From Social Worker to Program Director

Keith, Program Director

January 26, 2024

Meet Keith

Over the past 13 years, Keith Goertzen has grown his career and professional practice from that of a frontline social worker, to his current role as the Provincial Practice Director, Social Work. Prior to joining Alberta Health Services (AHS), he held social work roles in child protection, community development, and on an Assertive Community Treatment team in community Addiction and Mental Health. He then joined AHS in policy development and management roles. The mentorship of his leaders and opportunities for informal leadership roles helped develop his skills as a leader and prepared him to become a manager and director.

How has your post-secondary education and any additional training helped you to advance in your career?

Keith: Before joining AHS, I worked in a program with a professional development budget that allowed me to further my clinical training and expertise. I took courses in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dual diagnosis, and worked closely with psychiatrists to enable psychosocial interventions. These experiences provided me with valuable skills and knowledge that I wouldn't have gained otherwise. However, I felt that I had reached a plateau as a BSW and so I earned a Masters in Business Administration with a focus on Community Economic Development. When I transitioned into my provincial role with AHS, having a solid understanding of frontline addictions and mental health services as well as the skills developed in my MBA, were essential. It gave me the credibility to ask pertinent questions, especially in policy development.

Looking ahead, if your current job progresses as you like, what do you envision as the next step in your career?

Keith: If my current position continues to align with my goals, I could see myself moving into an executive director role. I would like to grow my operational knowledge and continue to develop the leadership skills required to be able to do that job well.

What advice would you give to someone new to AHS regarding the opportunities that lie ahead?

Keith: For newcomers to AHS, there are indeed numerous opportunities, but it's essential to be open to learning new skills and thinking outside the box. Networking and building relationships can be incredibly helpful in exploring different avenues within and outside the organization.

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