Celebrating Careers: Carole Slater says goodbye after 28 years at SLMHC

Carole Slater cuts her retirement cake during a celebration of her career on June 23.

Carole Slater, Senior Executive Assistant, is an important part of the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre (SLMHC) Administration team. She has been working at SLMHC for just under 28 years and, after a successful and lengthy career, is officially retiring this month.

Slater says she is really going to miss the collaborative team dynamic at SLMHC, where you can still have fun during the busiest of days.

“There are people that I’m really going to miss. I’m going to miss the teamwork and the comradery. Some days we have very busy and stressful days where we deal with all kinds of issues coming from all over the place, but we also take time to laugh, joke, and be light to take stress levels down… I’m really going to miss that for sure,” says Slater.

Slater has seen SLMHC grow, literally and figuratively, from the ground up. She originally started her tenure as part of the Community Counselling and Addictions Services team before the amalgamation of the former Sioux Lookout “Zone” and “General” hospitals.

“I started at the District Health Centre, so that was before amalgamation. I spent my first eight years with Community Counselling and Addictions Services, which is now MHAP (Mental Health and Addictions Program)… I was involved in the whole process of the amalgamation of the two hospitals and the planning of this hospital. I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years, and I’ve worked with a lot of different people,” she says. “I’ve seen this place grow. I remember how small we were, and we didn’t have 450 employees. We had a lot less programs and services at that time, so we’ve grown a lot. I’m happy to say that I was part of that.”

Carole Slater reading through well wishes and congratulatory words written by colleagues and friends in her retirement card.

In her role as Senior Executive Assistant, Slater works alongside SLMHC’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), which includes representing SLMHC at some of the highest partnership and clientele levels in the province and country.

“In a corporate office it’s a little bit different because you deal with higher levels of partners and clients, all the way up to the ministry level. We’ve had communication with the government, all the way up to the Premier and Prime Minister. You represent your organization and your CEO, so you need to do a lot of research and a lot of reading,” she explains. “For me, in my role as Senior Executive Assistant, I work side-by-side with my supervisor. I have to be able to think ahead and to anticipate the need of the work that’s being done instead of sitting back and waiting for it. I have to anticipate what needs to be done and be prepared at all times.”

During her time at SLMHC, Slater says she’s thankful for the collaboration she’s been a part of and the flexibility she’s received from supervisors, which allowed her to participate in various committees and projects. Slater’s involvements include the Health and Safety Committee, Telehealth, and Infection Control and Staff Health.

“I was very fortunate that, with all the people I’ve worked with over the years, it’s been a lot of teamwork. I was always treated as part of the team, and I’ve been given a lot of flexibility. I get bored very easily, so I like to get my hands in a lot of different projects. I was fortunate enough that a lot of my supervisors over the years allowed me to do that as long as it didn’t affect the work I needed to do,” she says.

Slater’s ability to be involved in many different projects, and get experience in different areas at SLMHC, has resulted in a successful and rewarding career at SLMHC.

“It’s been very fulfilling because they allowed me to be able to do a lot of different things… This is why people will say, ‘Ask Carole,’ because I’ve been here for a long time and I’ve been doing a lot of different things… That’s what I’m really grateful for because it gave me knowledge of a little bit of everything in the organization that a lot of people don’t get to experience if they just stay in their office,” Slater concludes.

“Carole has been an integral part of our SLMHC team for many years and we will miss her dearly. We wish her all the best in retirement,” says SLMHC President and CEO Heather Lee.

Heather Lee (right) showing her gratitude for Carole Slater during a retirement celebration on June 23.