Judith Shamian President & CEO of VON Canada
I had lunch today with the amazing Judith Shamian, President & CEO of VON (Victorian Order of Nurses) Canada. I am a big fan of the VON. Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier offered the motion inaugurating the Victorian Order of Nurses on February 10, 1897.The VON came into being largely as a result of the tremendous effort of Lady Ishbel Aberdeen, wife of the then governor-general.
I have been the beneficiary of the home nursing services of the VON numerous times in my life and have always thought the nurses had something special that hospital nurses do not have or do not have the time to demonstrate.
Judith told me that their studies have shown that today many younger people and immigrants do not recognize the VON name or know what they do. That is a shame. Because many, if not most, VON nurses are dispatched through CCAC (Community Care Access Centres) in Canada, many people would not even know that they or their family member is being served by a VON nurse.
Judith also has the awesome challenge of maintaining the mission and vision of the VON and at the same time run a large organization as a business. The VON has 5000 employees and 9000 volunteers. That is a lot of people.
I was surprised to learn that the VON have numerous other services other than home care nursing. One of them is providing flu shots to businesses. For a cost of about $15 per person, the VON will come to an office and administer the flu vaccine to their employees who want it. This saves the employee time and helps the employer cut down on absenteeism due to the flu. Some companies pay the cost themselves while others have their employees pay. Either way, it is a great option for the company and their employees.
Judith has been preparing VON's infrastructure for it's future growth. She has an amazing volunteer team and great people on her team that will help grow the business while at the same time retain the values and mission that VON has had since 1897.
I initially found Judith Shamian when I came upon the Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada award winners searching for stories for The Canadian Business Journal, for which I am a Senior Research Director.