Abby Drane Recognized Among Louisville’s Most Admired CEOs 

Abby Drane accepts her award as a Most Admired CEO.

Abby Drane — president and CEO of Seven Counties Services in Louisville, Ky., CHHSM board member and former CHHSM board president — has been recognized as a “Most Admired CEO” by Louisville Business First. Drane is among the 26 honored CEOs receiving this award, representing leadership across diverse industries such as professional services, construction, nonprofits, financial services, and more.  

Three Decades of Unconditional Service 

Drane’s 30-year career, coupled with her personal experiences and deep commitment to her work, are testaments to this award recognition. As the president and CEO, she’s had a profound impact on the mental health landscape, making her a true trailblazer in the industry. Her leadership qualities and achievements stand out in several key areas:  

  • Longstanding Commitment to Mental Health: Drane’s dedication to community health for over three decades underscores her unwavering commitment to the well-being of individuals in need. Her work has encompassed a wide range of services, from mental health, crisis intervention, and substance abuse treatment to intellectual and developmental disabilities support, benefiting countless lives in Jefferson, Oldham, Bullitt, Shelby, Spencer, Trimble, and Henry counties in Kentucky.  
  • Business Acumen and Financial Stewardship: With a CPA certification and MBA, Abby Drane’s financial expertise has been instrumental in maintaining the stability and growth of Seven Counties Services. Her leadership has ensured that this organization remains financially healthy while providing crucial services to the community.  
  • Navigating Challenges and Change: Drane’s leadership during the disaffiliation process from a national group, “Centerstone,” demonstrates her strong determination and strategic thinking. She successfully led the organization through this transition, securing its financial health and reaffirming its commitment to the local community.  
  • Crisis Management and Pandemic Response: Her adept handling of the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic showcases her exceptional crisis management skills. Drane’s ability to balance financial stability with an understanding of the mental health implications of a crisis further highlights her holistic approach to leadership.  
  • Empathy and Personal Connection: Drane’s personal journey, from being removed from her home at the age of five to becoming a successful leader in community behavioral health care, speaks to her remarkable resilience and empathy. Her ability to connect on a personal level with both staff and those in need has undoubtedly grown the reach of our organization’s work. 

In addition to her widespread achievements over the last 30 years, Drane also played a pivotal role in driving the substantial growth of Seven Counties Services. Specifically, her passion for the organization led to the achievement of its Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) status. The CCBHC program, established under the Excellence in Mental Health Act of 2014, aimed to enhance access to and quality of mental health and substance use services nationwide.  

Under Drane’s guidance, Seven Counties Services transformed into a community-based clinic offering a comprehensive array of mental health and substance use services. This transformation required meeting strict certification standards, including providing 24/7 crisis care, ensuring care irrespective of financial capacity, and collaborating with other healthcare providers. As a result of this transformation, individuals in need of behavioral health support, regardless of residence or insurance status, gained access to a range of client-centered services.  

These services encompassed crisis care, diagnosis and assessment, personalized treatment planning, outpatient mental health and substance use services, peer support, counseling, and more. The community-wide impact of our CCBHC status was significant. The increased access to care helped individuals who may have otherwise gone untreated. Coordinated care led to reduced healthcare costs by preventing avoidable hospitalizations and emergency department visits.  

Throughout Drane’s leadership tenure, the evolution into a CCBHC not only symbolized a transformative leap but also underscored a strategic commitment to fostering growth and innovation in mental health services. This shift represents a pioneering endeavor aimed at enhancing accessibility and elevating outcomes within the communities we serve.  

Giving Back to the Louisville Community 

Drane is no stranger to giving back to the community. In fact, her commitment to doing so is truly commendable and has been a cornerstone of her leadership throughout her career. Her efforts have encompassed a variety of initiatives aimed at improving the well-being of individuals and fostering a stronger, more resilient community. These include:  

  • Building Strong Community Relationships: Drane has actively worked to forge and strengthen partnerships with local healthcare providers, law enforcement agencies, and other community organizations. These collaborations have not only improved access to mental health services but have also contributed to a more holistic approach to community well-being.  
  • Advocacy and Education: Her passion for mental health extends beyond the organization’s walls. Drane has been an advocate for raising awareness about mental health issues and breaking down stigmas associated with them. By engaging in public speaking, workshops, and educational initiatives, she has helped to create a more informed and compassionate community.  
  • Encouraging Work-Life Balance: Drane’s candid acknowledgment of the importance of maintaining work-life balance in her own life sends a positive message to her staff and the broader community. Her decision to prioritize her own mental health and personal life encourages others to do the same, contributing to a culture of well-being. This is proven through our recent recognition as a 2023 Greater Louisville Area Top Workplace, as well as being awarded a Top Workplace Culture Excellence Award in the categories of Employee Well-being, Employee Appreciation, and Professional Development.  

Drane’s extensive career has been characterized by her unwavering dedication to the betterment of the community she serves. Her hands-on approach, compassionate leadership, and proactive initiatives have not only transformed the landscape of mental health care but have also left a lasting impact on countless individuals and families. Through her actions, she exemplifies what it means to give back selflessly and make a real difference in people’s lives. 

Relentless Passion  

Drane’s relentless passion for her work in the field of community behavioral health radiates through every aspect of her remarkable career. Her work has been dedicated to improving the lives of individuals in need, showing her commitment is unwavering.  

Her personal experiences, including overcoming challenges from a young age, ignited a fire within her to make a meaningful difference. Drane’s passion is not confined to boardrooms or budgets; it’s evident in her hands-on approach, her ability to empathize deeply with those she serves, and her drive to create a compassionate and supportive environment for both her staff and the community. Her unyielding dedication to community behavioral health, even in times of crisis, underscores her belief in the transformative power of her mission, leaving an indelible mark on the lives she touches. 

Drane’s award proves a fitting closure to her time with Seven Counties Services, as she will be stepping down from as Seven Counties Services’ president and CEO effective Dec. 31, 2023. Her hope for continued financial stability and the perception of Seven Counties Services as trusted experts in behavioral health, addiction, and intellectual disabilities reflects her desire to leave a lasting legacy of positive impact. She will continue in her role as president and CEO of Louisville’s Bellewood and Brooklawn.

Drane’s journey from personal challenges to becoming a beacon of hope for individuals facing behavioral health issues is truly inspiring. Her leadership has not only transformed Seven Counties Services, but has also changed lives.  

“It truly takes a village to serve the most vulnerable among us,” said Drane in an interview with Louisville Business First. “The legacy I hope to leave is one of true passion for the mission of servant leadership.”

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Finding new staff members for leadership and ordained roles can be a difficult and long process, but CHHSM and the UCC have two free services to assist our organizations in those searches. As most people affiliated with CHHSM agencies know, each month, Diakonie publishes current opportunities that CHHSM members have sent in. But there is an even wider net open to all CHHSM agencies: the UCC Ministry Opportunities Listing. Learn more about both options. #BeAVoiceCHHSM ... See MoreSee Less
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