CHE Spotlight – Dr. R Lynn Stevenson

April 22, 2021

Please join us in celebrating the amazing Certified Health Executive (CHE) and members, who are at the heart of the College, through monthly ‘CHE Spotlights’. Learn more about what makes these exceptional leaders tick. From leaders in mental health and wellness, equity, diversity, and inclusiveness (EDI), to mentors and emerging leaders, our CHE members are dedicated to life-long learning and to leadership in healthcare.

We are very pleased to highlight Dr. R Lynn Stevenson this month. Lynn is the former Associate Deputy Minister of Health in the B.C. Ministry of Health and undoubtedly one of Canada’s most influential nurse leaders. She is currently involved in work on cultural safety and humility in British Columbia and is developing her ‘follower’ leadership skills. Lynn joined the Canadian College of Health Leaders in 1993, received her CHE designation in 1994, and earned her Fellows designation in 2007.

“In a crisis, leaders need to resist the ‘hero’ tendency and while decisiveness is important, equally or more important is the primacy of the team.”


Lynn chose a career in healthcare because she is committed to service and to helping others. She moved from the bedside of paediatrics/NICU to a leadership role, as her youthfulness gave her determination. She describes her first leadership experience as both humbling and exhilarating. She loved being part of decision making and was convinced that she had something meaningful to contribute.

During Lynn’s career, she is most proud of having co-created the Elder Friendly Hospital initiative in 1999, which she has continued to lead throughout the rest of her career.

As someone who strongly values learning, Lynn believes that to be a successful leader, a balance of experiential learning and formal education is required. Theoretical knowledge needs to be coupled with knowing how to implement ideas, which only comes with experience and both successes and failures.

CCHL, the CHE and the Fellowship Designation

While being promoted to a leadership position in the 1990’s, Lynn began focusing on leadership when she joined the College in hopes of gaining some additional knowledge. Her previous formal education was ‘light’ on leadership and the College provided that focus and content. Although she had very little time to spare, Lynn found that working towards her CHE designation filled in important knowledge gaps regarding the healthcare system and leadership specifically.

She later received the Fellowship designation which is the highest professional designation awarded by the College. It recognizes members who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in their professional achievements and have met the requirements of the Fellowship program.

The College is thrilled to be launching a refreshed version of the Fellowship Program this spring. The Fellowship Select will include three distinct pathways, each focused on impact, reflection, and knowledge translation. For more information on the Fellowship Select Program please contact us at

Lynn also believes that the LEADS framework is a seminal piece of work that has greatly enhanced her view of healthcare leadership in Canada. She has used the framework to guide her in her various positions within the healthcare sector and in government.

As a member of the Vancouver Island Chapter of the College, she participates in the local mentorship program which provides an opportunity for leaders to learn from one another. As an experienced leader, she feels it is her responsibility to ‘pay it forward’, as well as believing that mentorship is always reciprocal and that we gain as much as we give. Lynn adds, “It also provides structure to networking that goes beyond schmoozing!”

To conclude this month’s CHE Spotlight, we would like share one of Lynn’s important lessons that she has learned. She does not take herself or her various roles so seriously that the joy of working in healthcare is lost.  Of course, healthcare is serious business, but she worries that we can lose ourselves in the drama and forget to allow ourselves to have some ‘fun’ in our work. 

Thank you, Lynn, for your time and for sharing your experience and perspectives with the Canadian College of Health Leaders’ members.