Current Business & Job Title: Vice President, Behavioral Health Services North (BHSN)
Hometown: Malone, New York
Age: 33
Education: Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Plattsburgh; Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling & Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University
Community Involvement: I have worked to build out our Internship Program and invest in our workforce through collaboration and partnering with Clinton Community College and SUNY Plattsburgh. That allows us to increase our clinical workforce and that, in turn, allows us to meet the need of our community. Also I work to raise awareness around mental and physical health issues and providing access to care.

It is always inspiring to meet someone as committed and confident as Liz Cole. This isn’t her first appearance in Strictly Business. In 2017 she was featured for her role as the Director at BHSN’s school-based service program. She coordinated the interview while in labor and then spoke to SB and had her photo taken in her living room seven days after the birth of her son — an example of what she calls, “How women can do it all!”

How do you contribute to the culture of your company?
Creating support and opportunities for the teams to find their passion, drive, and interests. Empowerment is a necessity. The greatest responsibility within my organization is uniting people around the purpose that supports them in a way that allows them to ignite their passion. Uniting people around a common purpose that allows us to create a sustainable place to work they can thrive in, and creating an environment where people feel safe and can grow is essential.

What are you doing to make a difference in your community?
Making a significant investment in building out the workforce to contribute to the increased need in mental health services. Investment in decreasing the stigma around mental health services in young people.

What is the single most important characteristic for success?
The ability to take a risk and fail, and then try again.

What is your biggest professional success?
I was able to build and nurture BHSN’s school-based program from its infancy. In 2014 we had two clinicians in a handful of districts. The program is now close to 30 clinicians in four counties, serving close to 1,500 students.

What important lesson have you learned in your career?
The only way to grow is to continue to push ourselves out of our comfort zones. Its good to be uncomfortable, and be challenged to learn more and be more. Discomfort is opportunity for evolution.

What is your dream job?
I’m in it. As long as I am happy doing what I do, it’s all I could ask for.

What is the biggest risk you have ever taken?
Taking a promotion I didn’t feel prepared for. I questioned my ability to manage the new role. What I have learned is that’s okay. If we are the masters in our role, it’s time to move on.

Write a note to your younger self…
Life is about the process not the “end” result. It is about the
experience of each moment we are lucky enough to be granted.

What can the North Country do to make this region more appealing to a younger generation?
Have more shadowing opportunities for students to see what jobs/professions truly look like.