Kisha Ledlow took over the Texas System of Care Project Director role in August 2018. Kisha utilizes her extensive knowledge of systems of care to ensure that children, youth, young adults, and families are engaged in their communities in order to collaboratively create relevant, effective services for themselves and others. She provides leadership for and oversight of all aspects of the implementation of this initiative, including strategic development, implementation, and evaluation. Get to know about her past experience in system of care and how she unwinds in her new city.

Q: Where are you from?

A: I’m originally from Shelbyville, Tennessee. However, I lived in Nashville for six years before moving to Texas.

Q: Can you share a little bit about your path to becoming Texas System of Care’s Project Director?

A: I started my work in the system of care world a little over six years ago as the Technical Assistance Coordinator for an early childhood system of care in a rural area of Tennessee. I then moved to the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) where I worked as the Statewide System of Care Technical Assistance Coordinator and Grants Manager. That was a great experience, because I was able to work with several system of care communities across the state serving a range of children, youth, young adults, and families. In that role, I assisted TDMHSAS leadership in writing a grant proposal for a youth/young adult system of care initiative called Healthy Transitions, which we were awarded. I applied for and received the role of Principal Investigator/Project Director for the Tennessee Healthy Transitions Initiative, which also included the role of Project Director for the Tennessee First Episode Psychosis Initiative. My role began to quickly expand as I began working on several projects relating to youth and young adults, including the development of a Young Adult Peer Support training and certification program. Given that, my title and role shifted to the Youth and Young Adult Initiatives Project Director. While I loved my job in Tennessee, when I saw the posting for the Texas System of Care Project Director, I immediately knew I had to apply. Fortunately, I was interviewed and hired, so I packed up my things and moved to Austin with my dog and cat.

Q: You’ve been working with Texas System of Care for about 2 months now. With your experience working in system of care in Tennessee, what’s your impression of system of care in Texas so far?

A: While the system of care work in Texas is a little different than that in Tennessee, I think both states are doing a great job. Texas is a big state, and it’s exciting to see systems of care being implemented in diverse areas. I’m also very impressed with the collaborations across systems and agencies as well as the family and youth movements here.

Q: How would you describe your leadership style?

A: I lead based on the strengths of individuals and of teams as a whole. I also strive to balance autonomy with support in order to empower and encourage team members to contribute their expertise to our collective success. I’m continuously learning and seeking to improve. I recognize that everyone has something to offer, and that I can learn something from everyone. So, I work to stay open and receptive to new ideas and approaches.

Q: If you’re not working, where would people be most likely to find you in your new home of Austin?

A: It’s currently football season, so on Saturdays you can find me rooting for the other UT (University of Tennessee), and on Sundays I’m cheering on the Tennessee Titans. I also like spending time outside with my dog, making crafts, playing video games, and being around friends.

Q: What’s the last book you read?

A: The Princess Diarist, by the late Carrie Fisher/Princess Leia/General Organa

Q: Give us the first 5 songs on your Spotify/Pandora playlist.

A: 1) Autumn Sweater – Yo La Tengo; 2) Pristine – Snail Mail; 3) Waiting for October – Polaris; 4) Never Say Die – CHVRCHES; 5) Woman – Cat Power

Q: Who’s been the greatest influence on your life and career?

A: I would have to say that would be my family. They have always believed in me and supported my goals and ambitions. They also taught me to be kind to others and help when I can.