505: Making a Difference | Michelle Naus, CFO, Tri-County Mental Health Services, Inc.


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The young man’s smile is broad and welcoming. It’s the type of photo that colleges and universities frequently use to attract young applicants. However, when featured on the home page for Tri-County Mental Health Services, Inc., the image’s message seems less manufactured and perhaps more ambitious as it seeks to signal hope to families seeking mental health and substance abuse services.

As the primary safety-net provider of behavioral health services to a community of more than 346,000 people, Tri-County, of Kansas City, Missouri, keeps hope in large supply, along with treatments, therapies, and professional guidance. Just what role finance leadership plays in delivering Tri-County’s services may not have been entirely evident if not for the untimely death of the organization’s CFO.

New leaders are often tasked with driving change, and there was little question that newly hired CFO Michelle Naus was well prepared to drive it. Still, Naus would first need to address a number of nagging obstacles, including a new federal designation poised to radically alter how Tri-County paid for its services.

As Naus explains her CFO priorities, certain qualities less visible among her leadership peers come into view. Not unlike the message conveyed by the smiling young man, that of Tri-County’s CFO is less manufactured and more ambitious.

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