'Building on the legacy of great leaders,' Amy Warren named new Bert Nash COO

“I’m thrilled,” Warren said about her new role. “It’s a huge honor.”

“I’m thrilled,” Warren said about her new role. “It’s a huge honor.” by Jeff Burkhead

When Amy Warren was doing her social work practicum in the late 1990s at the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, Patricia Roach Smith was her field instructor.

Roach Smith was the director of Child and Family Services at Bert Nash at the time and Warren was going through the Master of Social Work degree program at the University of Kansas. Now, about 20 years later, Warren will succeed Roach Smith as the Bert Nash Center’s chief operating officer.

Bert Nash CEO Patrick Schmitz, who replaced retiring CEO David Johnson in June (see story), made the announcement on Aug. 29.

“Amy comes with a great combination of experience, insight and dedication to the field of community mental health and especially Bert Nash,” Schmitz said. “I’m so delighted with all the exciting opportunities we have to strengthen our mission and build on the legacy of great leaders like Pat, and I’m pleased Amy is willing to step into this role and embrace the future with us.”

Warren will begin her new duties Sept. 18. She said she is looking forward to working with new Bert Nash CEO Schmitz.

“I’m very excited about working with Patrick,” Warren said. “In just the short time he’s been here, it’s clear that he’s a thoughtful, intelligent and dedicated leader. He has a clear vision for where we’re headed as an agency, and he’s already made connections with the staff. He’s a great fit for us.”

Outgoing COO Roach Smith will retire Oct. 6, after 29 years at the Center. Her replacement is a Lawrence native and a 1989 Lawrence High School graduate. Warren has two bachelor degrees from the University of Kansas — in psychology and social work. She also has a master’s degree in social work from KU. Her parents, Jim and Diana Myers, live in Lawrence.

“I’m thrilled,” Warren said about her new role. “It’s a huge honor.”

Warren left Lawrence after college and worked at community mental health centers in Winslow, Ariz., Chicago and St. Joseph, Mo., before returning to Lawrence. She started working at Bert Nash in 2005 as a clinical case manager in Child and Family Services.

“I just knew I wanted to work at Bert Nash,” Warren said. “I was so taken by the dynamics of the system, the agency’s commitment to the community, and the culture of the organization. I knew this is where I wanted to be.”

A 2017 graduate of Leadership Lawrence, Warren is also a 2013 graduate of the Emerging Leaders Academy through the KU Public Management Center. She received a graduate certificate in healthcare administration from Colorado State University in May 2016 and is working toward a master’s in health care administration from CSU.

Warren and her husband, T.Q, have three children, ages 10, 7 and 6. T.Q., a former Bert Nash staffer, is a medical records specialist at Heartland Community Health Center.

Warren has held several positions at the Bert Nash Center, most recently as the director of Adult Services.

“I’ve been given so many great experiences working here,” Warren said. “And I’ve worked with some really amazing people, who have helped me along the way.”

Most notably, Roach Smith, who has been a mentor of Warren’s since she was a college student working at the Center.

“It started out when she was my field instructor and my path has just aligned with her all along the way,” Warren said. “So much of what I’ve been able to do has been because of her opening doors for me and supporting me and giving me consultation and advice. Hers are huge shoes to fill. A leader is only as good as the staff that works with them, and I wouldn’t be where I’m at without Pat and the great staff that we have at the Bert Nash Center.”

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