A Q&A with Alex Wilson, founding member of UHN Impact Collective
“It’s all about providing access to information from experts in the field”
Alex Wilson is the Broker-Owner of RE/MAX Wealth Builders Real Estate, and founding member of the UHN Impact Collective (UIC). The UIC is a group of next-generation leaders who share a passion for community building and advancing the future of health care. Members of the UIC share their time, talents and networks to raise awareness and financial support for the highest priorities of Toronto General and Toronto Western hospitals. Since the UIC partnered with Toronto Life and launched the Serving Knowledge Supper Club, Alex has helped contribute to the initiatives of Toronto’s University Health Network (UHN), matching Serving Knowledge Supper Club donations to Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation. Through real estate, philanthropic work and mental health advocacy – Alex’s efforts are focused on making the world a better place. We sat down with Alex to discuss his work with the UIC, including details on the upcoming Serving Knowledge Supper Club on September 23.
How have you been adjusting to the new normal?
Adjusting to the new normal for my wife and I has been providing and taking care of the family without the social structures that have been available to us previously. That has been a big adjustment, but a positive one. Both of us get to spend more time with our children and watch them grow and develop. We’ve realized that it’s something we want to continue to do and prioritize. What was once a question of how do we grow in our careers while growing as a family, has become how do we grow as a family while growing in our careers. Family has become a top priority.
What are some ways your passions of real estate and mental health intersect?
I love this question because it honestly boils down to psychology 101 – and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Shelter is one of the fundamental needs of humans. Now, imagine the amount of mental stress put on a person who needs to constantly worry about where they will access shelter every night. Real estate becomes a way of alleviating part of that stress, and maybe there are opportunities where we can help get people in tough positions back on their feet. I see it as my responsibility to find where I can help out with this sort of issue, especially since it involves something I interact with daily.
How did your relationship with University Health Network begin?
UHN was hosting a presentation about their life-saving transplant program at the Soham & Shaila Ajmera Family Transplant Centre that I attended with a friend. It was an incredible event and both my wife and I were quite moved by it. We felt that we wanted to use this inspiration as an opportunity to give back. Seeing health care as such a fundamental part of society, we felt it was the perfect organization to be a part of.
In what ways do you hope to see the initiatives of UHN enhance health care in Canada?
Though we are in the business of our day-to-day lives, I believe we as a society function as one. Therefore by contributing to UHN, we can help make society-at-large a better place. We’ve seen it already with the fact that UHN’s Toronto General Hospital being ranked the fourth-best hospital in the world by Newsweek magazine – the only Canadian and publicly funded hospital on that top 10 list. I hope to see UHN continue to propel Canadian health care to that world-leading status.
The UIC’s partnership with Toronto Life has brought us the monthly Serving Knowledge Supper Club – what’s next for this initiative?
Right now, our goal is to continue educating individuals about health care and the work of UHN – it’s all about providing access to information from experts in the field. With pivots we’ve made due to the pandemic, and to avoid losing the opportunity to provide that accessibility, we’ve continued with the Serving Knowledge Supper Club virtually. In some ways, the virtual side has grown the capacity to which we can make this knowledge available to people without geography being a factor. Moving forward, as we continue to build momentum with the Supper Club, we can hopefully bring on other initiatives in 2021.
Can you share with us what members can look forward to at this month’s Supper Club?
This month’s topic really ties in full-circle with my introduction to UHN. On September 23, we’re discussing UHN’s Centre for Living Organ Donation with Dr. Jason Lee and Dr. Sunita Singh. It’s a program that allows living individuals to donate the gift of a kidney or liver, and improves access to transplants for patients in need. It’s a life-changing program which members will hear more about from the experts speaking at the Supper Club, as well as the recipient of such a gift.
What would be your advice for those interested in supporting health care initiatives in the city but may not have the means to make donations?
Yes, this is so important. If you cannot contribute financially, you can absolutely help by being a cheerleader. With so much information shared with us on a daily basis, it can be hard to determine what is fact and what is fiction. We are lucky to have such incredible knowledge right in our own backyard through UHN. Simply sharing the information from UHN and being a part of the education awareness is huge. It can be as simple as attending an event or sharing information through social media.