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National Council for Behavioral Health Mission and Leadership

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President & Chief Executive Officer
Title:President & Chief Executive Officer

The National Council has retained Korn Ferry to lead this search. To express an interest and to submit your credentials, please contact Tom Giella, Chairman, Healthcare Services/Vice Chair, Office of the Chief Executive Chairman at Tel: (312) 375-0629

National Council for Behavioral Health (NCBH), the largest organization of mental health and addictions treatment programs in the United States, seeks a President & Chief Executive Officer. The President & CEO implements strategic vision, including annual and long-term goals and financial metrics, continues the National Council strategy of innovation and directs the National Council's Senior Executive Leadership Team.

Organization Background/Culture:

The National Council for Behavioral Health, a 501(c)(3) association approaching its 50th year, is the largest organization of mental health and addictions treatment programs in the United States. It is the unifying voice of 2,900 health care organizations who serve more than 10 million people living with mental illnesses and addictions by offering therapy; skill development to help people better manage their mental health and substance use challenges; peer support services where people with the lived experience of mental health or substance use issues mentor and support those currently affected by these challenges; and out of home treatment when community services cannot adequately address the current symptoms. To help the members do this, the National Council is active in policy, consulting, education, training and raising awareness for not only its members, but for the mental health and addictions community and all Americans.



The National Council provides a powerful voice to policymakers at the federal, state and local levels to help shape the most consequential health care legislation affecting all Americans, most particularly, National Council members and the mental health and addiction community. The National Council advocates for increased access to, adequate funding for and improved quality of mental health and addiction services, particularly for marginalized groups. Recent examples include:

  • Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics – The National Council, in conjunction with other health care leaders, helped to create the Excellence Act, which established a federal definition and criteria for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) and stipulated that CCBHCs may receive an enhanced Medicaid reimbursement rate based on their anticipated costs of care. CCBHCs are responsible for directly providing (or contracting with partner organizations to provide) nine required types of services, with an emphasis on the provision of 24-hour crisis care, utilization of evidence-based practices, care coordination and integration with physical health care.

  • Hill Day- The National Council’s Hill Day is the largest behavioral health advocacy. Held in partnership with 18 national mental health and addiction organizations, Hill Day gathers hundreds of behavioral health providers, C-suite level executives, board members, consumers and community stakeholders in D.C. for sessions and workshops on federal behavioral health policy. After these sessions, attendees take their message to Capitol Hill to meet with their state representatives and advocate for better resources for mental health and addictions treatment in their communities.

    Mental Health First Aid

    In 2008, the National Council introduced the country to Mental Health First Aid, a public education program that helps people identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use conditions. Invested in the concept that when people are educated about mental illness and equipped with the tools they need to start a dialogue; more people can get the help they need; Mental Health First Aid breaks down stigma and saves lives.


    The National Council aims to make the program as common as CPR. More recently, to equip first responders with the skills required to de-escalate crises involving people with mental illness, the program has been implemented in police, fire and EMS programs. To date, more than one million Americans have been trained.


    Industry Consulting and Practice Improvement

    In addition to policy efforts and Mental Health First Aid, the National Council works with members, state associations and many others to help improve the condition of mental health and addiction services from within by providing consulting, trainings, technical assistance and counsel to improve operational and clinical practice skills and to provide solutions to the biggest challenges facing the field each year. Recent examples include:

  • SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions (CIHS) – Nationwide technical assistance on integrating primary and behavioral health care. The National Council has a reputation for innovation and excellence in designing and operating SAMHSA-funded training and technical assistance (TTA) centers and projects. In 2010, working closely with SAMHSA and the Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA), the National Council launched CIHS. This was a pioneering effort and to date, CIHS has successfully helped hundreds of behavioral health and primary care provider organizations and health care systems improve the effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of their work by achieving the integration of primary and behavioral health care. CIHS provides state-of-the-art TTA to an array of more than 200 grantees under SAMHSA-funded programs including Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration (PHBCI), Promoting Integration of Primary and Behavioral Health Care (PIPBHC), the Minority AIDS Initiative Continuum of Care (MAI-CoC); Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs); HRSA-funded safety-net providers and training and education programs; and a national audience.

