Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Vancouver (I was born at VGH). I’m from a very local family. My great-great grandfather came here and both my parents’ sides of the family have been here at least since my grandparents.
How long have you worked at VCH?
I’ve been with VCH for 11 years. I attended high school in Vancouver and then I went to college at the University of Victoria. I ended up going to medical school at Johns Hopkins and then stayed in the States for my residency at Stanford and fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at Yale. While I was at Yale, there was a specialty surgeon in Vancouver who I wanted to work with, and so I came to Vancouver, planning to stay for a month on a scholarship. VCH offered to create a position for me, and I started in July of 2006.
Why are you so passionate about working with people with ovarian and endometrial cancer?
I think it’s a combination of seeing a tremendous need to provide nuanced treatment and working to make things better for women. In my career even here in Vancouver, I have seen research changes that have been translated to changes in practice. That’s very exciting and inspiring.
What’s on your current playlist?
I like the British duo, “Oh Wonder.” They’re often my go-to. I also really enjoy listening to the Guardian pod-casts. We have a lot of music at home and we’re always making playlists for our kids.
How do you spend your down time?
I love my time with family. I have an 8-year old and 11-year old. We’re going off to surf and play in Tofino and we also ski and play soccer and sports. I’m very active and very much involved with my kids and family.
Who or what inspires you?
Nelson Mandela inspires me. I think it’s related to trying to be a better human being and stepping back and thinking about what’s important as a mom, an advocate and a member of the global community. I think there are times when I question my ability to let things go and be in the moment.
I’m amazed by people who can forgive or work towards positive change rather than dwelling on inconsistencies, inadequacies and unfair practices or the unfair the distribution of wealth or resources. Nelson Mandela is an example of a person who made positive change, made something better and inspired everyone else to do better even under these conditions.
How has the work of the Foundation helped you?
The Foundation has been unbelievable. There is a level of engagement at the Foundation that I’ve never seen anywhere else. The Foundation’s faith in OVCARE has allowed something to grow. It’s like having an angel investor who invests in something that doesn’t exist yet but recognizes good people who are willing to work together to create something.
On a personal level, I received the VCH Research Institute In It For Life Mentored Clinical Scientist Award in 2008 and the VCHR New Investigator Award in 2012, which led to the recent BC Cancer Foundation Clinical Investigator Award in 2016. I wouldn’t have had that without the support of the Foundation. There’s a lot of support from the Foundation for someone to help a person build on their and get important work done.
What does philanthropy mean to you?
It’s giving outside of yourself for a greater good. Giving in a bigger, broader scope.