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Executive Leadership Program

This program is designed for leaders that have a deep commitment to adding public value while understanding that innovation, strategy, leadership and management skills are critical to the delivery of healthcare in the 21st century.

The National Council’s Executive Leadership Program is targeted to C-Suites across the behavioral health industry (e.g. health systems, ambulatory health, mental health and addiction organizations, associations, health plans, state agencies, etc.).

Program Overview

Through a combination of in-person meetings, executive coaching, self-reflection, and peer support, participants examine health care trends; learn about developing mental health and addictions finance and service delivery models; and explore the increasing interplay between private and public sectors.  Individual skills building includes confidence and public presence, messaging and presenting, team building and coaching, planning and execution, and the arts of partnerships and negotiating.

Participants have access to a unique line-up of thought leaders in the field of behavioral health policy, leadership development, quality improvement, and executive presence including David Lloyd from MTM Services, Jeanne Supin from Watauga Consulting, and others.

Participants engage in the following activities

  • Attend NatCon Conference: 3-day conference  (Complimentary registration, suggested sessions, and VIP networking opportunities will be available for accepted participants)
  • Kick-Off Meeting: 3-day in-person meeting
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® Online Assessment
  • Team/Group Coaching Calls: Facilitated discussion for program participant and members of her or his team to improve the work environment and promote team development
  • Monthly Coaching Calls: 1 hour per month 1:1 coaching
  • Implementation of a Leadership Stretch Project
  • Leadership Stretch Project Implementation Coaching: 5 hours of 1:1 project coaching
  • Mid-Year Meeting: 3 day in-person meeting
  • Wrap-up Meeting: 3 day in-person meeting

Applicant Review Criteria

This is a competitive application process. Applicants will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • Personal commitment to stretch beyond current skills and to focus on the leadership attributes needed to lead successful organizations in the 21st century
  • Willingness and ability to inculcate learnings within his/her organization
  • Highly recommended by his/her Board of Directors/CEO
  • Willingness to support other participants’ leadership growth through peer-to-peer dialogue
  • Commitment to be present for all learning opportunities, including in-person meetings, coaching calls, and webinars
  • Commitment to self-evaluative exercises and implementation of a Leadership Stretch Project with the support of peer support and faculty coaching.

Financial Contribution

The support of National Council funders covers over 65% of the costs of the program. Participant fees are $8,000 for National Council members, $10,000 for non-members. (Note: If eligible for membership, your organization may join upon your selection.) Fees must be received prior to the kick-off meeting.

Participants are responsible for travel expenses for all in-person meetings (airfare, hotel, ground transportation, etc.). Please note National Council conference registration fee is covered through the ELP participant fee described above. Your participant fee, along with support from external funders, also covers faculty costs, meeting rooms, and meals.


A limited number of partial and full scholarships are available this year for minority applicants (defined based on race, ethnicity, and/or sexual orientation) with the passion to address disparities that are due to class, race, sexual orientation and/or privilege. Travel expenses are not covered by scholarships.

Scholarship requests will not affect the consideration of your application.


For more information contact Lillian Wolfensohn at

What are people saying?

  • “This program provided me with more support than I’ve experienced in my career. It gave me information and strategies but most importantly direction and confidence. Much appreciation!”
  • “This whole experience was life changing – not only provided skills but developed a previously nonexistent support group. Thank you!”
  • “I have more fully developed the leadership qualities that I have been working on the past 10 years. The program, particularly the coaching, has helped me become a more compassionate leader. It has also helped me do a better job of holding people accountable for their actions and job performance.”
  • “Because of this program, I have gone from an overwhelmed leader to one that leads with confidence.”

Congratulations to our 2017 Executive Leadership Class: 

  • Tichianaa Armah, Community Health Center
  • Evens Chrysostome, New Life Counseling and Wellness Center, Inc.
  • Lorraine Coleman, Acacia Network
  • Jacey Coy, Casa de los Niños
  • Kipp Dana, High Country Behavioral Health
  • Katrina Egner, Sound Mental Health
  • Brad Finegood, King County Behavioral Health and Recovery Division
  • Adam Gerbman, Lights-on, Shine-on, LLC
  • Elizabeth Guroff, Cornerstone Montgomery
  • Jeffrey Labun II, Lakeshore Regional Entity
  • Suzanne Legander, S.T.A.R. – Stand Together And Recover Centers, Inc.
  • Jolene Rasmussen, Texas Council of Community Centers
  • Sylvia Rowlands, NY Foundling
  • Ginessa Sams, Tanana Chiefs Conference
  • Danielle Shawgo, Yukon-Kuskokwin Health Corporation

Congratulations to our 2016 Executive Leadership Class: 

  • Nicoletta Tessler, Jackson Behavioral Health Hospital
  • Roberta Cook, BHcare, Inc.
  • Jeffrey Friedman, Central Nassau Guidance & Counseling Center
  • Lisa Brody, Behavioral Healthcare, Inc.
  • Kevin Eccleston, PSA Behavioral Health Agency
  • Lance Lehigh, The Center for Mental Health
  • Jim Vollendroff, King County Behavioral Health and Recovery Division
  • Sharon Curran, Lenape Valley Foundation
  • Mary Clare Smith, Western State Hospital
  • Laura Baez, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
  • Lyn Campbell, New Horizons Community Service Board
  • Debra Howard-Frye, Thresholds
  • Noy Frial, Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center
  • Paul Duvelson, New Life Counseling & Wellness Center, Inc.
  • Emory Salley, Integrity House
  • Selma Ward, Perception Programs
  • Lisa White, ANDRUS
  • Sue Ehrlich, Jefferson Mental Health Services
  • Eva Terrazas, EMQ FamiliesFirst
  • Marcus Brooks Johnson, Drug Abuse Comprehensive Coordinating Office
  • Tina Woods, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