  • Consulting - The National Council provides a mission-driven consulting practice singularly focused on helping the behavioral health and human services field – from providers and clinicians to state and local governments, public charities and private foundations – not only survive but thrive in a dramatically changing health care environment. Some examples include services that address:

  • Systems change - from assessment and strategic planning to implementation and outcomes measurement.

  • Clinical excellence - Assist in translating the latest science into practice. Working to support the evolution and adoption of evidence-based and promising programs as well as clinical, financial and leadership best practices.

  • Workforce development and training– Through the leadership and workforce development initiatives and customized training solutions, organizations develop and maximize their human capital.


    Education and Raising Awareness

    The National Council’s ongoing efforts to raise awareness and understanding of the critical issues facing our community and all Americans reach over million people annually. From hosting the largest mental health and addictions conference in health care with more than 5,000 attendees, to our unparalleled expertise and reach through multiple communication channels we are making an impact on not only those living with mental illness and addiction but communities at large. Some of the ways we are raising awareness include:

  • National Council Conference (NatCon) – Annually, National Council hosts NatCon, the premier conference in the behavioral health field that reaches more than 5,000 people with new information to improve the quality of care across the nation, including practice improvement, financing, integrated health care, technology, policy and advocacy and professional development. NatCon attracts the most influential and provocative presenters in the health care arena.

  • Medical Director Institute (MDI) - The MDI is comprised of medical directors of organizations who have been recognized for their outstanding leadership in shaping psychiatric and addictions service delivery across the United States. The MDI advises National Council board, staff and membership on issues and topics heavily impacted by clinical practice.

  • National Council Communications – The communications and marketing efforts of the National Council reach millions of people across a variety of channels. Recent examples include:

  • Social media channels that reach over a million individuals a month.

  • Email campaigns that influence a growing list of 90,000+ individuals.

  • Eight National Council newsletters that reach audiences varying from small, specialized lists to 90,000+ subscribers.

  • More than 3 billion media impressions in 2017.

  • Multiple websites that see more than 50,000 users per month.


    Our Members

    The National Council’s 2,900-member organizations are community-based providers of mental health and addiction services that work to ensure people who have mental health and substance use disorders have access to comprehensive, evidence-based health care services. Some examples include:

  • Saving lives through 24-hour crisis response and suicide prevention.

  • Reducing health system costs by integrating primary care prevention into behavioral health settings.

  • Keeping communities safe by providing re-entry treatment to prisoners with mental health and substance use needs.

  • Building strong local economies by linking people with job training and employment services.

  • Using the latest trauma and brain research to implement new mental health and addiction therapies.

  • Providing substance use prevention, treatment and recovery programs.

  • Helping veterans and their families cope with post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • Making schools healthy for children to grow and learn.

  • Impacting state and local level health policy.

    People living with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders experience discrimination, stigma and social isolation. Recent advances in medical treatment and societal education and understanding help to further show us all that mental health and addiction recovery is real and treatment works. There cannot be true health without paying attention to both mental and physical health, the mind and the body. As the National Council looks toward its next 50 years, it will continue its quest to better the lives of all Americans by improving health care as we know it for individuals, families and friends, providers and our communities.


    Key Responsibilities:

    The CEO provides organizational leadership and management for a complex organization, as well as supporting or leveraging hundreds of dedicated, passionate member volunteers. Reporting directly to the Board of Directors, the CEO is responsible for collaborating with and being responsive to the Board's direction and leadership in executing the strategic priorities for the NCBH. The CEO leads the National Council senior executive team in the implementation of the strategic plan's goals and objectives and in the management of all other aspects of the organization. The CEO works closely with the Board leadership on key issues impacting the organization and its members, including response to federal and regulatory changes, large-scale media communications, advocacy, and relationships with other medical specialty societies, industry, and other stakeholders. Specific duties and responsibilities include:

  • Collaborating with the Board of Directors and the senior management team to implement the strategic vision, including the achievement of annual and long term-term goals and financial metrics, and ensuring its understanding by and relevance to members.

