Sue Bissonette’s Strategy and Vision
Posted on: December 18, 2017
Sue Bissonette has a long and storied career with Cazenovia Recovery. She holds a JD from the University at Buffalo and started her work with us in 1997 as assistant executive director under Dennis Fink. After two years, she assumed the role of executive director, which she holds to this day. “The organization needed reshaping,” she noted. “It gave me the opportunity to work with the agency to move it forward.”
During her time as executive director, Sue has seen the agency grow substantially. We only operated four programs in 1997, but we’ve grown to ten today. “I’m proud of how the agency and its services have grown,” she noted. Sue’s foresight and guidance have played a major role in the agency’s successes these last few years, from opening an innovative residential program for Veterans in recovery, to prioritizing housing, and especially in assuming the operations of numerous programs from struggling providers.
She does miss the more hands-on approach she was able to take when the agency was smaller. Her goal in 2018 is to visit the programs more often. In fact, she plans to visit most of the programs within the first quarter. “My visits are getting scheduled now.”
Over the next couple of years, Sue has her eye on two significant strategies to ensure the future success of Cazenovia Recovery. The first is the upcoming transition to Medicaid Managed Care. “We’re going to enhance our programs with medical and additional clinical staff,” said Sue. “The fact that we can offer the same excellent services and add a variety of medical and new clinical treatment will be very beneficial for the residents. It will offer even more holistic treatment and services for the individual.”
The second strategy is revamping our Housing services. “Other providers in Western New York aren’t providing housing specifically for individuals in substance use recovery,” she explained. Next year, Sue will begin work with a consultant to find revenue streams and suitable housing locations in Niagara County. The agency is also exploring the possibility of creating a Housing program in nearby rural counties. “This program would involve a very new culture for us,” said Sue. “We’re looking forward to supporting this specific population that needs housing, but doesn’t have access to it.”
According to Sue, these substantial changes throughout the agency will help us to “increase our revenue sources so we can pay our staff the wages they deserve.” Sue repeatedly discussed how valuable of a resource the agency’s staff are. “We all work really hard together,” she said, “and we always have our eyes on what is best for the residents.” In fact, Sue is consistently impressed with the staff’s commitment to our residents. “It’s great seeing their enjoyment when residents make progress,” she said. “The staff really are one of the best parts about my job.”
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