Accepting the young adult division president role at Embark Behavioral Health was an easy decision for Mona Treadway. She would be able to put her considerable experience to use on a larger scale than before and work with other amazing women at the company, including executive directors and vice presidents.
“There are far too many to list,” she said of her female colleagues at Arizona-based Embark. “I’m proud and honored to walk alongside them, to break barriers and show future generations that kind and quiet women can also be confident, powerful change agents.”
- 73% of employees are female.
- 73% of managers, directors, supervisors, clinicians, vice presidents, and senior personnel, such as executive directors and C-suite members, are female.
Treadway said it’s important to have female leaders at Embark so women at the company and elsewhere see examples of — and the possibility of — career advancement.
“It’s also important that this is role modeled to the adolescents and young adults we serve,” she said. “The power of role models cannot be overlooked.”
A Legacy at Dragonfly
Treadway, who has a doctorate in leadership and change and a master’s degree in social work, accepted the position at Embark in 2021. She’d previously spent 21 years at Dragonfly Transitions, a young adult transitional living program in Oregon that she co-founded with her husband, Glenn White. Embark, a leading network of therapeutic clinics and programs for adolescents and young adults, acquired Dragonfly in 2018.
During her time at the transitional living program, Treadway saw it evolve significantly.
“Now there are three distinct campuses,” she said. “We have a coffee shop and deli for job skills training. Our students build confidence in themselves, master life skills, and address their anxiety and depression by engaging in the community, going to college, continuing their treatment, and working on family dynamics. Through all of this, we support their launch into adulthood.”
Dragonfly Transitions is a 9-to-12-month program that develops individualized treatment plans that help young adults ages 18 to 28 make positive life changes. These changes include learning skills such as budgeting and personal finances as well as adjusting to life in an apartment or college dorm. To date, Dragonfly has helped more than 600 young adults move toward independence.
A New Path at Embark
At Embark, Treadway is helping to foster an environment of collaboration in and build effective leadership teams at the company’s three young adult transitional living programs: the Optimum Performance Institute (OPI), Fulshear Treatment to Transition, and Dragonfly Transitions.
“I think the young adult world is a changing landscape with technology, mental health, and the overall impact of the pandemic on young people. It’s a tough time to be launching into independence and trying to go to college,” she said. “We all need to collaborate to make sure we best understand the needs and how to serve young adults.”
In addition to fostering collaboration, Treadway is also emphasizing the value of embracing experiential education — the same type of learning Dragonfly participants experience — when inviting new ideas and leadership into an existing program.
“Try one thing — and if it doesn’t work, you look at what did work and what didn’t and how you can do better next time,” she said. “You have to evolve and adapt and not be stagnant.”
Treadway attributes her work ethic and desire for regular improvement to her mother, a gardener who knew how to cultivate plants to gain the desired results. This work ethic led her to be mentored by other notable women, including professional mountain guide Angela Hawse and psychiatrist Sharon Melnick, who worked with Dragonfly for over 14 years.
Reflections on Women in Business
When it comes to the role of women in today’s workforce, Treadway noted that diversity and freedom of thought and expression foster organizational and individual development. And without diversity in senior leadership roles, she said, it can be more challenging for diverse candidates to move into those seats.
“For example, implicit bias can occur if hiring managers who are all male compare women’s behavior and communication styles to their own,” Treadway said. “Neither is right or wrong, yet it’s human nature to gravitate to what we know and what’s most comfortable. It’s important that we challenge implicit bias, as diversity leads to innovation and growth.”
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, #BreakTheBias, resonates with Treadway in more ways than one.
“We need to break the bias in so many realms, in particular the stigma of mental health,” she said. “Suicide, anxiety, and depression are on the rise and impact us all. No culture, gender, or race is left untouched. We need to openly talk about mental health and increase access to care. Creating diverse and inclusive work environments is key to finding solutions that lead to increased access and quality of care.”
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