Kate Cowan

Director, Strategic Relations (Interim)
Bachelor of commerce (honours), McMaster University
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Kate Cowan is the interim director of strategic relations at the Institute for Work & Health (IWH). In this role, she leads strategic work building strong and diverse stakeholder relationships and ensuring IWH’s research is responsive to the needs of workers, employers and policy-makers. She works closely with the president, scientific director, Board of Directors, and the communications and knowledge transfer and exchange (KTE) teams to identify partnership opportunities and amplify IWH’s impact, provincially, nationally and internationally.

Cowan has dedicated her dynamic career to supporting individuals and communities through her work with the Ontario Public Service (OPS), its agencies, a not-for-profit organization and as a committed volunteer. She is a passionate and principled public service leader, with experience in developing enterprise-wide strategy and sustainable solutions for provincial/local policies and programs.  She consistently strives to create a shared understanding of diverse staff and stakeholder perspectives through considerate and meaningful conversations.

While with the OPS, Cowan led the design and implementation of the first-ever Workplace Naloxone Program, the enterprise-wide co-creation of the strategic plan, as well as the policy work resulting in equity-based program changes to de-stream the grade 9 mathematics curriculum. She has also contributed to program and policy work with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the Ontario Women’s Directorate.  

Outside of work, Cowan has provided guidance to her community previously as the vice-chair of her son’s daycare, as the strategic planning chair for a community services organization supporting adults with disabilities and as a board member of a local women’s shelter.

Cowan holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.) degree from McMaster University, and a Masters Certificate in Risk Management and Business Performance from York University.

Photo of Kate Cowan