The Canadian Mental Health Association has announced the departure of CEO Sharon Pitawanakwat to the organization today as of March 31, 2019. For the last 4 years, Sharon has served the organization as CEO and a driving force in the organization’s success. Neil Irvine, Board Chair has announced a transition plan.
“I and the Board of Directors are saddened to see her leave, but thankful for Sharon’s years’ of service and leadership. We reflect fondly on her outstanding contribution to CMHA Thunder Bay Branch,” said Neil Irvine, Board Chair. “It is not an understatement to say that Sharon’s been a transformative force over her time with CMHA and our clients have benefited greatly from her courage, passion, and professionalism.”
“She’s been integral in shaping our strategic plan as well as breaking new ground with innovative programs like the Joint Mobile Crisis Response Team, Northwest Community Mobilization Network and the Thunder Bay Situation Table,” Irvine said.
“It’s been such an honor and privilege to work with such an amazing group of people,” Pitawanakwat said. “I have never seen such incredibly hard-working and enthusiastic employees who repeatedly go above and beyond the expected level to support the individuals we serve. My time here at CMHA has been the highlight of my career and I feel I am leaving a strong foundation for my successor”.
CMHA Thunder Bay’s Board of Directors has enacted its internal succession planning process, which has been in place for several years. “We’re fortunate to have in our policies a thoughtful succession planning process which means we are well positioned to promote from within,” said Irvine. “This is incredibly helpful and helps to maintain a stable environment for staff and clients during times of leadership transition.”
On behalf of the Board of Directors, Irvine has named the appointment of Jennifer Hyslop as the new incoming Chief Executive Officer.
Jennifer held the position of Director of Program Services for the last 4 years and holds an Honors Bachelor of Social Work (First Class Standing) from Lakehead University. She has held various leadership roles prior to her time with CMHA working predominantly in the field of child protection.
“Currently, our community faces many challenges for mental health which I am ready to assist our team in building a safe, accepting and caring environment that will help enhance and strengthen the many partnerships we have in the community,” Hyslop said. “Building on the success of my predecessor, I am deeply honored to lead this organization into the future ensuring that we continue to build on our strong foundation of hope and recovery for the most vulnerable members of our community but also working alongside everyone at CMHA to guide our organization into the next evolution of recovery and mental health for all,” Hyslop said.
Jennifer will begin to transition into her full responsibilities as CEO beginning January 1, 2019.
Neil Irvine, Board Chair, CMHA Thunder Bay Branch