Diego Marchese has over 25 years of not-for-profit experience. Diego’s current role is the Executive Vice President, Mission, Research and Social Enterprise at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. He has held several senior positions at Heart & Stroke including interim CEO, national COO and national Vice President, Prevention. At Heart & Stroke in BC & Yukon, he served as CEO, COO, and Vice President, Research and Health Promotion, overseeing the foundation’s research, health promotion, patient education and advocacy areas.
Diego has been prominent in the development and delivery of many renowned health programs and initiatives at both a provincial and national level and has served on numerous multi-organization national and provincial working groups and committees. He served as executive sponsor of Heart & Stroke’s Indigenous Strategy and was instrumental in the development of many of Heart & Stroke’s most significant achievements in British Columbia, including: Provincial Trans Fat Regulations, the BC Stroke Strategy, anti-tobacco policies and programs and children’s health education programs.
Diego is a member of the Canadian College of Health Service Executives and serves on the board of the Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery where he serves as Vice Chair. In his free time, he enjoys going to the symphony and theatre and spending time in the mountains. He is a former varsity basketball player and an avid mountain biker and cyclist.
What is your most memorable experience from your time in the Faculty of Education?
There are many as I was so fortunate to have incredible classmates from a diversity of backgrounds and disciplines including medicine, psychology, theology, education and health to name a few. They each brought a perspective and experience that contributed to a very rich learning environment and I have never forgotten that many voices matter. If I had to choose one experience it would be my first introduction to the Talking Stick practice used by many Indigenous cultures in a program planning course. It enabled all of us to listen and share in such a powerful and deep way that I had not experienced before. I would argue that the level of trust developed through this practice elevated our relationships and respect for one another to a point where this was the course that forever stayed with me and was my favorite course in all my time at UBC.
Where has your education from the Faculty of Education taken you in your career?
It has enabled me to hold many senior roles within the not-for-profit sector. I firmly believe that education and learning is the foundation of a civil and just society and the key to meaningful progress. When we commit to learning and teaching, we build deeper relationships and create better and better programs, policies and approaches to helping one another and building a better world. In my case at Heart and Stroke, I have no doubt that I would not have had the opportunity and ability to contribute as I have without my training from the master’s program in the Faculty of Education. I will be forever grateful to my instructors and classmates.
Where do issues of inclusion find a place in your life or at work?
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion are critical to having the positive impact on health that we all want to see. In the health arena we need to acknowledge where we have failed, work with communities to learn- but most importantly commit and apply these learnings to ensure that all people living in Canada benefit from a fair and equitable healthcare system. As recent reports have acknowledged, we have a ways to go to ensure this happens. A fair and just world is the world I want to live in and it’s the world I would want for my children and future generations.
Do you have any words of wisdom for current students? Newly graduated folks?
Your journey in learning and teaching is just beginning; it is truly a life-long journey. It is a journey that will continue to enrich you and shape who you are as a person, colleague, leader, friend, coach. And it can take you many places in your career as learning, teaching and coaching are critical success factors in all organizations and businesses. Don’t sell yourself short and strive to achieve your dreams- you are/will be educators, teachers and life-long learners who will make a difference in the world.