Sheila Fleming at the 2018 Lawson Impact Awards
Sheila Fleming, executive assistant to Dr. David Hill, scientific director of Lawson Health Research Institute, was the recipient of a Staff Award of Excellence at the 2018 Lawson Impact Awards event this past spring.
In addition to carrying out her administrative support functions for Dr. Hill – in itself a significant responsibility – Fleming goes above and beyond to provide support in a variety of ways to the entire Lawson administration team and research community.
Fleming has built strong relationships across Lawson and its hospital and academic partners. She often acts as a liaison connecting administrative team members to key senior leaders and researchers, and vice versa, so they are able to do their jobs more effectively.
“Sheila is the ‘hub’ of Lawson. Almost all of us on the administration team, and I’m sure many members of our research community, view Sheila as their go-to person. She has a wealth of knowledge that has guided many of us,” says Stacey Larizza, Chief Operating Officer, Lawson. “She always considers the needs of scientists, staff and trainees, and she is a passionate advocate for them. She does whatever she can to help ensure they succeed.”
Her relationship-building skills have also strengthened Dr. Hill’s advocacy efforts as Lawson continues to join research institutes across the country campaigning for increased funding, diversity in science and support for young researchers from the Canadian government.
“As a scientist it’s not just doing the research, it’s leading people; it’s really knowing how to run a business. So anyway I can help them jump those hurdles, I’m happy to do that,” says Fleming. “In my view, relationships drive everything and that’s how we get work done. If you’re fair and helpful and collaborative, people will respond in kind and then it’s easy to move things forward.”
Fleming also participates in a number of volunteer initiatives. For example, she is President of the Ingersoll District Nature Club, a group that stewards the 36 acre Lawson Nature Reserve south of Ingersoll; helps lead local advocacy efforts in opposing a proposed mega landfill adjacent to Ingersoll aquifers; and provides administrative support to the Diabetic Pregnancy Study Group, a European not-for-profit organization that fosters research and education in diabetic pregnancy.