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Why their critical mission makes The Ottawa Hospital Foundation one of Ottawa’s Best Places to Work

By focusing on employee growth and a team approach, fulfilling their purpose will become a reality

Tim Kluke

President and CEO Tim Kluke is very clear about what makes The Ottawa Hospital Foundation — the fundraising arm of The Ottawa Hospital — one of Ottawa’s Best Places to Work.

“Core to our employee value proposition is a focus on employee growth,” said Kluke. “We encourage everyone on the team to keep learning, and we want to give everyone the opportunity to spread their wings.”

It’s also about a dedicated group of people who are motivated to be a part of a once-in-a-generation opportunity. Over the last five years, the Foundation team has expanded in preparation for the Campaign to Create Tomorrow – the $500 million fundraising effort to build the city’s new state-of-the-art hospital and fuel groundbreaking research. 

Meeting this audacious goal means the Foundation’s team is helping reshape healthcare for generations to come — a tall order that for them is an honour to fulfill. 

Ottawa Hospital Foundation rendering

It’s why Kluke said being recognized as one of Ottawa’s Best Places to Work is a “reflection of how we feel about what we are doing, how we are doing it, and who we are doing it with.”

This close-knit team of professionals and community leaders are passionately committed to inspiring, enabling, and celebrating community support for The Ottawa Hospital. 

A testament to their success is the work that goes into building lifelong relationships with their donors. That’s what drives the team to raise funds to save lives and help patients live better, longer lives. 

“Many of us have a connection to the cause ourselves — whether it’s a family member who’s received care at the hospital or we’ve been there alongside a donor as they or a loved one has faced a medical emergency — this fuels our primary purpose of fundraising,” explains Kluke.

Ultimately, that’s the main source of job satisfaction for staff – their work will change the way healthcare is delivered for generations to come. 

Growth strengthens the team’s mandate

To tackle such a significant fundraising campaign, the team needed to grow — it needed to recruit more like-minded people. And it’s apparent that not only are donors stepping forward to stake a claim at this moment in time, but so are those professionals who want to help the fundraising efforts.  

“Our mission is what attracts amazing people to work at the Foundation — who wouldn’t want to be a part of the largest fundraising campaign in our city’s history?” said Shelley Crawford, vice-president of finance and administration. “The priority we place on culture also resonates with people we’re trying to recruit: we’ve got a living document (our Culture Code) as a guide.”

Ottawa Hospital foundation staff

Expanding the team gave the Foundation the opportunity to define and develop the kind of work culture they’ll need to carry them through.

“The staff worked together to craft a code that defines our core values,” said Crawford. “The people who work here put their heart and soul into the work they do and that’s where our culture code comes in.”

In addition, Foundation leadership has worked to build a positive culture of its own, focusing on everything from setting goals and objectives, to staff development, recruitment and retention.

Supporting employees through health and wellness

It should come as no surprise that a hospital foundation would make employee health and wellness a priority — whether it’s ensuring everyone’s home office is ergonomic, or checking in to make sure they have what they need to do their job.

“We place a lot of importance on ensuring our people are comfortable and have the resources they need,” said Kluke. 

Supporting mental health is a key pillar for the Foundation because staff are often meeting with donors who have experienced a tragedy or loss. 

It’s why their next staff retreat will feature a speaker who’s going to talk about how to handle those experiences. “We want to help them learn how to cope with hearing these heart wrenching stories, instead of just holding it in,” she said.

Staff, like donors, understand that while these emotions can be difficult, they’re a source of inspiration for creating a healthier tomorrow that delivers better outcomes for patients.

The Ottawa Hospital Foundation team

Making time for fun

While the work the Foundation team does has a profound impact on the city, they also make room for fun and team bonding experiences inside and outside of the office.

To keep their family-like connection strong, they have a robust and creative social committee who make a point of celebrating their successes, like with a New Year’s party they host on March 31 to celebrate their fiscal year. 

“It was funny the first year we did it, because staff had no idea what was happening,” laughed Kluke. “They came in and saw party hats, streamers, great food, as well as chocolate and strawberry mocktails. Now it’s become a tradition.”

While the team continues to evolve and grow as they tackle the city’s momentous fundraising campaign, part of what makes The Ottawa Hospital Foundation a great place to work is the man leading the charge, said Crawford, who unbeknownst to Kluke, made sure his dedication and leadership was properly recognized. 

“Tim is an exceptional leader, an accomplished businessperson and strategist, but also a thoughtful, genuine and authentic human being,” said Crawford. “He sets the ‘tone at the top’ and much of the credit for our organization’s incredible culture is because of his leadership.”

If you’re interested in working with The Ottawa Hospital Foundation, click here.