“You are in the midst of a once in a lifetime opportunity; history in the making. This is your chance to influence change and to make the health care system better. Embrace the opportunity. Embrace the change.”
That’s what Robbie Peters, Vice President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for the Saskatchewan Health Authority, wants SHA staff and practitioners to know.
Robbie Peters and family
When Peters, current Vice President Finance and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), joined the former Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region (RQHR) five years ago, he had no idea that he would again be part of a system-wide transformation of health care. The fact that he is speaks volumes about his skills as a leader and financial expert.
Robbie had worked in the health care system in Prince Edward Island (PEI) with former RQHR CEO, Keith Dewar, and loved the challenges and opportunity his role and the health care system offered him. He had been there during the health care system amalgamation in PEI and had seen the positive impact first-hand. When an opportunity came along to work in Regina with Keith, he believed the timing was right to make a move. Robbie spent the next three years influencing health care operations in Regina. When the Saskatchewan system amalgamation was announced, Robbie was the perfect candidate to lead Finance and Risk Management for the SHA Transition Team.
“Leading this work and being a part of the Transition Team was one of the most unique and rewarding opportunities in my career. I will always be grateful for this experience,” said Robbie when reflecting on his career. “It was an honour to recently be recognized by the Premier’s Award of Excellence in the Public Service, as part of the Transition Team. While it was nice to be a part of this recognition, I would also like to share that award with the countless others who were a part of the transition work. We could not have accomplished what we did without everyone that was involved. These folks dedicated a tremendous amount of time and energy on the transition, but they also had their regular full time jobs to do. Their dedication and commitment to helping us make this a success was so instrumental and they deserve to be recognized as well.”
Although accounting and finance was not his dream job growing up - in fact he really didn’t think about work until his Grade 12 year - he has amassed extensive expertise in the financial world. All of his learning to date has helped him to be a successful leader in his new role. From a Chartered Accountant/Certified Professional Account designation to his work at a large national accounting firm in London, Ontario and his CFO role with the PEI health care system, Robbie is positioned to have a lasting influence on the creation of a new health care system in Saskatchewan. He indicates that his biggest motivator to come to work every day is opportunity to have a lasting and meaningful impact on the future of health care in Saskatchewan.
As CFO for the SHA, Robbie is responsible for all financial services, supply chain management, and enterprise risk management. There are a lot of moving pieces to keep straight, but Robbie credits his incredible team of Executive Directors and their teams for all of the success and work to date.
“I’ve been able to fill Executive Director roles with former Vice Presidents, CFOs and even a former CEO. Their skill sets, leadership and experience with the system are exceptional and I am learning from them every day. It’s a great group of people. We work hard and we are having a lot of fun.”
But Robbie’s life isn’t all work and no play. With a wife, two daughters and two golden retrievers, it really couldn’t be. Robbie and his wife Kathy spend most of their downtime cheering on their two teenaged daughters, Kaitlyn and Kara, during their volleyball games and travelling to tournaments.
In the event that Robbie has a few hours where he can just relax, he’s mostly likely to turn on the TV in his basement and while away the hours watching movies. People who know Robbie say he has a fantastic sense of humour so it’s no surprise to hear that his favorite movie genre is a good, old-fashioned, comedy.
When he was asked what the one life skill his girls must know before they head out into the world is, he quickly answered, “They need an awareness of money; how to earn it, how to budget it, and how to live within it.”
Robbie sums up his philosophy as a leader, a parent and a person very well when he said, “Laughter and fun is important and anyone who knows me has seen this. I don’t take myself seriously, I’m not that important. It helps to relieve some of the stress.”