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From CADC to CEO: A Journey Fueled by Mentorship and Strategic Vision

A note from our CEO…

When I began my career as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) in Illinois, my primary goal was simple: I wanted to help people. My father was battling opioid dependence, and I was determined to support him and others like him. Little did I know, this personal mission would shape my professional journey, leading me to become the CEO of Vantage Clinical Consulting, a business that helps treatment and healthcare organizations improve their services.

My career trajectory followed the path of my father’s illness. When he needed therapy, I pursued a career in addiction counseling. Seeing the systemic failures and gaps in care, I moved on to develop and manage programs aimed at enhancing quality care for patients. When treatment providers weren’t listening to him, I became an advocate, joining boards, task forces, and coalitions to amplify the voices of those suffering from substance use disorders.

As my father’s condition required medication, I worked with global pharmaceutical manufacturers like Suboxone and Narcan. Over nine years, I helped communities across the country implement these medications, creating the access that my father needed. Recognizing the need for innovative solutions, I later joined a technology startup, helping to make treatment accessible through software for those without direct access to providers.

The most fulfilling part of my career was training and implementing technology with providers. However, after my father’s overdose in 2010, I set my sights on changing how treatment was viewed and facilitated. As the Deputy Director for the Bureau of Licensure, Compliance, and Monitoring in Illinois, I gained insights into both the successes and shortcomings of treatment programs, which further fueled my passion for systemic change.

A pivotal moment came when two physicians reached out to me, seeking help to set up outpatient treatment programs for opioid dependence within their clinics. They trusted my expertise and vision, which led to the birth of Vantage Clinical Consulting. What started as a mission to help my father evolved into a consultancy that has helped thousands of patients stabilize their lives.

Throughout this journey, mentorship played a crucial role in accelerating my leadership goals. Mentors provided guidance, support, and invaluable insights, helping me navigate the complexities of the field. They challenged me to think strategically, to plan meticulously, and to lead with empathy and vision.

Counselors possess innate skills that make them excellent leaders: the ability to ask quality questions, uncover needs, problem-solve, and negotiate. These skills, honed through daily interactions with clients, are invaluable in leadership roles. However, the challenge lies in helping counselors recognize and leverage these skills to advance their own careers.

Strategic thinking and planning are essential for this transformation. By developing clear goals, creating actionable plans, and continuously evaluating progress, counselors can transition into leadership roles. It’s about applying the same dedication and analytical skills used in client care to their professional development.

My story is a testament to the power of mentorship and strategic vision. From a CADC to a CEO, my journey underscores the importance of having a clear purpose, building robust systems, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement. For counselors and therapists aspiring to grow in their careers, remember that the skills you use daily with your clients are the very tools that can propel you to leadership positions.

If you’re ready to accelerate your growth, whether to become a CEO or to enhance your impact within your current organization, I can help. Book a consultation to learn more about leadership development and coaching for helping professionals.

For more information on how to advance your career and become a leader in the field of substance use and mental health treatment, visit my website. Let’s work together to create a future where quality care and strategic leadership go hand in hand.



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