Krista Jangaard and Catherine Woodman: The Secret Sauce to a Strong CEO-Board Relationship


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At HIROC, we recognize the critical importance of good governance in healthcare, and its impact on safe, quality care.

What makes for a positive relationship between a senior leadership team and their Board? This year, we are digging deeper on Healthcare Change Makers and talking all about governing with impact.

Today HIROC’s CEO, Catherine Gaulton, sits down with Krista Jangaard, President and CEO of IWK Health Centre and Catherine Woodman, IWK Board Chair.

Krista and Catherine W. open up about what makes for good governance at the IWK. The two agree that it’s about stewarding the organization, while respecting the boundaries between the roles of the board and the senior team.

For Krista it’s critical to get to know the board, and what they each wish to contribute – honing in on the unique wisdom of their members helps the senior team make better decisions.

Since the start of the pandemic, Krista and Catherine W. have had to be nimble and work together to ensure staff are comfortable with change. Their work is also about positioning the IWK as part of the larger system, working collaboratively to meet the challenges brought on by COVID.

Underscoring their wisdom around governance, is a passion and love for the IWK – a place that is making a lasting impact on lives for years to come.


“I have a deep love for the organization, a deep love for the purpose.” – CW

“In healthcare we are purpose-driven organizations because it’s about making people better and keeping them healthy.” – KJ

“Rapid change and uncertainty have really been the points of pressure for us in the healthcare system as we try to do our regular work, plus meet the challenge of the pandemic.”- KJ

“Organizations have talked about being nimble for years, but I don’t think we’d learned how to be nimble until this pandemic arrived.” - CW

“Well, you spend time in Halifax, and you know that the IWK is frankly a magical place. We commonly refer to the secret sauce, that there’s something really inherent to the core mission and purpose of women and children that excites everyone and focuses everyone who is part of the IKW community.” – CW

“Children make up about a quarter of our population, but they are 100 per cent of our future.” KJ

“It is part of peoples’ families and once you are part of the IKW family, we never let you go.” – KJ

“I think you build the best relationships with your board by finding out just where their wisdom truly is and making sure that you don’t lose the opportunity to pull on it.” – CG

“I think that one of the most important professional development opportunities every CEO should take on is to serve another board.” – CW

Mentioned in this Episode:

IKW Health Centre

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