The Austin Healthy Adolescent (AHA) Initiative
Mission: We provide leadership to promote and improve adolescent health by: empowering adolescents, engaging adolescents and adults in partnership, collaborating across the community and advocating for positive change
The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department initiated a collaborative planning process with fifteen diverse stakeholders to map the landscape of needs and resources for Adolescent Health and positive youth development. The critical issue was how to design the process to truly encourage stakeholder engagement. Priority was placed on gathering input from youth themselves. Another priority was to encourage synergy, rather than competition, among the providers of youth services.
Omega Point designed a process involving fifteen stakeholder groups to create a community-wide Strategic Plan for positive youth development. Participants learned skills related to Collaborative Leadership and High-Performing Teams. Provided leadership in designing and delivering The Middle School Diversity Leadership Conference linking East and West Austin and provides youth with an opportunity to lead in promoting diversity efforts.
Results from Client Perspective
“It’s been a great learning experience to participate in the planning meetings for the Austin Healthy Adolescent Initiative. I admire how you led us through a process that was as playful and personal, as it was goal directed and productive. Perhaps most of all you helped establish an open and trusting environment where community members and organizations could come together, share their views and develop an inclusive plan. When we completed the first draft of the strategic plan only a few meetings after the launch, I was astonished at the clarity of our collective vision for the community and how we want to engage and serve youth. I know you taught us how to open ourselves up to possibilities and deliberately refrained from setting pre-defined goals in the beginning. I think it was a very successful journey for all participants and it led us to define three clear goals to guide our work together for the next years.”
Barbara Ball, PhD, LPC, ATR-BC, Start Strong Austin Project Director, SafePlace
The Texas Health Institute
Mission: Texas Health Institute is a 501c3, which provides leadership in development of health care solutions to shape the Texas health care landscape.
As an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, THI takes a broad view of health care issues and their impact on people and their communities. From acting as a neutral convener and facilitating balanced health care dialogue, to creating a vision of improved health care, THI is a think tank – providing innovative, “outside the box” collaboratively developed options to improve the health of people and their communities. The need was to review the past year’s efforts and prepare a strategic plan to take to their board of directors.
Omega Point designed and facilitated the institute’s strategic planning process. The process included a review of its past years efforts with stakeholders and breakthrough goals for the future.
Results from the Client Perspective
“The results we achieved with Omega Point’s planning consultation exceeded my wildest expectations!”
Camille D. Miller, CEO, Texas Health Institute
El Paso County Department of Human Services (DHS)
Mission: To strengthen families, assure safety, promote self-sufficiency, eliminate poverty, and improve the quality of life in our community. We strive to view the family unit as a whole and provide the best assistance through combining all the support and services we have available in an integrated and efficient manner.
DHS has a long history of working towards integrated service delivery. The Executive Leadership Team wanted to take their current model to the next level – considering how the organization should be organized to truly embody their vision, mission and guiding principles for integrated service delivery.
Omega Point designed a process involving clients, providers, staff and community partners to create a new organization-wide strategic architecture for integrated social service delivery. Participants learned skills for thinking in new ways.
Results from Client Perspective:
“In my prior role as Human Services Director for the El Paso County Department of Human Services in Colorado Springs, Co I contracted with Omega Point to provide executive leadership coaching for the leadership team of a large county department of human services serving a community of over 585,000 residents. When we contracted with OPI we were not interested in a traditional strategic planning process but rather wanted to embark on a unique process that would engage all participants and move our organization into the future as a dynamic and innovative human services organization. OPI did an extraordinary job in providing executive coaching on a group, as well as, individual basis. They assisted our executive group to set aside traditional roles within the group and stretched each executive’s perception of their role in the development of the organization. No one was left behind to think traditionally about the future of our organization.
The El Paso County Department of Human Services has a national reputation for leadership in the human services field and Omega Point certainly helped shape our executive leadership team into a cohesive, focused team that planned for the best consumer outcomes, staff retention and effectiveness of the entire organization in support of this leadership role. I highly endorse Stephanie Nestlerode and the OPI organization.”
