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CWLA Leadership Development Institute Launched through OPEN MINDS Partnership

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CWLA recently partnered with OPEN MINDS, a Gettysburg, Pennsylvania-based market intelligence and management consulting firm that specializes in the health and human services arena ( The collaboration, which draws on OPEN MINDS's management knowledge and CWLA's role in the child welfare field, was specifically developed to create a leadership development institute for CWLA member CEOs and their administrative teams. The program presents an opportunity for CEOs to learn from the experts within CWLA and OPEN MINDS and from the experiences of their colleagues. In addition to providing management and leadership education, the institute will serve as a platform for networking and sharing information among agency executives across the country.

The institute began operation on June 15, 2012, with 35 CWLA member executives; membership includes participation in several CWLA programs. The annual CWLA Leadership Development Retreat (, held from September 12-14 in Gettysburg, centered on the challenges being faced by provider organizations that serve children and families--such as changing payer expectations, new state and federal legislation and regulations, and technological innovations that affect the child welfare market--and how industry stakeholders can help manage these shifting demands. The retreat utilized classroom instruction, group discussions, and interactive off-site trips to the Gettysburg battlefield to address the efforts of health care executives amid today's complicated market. Additionally, at CWLA's 2013 national conference in April, OPEN MINDS will host a leadership track for Institute members, using the time to discuss these same crucial issues. Members will also have access to a series of web briefings on industry updates and market challenges, and to an online community offering news, discussion boards, and other resources.

"OPEN MINDS is unlike a lot of other groups in that it's very oriented around cutting-edge issues," says Joseph Costa, president of the CWLA board of directors and CEO of Hillsides, a Southern California nonprofit that provides residential treatment programs to foster care children with mental health problems. "And there has been a special benefit to me as an executive; the program has helped me get a handle on critical issues like emerging trends, datagathering, and technological innovations, all of which have helped strengthen the position of our organization in the marketplace. It's helped me to think of things differently. And it's a great compliment to the efforts of CWLA."

Membership is still available to CWLA agencies. Rates, registration materials, and details can be found at For further information, please contract Howard Shiffman, senior associate at OPEN MINDS, at

Howard Shiffman is a Senior Associate at OPEN MINDS.

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