||As the father of four children, three of whom have mental health needs, Hugh Davis brings a strong family perspective to his role as executive director for Wisconsin Family Ties (WFT). His extensive personal experience navigating complex systems to secure treatment and services for his children led to a career change and his current position with the statewide family-run organization in Wisconsin.
Mr. Davis joined WFT following a successful 20-year corporate career, where he gained extensive experience in project management, logistics, support services and organizational development. His corporate experience is directly applicable to the provision of technical assistance: Every position he held was in a group that provided support services to clients or to other divisions in the corporation. As a manager and also as an organizational consultant, Mr. Davis has a solid record of turning around “problem” organizations and projects.
Mr. Davis has been working with families that include children or adolescents with mental health needs for over 10 years. He is recognized as a leader on child and adolescent mental health and is in demand throughout the state as a speaker on the subject. Under his direction, Wisconsin Family Ties has expanded its influence within the state and nationally. The organization is recognized as the premier children’s mental health advocate in Wisconsin and has significantly enhanced public understanding of children with mental health needs and their families. Mr. Davis is currently co-chair of the state’s Children Come First Advisory Committee, which oversees Wisconsin’s wraparound systems of care initiatives, and he also serves on seven other state advisory committees.
Mr. Davis has written, negotiated and managed hundreds of contracts during his career, both in private and government contracting environments. He has successfully directed WFT’s SAMHSA-funded Statewide Family Network grant since joining the organization in 2003. Mr. Davis has developed a reputation for strong fiscal management. Under his leadership, WFT’s budget has nearly doubled, and the organization’s total equity has increased at a compound annual growth rate of 23%. WFT has achieved exceptionally clean independent audits, with no findings or even adjusting entries required over the course of several years.
Mr. Davis has extensive experience conducting outreach and collaborating with others to effect system change. He conceived and produced an awareness / anti-stigma campaign called “Is Anyone Listening?” Materials created for the campaign included a CD with five songs about children’s mental health, music videos, a discussion guide for schools and community groups, and t-shirts. Mr. Davis understands that persistency is often required to make change happen: Six years of collaborative advocacy work culminated in 2012 in the passage of legislation to regulate the use of restraint and seclusion in Wisconsin’s public schools.