Director of Douglas County Department of Human Services
The Colorado Collaborative Management Program (C.R.S.HB04-1451)
The mission of the Collaborative Management Program is to advocate for seamless service delivery for Colorado’s most vulnerable families. The Program supports the voluntary development of multi-agency services provided to children and families by county departments of human / social services and other mandatory agencies.
The Colorado Collaborative Management Program (C.R.S.HB04-1451) consulted with OPI to determine statewide leverage points for enhancing their collaborative efforts across stakeholders groups at the community level (designed to enhance service delivery for children and families receiving services from multiple agencies). The result was enhanced coordination in counties throughout the state and at the statewide level.
Omega Point worked with the statewide coordinating committee to determine leverage points for aligning state policies with community level collaborations (designed to enhance service delivery for children and families receiving services from multiple agencies). The result was enhanced coordination in counties throughout the state and at the statewide level. Omega Point then facilitated several planning efforts at the county level.
Results from Client Perspective
“Omega Point assisted the Collaborative Management Program state steering committee in focusing our efforts to support the provision of integrated efforts to multi-system families. The strategic planning session resulted in the development of three task groups that are continuing to productively function and are providing valuable input to inform our ongoing work. Omega Point engaged the diverse group of state agency, county, and community representatives in a positive and inclusive manner.”
Kirsch LCSW, Collaborative Management Program
Colorado Department of Human Services
“Our Strategic Planning work with Omega Point was very productive and engaging. We were able to get very clear about our goals for the coming years and to develop clear action plans that we could work on immediately. They provided artful facilitation, keeping us on track while still honoring the time and process it takes to clear away barriers to good decision-making and goal setting.”
Kit Thompson, Executive Director, Boulder County IMPACT Partnership
The Teller County HB1451 IOG utilized Omega Point to align its strategic planning efforts with the statewide 1451 Steering Committee.
“Our work with Omega Point produced the following outcomes:
-A clear understanding of the organizational and personal commitments that we needed to move to the next level of working together effectively.
-Provided an organizational map for “next steps,” including prioritized plans.
-Went beyond normal strategic planning by helping the group put their beliefs and intentions into actions.”
Lloyd D. Malone, Director, Teller County Department of Social Services
Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS)
The mission of the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) is to protect children and promote adult self-sufficiency. As the largest cabinet level agency in Kansas, SRS provides services to the most vulnerable populations.
In 2005 the SRS Executive Leadership Team saw dramatic funding cuts on the horizon. Realizing that customer centered care could be jeopardized, they devised a four-pronged strategy for rising to the challenge. First, establish clear strategic intent focused on switching SRS from being the provider of last resort to an agency dedicated to preventing problems in the first place by partnering more effectively with community resources. Second, foster a change-resilient, collaborative learning culture equipped to listen to customers and community partners more deeply and to think in new ways about systemic, chronic problems. Third, move beyond crisis management and infuse prevention within plans, programs, policies and practices. Fourth, diffuse the same skills and prevention orientation to their contractors, other state agencies and communities.
Omega Point designed a process for launching a Prevention Initiative across all functional units across the state. Participants learned skills related to collaboration, organizational learning, change management, collaborative consulting, systems thinking, knowledge transfer, and high performing teams. Coaching was provided to the executive team, work team, SRS sub contractors and team leaders and efforts were integrated into the agency’s first-ever strategic plan.
Results from Client Perspective:
“Omega Point facilitated a multi-year prevention initiative with a team of more than 50 SRS staff from across our program divisions, field offices and state hospitals. This effort assessed current prevention programming within the agency with a focus on aligning agency support systems to elevate and sustain a prevention orientation in all business practices.
The work is ongoing, but specific outcomes thus far have included an enhanced focus on prevention, the incorporation of a prevention focus in staff position descriptions and recruitment efforts, and the development and delivery of data savvy training to staff across the organization to improve the agency’s data-based decision-making.
