President and CEO Kathy Wilson to Retire; Steven Winn Named New CEO

Katherine B. Wilson, longtime President and Chief Executive Officer of Behavioral Health Network, will retire on June 30, 2020, it was announced. BHN Board Chair George Marion said the organization has named Steven Winn, Ph.D., BHN’s current Chief Operating Officer, as Wilson’s successor.

Wilson was instrumental in the formation of Behavioral Health Network in 1992 when four nonprofit mental health organizations— the Child Guidance Clinic, the Agawam Counseling Center, Community Care Mental Health Center and the Hampden District Mental Health Clinic—formed the then-new entity and appointed Wilson as CEO.

Since BHN’s founding, Wilson has built the organization from a $1 million annual enterprise into an organization that is considered the leading behavioral health agency in the region. Under Wilson’s leadership BHN has grown dramatically and now serves over 40,000 individuals in the four Western Massachusetts counties, employs over 2,300 people and has an annual budget of over $115 million.

Most recently, Wilson was named a Healthcare Hero for Lifetime Achievement by BusinessWest magazine and was celebrated in the book Power of Women published by The Republican newspaper.

Wilson is regarded as a leader in Massachusetts and the region in behavioral health and the integration of general health and behavioral health.

According to Board Chair George Marion, “Kathy Wilson’s importance to the success of BHN cannot be overstated. Indeed, BHN came into existence largely due to Kathy’s efforts and vision.”

Under Wilson’s direction, BHN transformed an abandoned factory complex on Liberty Street in Springfield into a sprawling campus that includes BHN’s corporate headquarters, the innovative Living Room drop-in center, Cole’s Place recovery program for men, BHN’s 24-hour, seven-days-a-week Crisis Center, an adult outpatient clinic, and its care coordination and outreach services.

Wilson implemented the acquisitions of The Carson Center in Westfield and its affiliate Valley Human Services in Ware.

With the rise of the opioid epidemic, Wilson guided the strategy to provide more recovery resources in the community, and BHN opened new outpatient and inpatient programming in the rehabilitated Lunt Silversmiths building in Greenfield for those needing recovery services in Franklin County.

Wilson began her career as a psychotherapist and worked for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health during the critical time when both Northampton State Hospital and Belchertown State schools were closed by court mandate.

The closings began a period of community-based care and services and BHN, under Wilson, was at the forefront.  Under her leadership, BHN expanded its footprint for those needing residential developmental services.

Marion said about Wilson, “It is no exaggeration to say Kathy Wilson is an iconic figure in Western Massachusetts in the area of behavioral health. She is a trailblazer that helped our community, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, replace the state hospital system with the more humane community-based system we have today.

“She has left a legacy of caring and serving in a way that has made a difference in the lives of thousands of individuals needing behavioral health and recovery services. Kathy will be sorely missed but leaves BHN in a strong position to continue its leadership in providing developmental, behavioral and recovery services throughout Western Massachusetts.

“One of Kathy’s great strengths as CEO has been her ability to develop and mentor a capable and committed executive leadership team. There is perhaps no better example than Steve Winn, whom we are delighted to name as our next CEO.”

Winn joined BHN in 1995 as Vice President and Director of the Child Guidance Clinic. He was later promoted to Senior Vice President and since 2017 has served BHN as Chief Operating Officer.

Winn has extensive experience in the behavioral health field. He received a Master’s in Developmental Psychology and a Ph.D. in Clinical and Developmental Psychology, both from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Winn went on to complete his fellowship at Yale University’s Child Study Center. After Yale, Winn became a staff psychologist at the University of New Mexico Children’s Psychiatric Hospital, where he also taught in the Department of Psychiatry as an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry. Winn is a licensed clinical psychologist in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.   

According to Marion, “Steve has intimate knowledge of the organization, its people, and its programs. He also has established strong partnerships and enjoys an excellent reputation with local and statewide funders, key partners and stakeholders. In short, Steve has been an important contributor to BHN’s growth and success, and the Board believes there is no better person than Steve Winn to assume the role of BHN’s CEO and continue that growth and success.”

Wilson said, “BHN has given me so much personal pleasure, professional pride and a sense of accomplishment. BHN is a great organization, with dedicated staff who are remarkable in their commitment to BHN’s mission.  While I am sad to be leaving I am comforted by the Board’s decision to name Steve Winn as the next CEO.  He has been a vital part of BHN’s past successes and growth and his vision for the future will serve BHN well.” 

BHN has been providing behavioral health services to children and families in Western Mass since 1938. The agency provides community-based services that include innovative, integrated whole-health models as well as traditional clinical and outpatient and therapeutic services, day treatment, addiction services, crisis intervention and residential supports.