Exploring Senior Leadership in the Canadian Mental Health Association | Queen's University IRC

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Exploring Senior Leadership in the Canadian Mental Health Association

An Interview with Clark MacFarlane, Executive Director, Canadian Mental Health Association - Cochrane-Timiskaming Branch

Cathy Sheldrick, Queen's IRC Marketing Assistant
Publication date: February, 2015
Clark MacFarlane, Executive Director, CMHA – Cochrane-Timiskaming Branch
Clark MacFarlane

Clark MacFarlane has over twenty years of experience in the health care sector, and is currently the executive director of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) - Cochrane-Timiskaming Branch, in northern Ontario. CMHA branches provide direct service to people who are experiencing mental illness, and to their families. They are in the process of implementing a new service delivery model, which shifts from traditional treatment methods to a recovery approach.

In this interview with Queen's IRC, Clark discusses the funding challenges of being an incorporated charitable organization almost completely dependent on government funding, the difficulty in building the talent pipeline in northern Ontario, and the struggles that come with leading an organization with multiple sites. He opens up about the rewards and challenges of managing in a unionized environment, the cultural shift that happened when the union came in, and the lessons learned in the first round of collective bargaining. Clark talks candidly about what they could have done better in change management, and the steps he takes to create a healthy work environment with happy and engaged employees.