Interim Candidate Q & A: Mimi Lowi-Young
Mimi brings more than 30 years’ experience as a senior leader, strategically leading systems and organizational transformation and renewal in all sectors of the health system. Her expertise spans the acute care sector, complex continuing care, rehabilitation, long-term care and community health. A decisive, action-oriented innovator with a track record of providing vision and direction, she has proven strategic and corporate leadership experience in multi-site environments, academic institutions, and national and international entities including the Central West Local Health Integration Network, St. John’s Rehab Hospital, and the Rideau Veterans Health Centre.
We most recently placed Mimi as the Executive Director at Food Banks Canada where she is currently fulfilling her mandate. We also placed Mimi as the Interim CEO at the Alzheimer Society of Canada, and as the Interim Vice President of Professional and Member Services at the Ontario Hospital Association.
"Not everyone has what it takes to be successful as an interim executive. Flexibility and adaptability are key."
What initially attracted you to start working as an interim executive?
I wasn’t ready to retire. Working fulltime for 30+ years, I’d experienced many transformational environments and wanted to continue working with teams and supporting boards through change. I’m an action-oriented leader and enjoy the immediacy of working with organizations on a short-term basis to create lasting results.
What background experience has helped you succeed as an interim executive?
Leading change. Strategic thinking. And planning experience. I’ve worked in many organizations of different sizes and compositions that were impacted by systems changes that necessitated an adjustment in vision and strategy and have developed skills and abilities to analyze situations deep and wide before making decisions.
Can you share what makes it worth it to you?
I’m a change leader, so I find it very satisfying to work with staff, boards and organizations to bring about change. Helping an organization navigate a transitional environment gives me a real sense of accomplishment that lasts beyond the interim period.
Not everyone has what it takes to be successful as an interim executive. What do you feel is key to success?
Flexibility and adaptability are critical to working as an interim executive. It’s also really important to be a quick study and be able to rapidly absorb what the organization is all about, and which direction the board would like to take.
As an interim executive, it’s also important to understand that you may never see a project to the end. Generally you’ll be launching things, continuing to drive a project that has been started, or taking an initiative to the next level.
Who in your life and career – business and personal – has shaped your leadership style?
I’ve leaned heavily on the wisdom and counsel of a CEO who works in my same sector. We’ve known each other for 45 years and he has provided lots of encouragement that has shaped my mindset towards many challenging situations, particularly in my first few years as as CEO.
What do you think are the biggest organizational advantages/benefits that result from working with an interim executive?
The advantage of interim leadership is that organizations can access help to navigate transitional times from highly skilled, highly motivated executives, who have had tons of exposure to different businesses. Change is always hard, but bringing in interim executives can help make organizational transformations much more more seamless.
What do you enjoy about working with Odgers Interim?
The Odgers Interim team is exceptionally professional and respectful in dealing with potential clients and candidates. They quickly get a sense of who you are, your passions and what you can bring to an organization. Their ability to match candidates to roles is unparelled, and they have been extremely supportive through the negotiation process.
What is the one thing that most people get wrong about you?
That I’m only focused on health care leadership--my approach and strengths are transferable across many disciplines.