well, a few things come to mind. The first one is that a few days after the announcement of my appointment here at Montfort, my predecessor invited me to hold a virtual town hall meeting with all employees and physicians. And that allowed me to introduce myself, to speak about my connection to the community and answer questions. And we did the same with the executive team and with the professional staff. And in my presentations, I'd explain how my transition to Montfort would unfold, who I would meet, the questions I would ask. I committed to being transparent and to summarize in writing after my first 100 days what I would've learned. I also stated that I would make no promises or no commitments during my first 100 days. I find that some CEOs fall in the trap of articulating their so-called priorities before they even begin or early in their tenure.

And I think that's a mistake because you need to get to know your people first and earn their trust and they will tell you what their priorities should be. And that was important for me to have that early engagement because I was joining the organization only five months later and that immediate connection within a week or two of the announcement of my appointment I think was important. So that's the first thing that was useful to me. The second thing that I did before I officially started with the blessing of my predecessor and of our board chair, I actually sat down one-on-one over coffee with each board member, with each member of the senior team and a few selected external partners. So about 50 meetings in total.

Philip De Souza: Wow.

Dominic Giroux: And the purpose was it wasn't to discuss organizational files, it was really to get to know them, seek their advice on my transition. I took a lot of notes and I would ask them pretty much the same questions. What should I know about Montfort? Who are the stars at Montfort? The most popular question was, if you had a magic wand, what would you do either at Montfort or in the region? I would ask them what they had seen my predecessors do well, that they thought I should continue to do, what they thought vice presidents should stop doing, start doing or continue doing. Any advice they had for me as new CEO. What's the number one thing they wanted me to remember from our conversation? So I filled about three thick notebooks through those 50 conversations. It really gave me a head start and it enabled me to prepare a detailed entry plan to ask more specific questions once I started in the role.

And the third thing that I did was once I started, I did a similar round of one-on-one meetings with all the chiefs of medical departments, all internal directors, all frontline managers one-on-one, our union presidents, the chairs of our various boards and associations. It was quite an undertaking, but it was worth every minute. And as we know, most organizations have seen a high turnover among their frontline leaders during the pandemic and we're no exception. So it was important to me to get to know our leaders one-on-one. And at the end of my first 100 days, I did write my blog summarizing what people had told me. It was a few pages long. It was candid with the good, the bad, and the ugly as people articulated to me. And I think it helped create a sense of trust.

And with the board, I summarized what I called the seven brutal facts. I borrowed that idea from Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great. So that I think that the teams, I still hear about it today when I do my rounding, how people appreciate that I played back to them, what they told me in my first 100 days in the role.

Philip De Souza: I get a sense that I feel that you, and that much I've heard, communication comes very easy to you because the fact that you had all those lists of questions, not for you to answer, but for you to ask others, it says a lot. It says that you want to learn and absorb and hear from others and co-create. And so that's amazing.

Dominic Giroux: Well, you talked about mentors earlier. A former deputy minister of mine would always say, "Communicate, communicate, communicate." So obviously, that's I think key for any leader in any role. But another former colleague of mine in the university sector who was our chief fundraiser at the university, actually Tom Zsolnay, he's now the CEO of the foundation at Kingston Health Sciences Center. He told me on day one, "Dominic, if you ask for money, you'll get advice. And if you ask for advice, you'll get money." So guess what? Ever since, I've been asking for a lot of advice from a lot of people and I have to say he's right, it works. And of course, I wasn't asking our teams, the reason I was asking for advice was not to get money, but you understand what's on people's mind. And it's much easier, quite frankly, for us as CEO to say, once you've summarized what people have told you and you need to articulate a small number of priorities to be able to say, "Well, it comes from what you've told me." And that really increases ownership.

So I'll give you an example. On Monday evening, we had our medical advisory committee meeting, and I put on a screen 10 potential themes for next year in terms of priority work. And we just use an electronic tool. And I asked them to rank them from one to 10, one being the most important. And their answers were pretty similar to the same question we've asked all our frontline managers just before the holidays. And when we're going to come with our priorities for next year, they will look very similar to what they will have put in their ranking. So it's no longer my priorities, it's our collective priorities because over 150 people have weighed in, in those choices that we're making for the next fiscal year. So that's why for me, as seeking that advice in a systematic way allows us to be more intentional and more effective in achieving outcomes.

