Dick Vollet, 50, is a lifelong Vancouver resident. He has more than 20 years of experience in a variety of executive roles, including recent positions as President & CEO of Streetohome Foundation and Vice President, Mountain Operations with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Committee. Last month, Vollet took over the reigns as President and CEO of St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, which raises money to support patient care, research and medical teaching at St. Paul’s. Vollet joins the foundation at a critical time following the provincial government's recent commitment to move forward on the redevelopment and renewal of an aging St. Paul's Hospital at its current site on Burrard Street in the heart of downtown Vancouver.
How has your previous roles prepared you for your new position?
They helped me understand the connection between the major social issues we face as a society and the will to be part of a solution. At VANOC, I realized there is nothing too big or too scary and that with the right people anything is possible. As I have grown in my career, I have gained a clearer understanding of what it means to give back to a city that has given me so much. I am truly blessed to be in a position to give back to a city and a province I love so much.
President and CEO, Streetohome Foundation, a partnership between Vancouver Foundation, the City of Vancouver and the Province of British Columbia to tackle the problem of homelessness in Vancouver by creating safe, decent, affordable housing for those on the streets and those at risk in their city.
How has it prepared you for this role?
It has connected me with some of the most influential and passionate leaders in the city. It opened my eyes to the less fortunate in this city and given me inspiration to help make a difference. It helped me realize that health care – in particular, for mental health and addictions – is a critical piece to solving the puzzle of homelessness.
What attracted you to this position?
To work with St. Paul’s Hospital and facilitate real change in this city; opportunity to be a part of making history by working with and supporting some of the leading doctors and researchers in Canada and the world. I have seen the profound impact that St. Paul's Hospital's commitment to compassion, social justice, exceptional care and innovation has had on the people of this city and province.
What are your immediate priorities?
Seeing St. Paul’s renewed to serve the needs of our community and province for decades to come! That means working with the Project Board and Project team to establish what the Renewal project for St. Paul’s Hospital will look like. We will also identify and develop the key components of a capital campaign to support the renewal efforts in a meaningful way that engages the community as we build our new hospital.
What are you most looking forward to doing?
Seeing the first shovel in the ground as the renewal project begins. The Province has pledged commitment to move forward on the redevelopment of St. Paul's Hospital.
What will that look like?
We are still working very closely with the project team to establish what that will look like, and how the project will come together.
What are the next steps?
Establish a project plan, get alignment and approvals in place, engage the community, and then begin a Capital Campaign to support the renewal.
Best life lesson you’ve learned?
Why do you need more than one suit, when you can only wear one at a time?
One lesson you’d love to give others?
We are all connected; you get what you give in life.
Cypress Mountain Venue Operations was one of my biggest challenges in my entire career. The core team that worked on this venue will always have my undying respect and admiration for achieving the impossible.
Being a part of the Senior Leadership Team that hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympics Games.
What does success look like?
Seeing my children succeed always makes me feel successful.
One thing you could change about the world?
Balance of wealth; be it food, water, or natural resources.
One thing you hate most about the world?
Poverty and the fact it still exists in this day and age.
One thing you wish Vancouverites would stop whining about?
Traffic and the weather
What was your ‘a-ha’ moment?
Watching the birth of my children.
Three words to live by
Love, Live, GIVE
Most thankful for
My wife and children
A talent you possess that many are not aware of?
I play the drums, though I’m a bit rusty.
One thing you can’t live without?
My dog Ruby.
Last $20 bucks to your name, how would you spend it?
Give it to someone who needs it more than me.
Best place for coffee?
Higher Grounds at Broadway and Vine
Fairmont Pacific Rim (love the piano!)
Edgewater in Whistler. I proposed to my wife there.
Favorite greasy spoon?
5 Corners Café in White Rock
Last book read?
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
All-time favorite movie?
Field of Dreams
Favourite sports team?
Last place travelled?
Argentina, Buenos Aires
Best thing about this city?
Water, mountains, scenery.
Worst thing about this city?
Your favourite neighborhood?
Kitsilano. I like it so much I recently moved there.
What would the perfect day in Vancouver look like for you?
Golf; five-km run with my wife and dog, and dinner on the rooftop deck with my wife.
Community event, festival or gala that you look forward to every year
The Lights of Hope at St. Paul’s Hospital, of course! It starts up again in a little over a month. We’ve got great things planned this year. Since 1998 the campaign has generated $19 million. This year, we are looking to raise at least $2.1 million.
The one place you take out-of-town visitors to show off our city?
Top of Grouse Mountain or up the Grouse Grind, depending on who the visitors are.
Who inspires you?
Who bugs you?
Local person you most admire?
Most memorable celebrity encounter?
Played in a Pro-Am with Payne Stewart at the Air Canada Championship.
If you could be any celebrity?