Wendy Dugas

Top 40 Under 40 2012

Photography Pedersen

Age: 39

Job Title: President and CEO, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation

Why She’s Top 40: She oversees the foundation that supports a hospital and funds new equipment, technology and research for thousands of patients.

Key To Success: “People are what drive me. I love meeting new people, partnerships and collaboration.”

With 80,000 visits a year, the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital gives people requiring help the chances to restore their skills. Be it a stroke victim learning to walk again, a soldier injured in the line of duty or a child with autism having behavioural issues, people come here on an inpatient, outpatient, day patient and outreach basis. “When you walk through the hallways here,” says Wendy Dugas, “people are always trying to do better.”

Doing better. That’s an approach Dugas shares. As president and CEO of the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation since 2010, she manages and maximizes fundraising to support innovative technologies. Some of these technologies have included robotics, simulation and gaming, real world bionics and state-of-the-art equipment, such as Western Canada’s first Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment (CAREN), a virtual reality therapy made possible through a collaboration with the Canadian Forces and Dugas’s fundraising. “What happens in the hospital is amazing.”

The foundation’s support is behind various projects, including a digital playroom being built in the pediatrics unit and the expansion of dental services for injured patients too frail for regular dental clinics.

Dugas credits her human-resources education with her success in the non-profit sector. “I don’t look at fundraising as a traditional sales environment. I think you have to make a connection with the potential donor and, if that happens, then fundraising is a very natural process.”

Since moving to Canada in 2000 from her native Netherlands (where she met her Canadian husband-to-be, Martin, while he was playing pro soccer in that country) the connections she’s been making have taken her through various roles in Edmonton’s not-for-profit sector, including account manager at United Way and campaign director for Ronald McDonald House, where she led an $11 million capital campaign to expand the house from 16 to 32 rooms.

The desire to help others is a family affair, since her husband is now executive director at the Ronald McDonald House. “Our two kids are learning … about life and about being compassionate,” she says.  “We’re very lucky to be working in the city we do and with the organizations we work for.”

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