Allyship at BC Women’s Health Foundation: A Conversation with Cally Wesson

Global Philanthropic Canada had the pleasure of sitting down with Cally Wesson, President & CEO at BC Women’s Health Foundation in Vancouver. BC Women’s Health Foundation is the province’s largest non-profit dedicated to advancing the full spectrum of women’s and newborn health, and has recently partnered with the Women’s Health Research Institute at BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre to release a study entitled Pride 2024 and Going Beyond the Binary.

Cally has committed her career to advancing healthcare initiatives for vulnerable populations. Her leadership at BC Women’s Health Foundation exemplifies a visionary and compassionate approach to improving healthcare outcomes and fostering a healthier future for women throughout the province. She reflected on Pride Season in the context of fundraising, healthcare and non-profits.

Q: What does Pride Season mean to you?

A: I think for our organization, and for myself, Pride is the time to celebrate diversity and inclusion and celebrate everybody and acknowledge that differences exist. We are proud to support that.

Q: Will you tell us how your organization has actively demonstrated allyship to 2SLGBTQIA+ communities?

A: Our organization supports equity – specifically gender equity. Our Women’s Health Research Institute at BC Women’s has done a lot of a lot of interesting work. There’s a study that the institute has done via our organization’s fundraising and support and we encourage folks to check it out –

Our organization is focused on raising awareness about the gender gap in health – focusing on women and those who identify as women. It’s really important to our organization and we live and breathe it through everything we do.

Q: Do you have any best practices you’d like to share with other healthcare organizations in Canada pertaining to thoughtful engagement or support of organizations from the 2SLGBTQIA+ community?

A: Pride Month is exciting! It’s about celebrating Pride and actively acknowledging it! It’s also the time of year that you pause and you reflect on your own values. It all starts at leadership. Ensuring that from team composition to the equity-diversity-inclusion within your organization – make sure that everyone lives and breathes those values. Ensure that as you create partnerships in the community, create linkages with different groups that represent everyone. I think when you look at your partners, especially not-for-profit, I think it’s important that you look at your relationships to make sure that you have diverse partnerships – making sure there is strong allyship amongst the communities.