Words of wisdom that my Dad left with me many years ago are, “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” While I’ve had to learn over the years that “right” doesn’t have to equal perfect, I have tried to use those words to motivate and challenge myself to bring my best to any and every opportunity.

—Mike Benallick


Community Spotlight

Each month, we profile a special member of our community: a student, alumni, faculty member, or partner. Check out this month’s inspiring story below.

Mike Benallick

Director – Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership
Saskatchewan Health Authority

Faculty – LEADS Inspired Leadership
CHA Learning / HealthCareCAN


Role/partnership with CHA Learning:

Faculty – LEADS Inspired Leadership

Social Media: LinkedIn
Location: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Mike Benallick: Empowering Leaders, Shaping Futures

I am a leadership enthusiast and the Director of Organizational Effectiveness and Leadership with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. This role provides me the opportunity and privilege of fostering positive employee experiences by supporting the development of leaders and teams across the great province of Saskatchewan.

My 24 year career has been split equally between higher education and healthcare. I earned my BA way back in 2000 and am grateful to have had the opportunity over the years to become a certified LEADS Specialist, a certified Lean Leader, and to have completed facilitator certifications in the areas of Core Strengths, Crucial Conversations, Coaching Out of the Box and 5 Behaviours of a Cohesive Team.

I am also in the process of working towards earning my Certified Health Executive (CHE) certification, am currently participating in the Excellence in Health Leadership program with the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, and plan to start a Master’s in Organizational Psychology within the next couple years.

All that to say I am a learner. Inspired by “a-ha” moments for others, my motivation for learning and for leadership development is seeing people have moments of insight that form new habits, new ways of thinking and new ways of being that result in confident and capable leaders.

There are three core beliefs that drive my passion for learning and for leadership – that we get out of things what we put into them; that we can’t take others further than we are ourselves; and that what gets modelled, gets followed.

My career has been a series of walking through open doors when the opportunities presented themselves. I didn’t set out to work in healthcare. I got my start in healthcare in Quality Improvement and became a certified Lean Leader through that role. That training stretched my thinking and the work presented me with significant opportunities to observe and to learn from and with other leaders.

Those years in Quality Improvement showed me how much of a gap existed in leadership development learning for leaders. There were countless examples of people who had been technically proficient in their previous roles, who were then thrust into leadership positions with no training or support provided. This severely limited their ability to make a successful transition from technical expert to now being responsible for leading people.

Observing this lit a fire in me to want to make a difference in the lives of those managers, who wanted to be strong leaders, but who weren’t provided with the education or supports necessary to become the kind of leader they wanted to be.

Every day I am humbled by the opportunities that I have to influence and support leaders in their development.

A Little More About Mike: 

What is something you have accomplished or worked on that you are proud of?

I am most proud of the work that I’ve been involved with over the years that has resulted in bringing LEADS into the Saskatchewan Health Authority in an official and more significant way. 8 years ago I began working with some likeminded colleagues and we started with a vision of bringing LEADS learning to our new provincial health authority. Fast forward 8 years and this spring we graduated our first cohort of 20 certified LEADS Specialists and that felt like a monumental achievement for those of us who started with that vision several years ago of a LEADS-aligned, LEADS-affirming organization.


What are some of your favourite hobbies outside of work/professional development?

I’m a sports guy, through and through. As I get older that has started to shift to watching more than playing, but my family and I are avid Blue Jays fans in the summer, Raptors fans in the winter and I am mildly fanatical about fantasy football each fall with my two sons.

I’m a novice wood worker and if you shared a meal at our house we would visit around a dining room table that I proudly built. I am not a professional by any means but there is something exceedingly satisfying about being able to build something with your own two hands and have something that you can eventually pass down to your kids.

My wife and I love getting out for long walks and enjoying the few months of warmth in Saskatchewan as much as we can. In this time of rising costs, walking is still free and is a great time for us to get out and reconnect.

So much of the past dozen years has been about chauffeuring our kids and being in and out of rinks and gyms as they pursued all of their passions. As our kids enter those young adult years we’re finding ourselves in a bit of a transition period as well – what do we do with some of this newfound time? We miss the days of being in a hot, stuffy gym watching high school volleyball, or being in a hot, stuffy gym watching high school basketball, or being in a cold, boisterous rink watching hockey. The band Semisonic said it best – “Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end” so that’s the season of life we find ourselves in- new beginnings.


