Mission First Leadership

Rita M. Gardner
5.00 out of 5
(1 customer review)


BCBA CEUs: 1 Total CEU | 1 Supervision CEU

This presentation from the 2023 Michigan Autism Conference discusses the evolving landscape of ABA services, particularly in response to private equity involvement, mergers, and post-pandemic challenges, emphasizing the importance of maintaining quality in Autism care. It highlights Melmark’s success in fostering a mission-driven culture through strategic leadership, behavioral systems design, and investment in resources, demonstrating the connection between organizational strategy and sustainable mission-centric culture.

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This video addresses the changing landscape of ABA services, the current nature of Autism services with the influx of private equity funding, mergers, and acquisitions as well as consolidation of organizations, the post-pandemic environment, and the resulting workforce crisis. Given the significant cost of Autism care, the rising concerns around ABA and the quality of the field, variables that impact organizational quality are presented. It outlines the changing needs of the workforce and strategies to meet these needs. A review of the application of best practices at Melmark to steward a mission-first culture, reflecting a highly skilled workforce producing best outcomes over the past 25 years. It reviews strategies in organizational leadership, strategic planning, intentional behavioral systems design, resource investments, with a laser-like focus on quality of care. It looks at the critical role of intentional design of an organizational infrastructure built on the principles of ABA and OBM based strategies. It demonstrates the connection between organizational strategy, goals, and core commitments resulting in a mission-first culture that is built to last.

About the Speaker

Rita M. Gardner is the President & CEO of Melmark, and leads operations of Melmark divisions in New England, Pennsylvania, and the Carolinas. Prior, Ms. Gardner served as Executive Director of Melmark New England, which she co-founded. She also founded Melmark Carolinas and a second New England day school. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, a trained public health professional, and has devoted over 40 years of her professional career to the field of community-based services for children and adults with the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, intellectual and developmental disabilities, acquired brain injuries, severe challenging behaviors, and medical fragility. She is a founding Board member of the National Council of Autism Providers, currently serving as vice chair. She is the past President of the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Association of Approved Private School. Ms. Gardner has co-authored numerous books, written book chapters and peer-reviewed articles for professional journals. Ms. Gardner earned her Master of Public Health degree from Boston University’s School of Public Health in the School of Medicine, majoring in Behavioral Sciences & Health Services Administration.

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Below is the entire open-access version of this video. It does not contain embedded questions or interactions like the CEU version of the module.

1 review for Mission First Leadership

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    Highly recommended to Director and Executive level BCBAs who work with severely impacted adults (behaviorally or medically). Very engaging, touches on AI, technology, KPIs, OBM, metrics, data-driven decisions, diversity, investing in staff education and most of all the Mission First Philosophy.

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