Get to know our team – Elaine Macdonald

Meet Elaine Macdonald, the newly minted President of the EOLDAC. Elaine brings a strong medical background as an RN in the UK and here in Canada. Leadership comes naturally to Elaine, who holds a senior role in long term care in Courtenay, B.C. (Fun fact – Elaine’s work in long term care was recently featured in Trio Magazine, see page 2). We asked Elaine a few get-to-know-you questions to find out what draws her to end of life care:

  1. What is your role with the End of Life Doula Association of Canada?  
    My role has been as a supporter and member; last year I was given the opportunity to join the Board as Medical Director. I am excited to be stepping up as President in 2021!

  2. What drew you to this work?  
    The opportunity to be of service, to help people to find and grow their own strengths and to promote a great association.

  3. What strengths do you bring to the table?  
    What lights my fire and is my #1 strength is being able to connect with people, whatever the situation. I also love complexities and seeing how all the different pieces work together. I am quite strategic in my thinking. My leadership style is one of servant leadership where I support others to do their amazing work – while I am not a practising doula, I am trained as one. My work as an RN with end of life gives me a deep appreciation for the need to reintegrate doulas to end of life care, as vital to the team.

  4. What keeps you inspired?  
    The people I am alongside – how they show up every day and keep bringing the love even though facing adversity and fears.

  5. What would people be surprised to learn about you?  
    Really – nothing. There are no surprises with me. WYSIWYG 🙂

In Spring 2020, the board members each completed a Clifton Strengths Assessment with the goal of identifying our team’s individual strengths and areas that we complement each other.

The key to strengths-based teams is to form complementary partnerships. To do so, we each must know our talents and strengths – and which of our specific talents and strengths are needed by the team. Then we position ourselves in such a way as to contribute to the common goal. At last, we can each stop trying to be well-rounded individuals and instead, grow a well-rounded team!

Elaine’s five key strengths will come in handy in her new role of President of the EOLDAC. They are as follows:

CONNECTEDNESS – It is important for me to be able to feel like I am part of something larger than myself and that I can make a difference. There’s no such thing as coincidence; everything is connected and those connections have meaning and purpose and are reassuring, particularly when facing uncertainty. This is mainly why I have advocated for stabilizing and strengthening this Team and supporting its growing resilience; when things get shitty and uncertain, we each/all can lean in to the Team for support and strength, secure in the certainty that we have each other’s back. I have always sought to flatten hierarchies as much as possible, bring people out of their silos and get us working together towards shared goals: “different roles, same goals”.

ARRANGER – I am the conductor of the orchestra and I love how all the instruments work together. My modus operandi for team building is through trust and relationship. I love to lean in to complexities and last minute changes because this gives me a new opportunity to arrange. This might therefore seem like I thrive on constant change when I do not; priorities remain unchanged – I am just seeking even better ways to execute them.

ACTIVATOR – I can make things happen by turning thoughts into action. For me, ideals and principles are not just talk; I seek to make a difference, demonstrate my integrity and have my actions reflect my words. Even though we each have different roles, having the same goals has helped us to build trust as a team and helped allow me to lead. I relish moving objectives forward and breaking bottlenecks – I believe this skill has been a source of comfort for others at times, boosting their confidence and urging them to move from fear to action, even if it is merely to put one foot in front of the other. I know I bring courage to endeavours as part of the stability I strive for and hope to infect others with it; one of my favourite quotes is by Erin Hanson:
“There is freedom waiting for you on the breezes of the sky, and you ask ‘What if I fall?’ Oh but my darling, what if you fly?”

FUTURISTIC – What could be inspires me. I know I am visionary and this can be inspirational to others, provided I keep them alongside me and let them know that my thought processes are grounded in reality. The possibilities are endless! Additionally, I can anticipate potential roadblocks and help us be proactive with them, building in strategies and step-by-step action plans.

INTELLECTION – Great minds think alike and great minds like a think – I know this is me! I crave the time to reflect deeply on matters at hand, to listen to other perspectives and to be able to articulate my responses clearly. I have recently discovered the benefits of both therapy and journaling, to help me process and refine my thoughts and feelings.

If you would like to reach out to Elaine to say hello, you can find her at