To celebrate the Foundation’s 25th anniversary, CEO Pascale Bouchard sat down with two long-time employees of the Foundation. Read on for their conversation:
Pascale Bouchard: You’ve both worked for the Foundation since it was launched in 1998. You’re both still so passionate. Where do you find your motivation?
Christiane Martineau: Our cause is still incredibly important to me. Every new project that becomes reality at the CHUM is a small victory for the future of healthcare. I know that these projects make a real difference in the lives of the CHUM’s professionals and the patients who trust them with their health. And that’s what motivates me every day.
Dany Savignac: You’re right—you’d think you’d lose motivation after so many years, but the CHUM and the Foundation are constantly evolving, which keeps things exciting. In my day-to-day work, I speak with doctors who are devoted to their patients and passionate researchers who are always pushing their limits and breaking new ground for public health. I know where we started and want to see just how far we can go.
P.B. Do any projects stand out in your mind, projects that were driven by the generosity of our donors?
C.M.: There are so many, but the 2011 multimedia station project for the Burn Victims Unit holds a special place in my heart. It’s a small department, not many beds, but it had a real impact on patients’ lives. The goal was to make patients feel less isolated and distract them during their hospitalization. The most incredible outcome was that nurses saw a clear decrease in pain medication requests from patients who had the option to turn their focus to something else.
D.S.: No one project comes to mind—I’d say it’s more just the constant evolution and advancements in research and medicine. We’re now talking about artificial intelligence, surgical robots and telemedicine. In the ’90s, no one thought it was possible. It was just the stuff of science fiction. It’s incredibly powerful to think that our community is at the forefront of this evolution.
P.B. What’s one of the most memorable events from your time working at the Foundation?
C.M.: Oh, that’s easy! In 2008, with only 90 minutes to go before the start of the Gourmet Dinner, we had just finished setting up the tables and the auction when a massive storm rolled through and literally picked up the tent, only to drop it a few seconds later. We had to call all 250 guests and tell them that the event would be postponed. To this day, I still smile thinking about this infamous dinner because it was that exact moment when I understood how important it is to have a good support system. Believe it or not, one week later we held the benefit and all of our guests attended. It was a total success and real proof of our community’s support.
D.S.: I was there for the merger of the three hospitals and then the three foundations. In the aftermath, there were all sorts of conversations about where the CHUM, as we know it, should be located. Those discussions are still pivotal in the history of our Foundation and hospital. Today, the CHUM and its research centre are located in the heart of Montréal and take in thousands of patients in need of specialized care each year.
P.B.: You have devoted the past 25 years to the Foundation and hospital. What are you proudest of?
C.M.: Of never being afraid to tackle new challenges and push my own limits to help my colleagues, our donors and most importantly, the patients who vitally depend on the CHUM. In 25 years, I’ve seen my fair share of fundraising campaigns! Countless projects have come to life thanks to the generosity of our donors—projects that help the CHUM’s patients and professionals. I’m proud of that because I like knowing that we were a small part of it.
D.S.: I’ve taken part in every major fundraising campaign and directly or indirectly helped each one meet its goal. Over and over again, I bore witness to the kindness and generosity of our community. Most of all, I’ve developed close ties with the professionals our donors empower to change and save lives.
Thank you both for speaking with me. We have so much to learn from your incredible experiences. Thank you for continuing to work towards our mission, so clearly important to you both!
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