Eight company- and shareholder-elected members make up the Calian Group Ltd. Board of Directors. The Board contributes to the strategy and governance of Calian. This “Meet the Board Blog Series” profiles each board member.
Name: Jo-Anne Poirier
Titles: President & CEO, VON Canada; Member of the Board of Directors, Calian Group Ltd.
Year Joined the Board: January 2016
Jo-Anne Poirier LinkedIn Profile
Q: Tell us a bit about your career history, Jo-Anne.
JP: My career history may be unique. From the moment I graduated university, I have held management positions.
Over my 35-year career, I have held senior executive positions in the private, municipal, not-for-profit and healthcare sectors. And I have accumulated years of experience from working in operational roles, environmental services, corporate services and business development.
Leading people is one of my passions. I am privileged to have led a great variety of teams—teams of engineers, architects, accountants, administrators, fundraisers, social workers and clinicians—to name just a few.
My strength is leading change. I pull together the best strategies to deliver the best possible benefits. To me, it is about balancing a range of interests and priorities and bringing about positive change. I feel strongly about leading by inspiration and helping to bring about the best possible individual and team performance.
Having led both local and national teams, I know that the more complex the organization, the more challenging—yet rewarding—it is to cut through the “noise” to facilitate the best outcomes while managing a multitude of stakeholders. In a nutshell, it is about relationships and aligning the team to achieve optimal results in any given area.
Since January 2014, I have been the President and CEO of VON Canada. The Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) is a leading home and community support providing service to over 10,000 people every day across Ontario and Nova Scotia. Healthcare is a burgeoning sector. Homecare and technology are coming together to modernize healthcare. We need to bring homecare into the rest of the healthcare system so that more people can age happily and safely in their homes. Calian is pivotal to that end goal because of the company’s innovative digital healthcare technologies.
Q: What is the single highlight of your career thus far?
JP: When you’ve been in the workforce for 35 years, it’s difficult to pinpoint a single highlight. However, one of them is being both a CEO and a board member. Being a board member made me a better CEO and being a CEO made me a better board member. Understanding the role distinction is important while knowing that it’s critical for everyone to row in the same direction to lead the organization in the most effective way. Having chaired several boards also gave me great insight into how best to work with seasoned board members and how to inspire and provide leadership to very talented CEOs.
Q: What led you to join the Calian Board?
JP: I admired Calian as a jewel of a company for many years before I was approached by a board member to apply to join the Calian board of directors. Since taking on the role, I have been impressed and inspired by the strength of the board, as well as the leadership team. During my six-year tenure, I have been privileged to chair two of the committees. I am a past Chair of the Governance Committee and current Chair of the Human Resources and Compensation Committee.
Q: Consider your tenure as a member of the Board. What are your high-5s?
JP: #1 high: A strong reputation with clients. Proof is in the number of long-time customers and contract renewals from large clients.
#2 high: Growth. Within the four operating segments (IT and Cyber Solutions, Health, Learning, and Advanced Technologies), growth continues to be strategic, profitable and increasingly international.
#3 high: Diversity. The board has a good men/women diversity balance. The four operating segments are diverse yet maintain a common unifying goal—strong client performance in an ever-changing world.
#4 high: Progress on governance and Environment Social and Governance (ESG). We are making good progress on governance and ESG and continue to pay close attention to changing and modernizing trends—leadership starts at the top and the demands are becoming increasingly complex.
#5 high: Government AND private business clients. We continue to make good progress diversifying our client base so that we’re not over-reliant on one stream. And we’ve retained large, loyal clients. This is proof that Calian fulfills its promises to provide the best possible products and services to its clients.
Have you read the previous articles published in this blog series?
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