Andrea Robertson believes in a very important motto: the more informed you are, the more you realize how little you know.
She’s had a life-long commitment to learning ever since she was a young nurse, and that drive carried her through many academic achievements, from a Bachelor’s in Nursing, to a Master’s in Health-Care Administration, to an executive fellowship from Wharton University and Ivey School of Business, to an executive leadership program at Harvard.
Her drive is a selfless one. These accolades, as well as her many past leadership roles at Alberta Health Services, Foothills Medical Centre and Alberta Children’s Hospital, were all intended to be in service to her community. For Andrea, there is no greater service than helping someone survive a critical illness or injury. Which is why, as president and CEO of STARS, she is right where she belongs. In this role she is responsible for the overall direction of our operations and works to build upon our external relationships with donors, governments and key partners. Strengthening these relationships is vital to our ability to provide the best-possible service our communities.
Andrea’s commitment to continuing education and dedication to providing the best care possible has also leaded her to be an invaluable mentor to many entering the health care field. Formally, she is part of a mentorship program through the University of Calgary. Informally, she works with as many as five young, energetic leaders at any given time. For the students, the reward is Andrea’s wealth of experience and unyielding empathy for others. For Andrea, mentorship is just another opportunity to learn more about the world, through the eyes of her students. It’s through these relationships that Andrea sees education come to life.
Andrea’s leadership and contributions to business and her community have been widely recognized, both as a member of the board of directors of both Bow Valley College and Calgary Airport Authority and one of WXN’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada in 2015.
Chief Medical Officer
Dr. JN Armstrong has had a long and storied career full of monumental moments.
These moments range from receiving his medical degree from the University of Calgary in 1981, to specializing in, and working in the field of anesthesia for nearly four decades, to achieving multiple aviation licenses including private, commercial, and airline transport.
Among those pivotal moments was a STARS Christmas party in 1990, where JN met Dr. Greg Powell, the founder of STARS, and Greg Curtis, one of the earliest STARS pilots, who convinced him to come on board as a pilot for our organization. In between his time in a blue STARS jumpsuit, JN also worked within the medical community in Calgary, taking on roles such as Clinical and Academic Department Head in Anesthesia for the Calgary Health Region and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary.
The immense breadth of skills and experiences JN gained throughout his career is what made him the perfect fit to take on the role of Chief Medical Officer with STARS in 2013, and Chief Aviation Officer in 2018. As the CMO/CAO, he is responsible for aviation and the medical care delivered by the organization for the transport of the critically ill and injured across six bases and three provinces.
Outside of medicine and aviation, JN spreads his time between running, cycling, reading, and spending time with his four children. He also has a strong interest in aviation and currently holds active Airline Transport Licenses for both Fixed Wing and Helicopters.
Chief Financial Officer
Responsible for the financial management of the organization.
Executive Vice President, Foundation
From the moment Wendy Beauchesne joined STARS, she’s taken our cause very personally.
That’s not surprising, considering her first task was to help bring our life-saving services to Saskatchewan, where she was born and raised. But it wasn’t until the Regina base received their first call, just a few kilometres from her home town, that she truly understood the impact STARS makes.
She’s carried that understanding with her throughout her career at STARS, using it as motivation to tell our story to the communities we serve and allies with whom we partner. As the Executive Vice President for the STARS foundation, she is part of a passionate team focused on developing meaningful connections with our allies in the community and raising the funds needed to keep STARS in the prairie skies.
Wendy has had made many memories during her time with STARS, but one in particular has always stuck with her: watching a certain Very Important Patient (VIP) meet their air medical crew for the first time. The crew had been called out on a mission and weren’t sure if they’d return in time to meet the VIP, so it was a complete surprise when they walked into the hangar earlier than expected. Wendy felt privileged to be a part of that unexpected reunion, and that memory serves as one of many reasons why she’s so passionate about STARS.
Wendy has a BA in Communications from the University of Calgary, and the majority of her career has been spent in health care. Before landing at STARS, she spent more than a decade working with Alberta’s health authorities. Following the formation of Alberta Health Services, Wendy was part of a leadership team tasked with merging and restructuring 12 previously independent communications departments into one cross-functional team.
If you ask Wendy about her hobbies outside of STARS, she’ll direct you to her Twitter bio: a part-time travel junkie, sun seeker, political nerd and tennis lover.
Vice President Operations
Alberta & Saskatchewan
There is nothing more important to Mike than spending quality time with family.
In fact, his career has been driven by a desire to give families as much time together as possible. It has guided him through 20 years of service with STARS, flying over 500 missions as a flight paramedic and making a difference in the lives of his patients and their loved ones.
Mike has worked in Emergency Medical Services for nearly 30 years, graduating from paramedic school in 1990, and honing his skills as paramedic in Cochrane and Calgary before finding his way to STARS.
But Mike wasn’t satisfied with saving lives one patient at a time. His passion for life-saving care led him to manage and launch North America’s first mobile human patient simulation program, which takes STARS’ world-class skills training to EMS professionals all over Western Canada. Because of his many accomplishments, Mike had the privilege of joining the Health Canada team at the G8 summit in 2002. In his current role, Mike is responsible for the operation of our bases across Alberta and Saskatchewan, as well as the STARS Emergency Link Centre.
When Mike and his family are not participating in initiatives that support their local community, church, and schools, they’re enjoy watching live sports and going on adventures in Europe. Mike is also an avid skier, and describes his perfect day as starting on the slopes and ending with a good meal and a glass of red wine.
Vice President Operations
Above all else, Betty Lou Rock is passionate about patient care. She has always held a firm belief offering the most effective treatment to patients through the many complex systems of care across western Canada requires building quality relationships through communication and respect.
This belief has guided Betty Lou for decades, ever since she completed her Bachelor of Nursing at the University of Manitoba in 1973, and has followed her through a number of educational achievements, from completing a Masters of Nursing at the University of Calgary to a certification in Health Care Ethics as well as Mindfulness Training.
Her career trajectory allowed her to hone her collaborative spirit. She made a huge impact on the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority as the Program Director for Critical Care, where she developed, managed and evaluated inter-professional care services, instituting higher professional standards of practice, education and research within the Critical Care Program. Betty Lou brought her patient focus to leadership roles at regional and provincial levels and served as the acting Vice-President and Chief Nursing Officer at the Health Sciences Centre.
It is this focus on patient care, coupled with her to extensive experience bringing people together across Manitoba’s health system, that has made STARS such a success in the region. Since 2011, when Betty Lou took on the role of Vice-President of Operations in Manitoba, STARS has become a well-integrated, high calibre, and trusted component of Manitoba’s emergency health system. She has fostered STARS expansion into remote areas of Manitoba – areas that simply did not have access to rapid helicopter critical care transport — and she continues to expand the scope of practice for nurses, while maintaining an emphasis on the core values of compassion, advocacy, and professionalism. In providing life-saving, helicopter transport to areas it did not exist prior to 2011, Betty Lou has been among a handful of successful and extraordinary nursing leaders that STARS has had the great fortune to count among our best.
When she’s not making STARS an indispensable part of Manitoba’s health system, Betty Lou is an avid Blue Bombers fan and enjoys spending time with family and friends at her lake-side cottage along the Manitoba-Ontario border.