In addition, staff from across the state have added capacity in the areas of strategic learning conversations, technology transfer, systems thinking and collaboration, and action planning. A smaller cadre of staff have honed their skills further and developed consulting skills which make them even a greater resource to the agency as a whole. These have been the most important outcomes from our work with Omega Point, as these staff across the agency are better equipped to lead and influence future change efforts, and impact local and agency culture on an ongoing basis.
Omega Point’s work taught us the importance of aligning a few key support systems in order to leverage organizational change. We gained greater awareness that aligning agency support systems with organizational and cultural change efforts was essential not just for initial successful implementation but for sustained success. SRS has watched this awareness grow on the part of both agency business and program staff. SRS has garnered improved communication and partnership between the administrative and business sides of the organization as a result.“
Laura Howard, Deputy Secretary
Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services
“Stephanie brings the gift of deep insight into every situation. She uses her ability to see both detail and big picture to help develop scenarios and perspectives and facilitate innovation and creativity. She helps participants move beyond the usual responses to engage their total being in a planning or creative process. I have grown tremendously through my work with Stephanie. I highly recommend her for any process or challenge which requires your best thinking.”
Peggy Kelly, Director of Strategic Operations, Kansas City Metro SRS
The Prevention Leadership Council (PLC)
The mission of the PLC is to provide a strong, unified voice for prevention, intervention and treatment services in Colorado and to promote coordinated planning, implementation and evaluation of quality services for children, youth and families at the state and local levels. The PLC promotes statewide policies for advancing prevention efforts throughout Colorado.
The PLC was originally known as the InterAgency Work Group. In 2003 even though its members were instrumental in getting the legislation passed that created the group, interest was waning. People were not attending meetings and the vision was not moving forward.
Omega Point re-energized the group by bringing them back to why they created the group in the first place. The Group adopted a new vision and mission, renamed themselves the Prevention Leadership Council and formed Work Teams. OPI continued to facilitate its annual retreats. Currently the PLC is a strong unified voice for prevention that continues to add new members and new areas of influence.
Results from Client Perspective:
“Omega Point was an instrumental partner in assisting the Colorado Prevention Leadership Council in facilitating the development of yearly goals and objectives and in establishing and facilitating the work of the PLC’s Prevention Capacity Development Task Force. In partnership with the PLC, Omega Point contributed to these specific outcomes: the development of core competencies for the practice of prevention in Colorado; the development of goals, objectives and benchmarks for implementing a coordinated system for state capacity development and professional development; articulation of the underlying philosophical and conceptual ideas of a diverse group of state partners; and the use of appreciative inquiry as a means of surfacing new and innovative ideas.”
José Esquibel, Director, Interagency Prevention Systems
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment/Prevention Services Division
“The Capacity Development Task Force” of the PLC is a cross-agency and cross-prevention discipline with multi- funding sources. Omega Point was able to move us from a plethora of ideas from different perspectives to actual consensus agreements and valuable products.
Omega Point has many years of experience with organizational planning practices. We received the benefit of their experience to date as they have found what works best with groups to keep them motivated and committed to continue very hard work. They approach complex issues with a simple diagram, always bringing us back to the principles that drive our work.
Stephanie brings energy and stamina that is infectious. She feels the pulse of the group and uses that to push forward. Also, she recognizes everyone’s individual strengths and is able to cultivate them for use as part of the whole. Because of her very able facilitation, Colorado has made giant leaps forward in prevention.”
Mary VanderWall, Director of Prevention Services
Colorado Department of Human Services
“Omega Point has facilitated work at the multi-state, state, and sub-state level. The aspect of their work that I appreciate most is their working knowledge of systems development from the policy level to the level of application. Such breadth is invaluable in designing systems that can support sustained implementation of State policy and direction. They bring the commitment to “co-creation” which invites the integration of perspectives from throughout the system in systems development.
Stephanie Nestlerode has the best combination of facilitation and writing skills that I have seen in over 30 years of work at the state and national levels. She sees meeting facilitation not as an end in itself but an integral part of an overall systems development process. She develops relationships and gains input prior to meetings, provides a clear record of the meeting in a timely fashion, and follows up to support the process of change in between meetings.