Philip De Souza: Speaking of outcomes, we at HIROC have been fortunate to have a great collaborative partnership with you personally. Wherever you've worked, our values have always aligned and we're so grateful for that. So thinking about HIROC's overall strategy when it comes to creating the safest healthcare system, what does turning the corner on patient safety mean to you personally, Dominic?

Dominic Giroux: Well, it's about creating a just culture. And as we know from improvement science, it's about making our problems visible, engaging the experts at the frontline level, engaging our patient family advisors in the problem solving and the improvement work. And I find that the internal conversations just change when patient family advisors are in the room and ideally more than one in the room. The focus shifts from a focus on care providers to the patients, and I certainly saw it during the pandemic. At Health Sciences North, for instance, we had patient family advisors on our incident command team for COVID-19 and on our operations teams throughout the pandemic, and they had the last item on the formal agenda of each meeting. And of course, they could speak up at any time on the agenda. They had the last word. And they're the ones who often brought us back to what mattered. Patient safety or they're the ones who emphasize the need to invest time and energy on employee and physician wellness for instance.

I also find that the challenge in healthcare is to sustain improvements made around safety. So I prefer to pick an area of focus and be relentless about it for many years in a row, whether it's medication reconciliation or reducing workplace violence as opposed to moving on to the next topic a year or two after improving an area of patient safety because the sustainability of improvements is key, not only because of safety for patients, but also in terms of long-term credibility of those efforts within the organization. The last thing I would say is that I think we need to continuously benchmark ourselves around patient safety. We're fortunate to be surrounded by lots of data in healthcare, and we need to confront the brutal facts. And as leaders, help our teams connect the dots on our performance on various safety indicators.

Philip De Souza: I love the point you brought about sustainability, sticking with it because it's true. You're right. There could be lots of project, project implement and then people forget about things or things fall by the wayside because they're already on to the next topic du jour. And so by you ensuring, I love your vision, how you want to stick with something to make sure that it sticks.

Dominic Giroux: One of the practices we have here at Montfort for instance, is we have clear standards in terms of patient rounding for all our leaders at all level in terms of employee rounding. And I think that's one of the ways that we can help ensure sustainability of improvement around patient safety and their report backs and report outs on those rounds, both for patient rounding and employee rounding. And that is part of what we call our management model here at the hospital, and we're quite proud of it. And colleagues that we recruit from other hospitals to Montfort are quite impressed with the discipline that we exercise around that. Of course, we're not perfect. But when you see that Montfort has been accredited with exemplary standing for three accreditations in a row.

Or when you look at the patient experience and safety indicators from the King Institute of Health Information where you can go on the web on their in-depth system and Google or search any hospital in the country, you will see that at Montfort, we're one of only five hospitals in Ontario where we have no indicator tracked by CIHI that generally performs below the national average. And we have a number of indicators we're perform above the national average. So we're quite proud of that. And I think that speaks to the quality of the teams that we have here at Montfort and their commitment to doing what's right for patients, despite all the competing pressures that we're seeing and despite the challenges we're seeing in primary care, for example, that really puts more responsibility in our emergency department, for instance.

Philip De Souza: Oh no, absolutely. You all should be very proud of what's happening at Montfort. And we're so lucky because one of our board members, Marie-Josee tells us and tells me all about the amazing things happening. And so I guess my question for you, and I know now you passed your 100 days and I guess you would be probably close to six months, but there's definitely some magic sauce or something really cool at Montfort that allows for this unique culture. So what would you say that is, that kind of uniqueness?

Dominic Giroux: Well, there's a pride in the institution. We came close to closure 30 years ago, 25 years ago, and we saw a huge mobilization of Canadians across the country speaking to the importance of Montfort. That included a rally of 10,000 people at the Ottawa Civic Center on March 22nd, 1997. There was an 800-page book written by the late [inaudible 00:22:24] about Montfort [foreign language 00:22:25]. So the fight of a people. So that's why there's a pride in the organization. There's been under the leadership of my predecessor, Dr. Bernard Leduc, an enhanced focus on quality of care and patient safety as evidenced by the outcomes I just made reference to. And one of the things that impressed me when I joined Montfort is most hospitals have values on their strategic plan and so forth.

