Chief Executive Officer


Celebrating its 100th year, the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) is a national charity that helps promote mental health for all and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental illness. CMHA responds to the unique needs of each community, through experience and expertise in community-based mental health promotion and support.

CMHA BC is proud to be part of a family of local, provincial and national CMHAs across Canada, including 14 branches in BC. CMHA BC was founded in 1952 and throughout its history, has worked closely with government to advocate for changes to legislation and policy to ensure availability of community alternatives, access to housing, and income supports. Through this work, CMHA BC has played an important role in the reform of the mental health care system in BC and the development of programs and services that touch the lives of over 100,000 British Columbians each year. In addition to mental health, CMHA BC’s scope of mandate also includes substance use and addictive behavior.

At the forefront of innovation, CMHA BC is committed to developing programs and services to best meet the needs of people not only in BC but also across the country.  Three of the four nation-wide CMHA programs originated in BC (Bounce Back®; Living Life to the Full; and Ride Don’t Hide). CMHA BC continues to be in the vanguard of advancing online and e-access to information and services. CMHA BC also works closely with First Nations communities and the First Nations Health Authority to support and coordinate initiatives provincially.

The role of CMHA BC as an advocate, as a service innovator, as a service provider and as an educator reaching out to people and organizations across the life span is what makes CMHA’s contribution unique. All programs and services remain deeply rooted in embracing the voice of people with lived experience of mental illness and addictions, collaborating with and within communities, using evidence to inform the work, and working to improve mental health for all.

Our Vision:

  • Mentally Healthy People in a Healthy Society

Our Mission:

  • To facilitate access to the resources people require to maintain and improve mental health and community integration, build resilience, and support recovery from mental illness.  In BC, mental health, substance use and addictive behaviour are within the scope of the organization

Our Key Values and Principles:

  • Embracing the voice of people with mental health issues and addictions
  • Promoting inclusion
  • Working collaboratively
  • Influencing the social determinants of health
  • Focusing on the mental health needs of all age groups
  • Using evidence to inform our work
  • Being transparent and accountable


The Board of Directors of CMHA BC is seeking a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) following the announcement of the incumbent’s retirement.  In broad terms, the role of the CEO is to provide overall leadership for CMHA BC, working with the Chair and the Board of Directors, along with a staff of senior leaders to ensure the Division achieves its strategic objectives and furthers the Division’s mission and values.

Serving as the key spokesperson for the organization, s/he is responsible for building, strengthening and maintaining relationships with key partners at the provincial, national and international level, and ensures that policies and positions are communicated across Ministries and agencies.

The CEO establishes new and maintains key funding relationships (federal, provincial, regional authorities and/or crown corporations) and actively pursues new funding opportunities on an ongoing basis. S/he also ensures financial targets for fund raising activities are met or exceeded.

An essential link to the delivery of programs across Canada, the CEO provides nation- and province-wide leadership in the ongoing development and implementation of BC Division-led nationwide Flagship Programs, with particular emphasis on national licensing requirements, quality assurance and improvement, marketing and promotion, and research and evaluation.

In addition to strategic leadership at the nationwide and province-wide levels, the CEO is ultimately responsible for the operations and delivery of the BC Division’s programs and services, directing a team of senior leaders who are charged with overseeing such programs and services.

Ensuring open, transparent and collaborative communications are in place with the Board, s/he identifies, assesses and informs the Board of internal and external issues that may affect the organization, and updates the Board on organizational risks, offering mitigating strategies and ensuring timely remedies.

As the champion of CMHA’s vision, mission, values and strategic plan operating within a federated model, the CEO provides an essential link in the alignment of national, provincial/divisional, and local branch organizations. Demonstrating leadership that builds a one-voice organization, the CEO performs the complex functions of strengthening, promoting and protecting CMHA’s name and brand promise, through the framework of a licensing agreement, and through stewardship and facilitation of effective relationships with fourteen separate legal Branch organizations.

CMHA BC has grown significantly in recent years and today is a well-established leader in advocacy and program/service development and delivery in the province for mental health and, increasingly, substance use and addictive behavior. Its person-centred approach and direct connection to people with lived experience along with its emphasis on prevention and intervention ensure programs and services have impact across the province and at the local community level.  Financially sound, the organization enjoys strong and trusted relationships with government and ensuing opportunity/expectation to play a leadership role in the system.

For the right individual, this is a gratifying and profile opportunity to work with a committed and dedicated Board and staff and lead an organization with a strong reputation for influencing education, advocacy, policy and program development and delivery. With the stigma surrounding mental health and addictions lifting, CMHA BC will continue to have a noticeable impact in service of its mission of mental health for all.

