Leadership Changes at ACMHS, June 2018 Update

By Jessica Cochran, Executive Coordinator

CEO Jim Myers has been at ACMHS for 6 months now, and CEO for 5 of them.  Leadership consultant Don Tebbe calls this the “Post-Hire-Taking -Charge phase”, and says it lasts for 6 to 12 months, often through a complete annual budget cycle. But he goes on to say that “taking charge is a two-way street that involves the board and senior management team adjusting to the new leader’s style and outlook”.

There’s definitely been a lot of adjusting for ACMHS staff these past 6 months!

In addition to Jim, we have a new Chief Financial Officer, Mladen Begojevic. Originally from Serbia, Mladen arrived in Fairbanks, Alaska, in 2006 to play basketball at the University of Alaska Fairbanks after receiving an athletic scholarship. Upon graduation, Mladen decided to move to Anchorage where he began his career as a financial auditor with a local CPA firm. During his audit years, he traveled all across Alaska and worked with many not-for-profit and healthcare organizations in the state. In 2015, Mladen left auditing to start his own financial accounting and consulting business before deciding to join ACMHS on February 1.

Chief Operating Officer Dave Reeves retired in April, ready for some well-earned relaxation after his third stint at ACMHS.  Joshua Arvidson now heads all Child & Family programs for ACMHS, while Victor Spence runs Adult Services. Kandy Alley remains Director of Clinical Services for Fairbanks Community Mental Health Services.

Our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joshua Sonkiss, will be leaving ACMHS as of August 15.  Dr. Sonkiss has re-built the medical department with a focus on providing quality care, meeting the accepted Standard of Care regarding lab-work and informed consent for patients receiving medications, timely documentation and reducing inappropriate prescribing.  We’re excited to announce that Dr. Jenna Hiestand will be our new CMO. She comes to us from Bartlett Hospital in Juneau, where she was Medical Director of Behavioral Health, and she and her husband are in the process of moving to Anchorage within the next month.

Change can be scary, but I think most staff would agree that it is also energizing.  The “style and outlook” of our new leadership team has given staff an opportunity to look at old problems in new ways, and we are excited about the possibilities.