I am the I in IWK: Melissa Stark, program manager, Planning and Improvement

Posted by

Melissa Stark comes by her love of efficiency naturally. Instilled during childhood, it’s a value that shone through in her early career as a medical technologist – rooted in process and details – and continues in her work today.

A program manager leading strategic initiatives for Planning and Improvement, Stark oversees and plays a lead role in major system changes at IWK Health.

“Together, our team provides structure and horsepower behind a desired change. With support from leaders, we’re able to move forward really big things. We bring interested parties together, coordinate difficult conversations and oversee every small task, using data and analysis to help make informed and evidence-driven decisions.” – Melissa Stark

Most recently, Stark has led the team through an environmental services transformation – with more than 120 employees formally joining IWK Health, transitioning from roles that currently report to a private contractor.

“We want to make sure that the housekeepers currently working with IWK become part of our family,” she says. “Bringing them in-house will increase our agility to respond and communicate quickly when we need to make changes, as we did during the pandemic.”

Stark says other outcomes include the creation of more permanent and full-time positions. The team hopes the increased stability will improve staff retention and job satisfaction, and ultimately, the quality of services for patients and families.

On February 11, 2023, the United Nation’s focuses on elevating the voices of women, like Melissa Stark, working in science, technology and innovation fields, through the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Though much progress has been made through higher education, women are still under-represented in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields globally. Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls continues to be championed by the UN.