For a detailed outline of key role duties and responsibilities, please see Appendix A.


In leading by example, the incumbent will want to focus on the following key priorities:

  • As a trusted and credible leader, gain the confidence of and manage relationships with a diverse group of stakeholders, internal and external;
  • Pursue opportunities for increased awareness and impact across the province, including bridging the connection between mental health and addictions, and building further alliances with First Nations;
  • Further pursue e-delivery strategies to provide easily accessible service/training/information to more people;
  • Continue strong relationship with government, balancing trusted advisor and advocacy roles;
  • Build culture and staff engagement, aligned to vision, mission and values;
  • Review organizational structure in the context of current/future strategy;
  • Provide strategic oversight to successful completion of labour contract negotiations and development of corresponding HR systems;
  • Build effective relationships with branches, ensuring clarity of mandate and sharing of best practices;
  • Provide effective support through an open and transparent relationship to a volunteer Board, keeping them well-informed of issues, opportunities and risks;
  • Assume a leadership role in contributing to the development of CMHA national’s new strategic plan and subsequent strategic plan for the BC division in concert with branches.


Whether from the mental health and addictions sector specifically or more broadly from health, social services or relatable program or policy sector, the ideal candidate will bring the following skills, experience and attributes:

  • Experienced, senior executive leader who brings strategy and vision combined with management savvy;
  • Skilled in government relations and advocacy to influence public policy and spending decisions;
  • An understanding of not-for-profit environment and the importance of funding/fundraising;
  • Experience working with First Nations communities an asset;
  • An experienced team leader who engages staff around a vision/mandate; effective delegator and mentor as well as an active learner
  • A builder of high performance teams and culture (engaged and healthy environment); an inspirational leader; an authentic leader;
  • Track record of delivering; gets stuff done; results focused;
  • Experience leading and managing positive change;
  • Exceptional communication and interpersonal skills and relationship builder – with staff, Board, branches, government, partners, union;
  • Skilled and engaging communicator and presenter to audiences of all sizes, including media;
  • Passionate and compassionate;
  • A collaborative decision-maker;
  • Driven but low ego; respectful; humble;
  • Business and financial acumen;
  • Holds himself/herself and others accountable;
  • Political acuity;
  • Experience in a unionized environment is helpful;
  • Knowledge of good governance principles;
  • Knowledge of enterprise risk management;
  • May speak to his/her own lived experience; empathetic.

For a further outline of experience and skills sought, please see Appendix B.


Leadership and Strategic Direction

  • Champion CMHA’s national vision, mission, values and strategic plan and ensure their implementation across both the Division and Branches;
  • Strengthen the impact of the Canadian Mental Health Association at national, provincial, and local levels in partnership with the National office and other Canadian Mental Association Divisions in service of the nationwide strategic plan;
  • In collaboration with the Board and senior staff, develop a multi-year strategic and operational plan to advance the BC Division’s mission and objectives, in alignment with the nationwide strategic directions and goals:
  • Work with Branches to ensure Branch Strategic Plans flow directly from both nationwide and Division strategic directions and goals;
  • Ensure the BC Division’s policies and procedures are in place, followed and carried out in accordance with the Division’s mission, vision and values;
  • Develop and maintain relationships with key stakeholders in the mental health community – at the international, national and provincial levels;
  • Ensure the BC Division functions within the terms and conditions of the National Agreement
  • Execute and maintain a multi-year Branch Licensing Agreement, in accordance with the National Agreement, to protect the name and brand of the Association across BC;
  • Cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship with all BC Branches, enabling them to optimize their performance and effectiveness;
  • Serve as key spokesperson for the organization, ensuring that the policies and positions of the Association are communicated across Ministries and Crown Corporations to senior government officials, e.g., in the BC Ministry of Health
  • Support the Board of Directors in the development of evidence based-policy priorities and directions designed to externally influence policy and practice shift;
  • Work with the Board of Directors to ensure that its governance responsibilities are discharged with accountability to members, funders, and the public;
  • Provide timely, accurate and complete information to the Board of Directors in order that is may discharge its fiduciary and strategic responsibilities;
  • Conduct official correspondence on behalf of the Board and jointly with the Board as circumstances require;
  • Represent the Association at national and provincial forums, as required.

