Vladimir Putin

Getting back to normal – What does it mean and what will it take?

Monday, June 28, 2021

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Getting back to normal – What does it mean and what will it take?

With millions of Canadians getting vaccinated, and provinces slowly unrolling reopening plans across the country, when does Canada return to normal? What does the new normal look like for everyday Canadians and Canadian companies?Join our panelists as they discuss the challenges we face in continuing to protect Canadians from COVID-19 while getting our economy back to pre-pandemic levels.Our panel will discuss the challenges facing Canada with achieving herd immunity, issuing vaccine passports and looking at the challenges Canadian businesses will face getting back to normal.How will we build back better? When do we get back to normal? What is the new normal?


Mike Kessel

President & CEO - Cleveland Clinic Canada

Mike Kessel is the President and CEO of Cleveland Clinic Canada and is responsible for the growth of the Canadian facilities, strategic partnerships and enterprise value creation. During his tenure, the organization has implemented a unique public/private hybrid strategy that has led to formal partnerships with Canadian healthcare ecosystem community stakeholders such as SickKids, Sunnybrook, Mt. Sinai and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. He has also led partnership efforts with the Ontario Ministry of Health, where there have been several important firsts for in-country and cross-border patient care in bariatric surgery and bone marrow transplants. Mr. Kessel led the acquisition of the Sports Medicine Specialists – the highest volume sports medicine and rehab clinic in Canada and the first international acquisition in Cleveland Clinic’s 100-year history. Over the last few years, Mr. Kessel’s focus has been the creation of a healthcare subscription model (ie. Netflix) for some of the clinic’s services in Canada – medical directorships, virtual care across Canada and remotely focused longitudinal care services. Most importantly, under his leadership, patient experience and employee engagement scores have reached record highs during his tenure. His career has been fueled by a passion for healthcare and over 25 years of experience in strategy, finance, organizational behaviour, operations and entrepreneurial ventures.

Mr. Kessel is active in the Toronto community as a former board member of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. His involvement was recognized with a Tony Graham Outstanding Board Member Award in 2016. Mr. Kessel created the largest corporate philanthropic table tennis tournament in Canada, which currently takes place in 3 cities (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal), and raises $300k annually for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. He also holds board member positions at Unyte, a Toronto-based brain health company; Biomendics, an Ohio-based wound care organization; VIQ, a Toronto-based audiovisual capture company; and Solve.care, a health tech company leveraging blockchain to reduce administrative costs; Ontario Brain Institute, a not-for-profit organization accelerating discovery and innovation; Mr. Kessel is a former committee member of the Conference Board of Canada. He is an active member of Young Presidents Organization and serves on the Maple Leaf chapter’s New Member Committee.   Mr. Kessel is a guest lecturer at Dalla Lana School of Public Health – University of Toronto.

Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic Canada in 2009, Mr. Kessel was Co-founder and Vice President of Business Development and Finance for the Center for Partnership Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital/Trio Health in Chicago. In this role, Mr. Kessel was instrumental in the development of a network of executive health and wellness programs with leading medical centers throughout the United States. He successfully secured 39 of the 42 Fortune 500 companies based in Chicago as clients.  The program was ranked as one of the top programs in the country by both Forbes and Fortune magazines.

Mr. Kessel graduated from The Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in marketing and accounting. He received his CPA designation in 1995. Mr. Kessel received his MBA from Kellogg Business School at Northwestern University in Chicago in 2005 with a focus on Marketing, Finance and Strategy.

Mr. Kessel and his wife Julie have three children, two of whom were born in Chicago and one in Toronto. He enjoys keeping active with a variety of sports including tennis, running, ping pong, basketball and golf.


Julie Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H

Executive Vice President & Chief Patient Officer - Merck

Former Director - U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Julie Gerberding is Executive Vice President and Chief Patient Officer at Merck & Co., Inc., where she is responsible for global public policy, patient engagement and advocacy, strategic communications, population health, and corporate responsibility. She joined Merck in 2010 as president of Merck vaccines.

Dr. Gerberding was Director of the U.S. CDC from 2002-2009, where she led the agency through more than 40 emergency responses to public health crises.  She serves on the executive committee of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) board and is a board member of Cerner Corporation and MSD Wellcome Trust Hilleman Laboratories, a non-profit that develops new vaccine technologies for developing countries.  She also co-chairs the CSIS Commission on Strengthening America’s Health Security.

