Meet Carin Plischke, COTBC’s New Registrar

In October 2022, Carin Plischke joined the COTBC team after more than six years on the Board, most recently as Board Chair. She recently worked with Registrar & CEO Kathy Corbett during the transition – as Kathy prepared to leave the College at the end of December. Carin has now fully stepped into the leadership role. This role has been redefined to better meet the needs of the College during the expected amalgamation of health-related regulatory bodies in the province.

We caught up with Carin to ask her a few questions about her decision to take on this important leadership role in a time of transition in the sector, on her experience and expertise in the field, and a few other things.

Q: What inspired you to take on the Registrar & Chief Executive Officer role at the College of Occupational Therapists of British Columbia (COTBC)?

CP: I have been involved with COTBC as a committee member and Board member for several years. Through these experiences, I developed a strong commitment to COTBC, public safety and regulation. I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiences at the College, including working with the staff and team over the years. The opportunity to work with a fun, professional and dedicated team that is committed to public safety made this an easy decision. 

I am excited about the future of health regulation in British Columbia. The planned updates to the Health Professions Act, the amalgamation of health care regulators/colleges, and the modernization of the regulatory framework – while challenging – will also provide new opportunities. I am inspired to be a part of and influence the vision of regulation ahead of us. It is rewarding to create something new and serve in the best interest of public confidence.

Like many organizations, we see this as a time to reflect on how the pandemic dramatically and quickly required us to shift our work priorities to support COVID-19 activities. As we have moved out of a pandemic and are in the next stage of COVID-19, where we are working to stay protected from it, it is energizing to re-initiate activities that we had to slow down or pause as COTBC supported registrants, the public and stakeholders on key pandemic activities. 

I have to say that I am incredibly thankful to the COTBC staff for their work and quick adaptability throughout the pandemic keeping the mission of the organization at the forefront.

We are starting to re-prioritize activities and because we are still in the process of refocusing our attention in many important areas, there may be shifts in previous planning & timelines as we get our planning in place for the year ahead.  We appreciate the patience and kindness that registrants have shown through this transition and want to ask for a bit more patience as we review, revise and update plans.

Q: What do you feel that you bring this to this role?

CP: My clinical and leadership experiences in the public, private, not-for-profit and government sectors have provided me with a breadth of experiences that have shaped my ability to think strategically and systematically through a broad lens. In addition, as an occupational therapist, I have worked in various clinical roles (acute care, plastic/burns, primary care, home care, long-term care, orthopedics, etc.). This has given me a deep understating of this role. I have been an occupational therapist and registrant of the College for many years, and I believe that this is beneficial because I can relate to our registrants and have a good understanding of the profession from several perspectives.

As a health care leader, I have led large transformational projects in several organizations, including the repatriation/amalgamation of home support services into the public sector. I have had the humbling experience of working as the Chief Operations Officer with the BC Ministry of Health, with the Office of the Seniors Advocate. This experience taught me how important it is to have public representation and voices in our organizations. Collectively, my clinical and leadership experiences provide me with the ability to lead transformational change as the government is making the most significant changes to the oversight of regulated health professions in our history. 

Q: There was a transition time, with the Registrar & Chief Executive Officer Kathy Corbett staying on until the end of December 2022. What benefits do you feel that this overlap between you and Kathy provides to the College, your registrants and the people of British Columbia?

CP: I am extremely grateful for my time with Kathy; her mentorship is setting the stage for success for the College and our public protection mandate. Kathy has been with COTBC for more than 20 years; her knowledge, experience and network is expansive. 

The transition time with Kathy is providing me with a significant amount of organization-specific operational information. I am leaning into Kathy’s network, meeting colleagues and stakeholders – which is assisting me in developing and sustaining a foundation of knowledge that will support the organization going forward. Both Kathy and I are intentional in our time together to set COTBC up for the growth and changes ahead of the College – while sustaining our history. I want to thank Kathy for her kindness and generosity in sharing her knowledge.

Q: You were a Board member (and Board Chair) for quite some time. How will your experience on the Board help you in your new role?

CP: My experience on the Board provided me with the knowledge and skills to work in a regulatory environment. Being a member of the Board, which is responsible for good governance, has embedded the mandate of the College – public safety – in me. I have a context of our operations including registration, practice support, complaints and standards – in addition to our governance activities. 

I feel confident in my ability to step into the leadership of COTBC and am thankful that I am not starting from “ground zero,” particularly with the changes that are actively occurring around us with the introduction of new health legislation and the future amalgamation.

My experience as a Board member that I most appreciate as I transition into my new role is my existing relationship with the COTBC staff. I am thankful that we know each other and enjoy working together. I want to thank the COTBC team for the warm welcome. We have already hit the ground running. 

Q: What do you wish that registration or the people of British Columbia knew about the College that they may not know?

CP: While there is a dedicated – small and mighty – team of staff at the College, there are countless people who participate in supporting our mandate – they include occupational therapists, the public and other stakeholders – all that contribute their time, expertise and skills to the work of the College. Their work assists in shaping the work and operations of the College, which translates into safe occupational therapy practice and public safety. I thank past, current and future partners and participants for their contributions.   

Q: Is there anything else you want to share with us?

CP: The College has always been a place where registrants and the public can and do call – and feel encouraged to call. I want to continue our safe and open culture moving forward. I look forward to connecting with all stakeholders that have an interest, a question or a concern. I am here to listen, respond and help COTBC move forward in continued success.

When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my husband. You can find me hiking, kayaking, reading or in my greenhouse.