Operational Planning and Management

  • Provide nationwide and province wide leadership in the ongoing development and implementation of BC Division led Flagship Programs, with particular emphasis on national licensing requirements, quality assurance and improvement, marketing and promotion, and research and evaluation. 
  • Ensure that all operational activities are ultimately directed to the realization of the vision, mission, and aligned with the strategic directions and goals as detailed in the Division strategic plan;
  • Assume ultimate responsibility for the day-to-day management of BC Division operations;
  • Operate the BC Division in a financially responsible manner, ensuring that available resources are always consistent with the organization’s operating and capital requirements;
  • Ensure that budget and financial planning is consistent with the Strategic and operational plan
  • Ensure the operational plan is developed by the staff leadership group and communicated organization-wide.
  • Ensure compliance with all applicable legislation, regulations and policies;
  • Provide high-level oversight on the planning, implementation, execution and evaluation of special projects;
  • Ensure the BC Division remains accredited through Imagine Canada
  • Ensure the BC Division is in compliance with the Canadian Mental Health Association National agreement;
  • Ensure that Branches maintain compliance with the Branch Licensing Agreement;
  • Ensure that the Association supports a psychologically healthy workplace, that compensation and benefits follow the policies of the Health Employers of BC and that the Board is updated with an annual human resources plan;
  • Director and guide the senior team in their implementation of operations, and monitor whether target outcomes are met;
  • Sponsor the professional development of senior staff.

Funding and Financial Management

  • Establish new funding relationships and maintain key relationships with existing funding partners (federal, provincial, regional authorities and or crown corporations) and actively pursue new funding opportunities on an ongoing basis;
  • Ensure financial targets for fund raising activities are met or exceeded and report to the Board regularly on the outcomes of fund raising activities;
  • Ensure compliance with Canadian Mental Health Association’s national policies concerning fundraising;
  • Oversee the development of fund raising plans; 
  • Participate in fundraising activities as appropriate;
  • Prepare and deliver an annual operating budget for approval by the Board of Directors;
  • Ensure that sound financial policies and procedures are followed;
  • Provide the Board with comprehensive, regular reports on the revenues, expenditures and financial forecasts of the BC Division;
  • Ensure compliance with all applicable legislation regulations, and policies including taxation and withholding payments;
  • Ensure the implementation and review of BC Division investment policies;
  • Create a fundraising culture for staff to support the long-term goals related to sustainability.

Risk Management

  • Identify, assess, and inform the Board of Directors of internal and external issues that may affect the Canadian Mental Health Association in BC, including the BC Division and Branches;
  • Update the Board of Directors on organizational risks that may affect the Canadian Mental Health Association in BC, offer mitigating strategies and ensure timely remedies;
  • Ensure the risk management plan is reviewed and updated annually;
  • Ensure that the Board of Directors and the BC Division carries appropriate and adequate insurance coverage;
  • Ensure that the Board and staff understand the terms, conditions and limitations of the insurance coverage.

Other Duties

  • Other duties to be carried out as assigned by the Board of Directors.


Experience and Education

  • More than 10 years of progressive management experience, preferably in a voluntary sector organization;
  • Managerial, supervisory and financial control experience in the community health and social services sector with a demonstrated and in-depth working knowledge of community-based programs and services;
  • Strong knowledge, skills and experience in the areas of government and media relations and influencing public policy and spending decisions in mental health and addictions;
  • Proven track record in building and maintaining a diverse funding base;
  • Extensive experience working with a volunteer Board of Directors with a strong understanding of healthy non-profit governance;
  • Master’s degree or equivalent combination of education and experience in human service, business, organizational development, psychology, social work, and/or public policy;
  • Completion of professional development or specialization in a particular functional area: human resources, finance, program development, business administration, fundraising;
  • Certification through a recognized fundraising organization would be an asset;
  • Certification through the Canadian Society of Association Executives would be an asset;
  • Experience working in an organization with a national presence would be an asset.

Skills and Abilities

  • Excellent judgment, rooted in sound moral and business ethics;
  • Confident, decisive, and adaptable to an ever-changing environment;
  • Ability to assess situations to determine importance, urgency and risks, and make timely decisions in the best interests of the organization;
  • Skilled at strategic planning and providing leadership and direction to organizational goal setting, action planning, and evaluating results;
  • Skilled at strategic project management to provide oversight for projects by setting scope, priorities, milestones, outcomes, and measuring success;
  • Demonstrated analytical and problem-solving skills, coupled with an open mind and a positive attitude to find creative solutions;
  • Ability to anticipate, understand, and respond to the needs of internal and external stakeholders to meet the evolving expectations of the Association’s mandate;
  • Proven ability to solve problems and assess situations to identify causes, gather and process relevant information, generate possible solutions, and make recommendations for possible solutions;
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with an ability to build and develop effective working relationships;
  • Ability to inspire and influence others to achieve results;
  • Ability to address and resolve conflict in a constructive manner;
  • Ability to communicate, orally and in writing, in a clear, thorough and timely manner using a range of communication media, tools and techniques.