Interim Candidate Q & A: Eitan Dehtiar
Eitan is a results-oriented senior finance executive with a 20-year track record of progressive hands-on leadership and change management experience. He has supported organizations like SkyLink Aviation and Braden-Burry Expediting through corporate restructuring and strategic planning with his expertise in finance, operational and business development. As a CFO, he has also invested significant time in board and tribunal service, including regulatory, funding bodies, as well as government, industry and not-for-profit boards and committees. As a result, Eitan has developed a strong reputation for leading and inspiring teams while providing a steady guiding hand through turbulent times.
We placed Eitan as Interim Chief Financial Officer at Muscular Dystrophy Canada, and as Interim Director, Finance and Administration at CPA Ontario, where he led the consolidation of the organization through the unification of three accounting bodies.
"Typically, interim assignments are not ‘business as usual’ projects. I enjoy helping organizations navigate these transformational situations, as they present unique challenges, interesting growth opportunities and a chance to make a tangible difference. "
What triggered/initially attracted you to start working as an interim executive?
I was initially attracted by the nature of interim assignments: they are not ‘business as usual’ projects. I enjoy helping businesses navigate these transformational situations, as they present unique challenges, interesting growth opportunities and a chance to make a tangible difference.
What background experience has helped you succeed as an interim executive?
Early in my career, while working for a bank, I supported multiple branches, providing leave support at a management level. Over the course of a two-year period, I worked at over 20 branches and offices, so I grew accustomed to stepping in, getting quickly acclimatized, and focusing on getting key projects completed in a short time frame.
Can you share what makes it worth it to you?
I’ve had the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects, so it’s never boring. From restructuring projects, to international logistics projects, to supporting the consolidation of the accounting profession, there is always something exciting. With young kids at home, I also enjoy having a more flexible schedule.
Not everyone has what it takes to be successful as an interim executive. What do you feel is key to success?
Perspective. Having worked on projects across the Arctic and in Afghanistan, I’ve learned that if you’re not freezing to death or under fire, it’s probably not that bad. With that as my frame of reference, I tend to bring a calm, steady presence through turbulent times at organizations. I have pushed through and driven results during many different kinds of sensitive and complex situations, so there is little that fazes me.
Who in your life and career – business and personal – has shaped your leadership style?
Many years ago a friend of mine from my EMBA class told me ‘people often tell me that senior management doesn’t listen‘, but I don’t think that this is accurate. Senior management almost always listens. Rather, it’s possible that employees are not communicating the story to executives with the right context to help drive the point home. This insight on communication has stayed with me, and has really shaped the way I approach conversations and how I deal with people. Context really is everything, and contextualizing issues for management and for staff goes a long way to getting the results you are looking for.
My kids help too. When a six and four-year-old look at you like they don’t know what you’re talking about, it becomes crystal clear that either you didn’t properly frame the situation, or that you may have entirely misunderstood an underlying issue.
What do you think are the biggest organizational advantages/benefits that result from working with an interim executive?
An interim executive brings a fresh detached view of the state of the organization. When I go in, I make it clear that I have no personal agenda other than to complete my assignment effectively and efficiently. I’m very clear on the fact that my role is interim, and that I really am there to help guide the organization and its people through a particular phase. This makes it easier for people to be more open with me and support the overall assignment goals.
What do you enjoy about working with Odgers Interim?
I can’t say enough good things about the Odgers Interim team. They understand the nature of the assignments they fill and do an excellent job at balancing the requirements of clients and interim executives. They are supportive and excellent to work with. Odgers Interim also has a regular stream of exciting and interesting opportunities.
What is the one thing that most people get wrong about you?
I’m generally pretty straight forward and direct, so it’s pretty hard to get something wrong about me.