Armed with a bachelor of social work degree, Susan Walsh began her career as a frontline social worker in mental health. Soon she realized that to really help people she needed to have an impact at the decision-making level. She completed her master of social work degree, specializing in policy, from the University of Toronto and spent 31 years in progressive leadership positions within numerous departments of the Newfoundland and Labrador provincial government focused on mental health, geriatrics, disabilities, child welfare, income support, indigenous services, municipal affairs and executive council. Walsh led several reform initiatives and served on various provincial and national boards. Her most recent role, prior to her appointment as Newfoundland and Labrador’s Seniors’ Advocate in June of 2022, was deputy minister of the Department of Children, Seniors and Social Development. She was also the provincial lead deputy minister for the Federal/Provincial/Territorial National Committee on Social Services responsible for seniors, income support, and child welfare in the country.
After a 30-year career inside the “system”, Susan finally realized the secret to creating real change and entered the world of advocacy. Susan has a unique perspective on the role of seniors’ advocacy and how to achieve it.