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Serving others through servant leadership

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Council, June Messenger 2023 | Posted June 8, 2023
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By Stacey Strilchuk, CPSA Council Chair

The second CPSA Council meeting of 2023 has come and gone, and I’ve found myself once again returning to the definition and importance of servant leadership. Robert K. Greenleaf coined the term in his 1970 seminal work, “The Servant as Leader”, in which he defined servant leadership in the following manner:

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.”

He then expounds upon the “best test” measurement of servant leadership:

“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?”

As I enter the last six months of my term as CPSA Council Chair, I continue to explore, learn, apply and reflect on the various characteristics of servant leadership, including but not limited to listening, empathy, awareness and stewardship. I would be remiss not to highlight how appreciative I am of the opportunity to further refine my servant leadership journey through my appointment to CPSA Council in 2019.

I encourage each of you to consider serving on CPSA Council. The 2023 Council Elections will take place this fall, so please watch your inbox for more information on the nomination process opening in August, and feel free to reach out to a current or past Councillor to learn more about our Council culture, strategic plan and the time commitment. Serving on one of CPSA’s numerous regulatory and operational committees and working groups is also an excellent opportunity to practice leadership skills in a safe and supportive environment, while working to enhance patient safety across the province.

Many individuals pursue health care because of the opportunity to serve others, which is one of the reasons health care is such a natural fit for servant leadership. Everyone has the potential to be a leader, but as healthcare professionals, we are uniquely positioned to be leaders not only in our personal lives, but in interactions with our patients, their families and our coworkers. The privilege of profession-led regulation allows us to further our leadership role by ensuring safe, competent care and making decisions in the best interest of patients in Alberta.

On behalf of Council, I wish to thank all our regulated members for being leaders and caregivers. Your dedication does not go unnoticed. Please know that CPSA Council and the organization are here to support, guide and encourage you as you continue to selflessly serve Albertans.

I hope you will find opportunities over the summer to spend time with your family, friends and community.

As always, it is a privilege to serve.

Ms. Stacey Strilchuk
CPSA Council Chair

A woman with shoulder-length blonde hair posing for a portrait photograph. She is smiling while wearing a black shirt, orange blazer and a necklace. Stacey Strilchuk is a healthcare executive with over 25 years of experience in the government, healthcare and not-for-profit sector. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Alberta and has extensive leadership training in the Kouzes and Posner Leadership Model.

Upon leaving government, Ms. Strilchuk served as Executive Director for the Camrose Primary Care Network from 2008-2019, collaborating with patients, stakeholders, physicians and healthcare professionals to provide enhanced team-based primary care. During this time, she also actively led and served on several provincial and national primary care initiatives and committees. In 2019, Ms. Strilchuk’s focus shifted to a healthcare system convenor role, supporting enhanced leadership and governance in the healthcare system. She is currently the principal and co-owner of 143 HealthCARE Consulting Inc.   In 2019, Ms. Strilchuk also commenced her appointment on the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) Council, where she held the positions of Chair of the Governance Committee and Vice-President of Executive Committee. At present, Ms. Strilchuk is serving her second term as CPSA Council Chair. She is committed to CPSA’s mandate of protecting the public and ensuring regulated members are consistently providing safe, competent care.

Ms. Strilchuk is a proponent of servant leadership and is thankful for the continued support of her husband Dan, a proud Alberta farmer, and their Labrador Retriever Bodhi (A.K.A. Walk Coordinator and Debrief Specialist).

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