Sharon Cooke, CPM
Central Health Authority – Grand Falls–Windsor, NL
Sharon Cooke is a payroll professional who loves hands-on challenges. She skidoos, boats on the ocean and rides a motorcycle. She also hunts moose, fishes cod and grows her own vegetables.
Sharon also has a way of getting through big career challenges. She is the Payroll Supervisor of the Central Health Authority in Grand Falls-Windsor Nfld. The province is currently amalgamating its four regional health authorities into one large enterprise, which will unite them all under one payroll system. Sharon brings hands-on experience to this undertaking; the current system is the result of a previous amalgamation she was deeply involved in: the combination of both the Gander and Grand Falls health authorities together with a community health authority.
The first amalgamation was problematic she says, adding that testing is vital. “It is very difficult to achieve consistency on both the technical aspects and the policy sides when combining different payroll systems,” she says. “Getting standardization is tricky. You have three different sets of code – and that’s just one problem.”
The new amalgamation, which includes bringing together four different union contracts, excites her. “This project is pretty interesting. I like the challenge of all the issues and figuring out how to solve them.”
She also knows the value of amalgamation. “One payroll system instead of four provides the province with massive cost-savings,” she says, noting that about 24,000 people will be brought under one system. She also knows that the data analysis the amalgamation will afford will be invaluable to the province’s ability to plan.
Being prepared is part of Sharon’s nature. She loves to skidoo on winter trails, but hates the cold. So in addition to her skidoo’s heated handles and seat, she wears heated mitts and a heated vest under my coat.
Sharon knows that success is contingent on planning. She enjoys helping prepare for the upcoming amalgamation, knowing it will be vital to the success of the entire province of Newfoundland.