Retirement of Sally Garner, Senior Strategist, Operational Initiatives

From: Scott Mabury, Vice-President, University Operations 
Cheryl Regehr, Vice-President & Provost  
Date: June 25, 2021
Re: Retirement of Sally Garner, Senior Strategist, Operational Initiatives

We are writing to announce that Sally Garner will be retiring from her role as Senior Strategist, Operational Initiatives, and from the University, effective September 30, 2021. Sally has served in this position since 2017, providing expertise related to operational and strategic initiatives both to, and on behalf of, the Vice-President, Operations & Real Estate Partnerships and the Vice-President & Provost.

Sally has been invaluable to the University in this role, deftly steering, and contributing to, many critical initiatives. Most recently, these have included establishing our Institutional Data Strategy; advising on UniForum data sharing and use across our divisions; implementing the recommendations of the Enrolment Services review; working with Deans on fall and winter planning during the pandemic; co-chairing the residence sub-committee of the Review of the Role of the Colleges on the St. George Campus; preparing transformational grant proposals on diversity and internationalization with the Office of the VP International; and sitting on several important hiring committees.

Sally came to UofT from KPMG in 1987, joining us as a budget analyst in the Budget Department when it was part of Financial Services. From there, she moved to the Faculty of Medicine, where she held budget, analysis, and accounting roles, before joining Planning & Budget in 2002. From 2008 to 2017, Sally was Executive Director of Planning & Budget, and oversaw the budget and enrolment for the university at a time when the operating budget almost doubled from $1.3 billion to $2.5 billion and enrolment grew from 74,000 to 89,000 students.

We are particularly indebted to Sally for her foundational work on the University budget model. She was a member of the University’s Task Force to Review Approach to Budgeting in 2004-05, and subsequently chaired the New Budget Model (NBM) Implementation Committee. The model gained national recognition, winning gold in the 2012 IPAC Deloitte Public Sector Leadership Awards and was adopted in part or whole by many other universities. Sally undertook road trips explaining the budget model to other universities, extending her leadership across the country.

At the University of Toronto, she made the budget less mysterious to our own people. In collaboration with colleagues centrally and divisionally, Planning & Budget developed a suite of enrolment planning tools and training for academic divisions, resulting in a broader and more inclusive approach that involved Deans, Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs), and Registrars across our academic divisions. Her team’s development of an integrated Academic Budget Review (ABR) and Divisional Advisory Committee (DAC) process has provided a crucial foundation for translating divisional aspirations and service plans into multi-year institutional budgets. Sally also developed and led an outreach and communication effort on the budget model that has benefited divisions, student governments, governance, and contributed to an effective training module for new academic and administrative leaders. Sally’s success in developing an effective Planning & Budget team with the common goal of providing high quality service to all divisions has been a stunning achievement, and is reflective of her commitment to the collaboration and consultation principles of the University.  As a result of this foundational work, UofT’s budget model represents a major asset in furthering our institutional mission.  

Over the years, Sally has been integral to our institutional reviews, including the review and revision of job descriptions for CAOs in the academic divisions; the Alternative Funding Sources Advisory Group; the reorganization of the financial arrangements of Student Life and Student Affairs; and the 2012 compliance and communication review of ancillary fees. Sally was instrumental in the review of interdivisional teaching arrangements and establishment of a University-wide financial framework for undergraduate teaching; the review of financial and budgetary management professional development offerings for administrative staff at all levels, and stakeholder consultation on many other specific issues and initiatives. In addition, Sally helped reframe the Annual Report on Student Financial Support, which forms part of the annual Governance review and approval of tuition fees.

We know that Sally’s departure will be felt deeply across the University but are grateful for the rich legacy with which she leaves us. The record above is only a partial rendition of the significant impact Sally wrought for U of T, when public health guidelines allow for it, we will hold an in-person event where we can all gather to “Sally-brate” her amazing career with U of T. In the meantime, please join us in thanking Sally for her outstanding service, and the commitment she has shown the institution and its people throughout her time here.