Dr. Gerberding has received more than 50 awards and honors, including the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Distinguished Service Award for her leadership in responses to anthrax bioterrorism and the September 11, 2001 attacks.  In 2018, she was selected as the Healthcare Businesswomen Association’s Woman of the Year.

Dr. Gerberding received her undergraduate and M.D. degrees from Case Western Reserve University.  She completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine and fellowship in Clinical Pharmacology and Infectious Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco, where she is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicine.  Dr. Gerberding received a Masters of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley.  She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American College of Physicians.  She is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Jia Hu

Chair - 19 to Zero

Dr. Jia Hu is the Primary Care Vaccine Rollout Lead at the Alberta Medical Association, a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary, the Chair and co-founder of 19 To Zero, and a family physician. He also works at the East Calgary Health Centre, an inner-city family medicine practice serving marginalized populations. He is also a Corporate Medical Director with the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board with Cleveland Clinic Canada and has previously worked in management consulting for McKinsey & Co. and as a consultant at the London School of Economics. He has advised governments on health financing models.

Jia works extensively on safe reopening: He is helping PHACs vaccine passports/credential development, has advised dozens of large companies on safe reopening, and has helped plan / is planning major events like sports leagues (NHL, CFL, etc) and large events like the Calgary Stampede.

Dr. Hu obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Harvard University before going on to obtain his Doctor of Medicine from the University of Alberta. He completed his residency at the University of Toronto and St. Mike’s Hospital. His strong interest in Health Policy and Planning led him to London, UK, where he completed a Masters at the London School of Economics & London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Most recently, Dr. Hu completed training in Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of Toronto.

Following his residency, Jia worked in management consulting at McKinsey, with a focus on the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. He formerly worked as a Medical Officer of Health with Alberta Health Services, where he played an important role in many aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including scaling-up of testing and contact tracing, development of the mobile contact tracing app, assisting organizations with COVID-19 preparedness and re-opening, and engaging in risk communications. He works part-time as a family physician at a clinic and a long-term care facility that serves patients with complex medical, mental health, and substance abuse issues.

He is a Board member for Partners in Health (PIH) Canada, where he works to diversify funding and develop a strategic plan to increase PIH Canada activities both internationally and with Indigenous populations domestically. He is also the Treasurer and Executive Member for Public Health Physicians of Canada (PHPC). In this role, Dr. Hu provides financial oversight to PHPC, the national specialist society for public health physicians.

When he is not practicing medicine, Dr. Hu stays active by jogging and playing squash. He is conversant in Mandarin Chinese.

Rocco Rossi

President & CEO - Ontario Chamber of Commerce

A successful entrepreneur and business executive, champion fundraiser, and dedicated public servant, Rocco Rossi joined the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) in 2018 as President and CEO.

Prior to joining the OCC, Rossi most recently served as President and CEO of Prostate Cancer Canada where he helped to advance the research, advocacy, education and awareness of the most common cancer in men.

Mr. Rossi also served as CEO of Heart and Stroke Foundation – one of Canada’s largest non-profit organizations – overseeing consecutive years of record fundraising combining for over $600 million in total and launching many new, life-saving initiatives.

His passion for public policy has led him to stand for election both for the position of Mayor of Toronto and for MPP.

Mr. Rossi has held senior positions at the Boston Consulting Group, TORSTAR, Labatt/Interbrew and MGI Software. He is a graduate of McGill and Princeton.

Rossi currently serves as a member of the Board and Audit Committee of TerraVest Industries. A past board member of United Way of Greater Toronto and other charities, Mr. Rossi has been an active community builder. In fact, in 2012 he was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for his Philanthropic and Community service.

A dedicated adventurer, Rocco has walked the legendary Camino de Santiago several times, cycled the 1900 km length of Yonge Street from Rainy River to Toronto, kayaked the 500 km from Toronto to Ottawa, and climbed to Everest Base Camp.

Mr. Rossi has a BA (Hons) in political science from McGill University and a Masters of Arts in politics from Princeton University. He is married to his wife of 30-years, Rhonnie, and they have a 28-year-old son, Domenic John, who is a teacher.