UNB Alumni
Telling our #ProudlyUNB stories

UNB grad returns to Fredericton to lead the Chalmers Foundation

Author: UNB Alumni

Posted on Mar 25, 2024

Category: UNB Fredericton , Inspiring Stories , Management

Charles A. Diab (BBA’83) came from Toronto to study at UNB in Fredericton in 1980 by chance. He hadn’t felt the value from his first year of college in Ontario, and while his parents were on vacation in New Brunswick, they picked up an application from UNB. “It was the summer and I figured it would be much too late to apply, but I tried it anyway and got in,” he remembers.

“I arrived in September without a clue about the region, and I enjoyed the experience, but never thought I’d ever be back living in Fredericton again.”

Forty years later, he’s glad he was wrong.

Charles moved back to the capital city in January, 2024 to take on the role of CEO of The Chalmers Foundation, the philanthropic organization that “raises funds to support healthy, caring communities by enhancing health and well-being through innovative and effective programs and initiatives in Health Zone 3, the Fredericton and River Valley area.”

“I was ready for this kind of move – to a small community with so many strong connections and familiar people. I’m surprised at how many connections I’ve discovered already. I’m loving being back.”  

Charles brings with him a plethora of experience from around the world. “My bachelor’s degree from UNB was the catalyst for a career that took me to 52 countries and amazing experiences across the globe and to earn an MBA and PhD in Australia. I’ve been very fortunate.”

His first foray overseas was to Australia in 1987, in which he ended up staying for a number of years and earned his MBA in strategic planning and marketing. Back to Canada in 1994, he purchased a local metal fabrication company which took him to contract manufacturing in the United States and China. After selling the business, he was traveled to Dubai to continue his commercial career and began working with local UAE companies to help grow and expand their operations worldwide.

In 2013, he landed at Abu Dhabi University, tapped to establish an advancement department. “This was the first university in Abu Dhabi with the with ambitions of fundraising in the region, as private universities are not fully government funded.” He was then recruited to revamp the advancement department at the American University of Sharjah, in the United Arab Emirates. Finally, in 2020, he returned home to Ontario during the pandemic and did a stint at McMaster University and then at the Good Shepherds Centres in Hamilton providing social health, housing and human services in the Greater Hamilton and Toronto areas to people in need. “Working in social health services and making a meaningful impact in the community is very gratifying and inspiring.”

Now in the CEO chair at The Chalmers Foundation for just under two months, Charles says he’s impressed with the organization’s impact. “The Chalmers Foundation contributes to such a good cause that makes a tangible impact in the healthcare community and in people’s lives. It’s relatable to everyone. My team is passionate about the work we do – it’s wonderful to now be a part of it.”  

He says that the Foundation has big ambitions in 2024 and needs significant support with two major campaigns: one to raise almost $2 million for a new interventional radiology suite at Dr. Everette Chalmers Regional Hospital that will streamline patient care by reducing wait times and allow for more non-invasive vascular surgeries, and the other to raise $1.2 million to launch a cancer survivorship program in the Fredericton, River Valley and Perth-Andover areas to help survivors with recovery and creating a healthy lifestyle.

“This is important work that comes down to relationship-building. We’re educating people and companies on our regional mission at the Chalmers Foundation and connecting with those who are also passionate about healthy communities. I believe that my global experience and unique ability to connect with people because of my work across so many different cultures will be helpful in this role. It’s serendipitous that 40 years after graduating and leaving Fredericton – the same year that The Chalmers Foundation began – is when I come back to it. I’m thrilled to be here.”