2009 Winners

Special Recognition

Vickie Kaminski - Sudbury

Dee Adrian

From time to time, a nomination for an Influential Women of Northern
Ontario Award comes our way that far exceeds the criteria outlined in
the IW nomination process. Over the past 12 years, the IW program
has awarded only three women the honour of being selected as a Special Recognition Award winner based on outstanding accomplishments.

We are very proud this year to add Vickie Kaminski, the president and chief executive officer of the Hôpital Régional de Sudbury Regional Hospital (HRSRH) to our impressive list of inspiring and successful women in the North.

Kaminski’s nominators describe her as a smart, tenacious, compassionate, and spirited leader whose drive and commitment have benefited the health-care system in all of Ontario. They say she is answerable to a very public constituency often critical of the processes and procedures that she is accountable for, but often has no control over, such as government policies. Yet, she handles it all with grace and conviction that she has made a positive difference in the health-care community.

“Leading the largest hospital in Northern Ontario and the second largest employer in Sudbury is not an easy job,” says Gisele Chrétien, former chair of the board of directors for HRSRH and the former president of Collège Boréal.

However, “her love for her community and her commitment to our hospital provided her with the willingness to make the big sacrifices,” Chrétien says. “Vickie has confronted issues with calm and compassion as well as presenting solutions to resolve problems.”

Kaminski’s admirers consistently refer to her calming personality and level-headed management style as critical factors in helping her to lead a management team that was responsible for the transformation of a $360-million corporation. Her tenure has resulted in balanced budgets, top efficiency benchmark performances, and a major construction project that is finally on time and on budget.

Kaminski accomplished all of this while maintaining her integrity by not pointing fingers at former management that left her with a multi-million deficit and a stalled construction project that gnawed on the nerves of politicians and residents alike.

“Through deft leadership and management acumen, she has left an indelible mark in establishing the new unified culture of the Sudbury Regional Hospital,” says the Honourable Madam Justice Patricia Hennessy. “Vickie negotiated around, went over, or stared down obstacles to our common goal for a new hospital.

With creative energy, constant innovation and personal integrity, Vickie led this superb health-care institution into a new chapter in the life of the community.”

Even as Kaminski led the HRSRH through its most challenging times, she always maintained her involvement in the community by participating on various committees, panels and boards, says Louise Paquette, director general of FedNor.

Paquette, an IW alumnae, says, “on occasion, we meet people who truly distinguish themselves (and) Vickie Kaminski is such a person…(She) has become a role model for the young men and women of our region.”

Kaminski, a nursing graduate from Laurentian University in Sudbury, has also made her mark on the provincial health-care scene. She established the framework for the Cardiac Care Network for the province. The Kaminski Report, tabled in the provincial legislature, resulted in quality and access improvements in cardiac care for patients throughout Ontario.
She facilitated business between public and private sectors with the successful negotiation of alternate financing with infrastructure Ontario and Ellis Don Construction that led to the resumption of the stalled one-site hospital project.

Kaminski travelled to Saudi Arabia as a member of a four-person Canadian accreditation team to lend her considerable expertise to evaluate the health-care system there. Her influence was also felt on many boards and organizations that benefited from her health-care expertise and her cool management style.

What Kaminski has accomplished as a nurse, community member, executive, and as a woman in Sudbury is truly remarkable, say her nominators.

“The HRSRH stands as a beacon among community academic hospitals,” says Hennessy. “It provides compassionate care based on the best science and research in the world, staffed by longtime and new Sudburians who are among the best educated and trained professionals in the country.”

“That is Vickie Kaminski’s legacy; that is what she influenced over her many years as a leader.”