Sera Filice-Armenio, President & CEO, St. Joseph's Healthcare Foundation

Sera Filice-Armenio, President & CEO, St. Joseph's Healthcare Foundation

As a past Business Excellence Award winner, Sera Filice-Armenio was gracious enough to participate in a few email exchanges to give us a chance to catch up with her about life since receiving the Community Builder Award in 2016, and to tell us how she is coping during these trying times under COVID restrictions.


Please describe your role as President & CEO at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation.

In my role as President & CEO of St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation, I have the privilege of working with our generous community of donors and supporters to raise funds for St. Joseph’s, a hospital that has been providing exceptional care to our community for 130 years. 

Healthcare relies on the funds provided through philanthropy to fund vital equipment purchases needed to help care for our patients, to fund new buildings and renovations to our patient care facilities, and to support research projects so that we can find better treatments, new cures or help to prevent disease altogether.


What’s your primary source of inspiration and motivation?

My primary source of motivation is knowing that the work we do is helping to build a stronger healthcare system by empowering the work of our hospital and care providers.  Together, through philanthropy, we’re providing the resources to improve the overall health of our community and the wider global community by supporting healthcare research. When you think of it that way, it’s hard NOT to be inspired by the possibility of a healthier future.

During this pandemic in particular, we’ve been so moved by the courage of our colleagues at the Hospital who so bravely continued their calling, coming in to work each day to care for our community, even though most of us were safely at home, working remotely.

These are the things that drive me and my colleagues to do our best.


What or who do you attribute your success to?

People define success in different ways.  For me, it’s making an impact both now and into the future… whether it’s in raising your children to be wonderful human beings, or finding work that motivates you to want to do your best and where you can see the tangible difference you have made in the lives of others. That’s where success meets happiness.

That success is never achieved in a silo.  For me, at work, it comes from working with amazing and dedicated colleagues at the Foundation and the Hospital who simply do what needs to be done.  It’s about finding ways to overcome obstacles and being motivated by that greater purpose that keeps us going and working together. 


If you had one piece of advice for young professionals or young entrepreneurs what would that be?

My advice would be to be open to those unexpected windows of opportunities that present themselves in our careers and in our lives…ones you might never have imagined.  It’s great to have a dream, goals and to be focused on what you want.  But sometimes there are windows that open along your journey…people you meet, or experiences you have, or discoveries you make about what really makes you happy.  These can change the trajectory of your life or career, opening up another journey altogether.  The opportunities are endless for you….enjoy that journey!


What has helped you to get by during these unprecedented times of COVID?

Hospitals and healthcare organizations have been on the frontlines of this pandemic.  So, as a healthcare foundation, being able to help and support the Hospital during this time provided a real sense of purpose and meaning and knowing we could make a tangible difference helped us to get by. 

It’s been a long 8 months for all of us….and at times, overwhelming.  So, finding those moments of rest or distraction is just as important.  For me, whether it was preparing meals at home or enjoying take-out from my favorite restaurants with my family, watching a movie, going for regular walks: Those moments helped to re-energize me, so it was easier to tackle the days ahead. 


What professional legacy would you hope to leave behind, and, what else do you want to be known for (excluding professional endeavours)?

That’s a great question!  Professionally, I hope my legacy is that of a successful leader with a strong work ethic who propelled the Foundation to grow and thrive; someone who persevered in the face of challenges by embracing the art of the possible; someone who is fondly remembered for truly caring about others, treating them with respect and kindness; and always leading by example.  

More personally, I hope to be known for my deep commitment to my family and being their biggest cheerleader; for my unwavering service to our amazing  community through my career and  volunteer commitments; for giving back to a community who has afforded the daughter of Italian immigrants so many opportunities, and for inspiring others to see their potential and follow their dreams.