Innovators Q&A: Sam Shuter & Emily Krouse

What attracted you to the Innovators Program?
It was exciting for us to band together with a group of like-minded young professionals who wanted to work as a team to contribute to a state-of the art and impactful place. We’re drawn to early-life care as these kids are our future and we wish for them all of life’s beautiful experiences we’ve been privileged enough to enjoy.

How do you feel that being part of the Innovators Program has deepened your relationship with SickKids?
Our journey with Innovators has been fascinating from the start. The access we get through this fundraising group has been unparalleled. We’re getting to hear and see the impact the money raised is having, not only in the Hospital, but also for programs they’re associated with around the world. SickKids has developed remarkable global care and education without prejudice, and this type of universal approach is what makes us so proud to be a part of the agenda. With every meeting, we learn more and feel closer to the SickKids mission.

Why should individuals and couples join the Innovators Program?
If you want to see a direct cause and effect of your hard-earned dollars, then this group is surely a way to make a direct impact in a “non-traditional” method of fundraising. So many of us are going out, into the workforce to meet people and make a difference, but it could take a lifetime to meet the type and amount of people who join together as part of a group like this, looking to “do good” with their spare time. If this is you, then we think you will consider this time well spent. 

"So many of us are going out, into the workforce to meet people and make a difference."


Emily, what is it like being on the Innovators Advisory Council?
It’s great to get together with a diverse group of professionals to discuss moving our fundraising group forward.  I really enjoy the opportunity to connect with everyone a little more intimately to brainstorm how to reach the Innovators on a personal level and how we can improve fundraising and participation efforts to benefit SickKids as much as possible.  It’s also nice to re-connect beyond the quarterly meetings, and I’ve made some really special friendships to-date.


Who are your mentors?
Both sets of our parents have influenced us a great deal in the way we approach gratitude, giving and hard work. We’re also very fortunate to have some really special work/life relationships with people who we’ve grown quite close to over the years from being a part of cool initiatives like this one, and above all, our dear friends. Our close friends help guide and encourage us often and we’re so thankful to be surrounded by so many of them (who impress us every day).

What are your favourite Toronto social spots?
We’re being honest when we say we’ve really slowed down since trying to strike a balance between daily exercise and laundry (ha!). If we’re not cooking and entertaining friends at home (our favourite), then we’re likely hunting down the latest restaurant or off to the wineries when we can. Sam has a thing for checking out hotel lobbies and Em is almost always at a local market on weekends scheming for her next recipe. Luckily our friends like to exercise and eat, goes perfectly! Oh and sports, if they’re on, Emily is likely watching (if not actually playing them with friends) and Sam is probably at her studio offering wine to neighbours.

Sam, who is your favourite artist and why?
Wow, what a loaded question. There are so many people whose work I admire- from Fine Artists to Chefs to business people who I truly believe are all practicing their own art form in one way or another. In terms of Fine Art, I love FAILE, Erik Parker, Tomokazu Matsuyama, Takashi Murakami… mostly graphic, pattern-based or whimsical works. I also love the photography of Helmut Newton and Bruce Weber, the design of Kelly Wearstler and Studio A/C (Toronto)… the list is never-ending.

Emily, what are your hobbies?
When I’m not in the office I really like to be out exploring the city, or at local markets trying produce from local farms and learning more about cooking and sustainable food practices. I’m really passionate about eating locally and well. I also love meeting people who are passionate about their craft who enjoy working with their hands. I grew up cooking a lot with my mom and it’s a big part of who I am, so as often as possible you’ll find me making something new at home, with a game on in the background and eventually serving my food in some of the dishes I made in a pottery class I loved taking for the first time last year! 

Sam, is there a SickKids experience that stands out?
It goes without saying that I whole-heartedly love everything SickKids does as an organization, but if I could repeatedly take part in one particular activity at/with/for the Hospital, nothing compares to the feeling of being hands on with the kids when I’ve hosted painting days in the past and being able to interact with Soleil the clown and live-stream art classes into the kids rooms and get as many of the patients participating or engaged as possible. It’s a wonderful and heart-warming afternoon that is both personally fulfilling and rewarding for the parents and kids themselves. It sort of gives everyone a break… for a short while.