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Poonam Jassi

Forty under 40 winner 2018; Vice-president of operations, Western Canada, FunctionAbility Rehabilitation Services, Age 34
Chung Chow photo

Before taking up her new role as vice-president of operations, Western Canada, at FunctionAbility Rehabilitation Services, Poonam Jassi was the youngest provincial leader at CBI Health Group, and led the company’s growth in B.C. over the past three years. As senior director of operations, Jassi oversaw 1,000 staff in the field who provided a variety of community health-care services.

“I learned early on in my career that I did not have the stomach to be a clinician,” said Jassi. “Working in this field has enabled me to serve as part of the delivery system in which people’s lives are enhanced every day by the support they receive. This has been immensely rewarding.”

Known for her passion to innovate, Jassi pushes boundaries while remaining committed to social change and community development.

“Innovation will be paramount in ensuring the best possible outcomes in the face of the future intensity of demand in health care,” said Jassi. “We will be challenged to overcome an exponential growing need for service with continual resource constraints and we will need to employ innovative solutions to be successful.”

With more than 10 years of health-care experience, Jassi previously held roles in marketing, communications and strategy. She became CBI Health’s manager of customer experience and strategic programs in 2013.

Jassi, who has an MBA from the University of Toronto and a bachelor of science in molecular biology and biochemistry from Simon Fraser University, is completing a PhD in business administration through IE University in Madrid, Spain.

What has been her greatest career accomplishment so far? “Almost making it through my PhD – fingers crossed – while working full time and successfully continuing to grow the business,” she said.

Driving revenue growth in key markets, Jassi led the acquisition of three companies in B.C.

An accomplished public speaker, she often presents on programs she has led, including the opening of a transitional-care program that uses integrated services and technology to expedite patients’ hospital discharges and transitions.

Birthplace: Vernon

Where you live now: Mount Pleasant, Vancouver

Highest level of education: MBA, currently completing PhD in business administration

Currently reading: Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

Currently listening to: Racine Carrée by Stromae

When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: Something in medicine

Profession you would most like to try: Fashion designer

Toughest business or professional decision: Decision to come to a deal in collective bargaining to avoid a labour strike with over 300 members

Advice you would give the younger you: To focus on work that challenges me and allows me to create impact, as opposed to a road map of timelines and roles that may outwardly be viewed as measures of success

What’s left to do: There is tremendous opportunity in the health-care space to not only produce better outcomes using advances in technology, but to shift from managing health care reactively to proactively. There is much work to do in building the appropriate systems and models to better improve the health and well-being of all Canadians in the face of an aging population and growing challenges in mental health