Ms. Katherine Hay, President and CEO, Kids Help Phone

President and CEO, Kids Help Phone

As President and CEO of Kids Help Phone, Katherine (Kathy) Hay drives the strategic direction, innovation imperative and culture of Canada’s only national, 24/7 bilingual e-mental health service for young people. In 2019, Kids Help Phone’s team of counsellors and crisis responders had over 1.9 million interactions with youth in every province and territory and the organization is on track to reach over 2.5 million youth in 2020.

In 2019, Kathy was named as one of the Top 10 Women Leaders in Digital Health in Canada in recognition of her extraordinary leadership and contributions to the advancement of virtual mental health solutions for youth in need from coast to coast to coast.

Canada has the third highest youth suicide rate in the industrialized world, Black youth are twice as likely to die by suicide compared to white youth and Indigenous youth are at least six times more likely to die by suicide compared to non-Indigenous youth. In Kathy’s words, “In a country like Canada, it is shocking that Black, Indigenous and all BIPOC youth have been so badly let down. This must change.”

Under Kathy’s leadership, Kids Help Phone is developing new access points, new solutions and new innovations that will reduce barriers to e-mental health support for more youth, particularly those from marginalized and underserved communities, and develop deep and meaningful partnerships with people and organizations nationwide to save more lives. The Kids Help Phone team stands together against racism. Kathy is leading the organization’s work to take decisive action to acknowledge and eliminate any existence or influence of systemic anti-Black racism across Kids Help Phone and in the ways it interacts with BIPOC youth reaching out for help. This work builds on the critical progress being made by Kids Help Phone to improve its outreach to and support of Indigenous youth with the 2019 launch of Finding Hope, an action plan for supporting First Nations, Inuit and Métis young people.

Prior to joining Kids Help Phone, Kathy was President and CEO of Women’s College Hospital Foundation where she advanced the health of women across Canada and achieved record levels of support. Her success in this role led to her being named one of Canada’s Top 25 Women of Influence in 2017. She was also the CEO of Credit Valley Hospital Foundation and has also held senior roles at the University of Toronto, the University of Guelph, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. As a former banker, Kathy has brought a strategic and business lens to her roles in the not-for-profit charitable sector.

Kathy’s shining achievements to date are her two amazing children, and now a grandson.


Return to Chancellor's Leadership Series