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Portrait of Bolton Shay-Lee.

Dr. Shay-Lee Bolton’s leadership development award will enable her to attend a training program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Awards support Rady women as emerging leaders

March 7, 2024 — 

When Dr. Shay-Lee Bolton was earning her master’s and PhD in community health sciences at UM, she didn’t view herself as a leader.

Bolton, whose field is psychiatric epidemiology, studies mental health in populations. She uses complex data analysis methods to reveal patterns in health data, such as the interrelationship between trauma, at-risk populations and suicidal behaviours.  

“I always kind of saw myself as the person running the stats,” says Bolton, who joined the Max Rady College of Medicine faculty in 2020 as an assistant professor of psychiatry, with an adjunct appointment in community health sciences.

“My role has really shifted dramatically.”

Bolton gradually took on mentorship and leadership roles during her graduate and postdoctoral work.

Now, as a faculty member, she is responsible for co-leading a large interdisciplinary team, ranging from psychiatrists and social workers to technical support staff, that provides and evaluates a virtual mental health skills training program for Manitobans through the CBTm (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy with Mindfulness) Hub.

The assistant professor is one of seven faculty members or students in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences who have received The Winnipeg Foundation Martha Donovan Women’s Leadership Development Awards in the 2023 round of funding.

Bolton’s award will fund her to attend a two-day program, Leadership Skills for Engineering and Science Faculty, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston this summer.

“All my leadership training has been through experience and on the job,” she says. “I’ve modelled my leadership style after my own mentors, who have been fabulous, but the majority of them are men.”

Women still face unique challenges in terms of proving themselves as capable leaders and role models, often while juggling family responsibilities, Bolton says.

“I’m hoping the program at MIT will allow me to recognize areas where I can improve my leadership skills and develop my strengths. I also hope it will help me to become a strong female role model to my team and students.”

The $250,000 Winnipeg Foundation Martha Donovan Fund was established in 2019.

“These awards give us a great opportunity to recognize and support emerging women leaders,” says Dr. Jacquie Ripat, vice-dean (academic affairs) of the Rady Faculty. “The recipients are a source of inspiration and will contribute to developing an inclusive and equitable academic environment.”

Here are the other 2023 award recipients:

Laura Chisick

Dr. Laura Chisick

Dr. Laura Chisick, assistant professor and section head of general internal medicine, will attend the Leadership Strategies for Evolving Health Care Executives program at Harvard University.

“I believe this program will give me the tools I need to navigate our health-care system at this pivotal time,” Chisick says. “As a general internist, I work every day towards improving patient care.”

Renee Douville

Dr. Renée Douville

Dr. Renée Douville, associate professor of pharmacology and therapeutics, is taking online courses through the Yale School of Management in the areas of Women’s Leadership, Leading Teams and Leading with Power and Influence. 

Douville has been tasked with co-developing a joint master’s program in neuroscience between UM and the University of Strasbourg in France.

“I see this training as a pathway to better manage the team supporting this program and guide its future students,” she says. “My overarching goal is to grow as a female role model and leader by gaining dynamic, transferable leadership skills.”

Dr. Amanda Fowler-Woods

Dr. Amanda Fowler-Woods

Dr. Amanda Fowler-Woods, assistant professor of community health sciences, will attend the Intermediate Indigenous Women in Leadership program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Alberta.

She hopes to explore her potential as a driver for change in the academic and health-care systems. 

“This course will support the development of my leadership skills through connecting with other Indigenous women, teachers and Elders through land-based learning, ceremony and culture,” she says.

Zulma Rueda

Dr. Zulma Rueda

Dr. Zulma Rueda, associate professor of medical microbiology and infectious diseases and Canada Research Chair in sexually transmitted infection – resistance and control, will attend a hybrid online/in-person program at Harvard University called Women Leaders: Advancing Together.

“I would like to grow my capacity and confidence to speak to those in power, enhance my negotiation skills, navigate complex situations, and recognize and overcome organizational barriers,” Rueda says. “My dream is to become a mentor who empowers and supports other women to rise and lead.”

Ellie Jack

Ellie Jack

Ellie Jack, a PhD candidate in community health sciences, has a research focus on mental health service access and financial well-being.

She will participate in a program called Leading Strategic Student Success through the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

“I’m passionate about post-secondary education,” Jack says. “This training will help me refine my leadership skills so that in future roles as a post-secondary instructor, I can best support student development.”

Abigail Kawadza

Abigail Kawadza

Abigail Kawadza is a master’s student in the administration stream at the College of Nursing, which prepares graduates for careers in nursing management and administration.

Kawadza, who has been a nurse for more than a decade, will participate in the LEADS Leadership Foundations online program for health-care professionals through the Canadian College of Health Leaders.

“My area of research interest is the dynamic between nurses and leaders,” she says. “Specifically, what do nurses expect from their leaders, and how can leaders improve the nursing work environment to retain and sustain a healthy workforce?”

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