As only the second woman in Sierra Tucson’s 36-year history to hold the facility’s top leadership position, Jaime Vinck was named Chief Executive Officer in December of 2017. She is an award-winning leader both internally at Sierra Tucson and within her industry. Among many topics, we discussed how to move an organization from tribalism to cooperation; re-channeling frustrations about bad and unfair press; and trends in de-criminalizing addiction. Enjoy!

  1. Prior to entering the behavioral health field, you had a successful career in Human Resource Management with the Chrysler Corporation and Omnipoint Communications, which is T-Mobile. What did you learn from those experiences that helped to shape your leadership style?
  2. The whole career path paradigm has radically changed. The majority of people are working for multiple employers and many, like you, are achieving success in multiple fields. Although this level and frequency of change is now common practice, the idea of taking the leap can still be scary. How did you make the move from labor relations to mental health? What reservations did you have to overcome to pursue your passion?
  3. At last month’s Treatment Center Executive Retreat in New Orleans, you were invited to speak about breaking down organizational silos. I think anyone who has ever worked for a reasonably sized company knows what it feels like to have one department pit itself against another. What advice can you offer to business owners who are trying to shift their company culture from tribalism to cooperation?
  4. Also along the lines of getting employees to think outside of their box, I found it very interesting that you had Sierra Tucson partner with DePaul University’s School of Hospitality Leadership. When I read that in a recent interview with you, I thought that was absolutely inspired. Describe for us your thought process behind that and what you were hoping to achieve.
  5. For a variety of reasons, Sierra Tucson is a very high profile organization. It’s a world-renowned treatment center, it has famous clients, and the very nature of your work has life-altering consequences. I know a lot of business owners struggle in their relationship with various media, and I imagine it’s all the more tricky for a company like yours. When Sierra Tucson receives bad reviews or bad press, what is your approach to dealing with it? Do you think Sierra Tucson pays a public price for having to maintain individual confidentiality?
  6. CEOs are often looking ahead at trends affecting their industry and the markets they serve. I’m interested to know what you see coming with respect to the criminalization of drug addiction. Change has been very slow to come on this issue, despite the economic inefficiency of incarceration and the inevitability of recidivism because people are leaving jail without the ability to make different choices. What changes do you see coming re: how we criminalize addiction? How do you see this affecting Sierra Tucson, if at all?
  7. We still seem to have a cultural badge of honor for working long hours. Yet there is plenty of evidence to support shifting our focus to effectiveness rather than time. And of course there is all the data about the impact of stress and exhaustion on our physical and mental health. As a mental health professional, what’s one thing you’d like to see the American workforce embrace, and what could business leaders do to help make that possible?
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Small Business, Big Voices: Episode 8