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Collingwood hospital CFO reflects on award win

People of Collingwood: Kathleen De Pellegrin, Chief Financial Officer at Collingwood General and Marine Hospital
Kathleen De Pellegrin is the chief financial officer and vice president of corporate services at Collingwood General and Marine Hospital.

One of Collingwood General and Marine Hospital’s leaders was recently rewarded for her efforts.

For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we spoke with Kathleen De Pellegrin, 33, Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Corporate Services at Collingwood General and Marine Hospital (CGMH).

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I grew up in Maple. I lived there my whole life with my family.

I went to York University. I wasn’t clear at first on what path I wanted to take out of high school, so I started in a bachelor of arts. I went to Africa in my first or second year to teach an English program for kids in a remote village.

My uncle was an accountant. After doing some soul searching, he led me down this trajectory. I graduated from the Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson) with a bachelor of commerce in 2013.

In 2019, my parents moved to the Caledon area. My partner and I were living with them at that time, so we moved with them.

We really enjoyed Caledon.

Prior to that, I was working at a medium-sized accounting firm in Markham. I spent about seven years there and learned a lot.

I ended up getting a job at Headwaters Health Care Centre in Orangeville in December 2019. I worked there for a couple of years. I started as an analyst, and I moved into the director of finance role.

This opportunity came up a year or two later.

Q: When did you know finance and math was your thing?

A: Growing up, I actually wanted to be a pediatrician. I took the sciences – biology, chemistry. I’m not an artsy person. Logic, reason and numbers has always been my comfort zone.

It’s a secure career, and there’s always going to be a guarantee. I was more comfortable that way.

When I graduated, I wasn’t set on doing accounting, but I was good at it. That morphed into a bit more passion.

My mom was a social worker and worked in a health care setting. What was really important to me when I was working at the accounting firm was working for organizations I supported. I struggled working for for-profit organizations. I was clear that I needed to work in the not-for-profit sector so I felt connected in what I was doing, knew I was supporting people and promoting community-type work.

Q: What made the job at CGMH appealing to you?

A: My career path in health care has been evolving very quickly.

There are different people in my life who have brought me to where I am. I’ve been encouraged to apply for jobs, rather than me putting myself in that situation. I’ve very grateful for those supports.

I started as CFO in Collingwood in February 2023. Mike (Lacroix, president and CEO for CGMH) reached out to me while I was at Headwaters and let me know about this position that was open.

That conversation (made me think) this was within the realm of possibility. I knew I wanted to get to this level but it was definitely sooner than I had anticipated.

Q: What does the CFO do?

A: I deal with finance and the accounting department. I also have information technology in my portfolio – like health records and decision supports. My director of risk oversees pharmacy, lab and diagnostic imaging.

It’s quite diverse. There’s definitely been a lot of learning I’ve experienced over the past year. It’s been wonderful.

Q: What are some of the challenges of your job?

A: We’re in a unique circumstance, being a medium-sized hospital. We have to have the same types of policies and procedures you would see at larger organizations, but we have to do that with a lot less when it comes to resources.

What ends up happening is we have a lot of generalists, who have to focus on a lot of different things all at the same time. In larger organizations, you have a lot more specialties.

We do a lot with a little bit.

There’s always a willingness and desire to do more, and do better. It can be really motivating. It makes me want to keep progressing, and keep learning.

Q: You were recently given the CPA Ontario 2023 Emerging Leader Award. What is the award for, and how did you feel when you heard?

A: The award is issued through Ontario CPA. They want to recognize individuals with an accounting designation doing innovative leadership things who are under the age of 35.

There were some tears shed for sure. It was exciting!

Mike had let me know he put me up for the award. I thought it was a bit of a long shot. There are quite a few accountants across the province.

It was thrilling. It’s wonderful to be recognized.

I’m grateful for all of these opportunities.

Q: What are your hobbies?

A: My husband and I just bought our first home in Shelburne. We’ll be moving next month, so we’re doing a lot of renovations.

I do a lot of reading, and I like to bake and cook quite a bit.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like people in Collingwood to know about you?

A: I’m thoroughly impressed with what we’ve been achieving over the past year and what’s on the horizon over the next several years.

There are challenges day to day, but the fact that people keep coming back with a smile on their face... is encouraging.

For our feature People of Collingwood, we speak with interesting people who are either from or are contributing to the Collingwood community in some way, letting them tell their own stories in their own words. This feature runs on CollingwoodToday every weekend. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email [email protected].

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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen is an experienced journalist working for Village Media since 2018, primarily covering Collingwood and education.
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