Canada's most admired CEOs: leading with purpose

March 7, 2023

press release


What role does purpose play for you as a leader?

In 1957, a mother entered William Wilkinson’s Windsor, Ont. pharmacy with two prescriptions: one for herself and one for her daughter. When she could only afford one, she sacrificed her own health to care for her daughter. This led William to establish Green Shield as North America’s first prepaid drug plan and a not-for-profit social enterprise, with earnings reinvested to support ‘Better Health For All’. 

This mission still guides us today. Nurturing this commonality among our employees is critical to drive organizational performance because giving back is more than what we do … it’s who we are.    

As a leader, how do you enable culture as a lever for growth?

Our culture is uniquely aligned with our purpose: the better we perform financially, the more we can reinvest to positively impact the health and wellbeing of Canadians. 

We’re diversifying into an integrated health services organization — the first company in Canada to be a payer (offering insurance, administering benefits, and paying claims), and a provider (offer-ing medical, mental health, and pharmacy services). This requires that we strengthen our commercial mindset, speed and agility and show employees how our earnings advance our social mission to foster the cultural connection to our purpose. 

How is your culture driving results?

Our culture is characterized by a drive for strong business results, to fuel our social mission. Since launching our strategic plan in 2019, our gross revenue has increased over 50 per cent and our operating margin has increased over 500 per cent. Our ultimate measure of success, however, remains our impact, and we’re ahead of our target to invest $75 million to improve the lives of one million Canadians by 2025. 

Our success has been strengthened, in part, by the eight acquisitions we have made since 2021. These acquisitions enable us to directly offer our wholly owned health care services, in addition to our longstanding financial contributions, to support under-served populations.

What’s inspiring you? 

Improving access to health care.  We now have the means to greatly expand access (i.e., who can tangibly access the health-care services they need) via virtual care services. When we improve access, we lift the most vulnerable people in our population and enable Better Health For All. 

Beyond access, as Canada’s first integrated health service organization, Green Shield is creating a new patient experience that puts the patient at the centre to promote better health outcomes. Health care is at a key inflection point and being at the forefront of an industry is inspiring.