Omega Point consultants are champions of the process of innovative systems change. It’s exciting to see the transformation of groups with which they work. Omega Point is able to capture the vision and passion within an organization and to guide a process to align the infrastructure in support of that vision. It is with pleasure that I recommend this organization to you.”
Robert E. Bixler, SPFAS Project Director
InterAgency School Health Team
Mission: To Build Colorado’s state education and health agency partnership and capacity to implement and coordinate school health programs, assisting schools to improve the well-being and academic achievement of school-age youth.
The InterAgency School Health Team began with a five-year, CDC-funded effort designed to create integrated school health policies and programs through a partnership between the Colorado Departments of Education and Public Health & Environment. After six months, the effort was not getting any traction or attendance. Omega Point was asked to discover the leverage for forward movement.
OPI provided coaching to the two co-directors to align their efforts in true partnership. Consulted with the Team to determine leverage points for enhancing efforts between the two departments including a memorandum of understanding, collective intentions, vision, mission, logic model, and tactical plans. Coached to the Team on involving stakeholders at the state and community levels
They became one of the few initiatives in the nation to gain additional CDC funding.
Results from Client Perspective
“It is with great enthusiasm and honor that I write to recommend the services of Omega Point. Omega Point consultants have worked with our Department over the last seven months to provide strategic planning and leadership training for a new state infrastructure effort focused on schools and health. This work involved creating collaborative teams within and across two state agencies that were working independently on school health initiatives. In addition, leadership sessions were held with the interagency team and project co-directors. The result of this strategic planning process is that we now have built a strong state system of resources, training, and data collection for schools to access information related to health and prevention of risk behavior.
To accomplish these outcomes, Omega Point provided a planning vision based on our positive attributes and a “yes, and” philosophy. The style of the facilitators was encouraging, empowering, and enlightening. They used a nice balance of didactic information sharing and group process to engage the team. A special delight was the cartoons used to illustrate key ideas!
The consultants spent countless hours reviewing all of our written documents prior to meeting with us, indicating their commitment to immerse themselves in our complex initiative and lingo. Their follow up minutes and tasks after each Team meeting were done quickly and accurately.
As one of the Co-Directors of this work, I must admit that we would not be as well prepared and poised to move into our next phase of infrastructure development had it not been for Omega Point and their skills in moving us forward. We now have a vision, mission, logic model, leadership skills, and a strategic plan to take us into the future!”
Karen Connell, Co-Director of Coordinated School Health Infrastructure Initiative
Colorado Department of Education
“I have been fortunate to work with Omega Point when they were hired to assist the Coordinated School Health Initiative (CSHI) in a statewide effort to form a partnership between state level public education and public health agencies. The Omega Point consultants demonstrated the profound difference top-notch consultants make in organizations.
CSHI was funded in March 2003 to form a partnership between the state education and public health departments. Primarily due to differences in expectations and agency cultures, the project had stalled. Attempts to form a single team met with substantial resistance, and the project’s two co-directors, of which I was one, had not formed a trusting, constructive professional relationship. Gary and Stephanie provided helpful guidance to the co-directors on improving their relationship, facilitated team building among the two agency staffs, and guided development of an infrastructure that will serve the project in coming years. The sheer volume of work that has been completed since Omega Point was engaged has been phenomenal.
I have found Omega Point’s consultation to be of the highest quality, designed for concrete, positive problem solving, and sustaining knowledge and structures. In summary, under Omega Point’s guidance, we have worked hard, accomplished a great deal, and had fun doing it.”
Bruce P. Guernsey, Co-Director of Coordinated School Health Infrastructure Initiative
Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
Four year later ……
“The facilitation from Omega Point led our group to a new level of understanding, cooperation and true collaboration. The skills we learned, especially the leadership skills, have been passed down and continued through staff changes. Even four years after our initial strategic planning, the lessons and structures are still in place, revisited annually, and move us forward. “
Karen Connell, Director of Coordinated School Health Infrastructure Initiative
Colorado Department of Education