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Women in Business 2021: Lakisha Hyatt, Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

Lakisha Hyatt  Employer: Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Title: Chief Executive Officer See all Women in Business 2021 honorees
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Lakisha Hyatt is the chief executive officer for Connecticut Valley Hospital (CVH), the flag-ship hospital for Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). CVH is a state-operated facility and the largest free-standing psychiatric hospital in Connecticut, serving over 3,000 individuals in recovery every year. Hyatt has developed teams for more than 20 years. As a trained nurse and hospital administrator, she knew she loved the principles of nursing and those principles needed to be at the table where care policy decisions are made. Today, she leads with a commitment to investing in people and creating team cohesion as the foundation for sustained care quality.

What’s been your biggest professional accomplishment so far?

While every step in this journey of leadership and advocacy for those perceived as invisible is cause for celebration, in September 2020, I felt like I contributed my sliver of history when appointed CEO for CVH, knowing I was the first African American to serve CVH in that capacity.

What’s the next big goal you want to accomplish professionally?

I want to continue to build confident, competent and compassionate teams of care providers and care supporters that know that they are valued and that quality care is provided and sustained.

What’s one of the biggest professional challenges you’ve overcome?

Leading a large organization that serves an under-served population as an African American and as a woman is as much a challenge as it is a blessing. Overcoming occurred through maturity, mentoring and truly embracing the principles of transformational leadership.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic forced you to adapt as a leader?

“Flying a plane while building it” is a course every healthcare executive is prepared to teach. Sometimes called a sixth sense, intuition or gut - that component of me has more leadership value now than ever before. Every experience - conscious and unconscious - informs that quality. I am now far more inviting of that characteristic.

What legacy do you want to leave after your career is over?

I simply want the people I serve, patients and employees, to be able to consistently say, “Lakisha cared for everyone and invested in people and teams that were able to improve care delivery for those living with persistent and pervasive mental illness … and the growth was sustainable.”

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