Five Question Fridays with Craig Bass
Introducing this week's installment of ‘Five Question Fridays,’ a unique interview series that seeks insight from some of the most respected leaders, experts, and executives in the Health and Human Services industry. Last week, we hosted Susan Dreyfus, CEO of the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities. Susan talked everything from the growth of Alliance to being recognized on NonProfit Time's 2017 'Power and Influence' Top 50 list.
This week, we are delighted to introduce Craig Bass, the long-standing President and CEO of Alexander Youth Network, a North Carolina based nonprofit organization which provides treatment to children who suffer from severe emotional and behavioral disorders. Throughout his career, Craig has introduced numerous projects in initiatives to Alexander Youth Network, strengthening its impressive reputation around the state.
Check out our ‘Five Question Fridays’ interview with Craig Bass below:
Craig, you currently sit as President and CEO of Alexander Youth Network, a nonprofit organization that provides quality, professional treatment to children with serious emotional and behavioral problems. What do you enjoy most about your position and what are some interesting projects you’ve been working on lately?
There are a lot of great things about working at Alexander Youth Network! What I like best is being able to work with passionate, caring, professional people. It’s also rewarding to be able to see children who have faced very challenging young lives make so many positive changes under the care of our talented staff.
I also have the privilege of working with amazing Board members. They are incredibly supportive, but also challenge the leadership team at Alexander to keep stretching on behalf of the children and families we serve. We are very fortunate to have really smart people from some of America’s leading corporations giving their time and talent to govern Alexander. They are able to see things in a different way than the staff leaders can, so they provide invaluable advice and governance that helps us to operate as a high performing business.
Right now, the most interesting projects I’m working on are those that will prepare Alexander for the next wave of reforms coming our way. We are re-examining the way we do business—especially case management—as we work on preparing for value based payment and integrated care. This is exciting to me because it presents both business challenges and an opportunity to really improve the care we provide to kids and families. We’re also working hard on data analytics. We are building some incredible dashboards that help us to make sense of the many years’ worth of data we have collected. This has been a lot of fun.
Alexander Youth Network is making an incredible difference in the lives of children all over North Carolina. Could you shed some light on some of the services you provide to children that come to you for help?
Alexander provides a full array of mental health services for children and adolescents. This includes outpatient treatment, in-home services (including MST), day treatment, treatment foster care, and psychiatric residential treatment. Through our affiliate, The Relatives, we also provide crisis services and support for young people ages 16-24 who are moving into adulthood.
You’ve been a DATIS client for roughly 4 years now. We’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of your growth and are excited to see what’s in store for the future. What made you initially choose our unified HR & Payroll solution and what impact has it had on your organization?
Knowing that we spend at least 80% of our budget on people-related expenses, the advantages of the DATIS system were very apparent to me. Position control was the first thing to catch my eye, as it helps us to enforce appropriate scrutiny and decision-making when considering staffing changes. The system also provided for much improved compliance, reducing a lot of potential risk for our organization while reducing the employees assigned to this very important, but not mission-critical, function. I also like the self-service aspects of the DATIS platform, like benefits enrollment and immediate access to important personal information in “My e3.”
Nonprofits wouldn’t be able to achieve their mission if it wasn’t for partnerships with local businesses and the support from residents around the community. How has the local support throughout North Carolina communities help Alexander Youth Network grow and help more children?
North Carolina, and Charlotte in particular, is a place where corporate responsibility for community involvement is clearly embraced and expected. Alexander Youth Network has been very fortunate to benefit from financial and volunteer support from our corporate partners. As I mentioned earlier, the Board leadership has been amazing and very beneficial. Most important, however, are the many individuals who provide ongoing unrestricted support for our mission and operations. They provide hands-on volunteering as well as funding for new program development, facilities and infrastructure. These are all things that are essential to any business, but are not adequately funded by our fees for service.
You’ve been at Alexander Youth Network for roughly 25 years now. What are some of your proudest accomplishments throughout your time at Alexander Youth Network and how have you seen the organization evolve over the years?
Alexander has greatly expanded its service offerings and geographic reach, and that has allowed us to serve many more children. That is the most important thing to me—to keep growing the number of kids we help. I’m also proud that we have been able to improve compensation and benefits for our people, develop a strong business and data infrastructure, and maintain our strong reputation over these years. I’ve been very fortunate to work at Alexander all these years.
We’d like to thank Craig for his participation and incredible insight. Make sure to follow Alexander Youth Network on Twitter for more updates. If you’re interested in participating in our interview series, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. This DATIS blog may not be shared or repurposed without permission.