From the moment she joined the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC) as Director of Clinical Programs and Services in 1999, Anne Huot quickly made her mark as an approachable, compassionate and skilled leader who could always be counted on to do the right thing for children, youth and families.
She was instrumental in leading OCTC through many significant changes, including expansion of the OCTC mandate to include children with developmental disabilities; opening and staffing new sites across Eastern Ontario to bring services closer to home; and amalgamation with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) to integrate care and simplify the family journey.
Following the CHEO-OCTC amalgamation, she took on the role of Vice President, Child Development and Community Services, where she was responsible for multiple programs serving children and youth with special needs and their families, including CTC- and hospital-based rehabilitation services, complex care, the autism program, mental health and the regional genetics program.
She worked tirelessly with her trademark sense of humour to build a more integrated and responsive system of care, culminating in her role as co-chair of the province’s Implementation Working Group for the new Ontario Autism Program, right up until her recent retirement from CHEO in 2021. She continues to contribute to the service system for children and families through consultative project work, most recently with Children's Mental Health Ontario.
Anne began her career as a social worker after obtaining her Master’s degree at the University of Toronto over 40 years ago. Throughout her career, she consistently focused on improving the service system to benefit children and families.
Under her guidance, OCTC expanded its mandate and embraced a LifeSpan Model so that children with disabilities benefited from a broader range of services, from early intervention and diagnosis to behavioural intervention, respite and transition supports, helping to build their independence, confidence and success.
By launching new service sites in western Ottawa, Renfrew and Cornwall, she made a significant difference for families who no longer had to take time off work and drive up to two hours to receive service. As a co-lead in implementing the system-wide electronic health records and reporting system for Ontario Children’s Treatment Centres, Anne helped ensure they had a consistent way of building care plans and monitoring outcomes so that kids would receive the best possible care.
Amalgamation with CHEO brought further opportunities to improve service across the Champlain region, and Anne made a significant contribution to the vision of One Door, One Chart, One Story, One Team. Families now benefit from a single health record that ensures they do not have to continuously repeat their story—a single entry point that makes their service journey as simple and seamless as possible.
Throughout her career, Anne has been an inspiring mentor to countless staff and leaders, instilling in them a compassionate approach to care that always puts kids and families first. This may be her most lasting legacy, continuing to benefit kids with disabilities for many years to come.
It surprises no one that Sherri Smith was a world champion triathlete before she joined the board of THRIVE Child Development Centre in Sault St. Marie eight years ago. She has served the board as a director and as president, while also working as an academic leader at Sault College, and a supporter and volunteer for a variety of community organizations.
At THRIVE, she has demonstrated unwavering leadership, guiding the organization through several significant changes, including two transitions of chief executive officers. She also moved the organization through a change management rebranding process that led to a new Mission, Vision and Values – and a new name for the organization.
Formerly the Children’s Rehabilitation Centre – Algoma, THRIVE Child Development Centre was created with clients at the heart of what the centre strives to do, which is to create a future of possibilities and help children, youth and families thrive. Sherri spearheaded the entire process and helped everyone at the centre think about what they wanted to accomplish as an agency for the people they serve. Her creative thinking always put the children and families foremost, and her leadership proved positive and visionary.
Years ago, she set her goal as winning the world triathlon championship, and in 2004 she achieved it in Funchal, Portugal. This determination, passion and drive is applied to everything she does. She is not only a championship athlete, but an exceptional coach, mentor, collaborator and partner. She has contributed to many local organizations and events, including: founding the St. Joseph Island Triathlon; Chair of the Sault Sports Council; past president of the Sault Stryders Club; founding member and past president of the Sault Athletics Club; and organizing the Eco-Challenge Adventure Race at Searchmont. She also received the city’s Medal of Merit for achieving provincial and national championship status.
Sherri has a love of learning – her Master’s degree from Baylor University in Texas is in history, and at Sault College she is Chair of Natural Environment, Business and Culinary. Personally and professionally, she is a passionate and resourceful leader who always gives 100 per cent in anything she takes on.
As a member of the board of George Jeffrey Children’s Centre (GJCC) in Thunder Bay from 2013 to 2021, Lucy Goldberg went far beyond the usual expectations of board directors. Courageously sharing her own experiences, she urged – even compelled – her colleagues to ensure that children and families were always at the centre of decision-making and changes at all levels of the organization.
In addition to her lived experience, Lucy brought a wealth of professional experience to the board as a long-time special education teacher for the Thunder Bay Catholic District School Board. She was never afraid to offer an opinion, articulating what many could not and always putting the children first. In this way, she often drove the discussion on topics before the board. Lucy is a firm believer that the purpose of organizations in this sector is to help children become stronger, independent individuals.
Beyond offering her support at board meetings, she also volunteered with her children and family at as many events as possible – collecting donations at the Christmas Parade of Lights, Family Fun Fairs and Christmas parties to name a few. She was a confident spokesperson at many public events, such as the GJCC’s Smilezone event in 2018 and at local fundraising and advocacy campaigns.
Lucy has also been a tireless advocate for children and families across many other organizations, locally and provincially. She has been a volunteer for years with organizations such as Autism Ontario and the Thunder Bay Therapeutic Riding Association. At the association, which provides an opportunity for children, youth and adults with disabilities to improve their physical and mental health through horseback riding, she regularly helped with its Sunday breakfasts along with her family. She also fundraised within her school network and acted a valued spokesperson.
Colleagues describe Lucy as inclusive, compassionate, and knowledgeable—someone who never fails to think of the children first and whose passion as an advocate is unparalleled.