Hazelden Betty Ford recognized for employee leadership development

Learn About Hazelden Betty Ford

Center City, Minn. (May 19, 2022) – The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation—the nation's leading nonprofit system of substance use disorder treatment, mental health care, recovery resources and related prevention and education services—won a coveted Brandon Hall Group Gold award for the Best Advance in Leadership Development category.

Hazelden Betty Ford's Bench Strength Experience, facilitated by MDA Leadership Consulting, is a blended-learning leadership development program. Brandon Hall Group recognized it for its effectiveness in providing insights and growth opportunities for participants, meaningful connections and relationships among participant and manager cohorts, and insights for the organization into emerging leader talent. The program is delivered virtually and has become a cornerstone of leadership development at Hazelden Betty Ford, whose programs also include a Leadership Academy for high-potential aspiring leaders and a twice-a-year Leadership Development Institute for all employees who have direct reports.

"We recognized the need to invest in our individual contributors and more junior supervisors that are so committed to our organization. Our Bench Strength Experience program has become a wonderful vehicle for providing growth and development for them," said Dawne Carlson, vice president of human resources for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. "Half of our organization's employees hold an advanced degree or license—they are smart, driven, and motivated people hungry for development opportunities. Our aim is to equip and empower our people to be leaders at every level and to help them progress toward higher-level positions, rather than simply wait for them."

MDA Leadership, the partner hired to facilitate Hazelden Betty Ford's award-winning program, uses its proprietary Bench Strength assessment to provide participants with deep insights into their leadership strengths and gaps, while also providing a range of development activities that leverage the power of cohort learning.

"We have an enviable depth of prospective talent in this organization, and we want to be a leadership factory," said Dr. Joseph Lee, president and CEO of the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. "While many organizations' leaders felt that 2020 was a ‘lost year' for them—opportunities to develop were put on hold, advancements paused—not so for us at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. The Bench Strength Experience has ignited learning and development conversations up and down our talent pipeline; it has inspired individuals to feel empowered in owning their development and career path within the organization; and it has enabled our professionals to continue making a difference in the lives of the thousands of patients and family members we serve."

Program entries were evaluated by a panel of veteran, independent senior industry experts—including Brandon Hall Group analysts and executives—based on these criteria: fit the need, design of the program, functionality, innovation and overall measurable benefits.

"In the early, lonely days of the pandemic, the Bench Strength Experience brought joy to the organization even amid challenging times," added Carlson, noting that the organization plans to continue this meaningful program for the foreseeable future.

Hazelden Betty Ford's win was announced earlier this year, and the third—and current—Bench Strength Experience cohort began the rigorous leadership development course this month. The award winners are listed at www.brandonhall.com/excellenceawards/past-winners.php.

About the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation is a force of healing and hope for individuals, families and communities affected by addiction to alcohol and other drugs. As the nation's leading nonprofit provider of comprehensive inpatient and outpatient addiction and mental health care for adults and youth, the Foundation has treatment centers and telehealth services nationwide as well as a network of collaborators throughout health care. Through charitable support and a commitment to innovation, the Foundation is able to continually enhance care, research, programs and services, and help more people. With a legacy that began in 1949 and includes the 1982 founding of the Betty Ford Center, the Foundation today is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion in its services and throughout the organization, which also encompasses a graduate school of addiction studies, a publishing division, an addiction research center, recovery advocacy and thought leadership, professional and medical education programs, school-based prevention resources and a specialized program for children who grow up in families with addiction.