Emily Gruenwoldt Carkner, president and CEO, Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres

2017 Forty Under 40 recipient

Emily Gruenwoldt Carkner
Emily Gruenwoldt Carkner

Age: 38

Birthplace: Ottawa, Canada

Company: A national association representing paediatric health-care delivery organizations across the continuum of care.

OBJ360 (Sponsored)

Education: Master of health administration, Dalhousie University (2003); bachelor of arts honours, economics/health sciences, Queen’s University (2001)

Charitable involvement: Arnprior Regional Health

Biggest biz achievement: The development of a grassroots network called Emerging Health Leaders. This pan-Canadian network encourages and promotes personal leadership competencies and development for aspiring leaders in the health sector. EHL now features eight nodes and over 1,000 members from coast to coast.

Biggest biz obstacle: Achieving work-life balance in the context of pursuing professional goals while having two very young children and an awesome husband, all of whom I love to spend time with. I also need to find time for activities that re-energize ME. I love my job, I volunteer on an amazing board, I want to see EHL continue to thrive, but at the same time, I want to be part of my kids’ childhood and build a strong relationship with my husband – and stay sane throughout it all. Tough balls to juggle.

Biggest influence: My peers challenge, motivate and inspire me every day. I surround myself with professional colleagues who love to learn, constantly challenge the status quo and disrupt “business as usual.” We love to brainstorm solutions, not focus on the challenges. My colleagues are invaluable to me, and I hope they know that.

Biggest lesson learned: Challenge orthodoxies. Nothing is forever and we shouldn’t take anything for granted. Respect the past but focus on the future. My work at the Canadian Medical Association taught me how vulnerable (and stale) most association business models are. Associations serve an important networking and community-building role, but “membership as we know it” is evolving and association leaders need to be one step ahead of that curve to survive.

First job: Physiotherapy aide at West Physio

Advice I’d give the younger me: Surround yourself with big thinkers – people who build you up, not box you in.
Favourite pastime: Any type of exercise – preferably outside!

Favourite local pro sports team: Ottawa RedBlacks

Favourite local summer event: Canada Day

Preferred social media platforms: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram

Personal Twitter handle: @egruenwoldt

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