Hospital Foundation finds new executive director

Jodi Schellenberg
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It’s been months in the making but a replacement for Rob Dalziel has been found.

Sherry Buckler, who has a history of working for non-profit organizations, will be filling the position of executive director at the Victoria Hospital Foundation on June 23.

The Victoria Hospital has hired Sherry Buckler as its new executive director. She will officially start on June 23.

According to board chair Steve Suchorab, the hiring committee “found her ideas to be fresh, they found her to be energetic and I think she has had a fair amount to do in the area of fundraising because she comes from a fundraising background.”

Buckler has experience working for the MS Society of Canada and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and has been living in the Prince Albert for six years since moving back to the province from Calgary.

“I’ve gotten to know a lot of people in the community and one of the things that interested me in the position was an opportunity to work for my immediate local community,” Buckler said. “I have experience working for the MS Society of Canada and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, both very, very fine missions, but to be able to work right here at home for our local hospital really appealed to me because in my opinion, really nothing is more important than our local hospital.”

Since she still has a couple weeks before starting the position, Buckler is looking forward to her first steps as executive director.

Her first mission will be to get to know the organization, staff, board, donors, community and all of the people who support the foundation. She will also research what the health region wants from the foundation in the future.

“One of the things I want to understand is where we’ve been, what we have accomplished and what we need to go forward in the future,” Buckler said. “I won’t know that, obviously, until I get in there and sit down and start talking to people.

“My hope is to take the foundation forward into the future and build upon the hard work of those who came before me and continue to work very hard to strengthen the foundation’s ability to contribute to the best possible health care for our community,” she added.

Dalziel left big shoes to fill and Buckler admitted she is a little nervous to be to the one filling them.

“It is very intimidating and a little bit terrifying but also exciting,” Buckler said. “I’ve met Rob a few times myself. He is a very, very talented man. Everybody loves Rob and I think he has done the foundation so much good over the years.

“I hope very much to be able to live up to some of what Rob has implemented and also bring to the foundation my own ideas and my own style,” she added. “Hopefully that will propel us into the future some more and we can continue to get stronger and more effective.”

Right now Buckler is still working for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and she loves working with families whose children have Type 1 Diabetes.

“What I am looking forward to the most in this position -- and I hope that I am with the foundation a very long time -- is to strengthen and make our hospital excellent,” Buckler said. “I want the Victoria Hospital to be known as one of the best hospitals in our province and I think that is going to take some more time.”

The hospital is close to being known as one of the best and it is an important facility with a huge role in the community, she said.

“I think we already have a great reputation but we want to build upon that and I want it to be an excellent hospital,” Buckler said. “I think the foundation will have the capability to support that mission over the next number of years.”

Working at the foundation is one way to show how important the hospital is to her and her family. Buckler and her husband have a seven-year-old and a two-year-old.

“We have already used the Vic Hospital -- our son was born premature at the Vic Hospital and the care was excellent,” Buckler said. “As a mom going through it, I was very impressed with how I was treated and it left a long-lasting impression on me.

“Our daughter has been in the hospital a little bit over the years, with childhood illnesses and stuff,” she added. “This is where we live and my extended family live in the Lakeland region so I feel that my heart is very much invested in the mission that the Vic Hospital provides and is marching towards.

“I am very excited and honoured and grateful to be invited to be part of a great mission.”

The board of directors is also excited to see what Buckler will bring to the foundation.

“I think Rob Dalziel did a tremendous job in building the foundation to what it is and now it is going to be up to Sherry to keep the wheels turning in regards to what Rob had started,” Suchorab said. “We went through many worthy candidates … It was a long process but I think we had to do our due diligence to hire a person who we feel is going to do that job.”

Organizations: Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Victoria Hospital, MS Society of Canada Hospital Foundation Prince Albert Vic Hospital

Geographic location: Calgary, Lakeland

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