Nonprofit Profiles – From the Desk of: CHRIS Kids
I conduct a series called ‘From the Desk of: Atlanta Nonprofit Leaders’. This endeavor is a series of interviews of Executive Directors, Head of Schools and CEOs of local nonprofit organizations. My Nonprofit Profiles blog posts highlight the most outstanding feature of each leader and his/her organization. Here are their stories…“The Business of Utilizing People’s Potential”
Kathy Colbenson, the CEO of CHRIS Kids
CHRIS Kids’ mission is to heal children, strengthen families and build community. Their vision is to improve our community by providing children, adults and families with high-quality, trauma-informed behavioral health services and support systems systems.
Kathy Colbenson is ‘Unlocking Potential’. As the CEO of CHRIS Kids, she has learned how to leverage people’s strengths, skill-sets and roles for complete engagement. Kathy utilizes the full potential of her team to help youth who have a history of physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse, neglect, homelessness and/or substance abuse. Every day, Kathy and her staff help their clients find ways to create their own success! This is what CHRIS Kids is about – unlocking potential.
It was a pleasure to sit down with and learn from Kathy Colbenson. She understands the importance of good governance and management to run a successful nonprofit business. In her own words, “Our business is doing good with the maximum amount of stewardship”. She regularly assesses the potential of all the staff at CHRIS Kids as well as assessing the potential of the organization itself for constant development and growth.
Kathy is an impressive nonprofit leader. Her self-confidence as a steward of her organization allows her to focus on developing leaders within- both within themselves and within the organization. Kathy is trained and licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist. She uses her skills as a therapist as well as her skills as a smart business woman to guide the organization. By learning that everyone has an explicit and different role in the organization, she helps keep everyone focused on working within their specific roles to help the organization reach its strategic goals. Kathy states that the secret to a great organization is having “a great Board of Directors, great strategic planning and a great staff”.
CHRIS Kids has grown from an organization that created Georgia’s first specialized group home for youth with behavioral/emotional challenges in 1981 to what it is today. They are a community of leaders who support youth with emotional and/or mental health issues and are in need of stable housing. CHRIS Kids also supports individuals and organizations who work with similar populations by providing trainings. The CHRIS KIds community spreads far and wide as Kathy and her team have partnered with multiple organizations in order to provide the best services to their clients.
I was most impressed with 2 things as I toured the CHRIS Kids:
1) The Mission, Vision and Values were inscribed in many places around the buildings. This is the sign of a strong nonprofit and one that wants to keep their purpose ‘in view’.
2) The décor. This may seem silly and superficial, but it holds a lot of significance. CHRIS Kids has spent the time, effort and money to create a beautiful environment for their staff, clients and guests.
Kathy has been with CHRIS Kids for 27 years. She has helped to create a stable, thriving organization that offers many tools and services to unlock the possibilities within every youth that enters their doors. An executive director who focuses on the potential of her people, the organization and their target market is a Winner in my book!
To learn more about CHRIS Kid’s, please check them out at http://www.chriskids.org/home-page.
Photo credit to: Microsoft Office Clip Art