VON team “ReConnects” at OCSA conference

VON staff standing behind table at conference

A team of VON staff members in Ontario was pleased to attend the Ontario Community Support Association’s (OCSA) conference “Community ReConnect 2023.” The return of the in-person annual conference took place from October 18 to 19, and brought together executives, senior leaders and program managers in the home and community care sector, as well as innovators and those working in other healthcare sectors.

OCSA champions a strong, sustainable home and community support sector for all Ontarians, representing over 220 not-for-profit organizations, including VON.

“This annual conference allows industry leaders the opportunity to collaborate, network and participate in thought-provoking sessions,” says Heather MacArthur, regional executive director, home and community care. “This year’s theme ‘ReConnect’ was spot on. Many of us were reuniting with colleagues and community partners who we’ve only seen virtually over the last several years.”

The team had the opportunity to listen to keynote speakers who shared authentically about their experiences as transformative leaders. They also attended labs and breakout sessions, bringing back useful information for brainstorming and problem solving. 

Sessions covered topics including making home and community care attractive to healthcare workers, using successful global models of care to reimagine Ontario’s home and community care system for our aging population and championing the pressing needs of vulnerable people through our work on Ontario Health Teams. 

VON was one of the event’s silver sponsors, and also staffed a tradeshow table to outline VON’s new and innovative offerings in the sector.

“This was my first time attending the OCSA conference,” says Vanessa Terpstra, manager of home and community care in Waterloo, Wellington and Dufferin. “The VON representation at all levels within the organization was enlightening, empowering and truly made me proud to work for an organization with strong leaders in the industry.”

VON staff standing with VON poster and behind VON table at OCSA Conference
Left: Karen Gilham, SMILE program supervisor, stands in front of VON’s poster outlining the benefits of the unique SMILE (Seniors Managing Independent Living Easily)© program (Photo by Brian de Rivera Simon, Tarsipix Studios). Right: VON staffers Lillian Markobrada, talent acquisition specialist, and Tarra Girard, regional administrative specialist, share information about VON’s community support services and job opportunities with attendees (Photo by Brian de Rivera Simon, Tarsipix Studios)


More feedback from the VON team:
“The workshops were great and left room to mingle and connect well with other healthcare workers.” — Katie Cipparrone, RPN

“I walked away feeling ‘VON proud’ of the incredible work that our teams do in our local communities.” — Heather MacArthur, regional executive director, home and community care

“I found the presentation by Dr. Chika Oriuwa most impactful; her heart-wrenching story struck a chord in me that I could not ignore. Moving forward, I have made a commitment to stand as an advocate and ally in my daily practice, for marginal populations within my areas of influence.” —Sherry Groulx, senior manager
“I particularly enjoyed the breakout session that discussed how to improve home care and community support services in the modern landscape. I found it very engaging, memorable, and enjoyed my discussions with peers offering all types of valuable insights towards the current barriers to client care that exist today. I felt as though I was tapping into an expansive topic, and that I was able to use my own personal experience to emphasize the importance of keeping the client in the centre of these types of decisions.” —Colin Murphy, case coordinator, SMILE program