Janice Kaffer and Bill Marra: ‘Healthcare CEOs should never lead from their office desk’


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Welcome to Healthcare Change Makers, a podcast produced by HIROC. I’m Ellen Gardner with Michelle Holden and Philip De Souza.

Today’s guests are Janice Kaffer, former President and CEO of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare in Windsor and Bill Marra, current President and CEO of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.

Although she formally retired from the CEO position in January, Janice has stayed involved through a project looking at re-establishing the hospital’s role in long-term care. She’s also taking an Executive Coaching course at Royal Roads University.

Bill and Janice have a connection based on mutual respect, admiration, and camaraderie, some of it formed through working closely during the pandemic and their shared passion for the mission of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare.

Bill’s association with the hospital goes back to his teen years when he worked in the dietary department. Although his career took him in many diverse directions – including serving six terms as a municipal councillor for the City of Windsor – he never fully stepped away from the hospital. He stayed involved through his work on the foundation and as VP, People, Mission, Communications and Corporate Affairs.

When Janice approached Bill about being part of the CEO succession plan, he was humbled and flattered. The hospital is engaged in many development projects and a key area of focus for him right now is attracting new talent and developing the leadership team. Bill is comforted knowing he’s got Janice on speed dial whenever he needs her.



“Hôtel-Dieu Grace is always going to be a priority for me and anything that the hospital and Bill needs, I will always be there.” – JK

“I wanted to ensure that every moment of every day that I served in that capacity was creating impact.” – BM

“I still pinch myself every once in a while, to be honest with you. It’s a very humbling experience to be asked to lead an organization of this nature.” – BM

“One of the really important leadership pieces is to always remember the mentorship piece. There are people watching you and learning from you, so we have an obligation to ensure that what they’re taking away from us is positive and reinforcing and inspiring.” – JK

“One of her qualities that I admired the most was her authenticity with our staff. Her authentic effort to get to know, to understand, and respect the people around her.” – BM

“It may not always be great news, but the respect and admiration you’ll get from those you lead because you’re communicating with them, keeping them engaged – they’re going to feel part of the organization.” – BM

“It’s so incredibly important particularly in healthcare, that CEOs don’t lead from their office desk, that they’re out and about in the organization, hearing directly from the frontline staff and from patients and families.” – JK

Mentioned in this Episode:

Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare

Bill Marra and Municipal Politics

Royal Roads University

The Heart of Coaching by Thomas G. Crane

Change is Good but You Go First by Tom Feltenstein and Mac Anderson

June’s Journey

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