Pre-conference Courses – Facilitator Bios

System Transformation Demands a Paradigm Shift: Leading through Complexity, Chaos and Polarities

Phil Cady, CD, BSW, MA, DSocSci

Dr. Phil Cady is President of Cognitive Leadership Strategies West (CLSWEST). He has more than 25 years in applied leadership development services following his previous career as an officer in the Canadian Forces Health Services. Since 1997 Dr. Cady has enjoyed his role as an Adjunct Professor of Leadership in the Master of Arts in Leadership (Classic, Health Care Specialization, and Justice and Public Safety Leadership specializations) and MBA programs at Royal Roads University (RRU). He is also a faculty member for Canada’s Physician Leadership Institute, the Conference Board of Canada’s Director’s College and guest lecturer at the University of Bahrain. He has served on a variety of organizational boards and frequently volunteers his services to non-profit and social-mission-driven organizations. Dr. Cady achieved his Doctor of Social Sciences at RRU area of complexity science and health systems leadership.

Dr. Cady has brought leadership and learning opportunities to organizations of all sizes and complexity from across the world. His passion for studying, designing and facilitating whole systems transformation has afforded him many incredible opportunities to study and provide consultation on system leadership and strategy formulation for many private and public organizations. He has observed and coached over 1000 teams in simulation and workplace settings, designed, delivered and managed leadership development programs and online leadership assessment tools for a vast array of organizations.

Dr. Cady is a Certified Systems Mapper, Certified Systems Leader, a certified practitioner of Human Synergistics organizational performance diagnostics, the MBTI, a Licensed Cognitive Edge Practitioner, Friday Night at the ER Expert Panel Facilitator, and a licensed and certified Polarity Management PACT™ consultant. Dr. Cady also enjoys the privilege of being a Canadian Master Facilitator for Power and Systems in Boston, MA, bringing to life the seminal social systems work of renowned author Barry Oshry, one of the most powerful learning experiences for those who seek to deepen their systems leadership strategies.

Johny Van Aerde, MD, MA, PhD, FRCPC

Dr. Van Aerde has 25 years of experience as a neonatologist, first as a clinician-researcher and then in various leadership roles, including medical director of several neonatal intensive care units, the Pediatric Home Nutrition Program for Northern Alberta, the neonatal initiative for Collaborative Practice and Quality Improvement and, Regional Director of the Northern Alberta Neonatal Intensive Care Program. He is Professor Emeritus in Pediatrics at the University of Alberta and Adjunct Professor at the School of Leadership Studies, Royal Roads University. Dr. Van Aerde has published 100 peer-reviewed papers, two dozen book chapters and 150 abstracts on topics ranging from neonatal nutrition and metabolism to health system leadership.

Leading with Media Skills: Learn to Communicate and Influence in the News

Michelle Ward, MD

Dr. Michelle Ward is a health communications consultant, journalist, pediatrician, and associate professor in Ottawa. She is passionate about using communication to improve the health of Canadians. She works in the media and teaches, mentors and coaches other professionals in media and communication skills. She also partners with organizations to develop strategic communication plans and share the vast knowledge and wisdom in the healthcare system effectively with patients, the public and policy makers.
Dr. Ward completed the Fellowship in Global Journalism (University of Toronto), the postgraduate certificate in Media and Medicine (Harvard University) and the Knowledge Translation Professionals Certificate (University of Toronto).
In addition to appearances for radio and TV news and podcasts, her work as a journalist appears in The Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, CBC News, CTV and many other outlets.
As a practicing pediatrician and professor for 20 years, Dr. Ward is certified in pediatrics in Canada and the U.S. and in Child Abuse Pediatrics in the U.S. Throughout her career, she has focused on translating complex health information to a wide and varied audience in health,legal and social service systems. She develops curricula, teaches all levels of medical learners,
and authors scientific articles, commentaries, book chapters and clinical guidelines. She consults government and advocacy groups on child health.
Dr. Ward is a Board member of the BGC (formerly Boys and Girls Club) of Ottawa, where she chairs the programs committee and formerly co-chaired the equity committee.

Katherine Ward

Katherine Ward is an award-winning multi-platform journalist with over a decade of experience working on-air as a reporter and anchor. She currently works as Global News’ network health reporter.
Ms. Ward produces stories on a wide range of topics from COVID and ICUs to tornadoes. She has produced feature length series, such as examining how people experiencing homelessness receive palliative care. She was recently part of an investigative team that won a national award for exposing the prevalence of lead contamination in drinking water.
Ms. Ward is known for her on-air skills, multi-media innovations in telling stories, connecting with the communities she covers and finding the humanity in every story.
Ms. Ward holds a BA in Theatre Performance and English (University of Toronto) and a postgraduate journalism degree (Humber College).

Thriving People & Flourishing Planet: Leadership in Action!

Diane Meschino, MD

Dr. Diane Meschino, an early women’s health pioneer, founded and led programs for unserved mental health populations. Spearheading a collaborative planetary health-healthcare series: Applying Leadership to the Polycrisis, is her current focus. She serves on the RCPSC’s Planetary Health Committee, the CPSO, Sanokondu (COP Health Leadership Education) and is an affiliate of the World Health Leadership Network. Dr. Meschino is a psychiatrist, education scholar (health leadership and system transformation), artist, and associate professor at the University of Toronto.

Kira Leeb

Kira Leeb has over 25 years management experience including 15 years senior management experience with progressive emphasis on corporate strategic and leadership development as well as staff and budget management.  She has worked in both Canada and Australia developing extensive knowledge and understanding of the health care systems across both countries.  She has significant stakeholder engagement skills and experience interacting with clinicians, CEOs of health regions, hospitals and health services as well as government at all levels and has highly developed research experience with an emphasis on applied health services research and health system performance measurement. 

From March 2020-June 2021, Kira participated in the Victorian (Australia) Department of Health’s COVID Response Division assuming the role of Executive Director, Data, Surveillance and Epidemiology. In this role, Kira led a multi-disciplinary team of over 200 individuals responsible for providing data and intelligence to all levels of government within the state and nationally to help inform decision-makers about Victoria’s pandemic response.

Kira returned to Canada in 2021, relocating to Vancouver, British Columbia where she has pursued contractual work related to her background in health system performance measurement. She has also served as a Board Member of the False Creek Friends Society, an organization dedicated to improving the biodiversity and mitigating climate change impact.

Samantha Green, MD

Dr. Samantha Green is a family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital and at Inner City Health Associates in Toronto. She is the president-elect of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. She is the co-director of Temerty Medicine’s Taking Action on Planetary Health certificate program, and co-chair of the CanMEDS 2025 planetary health committee.