Congratulations to our 2015 Executive Leadership Class: 

  • Aleah Horstman, PhD, Arapahoe House
  • Christi Garfield, Center for Health Care Services
  • Debora Matthews, The Children’s Center of Wayne County
  • Debra Taylor, Sweetser
  • Ed Hagins, Midwestern Colorado Mental Health Center
  • Enrico Hernandez, Lincoln Child Center
  • Jane Yaun, Rappahannock Area Community Services Board
  • Karen Carloni, South Maryland Community Network, Inc.
  • Marc Fagan, Psy.D., Thresholds
  • Marsha Hahn, Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center
  • Melanie Dallas, Highland Rivers Health
  • Melissa Tijerina, The Center for Health Care Services
  • Renee Clark, Advance Therapeutic Concepts
  • Robert Parkinson, Integrity, Inc.
  • Susan Doig, Trilogy, Inc.
  • Tami Lewis-Ahrendt, CenterPointe
  • Tim Cowart, The Centers, Inc.
  • Trent DeVreugd 
  • Vicki Garner, Aspire Health Partners

Congratulations to our 2014 Executive Leadership Class:

  • Adam Biuckians, M.D., Community Services Group
  • Sarah Bobo, RHA Health Services
  • Stacy Brubaker, Jackson County Mental Health
  • Robert Budsock, Integrity, Inc.
  • Melanie Dallas, Highland Rivers Health
  • Marine Eckart, MFT, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services
  • Patrick Evans, Behavioral Healthcare Partners of Central Ohio, Inc.
  • Ann Fisher Raney, Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center
  • Robert  Guevara, The Center for Health Care Services
  • Cari Guthrie-Cho, Cornerstone Montgomery
  • Samantha Handley, Trilogy, Inc.
  • Cal Hedigan, Community Access, Inc.
  • Schantate Johnson, Advance Therapeutic Concepts, Inc.
  • David McIntosh, Montgomery Area Mental Health Authority, Inc.
  • A. Camis Milam, M.D., The Center for Health Care Services
  • Taren Petersen, Region 6 Behavioral Healthcare
  • Scott Roderick, M.A., L.P.C., Verde Valley Guidance Clinic
  • Jeff Rothenberg, Green Mountain Psychiatric Care Center/Vermont Psychiatric Care Hospital
  • Shelly Spalding, Behavioral Healthcare, Inc.
  • Maree Wacker, De Paul Treatment Centers
  • Jill Warner, LCSW, Jawonio, Inc.
  • David Weden, Hill Country MHDD Centers
  • Steven  Winn, Ph.D., Behavioral Health Network

And a big thank you to the 2013 Executive Leadership Class:

  • Mark Cundiff Johnson, Medical Director, BJC Behavioral Health (MO)
  • Bren Manaugh, VP, Adult Behavioral Health Services, Center for Health Care Services (TX)
  • Michael Quinn, CEO, Chestnut Ridge Counseling Services, Inc. (PA)
  • Andrew Jay Kind-Rubin, Chief Clinical Officer, Child Guidance Resource Centers (PA)
  • Robert Bremer, Executive Director, Access Behavioral Care, Colorado Access (CO)
  • Heather Gates, President and CEO, Community Health Resources, Inc. (CT)
  • Suzanne Rabideau, CEO, Crisis Response Network of Southern Arizona, Inc. (AZ)
  • Heidi Thomas, CFO/COO, Dickinson Center, Inc. (PA)
  • Cheryl Marks Young, CFO, Easter Seals New Jersey (NJ)
  • Kelly Shanklin, Executive Director, Fairbanks Community Behavioral Health Center (AK)
  • Roelof Kleppe, Medical Director, GGzE (The Netherlands)
  • Stella Pappas, Executive CP/COO, Institute for Community Living, Inc. (NY)
  • Bryan Cohen, VP for Behavioral Health Services, Intercommunity Action, Inc. (PA)
  • Tyler Booth, COO & Clinical Director, InterCommunity, Inc. (CT)
  • Vicki Rodgers, CP of Clinical Systems Administration, Jefferson Center for Mental Health (CO)
  • Amanda Bunger, Director, Klamath Behavioral Health and Wellness (OR)
  • Rick Hankey, Sr. VP/Chief Hospital Officer, LifeStream Behavioral Center, Inc. (FL)
  • Toni Johnson, Vice Chair of Education and Community Development, Department of Psychiatry, MetroHealth System (OH)
  • Jeffrey Brown, Executive Director, Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority (MI)
  • Linda Grgurich, President and CEO, Pathways CBH, Inc./Family Counseling Center of MO, Inc.
  • Valerie Westhead, Chief Medical Officer, Seminole Behavioral Healthcare (FL)
  • Mary Perdue, COO, Southern Arizona Mental Health Corporation
  • Jennifer Ekeler, Director of Finance & HR, St. Monica’s Behavioral Health Services (NE)
  • Charmaine Nalty, CEO, Therapeutic Living for Families (MD)
  • Mark Ishaug, CEO, Thresholds (IL)
  • Connie Svaleng, CFO, Verde Valley Guidance Clinic, Inc. (AZ)
  • Jennifer Hibbard, COO, View Point Health (GA)
  • Stephen Kliewer, Executive Director, Wallowa Valley Center for Wellness (OR)

If you have any questions, contact Flannery Peterson at

©2018 National Council for Behavioral Health. All Rights Reserved.