Features

Robert Tomkowicz – GroupHEALTH 

Navigating the Legal Landscape with Passion, Precision, and Purpose 

Robert Tomkowicz, the general counsel and chief privacy officer at GroupHEALTH, plays an important role in ensuring the efficiency and compliance of the organization as it navigates the intricacies of employee group benefits administration. With a strong legal background, Tomkowicz brings expertise to his multifaceted role. 

Robert Tomkowicz | General Counsel | GroupHEALTH 

Robert Tomkowicz | General Counsel | GroupHEALTH

Tomkowicz’s due diligence has significantly reduced privacy incidents, showcasing his commitment to the organization’s daily practice of maintaining high standards. His leadership extends to mergers and acquisitions, an arena where GroupHEALTH, under his guidance, typically undertakes a few transactions annually. 

GroupHEALTH is headquartered in Surrey, British Columbia, and as a family of companies, it has over 1,000 employees across 15 offices in Canada.  

A blend of businessman and lawyer, Tomkowicz manages risk and strategically safeguards the organization’s interests during transactions, emphasizing the importance of mutually satisfactory agreements. His journey underscores his passion for in-house roles that allow him to immerse himself in projects from conception to completion. 

“Leading GroupHEALTH, I’m dedicated to efficiency, compliance and impactful leadership, ensuring smooth navigation in the complex landscape of organizational operations,” Tomkowicz says. 

Mergers & acquisitions  

At the core of Tomkowicz’s responsibilities is steering GroupHEALTH through the complexities of legal compliance. His role encompasses a wide spectrum, from ensuring privacy regulations are meticulously followed to overseeing risk management initiatives. As the legal guardian of the organization, Tomkowicz’s leadership ensures that GroupHEALTH operates within the bounds of all applicable laws and standards, safeguarding both the organization and the individuals it serves. 

Robert Tomkowicz | General Counsel | GroupHEALTH 

When it comes to M&A, Tomkowicz’s strategic prowess shines. Tomkowicz’s role in this sphere goes beyond the legal intricacies; he actively contributes to shaping the strategic direction of these acquisitions. By meticulously managing risk, negotiating strategically and ensuring compliance with legal frameworks, Tomkowicz plays a vital role in integrating acquired entities. 

Crucially, Tomkowicz doesn’t view M&A transactions in isolation. His client-centric approach ensures that the integration of new entities is smooth in the delivery of group benefits services. Through strategic negotiations, he navigates the legal complexities of these transactions while keeping a keen eye on how they impact the client and plan member experience. This holistic perspective sets GroupHEALTH apart, ensuring that the organization’s growth positively contributes to the welfare of its clients and plan members. 

Managing risk is inherent in both compliance and M&A activities. Tomkowicz’s role involves balancing mitigating risks associated with compliance issues and leveraging calculated risks to drive the organization’s growth.  

“My mindset ensures that GroupHEALTH’s expansion is legally sound and aligns with the broader goal of delivering optimal group benefit services,” Tomkowicz says.  

Compliance & technology 

By ensuring compliance with data privacy regulations and employing cutting-edge technologies, GroupHEALTH, under Tomkowicz’s guidance, aligns its privacy practices with the evolving needs of it’s clients, plan members, and regulatory requirements. 

Robert Tomkowicz | General Counsel | GroupHEALTH 

Tomkowicz sheds light on the legal department’s approach to technology adoption, emphasizing the organization’s reliance on third-party technologies for privacy, data protection, and contract management. While embracing modern technologies such as AI to improve operational efficiencies, Tomkowicz maintains a client-centric perspective, ensuring that technological advancements enhance plan member and client experience. 

“The most enjoyable aspect of my role is the diversity of projects and matters I work on,” he says.  

His involvement spans across almost every operational area of the company. This holistic approach ensures that legal and compliance considerations are woven into initiatives that contribute to an improved client and plan member experience. 

Caring about law 

Tomkowicz’s venture into law transcends a mere career choice; it’s a passion deeply rooted in his life’s narrative. Originally from Poland, he completed his initial law education in the civil law tradition before delving into the British legal system at the University of Alberta in Canada. Armed with dual graduate degrees from the University of Ottawa, Tomkowicz merged legal expertise from two distinct disciplines. 

His journey commenced during high school when an encounter with a lawyer left an enduring impact, inspiring his foray into law. Establishing his own practice for nearly five years, Tomkowicz immersed himself in corporate and commercial law, privacy, intellectual property, and technology law. 

Beyond showcasing legal acumen, Tomkowicz’s trajectory reveals a profound care for the law. His shift from private practice to the role of general counsel at GroupHEALTH in May 2020 signifies more than a career move; it reflects a genuine dedication to legal principles and their impact.  

Married with two children pursuing higher education, Tomkowicz’s commitment extends beyond professional realms, finding inspiration in travel and the insightful narratives of memoirs. His multifaceted engagement with the legal world mirrors not just a profession but a heartfelt love and commitment to the principles that govern it. 

“Quoting Winston Churchill, ‘I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.’ This attitude always helps me keep up with and embrace challenges posed to me and society by new technologies popping up on an almost daily basis,” Tomkowicz says.  

View this feature in the Vanguard Spring I 2024 Edition here.

Published on: March 13, 2024

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