Growing up in a small town on Vancouver Island, Balraj (Bal) Bains and her family were the only family of colour in the community. From a young age she learned to blend in to be accepted, and her experience facing discrimination as a woman of colour gave her a heightened sense of self-awareness that shaped her leadership approach.
“I was lucky to have the greatest champion in my father, who taught me to be independent and told me I could achieve anything I set my mind to,” says Bal. Now, as the Director of Corporate Development at Providence Health Care (PHC), she hopes to inspire other young women and girls to see themselves in leadership roles, by creating a safe and inclusive environment that allows everyone to reach their full potential. “My passion for healthcare stemmed from my experience taking my father to appointments and seeing the frustration, helplessness and vulnerability of patients. I wanted to get involved to help make this process better, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.”
She recognizes that women are better represented in healthcare across all levels compared to other industries, but with COVID-19 and digital transformation, there is an even greater opportunity for innovative and entrepreneurial women in the digital health space. In her role, she manages the operations and investments of PHC Business Corporation, focused on driving innovation to improve healthcare, and leads the PHC’s involvement in Supercluster projects.
“The Supercluster has provided opportunities for Providence Health Care to work with industry on complex projects,” adds Bal. PHC is a key partner in six Supercluster projects: Dermatology Point-of-Care Intelligent Network, Intelligent Network Point-of-Care Ultrasound, Perioperative Opioid Usage Quality Improvement, HyperTalent and Project ABC. The breadth of projects reflect the goal that Bal and the team at PHC strive for every day: provide improved patient and family centred healthcare for all British Columbians.