When Mike Northcott’s kids Lexi and Hailey were four and seven he decided he would pursue a Master’s degree. He received a BSc in Kinesiology and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Saskatchewan, and worked at health regions in Alberta while his wife Peggy completed a degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Alberta. When the kids came along they decided to move back to Saskatchewan. “I always knew I wanted to do a Master’s degree,” he says, “and the Master of Human Resource Management (MHRM) program at the Levene School was an excellent fit for me. It focuses on an area I’m passionate about, it complemented my day-to-day responsibilities, and it offered the flexibility I needed to complete the program from a distance, while growing a career and raising a family.” Northcott credits the outstanding leadership of a few of his professors who pushed him to succeed. Associate Professor Sean Tucker’s leadership course had a strong influence on him, he notes. “He’s an exceptional professor with high expectations and an excellent approach.” Northcott also recognized Dr. Gina Grandy, who taught a course in Strategy and Leadership at that time, for challenging him. “They will pave a path for the program, and the university is lucky to have them,” he states. In January 2017, while he was still working toward his degree, Northcott was offered the opportunity to become a member of the transition team tasked with amalgamating 12 health regions into one provincial health authority. During the transition he led the Human Resources and Change Leadership work streams, respectively. These assignments meant spending four days a week in Regina and commuting home to Saskatoon on weekends. It also meant doing transition team work during the day, followed by homework in the evening. “There were plenty of long days, but to be part of the transition team was the opportunity of a career. We were building a system for the future,” he says. Northcott found that his work connected well with what he was studying. As an example, a specific case study on changing the Human Resources service delivery model applied directly to the products of his work for the health authority. “There was a natural alignment between course work and my career work.” Northcott completed his Master of Human Resource Management degree in 2017, and was appointed the Chief Human Resources Officer for the Saskatchewan Health Authority before the end of the year. His philosophy on leadership has evolved throughout his 16-year career in human resources, and he credits the Levene School’s MHRM program in helping him grow his leadership values and acumen. A leader’s job is to develop more leaders, he states, adding that he is a big believer in employing leadership as a means of creating an engaging work environment. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to have completed the program. It helped me grow as a leader and a human resources practitioner,” he says. Much of his focus with the Health Authority is on putting in place what he describes as “… real foundational pieces, developing outstanding leaders and creating a great work experience for employees, with the ultimate goal of achieving better care for patients, clients and residents of the SHA.”