Well, what surprised me was that as I was having those one-on-one conversations with frontline managers asking them what I should know about the hospital and so forth, they started with specificity, making references to one, two, or three of our values and how a specific action made taken by a colleague or a department, their department or another department embodied the values of the hospital. That's rare that you see that reference to organizational values. And there's a camaraderie, of course, our language of work is French. We're a Francophone teaching hospital, although we serve a very high number of English-speaking patients, but there's a camaraderie. There's a collegiality. We even have a year-end humor show called The Ba-Bye. On French CBC on December 31st, 11 PM for decades, there's a TV show called The Bye-Bye, which is a humorous review of the year. Well, at Montfort, it's called The Ba-Bye. And it's staff organized. This 30 minute show that is recorded over a number of weeks that where we laugh at ourselves.

Philip De Souza: Oh my gosh.

Dominic Giroux: And the things that we've done or done not so well and so forth. And of course, I was part of it this year and they didn't tell me the full script. They just told me to read three or four specific lines. And I was surprised like everyone else with the magic, the exercise, but I don't think many hospitals do that. So I think these are just some examples of that describe that contribute to the magic sauce as you described of the culture at Montfort.

Philip De Souza: Well, now that we've heard about this end of year show, I definitely need to get invite and share it with subscribers in January, 2025.

Dominic Giroux: One of the skits I was part of this year was because of that question I would ask in my first 100 days asking people what they would do with a magic wand. Well, sure enough, our nurse practitioners and one of our employees in facilities, in the facilities department actually got me a real magic wand. So the skit is here I am walking the halls in the hospital and pointing at something that I'm fixing with a magic wand, but not knowing the picture that's appearing as I'm walking around the hospital. So that was the funniest part at my expense as part of The Ba-Bye at year-end.

Philip De Souza: I love it. This is the best. I can't wait to see this next in December, but back to our conversation. Having served on various boards related to health, and as we heard your story from the beginning with education and public policy, how do you see your extensive board experience contributing to your leadership style? And we also know, for those who don't know, you also sit on the Ontario Hospital Association OHA board as well.

Dominic Giroux: Yes. And serve as board chair since September, 2022. So I've been very fortunate to have a very well-rounded career and learn from so many talented and smart and committed professionals. And I find that serving on so many boards, keeping in mind I was a school board trustee at the age 19. So I've served on boards at a very early age, but it instilled in me something I was lucky to learn early in my career. And that governance matters in organizations. And I would submit that nowhere is that more important than in healthcare, given both the challenges and the opportunities we have in the system. At Montfort, I'm blessed to have an outstanding group of board members and exceptional chairs. And you made reference also to our vice chair, Marie-Josee Martel, who serves on the HIROC board. And as a leader on the operational side, you have to respect the role of the board and to turn to them for advice given the incredible backgrounds they all have.

And I think having a strong dedicated board makes you a better leader and makes your organization strong and more strategic. And in the case of the board of the OHA, I was providing individual feedback to board members a few months ago because we do an annual survey, a peer survey to provide feedback in terms of what each board member does well and what they could improve. And one colleague, Dr. Gary Newton, the CEO at Sinai Health told me, he said, "Dominic, serving on a board like the OHA makes me a better CEO." And he's absolutely right because you broaden your thinking, you understand other parts of the sector, you realize that you're not alone, that the challenges your organization are facing are not unique to some extent, but it just gives you a broader understanding and the broader context that is important for what we do on a daily basis.

Philip De Souza: And so Dominic, what do you personally do to stay motivated and energized? Do you read? We know you talk to people. Do you watch shows? What is it that keeps you personally energized? I can hear it in your voice, you're ready for the next thing now.

Dominic Giroux: Well, I'm an extrovert, so to stay motivated and energized, I need to meet people. So either walking on the units, meeting with partners, seeking feedback or advice from others, it's why I love being involved with the Ontario Hospital Association. You get to work more closely with colleagues from across the province. On the personal front, since we moved back to Ottawa, my wife and I block off Friday evenings. We go out for dinner and pick a new restaurant every week. It's our time to unwind and reflect. So that's been a great step that we've followed since we moved back to Ottawa over the summer.

