To provide Canadian students with local, practical business insights to enhance their learning experience, AIB’s Industry Partnerships initiative has recently expanded to Canada. As a part of this initiative, we’re delighted to announce British Columbia Emergency Health Services as a new Industry Partner and welcome their Senior Provincial Executive Director for Patient Care Delivery, Paul Vallely, on board as an Industry Guest Lecturer. Thanks to the industry he’s in and the diverse career experiences he’s had, Paul will bring a unique perspective to AIB’s leadership curriculum.
British Columbia Emergency Health Services was created in 1974 and is responsible for all pre-hospital 911 emergency requests for service in the Canadian province. They also respond to requests for inter-hospital or inter-facility transfers to move patients between facilities or transfer them to higher levels of care. They respond to around half a million requests for service annually, either by ambulance, air or sea as the location dictates. Paul’s role is extremely important as he is responsible for the 4,000 paramedics who provide direct patient care.
Paul was born and bred in Ireland but moved to Canada at age 19. Originally intending to spend just a year away from his homeland, instead, he found himself settling down. He began working for Price Club – now known as Costco - and discovered that the retail industry suited him. By 22, he had started a family and has remained in Canada ever since.
In 2000, while still maintaining his retail management position, he took up a role as a part time paramedic in a very remote part of the province. In 2005, he left Costco to go full time with the ambulance service in Vancouver, and has since worked his way up through the organization.
The transition from a commercial environment to the not-for-profit sector was a steep learning curve, Paul remembers. “I came out of an environment that was very lean process driven, very efficiency driven and always looking to eliminate waste,” he says, “to that of a public agency.”
BC Emergency Health Services has a high public profile and a lot of stakeholders, meaning that every decision has to be made carefully. As a result, it had seen very little change since its inception, but now that’s changing. “We have a leadership team that has a very diverse background from outside BCEHS, and that's lending itself to being able to move quicker on decisions and implement strategies to improve patient care,” explains Paul.
Paul is also due to graduate from his own MBA with AIB in 2018. When he left Ireland at 19, he intended to go back to further education. Instead, with a young family and full time employment, the opportunity never arose. Now that he’s working in more senior leadership roles, the time was right.
As for the lessons he’s learned throughout his career, he says they are threefold. Firstly, have a vision. Without a vision, there is a higher likelihood of making poor decisions because one isn’t thinking long term. Secondly, he advises leaders to have humility and self-forgiveness. His last piece of advice is to build healthy relationships with those around you. “Invest time in your stakeholders, both internal and external, and especially invest time to build relationships with your employees. That is an investment worthy of your time and it will pay dividends down the road.”
Paul will certainly be an asset to our lineup of Industry Guest Lecturers and we look forward to the partnership ahead.