Kevin Keohane is firmly dedicated to ensuring that kids and their families in the Ottawa region have access to world-class health care, facilities and support. Kevin is President and CEO of the CHEO Foundation, working with the greater Ottawa community to raise funds to support CHEO, Roger Neilson House and the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (OCTC).
Kevin’s leadership and tireless efforts in the community are underpinned by his understanding that supporting children during their health care journey also means helping their families at their greatest time of need. For his commitment to raising funds which allow medical staff to offer exceptional care, and researchers to innovate, Kevin Keohane is one of #150GreatPeople in Ottawa. Here, he answers the questionnaire:
What makes Ottawa special to you?
I love Ottawa. It’s home – always has been and always will be! It’s got an amazing mix of city and country folk who were born and raised in this area plus great people from across Canada and around the world who’ve chosen to make this there home. It’s a big metropolitan region that still possesses a lot of small town feel, characteristics and charm. While watching the news every night, I’m constantly reminded what a special place Ottawa is and I never take living here for granted.
What do you love most about living and working in Ottawa?
It’s that small town feeling throughout the region. It seems like everyone knows each other and to me Ottawa is better defined by its people than by its many incredible landmarks. The people are warm, welcoming and among the most caring and generous people you’ll find anywhere. There isn’t a day goes by at CHEO when acts of kindness and generosity are not making a huge difference for the kids and families of our community. I think it’s fair to say that we are a community with a sense of purpose, pride and many shared values and this makes it a great place to live, work and raise a family.
The work that you do helps to make Ottawa a better place – why is this important to you?
To be honest, I never think of it in terms of the work “I do” but rather the work that “we do” as a team and as a community to make Ottawa a better place. I am so honoured to be part of a team that has the privilege of working with people and organizations in our community to provide the doctors, nurses and staff at CHEO, OCTC and Roger Neilson House with the tools, equipment and other supports they need to care for the kids and young families we serve. Our team is constantly surrounded and supported by people who want to help and it is important to everyone at the CHEO Foundation that we encourage these people to take pride in what they are doing, help them to understand the impact they are making and ensure they feel our genuine appreciation. This is what’s important to me and what is important to our entire team.
You give back to the Ottawa community in various ways – is there one Ottawa-related achievement of which you are most proud?
Again, I see this through a different lens and I always feel as though my interaction with the community is giving to me rather than the other way around. I consider the CHEO Foundation and the Ottawa community to be one and the same. I truly believe the words community and foundation are interchangeable because the CHEO Foundation is the community’s expression of support for the children and young families in our region. The thing I am most proud of is that each and every member of our team is a donor to CHEO as are many of the doctors, nurses and staff who give generously to support the work they do together and to support the children they care for. The fact that we are all part of CHEO’s community of donors is what makes me so proud.
What do you hope for Ottawa in the future?
I know it may sound cliché but each and every generation of children represents our future so it stands to reason that the better we take care of our children today, the better our future and their futures will be. For most of us, our children and grandchildren are the most important people in our lives and everything we do in life is done with their best interests in mind. When our kids and our grandchildren outgrow CHEO, I hope that all of us will keep in mind that there are thousands of young families who are now counting on us to help them care for their children. I also hope that everyone will continue to support CHEO and experience the fulfilment and satisfaction that comes along with making this vital and meaningful contribution to our community.