When Mary Ackenhusen came to WVU, she was uncertain about her major.  She had thought about mathematics, veterinary science, English, and others.  She eventually decided on engineering, but still had doubts.  She took a semester off from her engineering classes to take a number of classes of interest to her.

When Mary graduated from college, she got a job with a consulting firm run by a WVU IE graduate.  She applied to the Harvard Business School for an MBA, and was accepted.  When she graduated from Harvard, she went to work for Gould, a manufacturer of programmable controllers.  By age 29, she was their plant manager.

In 2013 and 2014 she was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network.

Mary and her husband moved to Paris when her husband was hired by INSEAD, one of the leading business schools in Europe.  This was a frustrating time for Mary because she had a challenge finding opportunities to utilize her skills.  Eventually Mary became the Director of Quality and Operations at INSEAD.

After 9 years in France, Mary and her family returned to North America when her husband became Dean of the Business School at the University of Vancouver. (British Columbia in Canada).

Mary charged career paths again and joined the Fraser Health Authority doing facility planning and real estate, systems analysis, performance improvement, and new business development.  Mary found a passion in working in healthcare.

After 8 years at the Fraser Health Authority, Mary became the Chief Operating Officer for Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH).  VCH is one of six publicly funded healthcare regions within the Provence of British Columbia.  Mary became a change agent at VCH to improve the effectiveness of healthcare delivery for the one million people served by VCH.

Mary is especially proud of a new clinical process she created which increased clinical capacity by 20%.  As one of the few engineering executives in the Canadian healthcare system, Mary has become known as a leader in using new technologies to improve patient care while making the delivery system more efficient. “I want to leap frog our current practices,” Mary says.

In 2014, Mary was appointed to become the President and CEO of VCH.  Mary is responsible for a budget of $3.4 billion Canadian dollars, a staff of 15,000 people, and 2000 doctors.  In 2013 and 2014 she was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network.

Mary attributes her success to the ability to learn quickly and build an excellent team in the organizations she directs.


As President and Chief Executive Officer of Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), Mary Ackenhusen leads the largest academic and tertiary health authority in British Columbia, serving a population of 1 million with a budget of $3.4 billion. As a member of the VCH

Senior Executive Team since 2007, Mary has distinguished her collaborative leadership style by fostering a patient-centered approach to care, innovation and the redesign of services to enhance quality and efficiency. Mary’s passion is to transform the current public healthcare system that is cherished by Canadians in a manner that will ensure its future financial sustainability in the face of growing demand and finite government funding.

An engineer by training, she intends to do this by supporting staff, physicians and partners in the introduction of new service models that will provide better care, at lower cost, while also exploring the use of technology, analytics and electronic health records to improve productivity.

Prior to joining VCH, Mary served on the Fraser Health Authority’s leadership team for almost a decade. She led Fraser Health’s facility planning and real estate, systems analysis and performance improvement, and new business development. In 1990, she became Director of Quality and Operations at INSEAD, an international business school based in Fontainebleau, France. Her early career in manufacturing saw her as a plant manager for a Boston-based industrial computer company for 4 years.

Mary is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Master of Business Administration program and the West Virginia University’s Industrial Engineering masters and undergraduate programs. In 2013 and 2014, she was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network.

Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text.

Start typing and press Enter to search