Philip De Souza: Very good. Catherine, our CEO, we were talking about you today because you both saw each other at a meeting, and then she asked me to ask you about asking in general, and I guess maybe this is more for her than for our listeners, she said, "What can HIROC do to help you help the system, help safety and improve the healthcare sector?"

Dominic Giroux: Well, we really enjoy working with HIROC as partners because of the, well, first of all, the client-centered approach that you adopt. But I think the ongoing added value that HIROC provides is to highlight for us the trends in terms of increasing risks, decreasing risks in this sector. There's always insightful information that we receive from HIROC that we use for our risk management framework that we use with our audit committee, with the board, with our senior team, and with frontline managers. And in that context, highlighting, the more HIROC can continue to highlight effective practices in other organizations, that makes a big difference. So I know for example, that HIROC has identified Montfort as a very successful hospital in terms of managing risks associated with its birthing center. So we're quite proud of that. We're one of the largest birthing centers in the province.

Well, that was great. We knew we had a great birthing center, but it's great to hear from HIROC, from the data that you collect that we have even more evidence to support that. But conversely, for us to know which other hospitals would be considered exemplars in specific areas of risk management and safety helps us in our continuous improvement efforts. So I think that's ongoing value that will be important. And I really value the relationship between the Ontario Hospital Association and HIROC in terms of enhancing collaborative benefits in the Ontario hospital sector. I think that is a very positive initiative that will make an important positive difference for our hospitals and for employees in the province.

Philip De Souza: Oh, absolutely. But I will take it back to the leadership team, how you value the sharing of knowledge so that others in the sector can learn from others. We know many organizations do learn from Montfort but sharing that knowledge and finding ways that we can continue to share knowledge so that everyone learns these wise practices from everybody, and that'll help ensure a safer space for patients, families, and staff. So that's a good point you brought up.

Dominic Giroux: As I often say, excellence has no address.

Philip De Souza: I like that. We should put that on t-shirts. Before we get to the lightning round, because you mentioned the magic wand so much, I thought I would ask you, you personally, if you had a magic wand, Dominic, and you could do one thing to make everyone in healthcare kind of move in one direction for a safer cure for all, a safer space for all, when it comes to, like I said, patients, families and staff, what would you put that magic wand on? Is there something that comes to mind?

Dominic Giroux: Yes. We know the population of Ontario is going to grow significantly over the next decade. Just here in the city of Ottawa, the population is going to grow by 210,000 people in the next 10 years alone, including 80,000 people who will be more people who will be age 65 and more. So you can imagine the pressure that's going to be put on primary care, on home community care, on palliative care, on acute care and so forth. And we know from experience that demographics explain two-thirds of everything in any society. So for me, to me, if I had a magic wand, having a clear long-term capacity plan for healthcare in Ontario is paramount. For me, capacity plan, it's health human resources, and it's capital. We know what's coming in terms of demographics, we see it every day.

So we are really good at mitigating the current risks and current pressures, and it's our responsibility as leaders to make sure that our organizations and our partners are ready for what's coming 5, 10, 15 years from now. So if I had a magic wand, it would be collectively we would have a long-term capacity plan for healthcare in Ontario. And the second magic wand would be 150 more nurses in the next few weeks at the hospital. That would be my second magic wand.

Philip De Souza: That's a good one too. I won't deny. That's very good.

Dominic Giroux: But the first one will address the second one.

Philip De Souza: Absolutely. See, you're such a planner and thinker. Well, since we are chuckling now, we'll move into the lightning round. It's the almost end of our chat. And these are just quick questions where I ask you, they're short answers or you can answer long as well. But now that I'm looking at the first question I'm going to ask you, I feel like you already answered it, but I'll ask you anyways. What was your first job ever?

Dominic Giroux: My first job ever was distributing the weekly newspapers such as the Penny Saver, to about 100 homes in my neighborhood here in the east end of Ottawa. And then worked as a sales clerk in the paint department at a Canadian Tire. And while in high school, I worked during the summer months in the offices of three members of Parliament in the House of Commons. And then at age 19, I became a school board trustee, and it's been all downhill from there.

Philip De Souza: What was your first concert ever, Dominic?

