Pathfinder is a unique, flexible, immersive, personalized leadership journey for aspiring leaders. Gain skills suited to your individualized leadership needs, work with a leadership coach, and apply what you learn within an engaged team of supportive peers, and build your leadership capabilities in this eight-week program. Pathfinder will help you chart your journey in health leadership.

The online program combines:

  • 8 live flipped classroom sessions scheduled on Saturdays
  • Flexible learning between live sessions through activities, readings, and assessments completed where, when, and how you prefer to work
  • Team-based activities to practice and apply your learning within a supportive peer group
  • Personal one-on-one sessions with a leadership coach
  • Small class sizes to build close connections between classmates and faculty


Applications are now closed for September 2020

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Pathfinder Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of Pathfinder, you will have developed:

  • Core leadership capabilities critical to success and building trust, authenticity, empathy, and competence
  • Strengthened capacity to lead change, coach others and communicate more effectively
  • The enhanced ability to handle change and uncertainty with more confidence
  • The knowledge and skills to build and lead effective teams
  • The understanding that leadership development is a lifelong journey involving learning and practice

Upon completion of Pathfinder you will have created:

  • A network of trusted peers
  • A detailed development plan with specific actions to ensure your insights and goals will be embedded in your behaviour as a leader
  • A plan and commitment to continue your leadership development through practice and the support of others

Upon completion of Pathfinder you will receive a certificate of completion.

Who is Pathfinder for?

  • Health professionals, administrators and educators 
  • Undergraduate students, graduate students, post-doctoral students, medical residents and young professionals exploring leadership opportunities in healthcare
  • Health entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs looking to lead change in the health sector

Program Schematic

Weekly live classroom sessions occur on Saturdays. These sessions are supplemented with offline readings, case studies, and other activities. Students can work through the program at their own pace, and invest as much or as little time as they wish under the guidance of their personal leadership coach. Participants should expect to spend approximately 6-8 hours a week on Pathfinder work. Supplementary material, readings, and videos will be suggested for further study.


Familiarize yourself with the program 2-3 weeks prior to the first live virtual session. 

  • Technological orientation
  • Preliminary readings and videos
  • Psychometric instruments
  • Creative assignments

Live Virtual Sessions

  • Three-hour sessions on Saturday 
  • Focus on a key theme each week in a flipped virtual classroom
  • Discuss your leadership challenges in facilitated small-group conversations
  • Practice new skills 
  • Leave with action-based assignments to integrate learnings in daily life 

Weekly Work Between Saturday Sessions

  • Individual and team assignments
  • Virtual team meetings

Sample Weekly Themes

  • Week 1: Know who you are: sensing your inner and outer environments
  • Week 2: Gathering your tools: Knowing what you bring to leadership
  • Week 3: Take a bearing and plot your course: What are your needs, resources, values, and experiments
  • Week 4: Act and Reframe: Influence
  • Week 5: Act and Reframe: Navigating Change
  • Week 6: Act and Reframe: Conflict and Difficult Conversations
  • Week 7: Act and Reframe: Coaching Others 
  • Week 8: Your next adventure: Your leadership plan


  • Sustain your leadership growth with a one-on-one coaching session 2 weeks after live virtual session
  • Get plugged into our HLA alumni network and suite of other offerings including events and engagement opportunities
  • Create a leadership development plan with a clear set of leadership development goals and actions for accomplishing those goals

Pathfinder Program Team

As a Health Leadership Academy program, Pathfinder draws on expertise from both the McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences and the DeGroote School of Business. Pathfinder faculty are drawn from a variety of disciplines and industries. The industry experts and guest speakers joining Pathfinder in 2020 will be announced soon.

Greg McQueen, PhD

Sean Park

Sean Park, PhD

Amanda Calzolaio, MMI

Laura Smith

Laura Smith, PhD






Information Sessions

Want to learn more about Pathfinder? Join an information session to hear from Pathfinder administrators and faculty. Check here for upcoming sessions.

Alumni Testimonials

Having attended many of HLA’s offerings, such as Emerging Leaders Program (ELP ’19) and the Innovation by Design Courses (IBD ’18), I can happily say that I have consistently had many great experiences being provided to me. In particular, the experiential learning and amazing faculty has proven to be very beneficial in my growth as a Health Leader. This gives me confidence in trusting the credibility of future HLA offerings, like the Pathfinder Program. — Kohilan Selvakumaran, (MD Candidate, University of Toronto, HLA alumnus )
As a recent alumna of the HLA’s Emerging Leaders Program (ELP’ 19), I feel very confident about taking on new challenges in my personal and professional endeavors. The Health Leadership Academy fosters a sense of community and collaboration between its program participants, as well as between participants and faculty members. The HLA emphasizes strong communication and leadership development throughout all of their programs and the Pathfinder is no exception. After graduating from one of their programs and having worked closely with the team as an alumnus, I feel a strong sense of trust with the staff at HLA and continue to expand my network because of the skills and confidence I got from their programming. — Victoria Mazzarolo (MBA Candidate, DeGroote School of Business, HLA alumnus)

Application Process

A selection committee will choose well-rounded applicants with demonstrated leadership capabilities. The application process consists of an online application, and a personal interview.

We are currently accepting applications and reviewing candidates on a rolling basis. Applicants will be contacted to confirm next steps within 5 business days of their application submission.

Apply Now

Program Fees

Inaugural Fall 2020 Fees

Fall 2020 is the inaugural session of Pathfinder. Participants in this session will co-design elements of the program. To ensure a valuable experience for the first cohort, enrollment will be limited to 16 participants. In recognition of their contribution building the program, participants will receive a 25% discount on the regular program fees for the Fall 2020 session.

Additionally, the first 8 participants accepted to the program will get an additional 25% off regular program fees.

  • Professional Rate: $2,950 + HST
  • Student* Rate: $1,450 + HST

Regular Program Fees (Beginning 2021)

  • Professional Rate: $3,950 + HST
  • Student* Rate: $1,950 + HST

*Currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program at any institution.  

Important Dates and Deadlines

  • Application Window:
    • Opens July 13 2020
    • Closes September 4 2020
  • Session:
    • Begins September 26 2020
    • Ends November 21 2020
    • No class October 10 2020


Looking to explore your career opportunities and potential leadership pathways? Come talk to us! This may be the beginning of an exciting life long journey in leadership.

Read the Pathfinder Frequently Asked Questions.

Contact us at

Request an information package