Passionate, inspiring, committed, dedicated.

Those words were all used to describe outgoing Saskatoon Health Region CEO Maura Davies at a farewell event held November 25 at Saskatoon City Hospital.

“This is a day of celebration and remembering all of the wonderful things Maura has brought to us over the last nine and a half years,” said Jackie Mann, Vice President of Integrated Health Services with Saskatoon Health Region, to the full house at the event.

Davies was presented with a special gift of prairie art from the Region, in recognition of her “bucket list” for Saskatchewan – all the things she wanted to make sure she had an opportunity to do while she was here, explained Dr. Beth Horsburgh, Vice President of Research and Innovation.  The paintings of Saskatchewan landscapes “will never capture the magnitude of our thoughts and best wishes for you, Maura,” Horsburgh said. “And certainly doesn’t begin to reflect the passion and… investment that you brought to the role.”

Maura looks at the paintings.

Outgoing president and CEO Maura Davies was presented with a gift of Prairie landscapes at a farewell ceremony November 25 to ensure she carries a piece of Saskatchewan with her wherever she goes.

Horsburgh credited Davies with playing a large role in bettering health care in the entire province.

“Saskatchewan has led the way in terms of health care in this country, and it can do it again,” Horsburgh stated. “Maura played a huge role in helping to till that soil to get it ready.

The paintings, Davies announced, will find a place of pride in her home when she returns to Halifax, taking a little bit of Saskatchewan home with her to the east coast.

The portrait of Davies that will hang near the board room, with other past CEOs of the Region, was unveiled at the ceremony as well.

“I’ll always be looking over your shoulder,” Davies joked when she saw it.

Many stood up to speak of the dedication that Davies showed to the Region in her nearly 10 years as CEO. Dr. Laurentiu Givelichian was among them, and told of how Davies changed the way the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) operates.

“At the PICU entrance, there was a big stop sign,” he said. “Families had to stay out. Parents would have maybe 30 minutes with the child…. You came and said ‘This cannot happen.’”

Families are now in the PICU all the time, part of the team, helping with decision-making and observation, Dr. Givelichian explained, adding that this was a culture change for the entire unit.

“You showed us a better way of doing business,” he said. “Because of you, children’s health in the province of Saskatchewan is now on the front page. You pushed this idea and this project all the way to building a children’s hospital. This province will benefit tremendously from the work you’ve done and I hope you monitor and come back to visit to see the results of your work.”

Maura speaks someone

Maura Davies speaks with one of the many well-wishers who attended a farewell to the outgoing President and CEO of Saskatoon Health Region on November 25.

Serese Selanders, of the Client and Family Centred Care Steering Committee spoke about what patients and families need in a leader for the Region.

“We ask for a leader that is competent… and can get the job done. Clearly this woman has done that in spades. The other thing we ask for is for somebody who has our back, and Maura does that….  The work that you do is so appreciated. We want to thank you very much for having such an impact on all our lives,” Selanders stated.

Bonnie Brossart, CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Quality Council, described Maura as an incredible leader for the province. On behalf of the health CEOs in Saskatchewan, she thanked Davies for being such an example for them to follow. “We are going to miss your voice,” she stated.

Petrina McGrath, Vice President of People, Practice and Quality, and Nilesh Kavia, Vice President of Finance and Corporate Services, gave a Top 10 list of reasons Davies will be missed.  They listed her deep understanding of all areas of the Region, for being a coach and a great communicator, for sharing her wisdom and sage advice, for seeking excellence, the caring she showed each of the staff, her bravery and relentless quest for learning, her grace and integrity in dealing with difficult situations, her steadfast focus on patient safety, and always ensuring that everyone maintains focus on the patients, clients and residents we serve.

“This is like a warm hug,” Davies said at the end of the program, which wrapped up with a special song from two directors. “I will cherish it. It’s been an amazing journey with you.  I’m so proud of you (and) the work we’ve done. And I’m so grateful to have been a part of it…. But your work continues, and I will be your biggest fan and cheerleader. I will also be looking very closely, because what I ask of you, is stay the course…. Not everyone believes in what we’re doing, and how we’re doing it, but it is the right thing, the right thing for our patients, the right thing for our families that we’re serving, and the right thing for the people in our organization…. That is what I want my legacy to be, that the good work here will continue and I will look with pride and say I was a part of it.”