To say our 2014-15 fiscal year was an eventful one would be a mild understatement.
I, like Mary, had many, many questions when I reviewed the Province’s Moving on Mental Health action plan, and the Lead Agency strategy.
Many of you in this room joined me on those occasions in discussing what this could mean to, and for all of us.
We promised each other that no matter what – we would work together respectfully, collaboratively and transparently.. And over the last few months, we have done just that.
To the Board leadership in the room, I must tell you – your agency staff , my colleagues , have worked hard. *Hard.* I mean really hard.
They have collaborated with us.
Spent critical hours with us.
Asked many questions. Most often *tough* questions.
And suspending their disbelief and skepticism , they have rolled up their sleeves in shared leadership with us.
And it has been absolutely inspiring to leading our collective impact process to date.
I am inspired by the insights, actionable ideas and commitment to work that I have seen demonstrated through the summer and now into the fall.
And seeing you all here tonight , this inspiration is coupled with gratitude.
First, I am grateful to and for my extraordinary EMYS staff. You are truly the ‘backbone’ of the Toronto Lead Agency Backbone Organization… as we refer to ourselves in collective impact language.
The full account of our storied, eventful 2014-15 is contained in our Annual Report.
Please take a copy.
These pages reflect the results of the indefatigable creativity, passion and dedication of our accomplished staff team, everyone of whom I know help Roberta and I and our lead agency staff put one foot in front of the other every day.
And I also want to extend that thank you to all of the front line staff of all of our core service agencies, who we have the honor of welcoming tonight. Your commitment to service excellence in our infant, child and youth mental health work in Toronto is foundational to our transformation effort.
And we really are’ moving ‘ on Moving on Mental Health together.
You should know that for the past two days our EMYS lead agency team attended a meeting with all of our 27 other lead agency colleagues and MCYS staff from across the province. The ministry shared with us a readiness template designed to help us map where we are, relative to where we need to be to take over management of the community based system in our region, and I am happy to say that we are right where we need to be.
And I am also happy to say that despite the press they sometimes receive , the Ministry really is our side, the collective ‘our.’ But we have taken on a challenge and this means we are sure to stumble sometimes.
Perhaps we might even fall.
But, to align with the day, I will replace my original Vince Lombardi quote ,with one associated with baseball, as Babe Ruth said – ‘Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.’
We are on a journey together to transform, to innovate and always to improve our collective performance, because it is intrinsic to our work – after all community agencies were and continue to be pioneers for hope and change, and we can do no less than take our cues from the infants, children, youth and families that we work with everyday and not disappoint them.
So I know that together we will be able to achieve that goal of providing the right services at the right time for those facing mental health issues …and their families.
Together, we will create change, and then be the change together. Again, thank you all so much for being here.