Spotlight on advisors: Building a hospice in Calgary

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In Spotlight on Advisors, our editorial team asks an advisor that is actively involved in their community to tell us about the work they do, why they give back and share lessons learned to inspire others.

Who: Hal Couillard, president, The Couillard Group Inc., Calgary, Alberta.

Years in the biz: I’ve been in the business for 37 years, with a specialty in legacy estate planning for business owners and entrepreneurs.

How you are involved in your community? I’ve volunteered for decades. For the last six years, I’ve been involved with the Foothills Country Hospice, near Okotoks, a town of 20,000 people, outside of Calgary. We built the hospice in the foothills of the beautiful Rockies with $4.5 million in donations and grants, no debt. The hospice helps 100 people a year with their final days on earth, and people range in age from their thirties to eighties. About 85% of them are terminally ill with cancer. We need to fundraise $600,000 a year, in addition to provincial funding—and we do.

What motivated you? This industry has been so good to me that I wanted to give back. Over the decades, I volunteered with our local and national Advocis boards. My brother and I have recently released our first book, Lifeworth: Finding Fulfillment Beyond Networth (, the proceeds of which go to charities. So far, we’ve donated profits from book sales to Ronald MacDonald House, Children’s Wish Foundation, Jesse’s Journey, and Friends of the Orphans Canada. With the book selling across Canada and in seven countries in less than a year, we have donated about $2,000 so far.

Tips to get involved: Don’t volunteer with business in mind; volunteer for something that fits your values. If you don’t know what your exact values are, just try something to see if it works. Also, pick something that pushes you outside of your comfort zone—do something in addition to writing a cheque. If you can only write cheques, that’s fine, but write cheques for amounts beyond your comfort zone, especially if the charity supports your values.

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