Born in North Sydney, Verna grew up in Westville, Nova Scotia. She pursued nursing education at the Aberdeen Hospital School of Nursing and St. FX University and completed a Master of Public Administration at Queen's University. Verna has also pursued ongoing professional development, obtaining certifications as a facilitator for licensed healthcare programs such as LEADS in a Caring Environment®, Communicate with HEART®, and The Working Mind®. She also continues to expand her coaching education and practice.
Verna has held roles in healthcare, professional theatre, university advancement, and community non-profit organizations. In 2006, Verna returned to healthcare and served as the manager of adult outpatient mental health services. During this time, she also served as the executive producer for The Park Bench Players, a theatre troupe consisting of outpatient clients. The group performed a 3-Act play based on their ‘first voice’, lived experience with mental illness, aiming to educate the public and healthcare professionals and reduce stigma. Their efforts were recognized with multiple awards, including the CCHL-Quality of Life Award and the PSR Canada Pioneer Recovery Award of Excellence.
Currently, Verna joins Lorie Campbell as an executive coach. Her role focuses on one-on-one coaching for physician leaders and group coaching for team development. She is dedicated to supporting physicians in their professional and personal growth, helping them build capacity, and self-awareness for positive change.
In October 2022, Verna was honored by the St FX Alumni Association and inducted into the Hall of Honour. This recognition acknowledges her commitment to service, helping others, and being an inspiration to current students.
Outside of work, Verna is involved in community choirs, where she is a member and featured soloist. She also enjoys spending time outdoors, particularly with her family Golden Retrievers named Dottie and Maggie.
Verna's Unique Personal Value Statement
I believe each one of us shows up with solid good intentions to contribute to impacts of service excellence in healthcare delivery in Nova Scotia Health.
My primary focus as an executive coach, centres around supporting people to be the best version of themselves in their professional and personal life, through co-active coaching. Leadership development through one-to one coaching and group coaching represents those key opportunities to build capacity in personal or self-leadership. LEADS in a Caring Environment reminds us that leadership is all about our communication and behaviours- our ‘being and doing’ and because we work in healthcare, we add that third essential element of ‘caring’- The Being, Doing and Caring. The core principle of LEADS is that we are all leaders, not specifically defined by an organization chart but by a set of practices and processes informed by principles and values, to achieve results. So, one of the challenges each day, is to demonstrate our good intentions accurately and consistently through our communication and behaviour-this is our leadership in action.
In leadership development efforts in Medical Affairs, we strive to harness the strengths and areas of growth and change to be better and do better as leaders. I acknowledge and respect the value of lived experience and its application for optimum adult learning and development. Coaching can deepen the learning and understanding of how we show up and what kind of impact we’re having on those around us- patients, clients, family members, and our co-workers. I believe we’re all ‘a work in progress’ no matter years of experience or variety of roles and responsibilities. We each continue to have much to learn about ourselves, to build self-awareness utilizing a variety of tools to expand leadership capabilities. Coaching supports individuals on their journey to articulate how to show up in their communication and actions as the best version of themselves.
Coaching supports the discovery of ‘who you want to be’ and mining the courage to action that potential to positively impact the world around you. I am grateful for the unique opportunity to connect with others to inspire and empower capacity building and cultural change to really make a positive difference in our world.