  • Continuing the National Council strategy of innovation and working with senior staff in fostering innovation opportunities

  • Leading and directing the National Council’s Senior Executive Leadership Team.
  • Recruiting, retaining, developing, and inspiring a professional staff to provide the expertise necessary to implement the Board's strategic vision.
  • Supporting the Board of Directors and other key member groups by providing valuable insights and expertise relevant to their decision-making duties.

  • Maintaining and fostering a strong volunteer network to engage in the National Council’s activities through consistent outreach and communications with members Special emphasis will be placed on the next generation of members to ensure the greatest membership value.

  • Working in close coordination with the Board of Directors and key staff to represent the interests of the membership and behavioral health patients before key policy making bodies in the U.S. and internationally.

  • Forging and cultivating strong relationships with other related organizations in the U.S. and globally, such as other behavioral health societies, medical professional societies, patient advocacy groups, and international and national health care organizations that complement and advance the mission of the National Council and support achievement of its strategic goals.

  • Ensuring the National Council’s fiscal health and achievement of its budgetary goals.

  • Building the appropriate internal infrastructure to support the significant growth of the National Council.

  • Maintaining a healthy, positive, and balanced internal organization culture that maintains staff morale and empowers the executive staff to meet their goals and objectives.


    Professional Experience/Qualifications:

  • Senior level leadership for an organization of comparable size and complexity, preferably at the CEO or COO level or equivalent leadership position in a similarly sophisticated and complex healthcare organization (behavioral health company, social services agency, health system, government, or similar nonprofit organization).

  • Significant governance and board experience in a volunteer-led and driven organization, including the ability to form effective, rapid working alliances with member organizations.

  • An ability to foster a high-level of member engagement while balancing input from a diverse constituency; an effective consensus builder; an ability to lead the membership through challenging decisions in a changing environment.

  • A successful track record of implementing a strategic plan that has been forged in collaboration with a board.

  • Proven leader of organizational change, encouraging collaboration among divisions, with a focus on member engagement (customer service). Experience leading in a matrix environment and delegating to a senior management team.

  • A successful track record for attracting, retaining, and developing a highly effective, empowered staff and senior leadership team, and fostering a collaborative, respectful working environment.

  • An effective delegator, who builds trust and collaborative relationships with their staff, while ensuring accountability for results.

  • Strategic leader of an organization with a strong advocacy/government relations role. Familiar with federal regulatory and legislative affairs is a plus. Politically savvy with a working knowledge of the dynamics of Washington, DC. Reputation for working in a bipartisan manner.

  • Working knowledge of behavioral health care, financing and policy, information technology, and quality highly desirable.

  • Effective decision maker, open to differing points of view, data-driven, fair, and communicative about rationale for decisions.

  • Extraordinary relationship building and interpersonal skills.

  • The learning agility and flexibility needed to adapt to a dynamic, changing environment.

  • High energy and results-oriented.

  • A leader with integrity, who understands that as CEO s/he must embody the National Council values and culture, as well as model and align their behavior always with these values and culture.
  • Superior communications skills, both oral and written.

  • A servant leadership style within a member-driven organization and skilled at creating effective working relationships across the annual succession of member leaders in key governance roles.

  • Committed, dedicated work ethic but understands the need for, and benefits of, work/life balance. A preference to live in the greater Washington DC area, but that is not required, if candidate will commit to substantial time in this location.



  • Bachelor’s degree required

  • Master’s degree preferred



  • A competitive compensation and benefits package will be offered to attract an outstanding candidate.

    National Council is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer - All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, or protected Veteran status.



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