Distinctive Women magazine Distinctive Women magazine Newsletter   |   Blog   |   ContactDistinctive Women on FacebookProfiles of Distinction
Elisabeth Baugh | Ovarian Cancer Canada | Toronto, Ontario, Canada

T: 877.413.7970 ext. 222 (Toll Free)


"We are instigators, collaborators and change agents."

You've been involved with nonprofit organizations for a long time. What was your journey?
My whole career has been in nonprofit! I started a charity in 1985 for people with facial differences and I have never left the sector. I find the work rewarding and I love the people.

As CEO of Ovarian Cancer Canada, what has been your focus?
Ovarian cancer is the most serious women's cancer and we are determined to affect changes that will save women's lives. The organization turned 20 years old last year and we took a hard look at everything we were doing. A lot — in fact almost everything — has changed in 20 years: the technology, the community, the knowledge about the disease. Then we sharpened our pencils and decided we would only do things that would impact overall survival. I am very proud of this work and where we have landed, creating a bold new Theory of Change and Strategic Plan. We see ourselves as instigators, collaborators and change agents. Very exciting!!

You've certainly been agitating when it comes to attracting federal funding for research. What has happened there?
We are asking the federal government for $10 million for research in the 2019 budget and I am optimistic that we will get it. While many other cancers are benefiting from research investment, this has not been the case with ovarian. Five Canadian women die every day from this disease. A research investment will be a game changer for women living with ovarian cancer — now and in the future.

In working within an organization entirely focused on women's health, how would you describe your management style?
I do treat my staff like family — to a point of course — and I tell them that family must come first. If you are caught between your children, your parents and care issues as so many women are these days, I want to make it possible for individuals to be satisfied that they have the work-life balance they need. I believe in setting guidelines and targets together with the team — and letting them get to them without too much interference. I am always there to support if needed.

Speaking of work-life balance, what keeps you on course?
I love working where I feel I can make a difference. Coming to work here every day means so much to me. I also have four kids and nine grandchildren. Being part of their lives is awesome!

Where would you like to be five years from now?
I hope I will be using my years of experience to make an impact in my community, to help others achieve success and solve problems that face us in our lives.

Photographer: Brittany Gawley