Who do you admire in healthcare and why?

A couple years ago my oldest son was diagnosed with a very rare autoimmune disease. It was an incredibly scary and stressful time for our family. It was also a time that provided an opportunity to experience our healthcare system, not as an employee but as a family member to a patient.

Admittedly there were times when I was frustrated and disillusioned by some of the processes and experiences that we encountered.

More than that though there was an overwhelming sense of appreciation for the quality and expediency of care that my son received. He was cared for by nurses who showed him constant compassion and empathy. He was cared for by doctors who took time to speak to him, at his level, and who went above and beyond to answer our millions of questions and calm our fears and anxieties.

Effective healthcare is first and foremost about caring and throughout my sons health challenges we experienced caring in large and constant doses.

I have no shortage of appreciation and admiration for the many different healthcare professionals who treated my son as a person, first and foremost, and who strive to provide that same kind of compassionate care to the thousands of people who come through our healthcare system on a daily basis.

Healthcare is a profession where you are required to constantly give of yourself – your knowledge, your expertise, your compassion, etc. – and it is both an incredibly challenging and rewarding career. I am so grateful and appreciative of all the healthcare workers who come to work each day dedicated to giving of themselves in service of others.


What would you want someone to know entering a program or course with CHA Learning?

As I said earlier, I believe that you get out of something what you put into it. This program (or course) has tremendous potential to shape and influence your leadership growth and effectiveness, but it won’t achieve that result without a focused and committed effort from you, the learner. If this is simply a checklist exercise where the goal is to get it done as quickly as possible, then expect minimal results for a minimum investment.

If you can give this your best effort and commit to thinking deeply, reflecting honestly, and challenging yourself in not only your learning, but in the practical application of that learning to your daily leadership setting, you will see this will have a profound influence on you as a leader and on those who have the opportunity to be influenced by your leadership.


How do you make room for continuing to learn while working/leading/living?

I think it was James Clear in his great book, Atomic Habits, who said. “Success is the product of daily habits.” For me it’s been a long journey of making learning a daily habit. So that’s what I’ve set out to do over the years. I still have lots to learn, which I guess that in itself is evidence that I am a learner.

For me, when you focus on becoming a learner, than learning can happen in all kinds of ways, shapes and forms. Taking time during the week to sit and reflect and journal opens me up to learning. Sometimes it comes from listening to a podcast. Other times it comes from reading an article or a book.

Learning for me also comes from relationships. It can come from a great conversation with a colleague or in a team meeting when I get the opportunity to listen to and learn from others on my team. It can come from a walk with my wife or from sitting around the table playing a game of Yahtzee with my family.

Most all, learning for me comes from doing. I’m not a high risk guy and I place a high value on certainty, but I continue to learn about the importance of getting out of my comfort zone and trying something new – the first time I tried building a table was a disaster compared to my tenth time. Experience has always been my best teacher.

I think for me it’s been about realizing that learning doesn’t have to be condensed to reading a book or watching a documentary. A learner is who I am – it’s a way of being for me more so than something I do. When I think of it as something to do it feels heavy and burdensome and I immediately want to just grab my phone and watch another episode of “The Office” for the millionth time.

Variety is key for me when it comes to being a learner and having a learning mindset that leaves me open to humility, curiosity and a willingness to learn.


What are the best ways that leaders/colleagues can support other leaders/colleagues, whether within the same organization or different organizations?

Participate in learning opportunities and know that it’s okay for you, as a leader in your organization, to make your own learning and growth a priority.

Prioritize relationships. Leadership can feel like a very lonely pursuit and leaders need to be intentional about connecting with other leaders.

Set up virtual or in-person coffee times with other leaders. Start a noon-hour book club.

Invest in a leadership coach. One of the best things I did a couple years ago was to start working with a leadership coach. Those monthly coaching conversations had such a profound influence on my life and leadership. I can’t say enough good things about the value of leaders having a leadership coach.

LEADS Inspired Leadership Program

In Partnership with CCHL through LEADS Canada

LEADS Inspired Leadership brings online the renowned LEADS Learning Series that has been transforming health leadership for more than a decade. Dynamic and interactive courses explore each of the LEADS domains and empower you to enhance your leadership skills in decision making, influencing and inspiring others to lead change and organizational transformation.