Dominic Giroux: I think my first major concert was Peter Gabriel at the Old Forum in Montreal. I was about 18, and I remember the concert was quite a sensation. [inaudible 00:35:24] who's a Quebec artist, was the artistic director for Peter Gabriel's worldwide tour. So there was a lot of pride in the Montreal Forum about the creativity of that concert.

Philip De Souza: That's a good concert to go to. First good one. Yes. Who is a living leader you most admire?

Dominic Giroux: I'm going to cheat on that question. I'll speak about a leader who passed away about a year and a half ago, [inaudible 00:35:51] who was the head of SOS Montfort. So that movement that I made reference to that was put in place from 1997 to 2001, that led the battle to save Hopital Montfort. And she and thousands of people were successful. And I have a picture of her, I'm looking at her right now in my office, and she is the inspiration for everyone here at the hospital and the community. And in fact, we renamed a street just next to the hospital in July in her honor to commemorate one year after her passing.

Philip De Souza: Oh, that's so touching. I love that. Finish this sentence, Dominic. If I wasn't in healthcare, I'd be doing...

Dominic Giroux: Well, I would probably be serving in a leadership role in the public service as I did when I was ADM 15 years ago. If I was younger, I would probably be in law because before I accepted my first full-time job in school boards as chief of staff to the CEO of the new French school board in Toronto, I'd been admitted to the law school here at Ottawa U.

Philip De Souza: What?

Dominic Giroux: I had even paid my tuition and purchased my books for the first term.

Philip De Souza: Oh my gosh.

Dominic Giroux: And I got the job offer a week before class started, and I took a leap of faith, moved to Toronto and never looked back.

Philip De Souza: But you could still pursue that.

Dominic Giroux: I think with everything we have to do here at the hospital, I don't think we would have the time for that.

Philip De Souza: Oh no. You're a doer. I can feel it. And my last question for you is if you could take the spot of any actor in any movie or TV in any era, which character would you want to be and why?

Dominic Giroux: I have to say I don't watch much TV, but my favorite show as a teenager was The Golden Girls.

Philip De Souza: Okay.

Dominic Giroux: You'll say, "Well, there were very few male characters," you would say. My best friend in high school and I would come back from school, buy a bag of chips and a pop at the corner store, and we would lay down on the living room carpet, do our homework on the floor while watching religiously, the 4:30 PM, the 5:00 PM and the 5:30 episodes of The Golden Girls. Three different ones every day. And I love the character of Sophia Petrillo.

Philip De Souza: Oh, I love Sophia.

Dominic Giroux: She was bold, she was confident, she was hilarious. So if there was a male equivalent of that, that would probably be the character that I would want to play.

Philip De Souza: I like the adjectives you use. Bold, confident. What was the third about Sophia?

Dominic Giroux: She was hilarious.

Philip De Souza: Yeah. I feel that she's helped shape you because you're bold [inaudible 00:38:33]. You're confident and I think you're hilarious too.

Dominic Giroux: We do serious work.

Philip De Souza: Yes, you do.

Dominic Giroux: And it's important to not take ourselves seriously.

Philip De Souza: I like that.

Dominic Giroux: I've been fortunate in my careers to work with colleagues that we have difficult decisions to make, difficult transformations or challenging transformations to implement, and we need also to find the time to have a little bit of fun.

Philip De Souza: Oh, absolutely. And yes, of course, we know you for quite some time, Dominic, but whenever, like I said earlier in the conversation, whenever people would speak about you to me or to Catherine, it was always about, like I said, how you have this energy in you to get things done and to collaborate with people. And even last year at the OHA CEO Summit, just the way you were connecting with all your fellow CEOs, it just was amazing to see and I found it very inspiring. And so that's why we wanted to make sure we had you on the show, because even today, I took so many notes, Dominic. The advice you offered is very insightful, and it'll definitely help other leaders, not only in healthcare, to be honest. It'll help leaders in other sectors as well. So we really appreciate you, Dominic.

Dominic Giroux: Oh, thank you very much for your invitation. This was fun.

Thank you for listening. You can hear more episodes of Healthcare Change Makers on our website and on your favorite podcasting apps. If you like what you hear, please rate us or post a review. Healthcare Change Makers is recorded by HIROC's communications and marketing team and produced by Podfly Productions. Follow us on Twitter at @HIROCGroup or email us at [email protected]. We'd love to hear from you.