Oxford HR’s Interim Experience

By 24 February 2021 No Comments

Our team of consultants have significant experience in senior leadership posts within the International Development sector. Within this team, we are fortunate to have two highly skilled interim leaders, Yolanda Weldring and Josje Reinartz. We interview them below on all things interim. 

1. What is your interim experience? 

Both Yolanda and Josje have significant expertise in holding interim positions, across Uganda, Somalia, DRC, Rwanda, Indonesia, Thailand and Nepal. Yolanda acted as Interim Programme Manager, Interim Regional Director, Interim International Programme Director, Interim Network Advisor to the Board and Interim Inception Manager for Education Development Trust, Practical Action, Hivos and HelpAge International. Josje’s experience was at Medecins Sans Frontieres, where she took on roles such as Interim Country Director and Interim Change Manager/Head of Department.  

2. What would you say are the biggest challenges of being an interim? 

Josje mentions that one of the biggest challenges as Interim Country Director is building the bridge between the outgoing CD and the incoming CD and keeping a good balance between short term and long term goals. She notes that in this respect, good observation and collaboration with senior staff members are of vital importance. Yolanda adds to this by saying that interims often enter into situations where there are consequences of mis-management by former post holders, and the interim needs to bring it back to normal before a new candidate joins. Challenges can arise if the mandate and expectations of the organisations are not clear.  

3. What are the organisational benefits of using an interim manager? 

Usually interim managers have good experience in taking up challenging tasks, as they come with 10-20 years of experience and have done these types of tasks before. They are less busy with positioning themselves in the organisation than with doing the task ahead of them within the given timeframe, meaning they are very task focused” says Yolanda. She mentions that in her experience, she would take two to three weeks to talk to the relevant stakeholders, make an analysis of the situation and a plan of action, and discuss that with the team and line manager before implementation. This is much faster than people who come into a longer-term job. Josje adds to this, and notes that having an interim manager in place also gives the organisation the opportunity to let the incoming, long-term director start with a clean slate as issues have been cleared by the interim.     

4. What are your top tips for applying for interim posts? 

  • Be clear on your strengths and confident on what you can offer the organisation 
  • Don’t over/undersell yourself; good performance in a role is needed for future assignments, and be aware that expectations are usually high for interim managers 
  • Good communication skills are essential, as well as the ability to be decisive and be self-aware 
  • Be available in two weeks’ time, as interims are usually needed yesterday         

Based in the Netherlands, Yolanda is committed to finding capable and high-performing candidates for interim jobs in international organisations and networks. Yolanda has over 30 years of experience in Human Resources Management, 18 years of which in International Development. She was International Director Oxfam Novib, Regional Director East and Southern Africa Save the Children UK, and member of senior groups within Oxfam and Save the Children International. Before joining Oxford HR, Yolanda carried out interim-director and management roles in Africa and Asia, and she has experience at Trustee-level and as Advisor to Boards. Yolanda is a trustee for Soa Aids Netherlands.

Josje joined Oxford HR in 2019. Her expertise lies in leadership, institutional development, network management and business operations in the fields of health, environment, and international cooperation.

She brings 25 years of international experience. Josje was for seven years COO for Wetlands International’s global network of 20 offices. She has a Master of International Public Health from Johns Hopkins University and led the Sibusiso treatment centre for mentally disabled children in Tanzania. Before that she worked for 15 years with Médecines sans Frontières. As an Operations Director she was part of the strategic management team in the Operations Centre Amsterdam and responsible for the programmes in Central Asia and West Africa. Josje lived in Angola, Azerbaijan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Mozambique, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda and worked with the teams in many other countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Tim Brann

Tim Brann

Tim started working with Oxford HR in 2018, having graduated with a BSc in Product Design from Brunel University London. Although initially trained as a Product Designer, he has worked on a diverse range of projects across graphic design, 3D installations and website design and development. Tim has a keen interest in design as a tool for positive social change, especially among children's social care, and has pursued this through previous work for the GravityLight Foundation, small not-for-profit startups, and now at Oxford HR.