A new leadership approach

Staff writer
June 16, 2013 01:00 AM

Pictured left to right: Lucie McKiernan (new SCCSS co-executive director), Vicki Dobbyn (past SCCSS executive director) and Diana Rae (new SCCSS co-executive director).

In preparation for the retirement of long-serving executive director Vicki Dobbyn from Sunshine Coast Community Services Society (SCCSS) on June 30, the SCCSS board has announced they will be implementing a co-executive director model under the leadership of Lucie McKiernan and Diana Rae, both current members of the SCCSS senior management team.

The board engaged United Community Services Co-op to carry out the recruitment. Advertisements in print and online attracted 48 applications, including several from out of province. The executive committee of the board developed a short list, and carried out three days of interviews, ultimately recommending to the board the co-executive director model proposed by McKiernan and Rae. The full board then interviewed these two candidates, and voted unanimously to offer them the position.

"Our board is excited to be moving forward with this model," said board chair Karen Archer in a news release. "And particularly with these two people, who have proven themselves within our organization."

Dobbyn said stepping down as executive director is momentous.

"I find it personally reassuring and professionally exciting that two members of our senior team will combine their expertise to collaboratively lead our organization through the opportunities and challenges ahead," Dobbyn said. "Lucie's 17 years of experience in managing social programs in a large and complex agency, and Diana's 10 years of financial leadership in the non-profit sector, as well as her deep roots in our community, have given them very compatible skill sets perfectly suited to this shared role."

Both McKiernan and Rae recognize effective communication as the key to organizational success.

"We'll work hard to enhance two-way in-person and online communications, and we'll meet regularly with staff at their places of work," McKiernan said. "This will ensure a ready source of feedback from the front lines, keep leaders and staff informed and in touch with each other, and help us to build on the strengths of our teams and programs."

"And, of course," Rae added, "we will work hard to maintain Vicki's legacy of collaboration and connecting with the community to make sure we are aware of and effectively responding to community needs."

While innovative, the model is also proven. For the past 10 years, Richard Faucher has served as co-executive director of the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI) with Tanya Sather. Faucher said that as a co-ed he is able to better navigate the complexities of leading a large organization that supports more than 800 individuals and their families.

"Within this innovative model, Lucie and Diana will provide a matrix of support and leadership and will collaboratively lead Community Services through current transitions and the opportunities and challenges ahead," Archer said. "This new leadership structure will increase our capacity for sustainable organizational growth, enabling us to continue the legacy of understanding and responding to the needs of the Sunshine Coast through the programs and initiatives that make a difference in the lives of people in our communities."

- Submitted

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