The United Counseling Service Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Lorna Mattern as the agency’s new Executive Director. Mattern will take the reins when the current Executive Director Ralph Provenza retires at the end of October.
“After conducting a national search, we were pleased to find that the best candidate was already among us and we can be assured of a smooth transition in leadership. Lorna has a proven commitment to the agency, its clients and its staff. She is well prepared to lead our organization and to insure that UCS remains a valuable asset in the community” said UCS Board President Bob Thompson.
Mattern joined UCS in 1990 and immediately contributed to the growth and development of intensive and wraparound services for children and youth. In 2004 she became the Director of the Youth and Family Services division and is responsible for the clinical and administrative oversight of the agency’s system of care for children and families. She expanded the division’s set of innovative programs and her nurturing of the Teens 4 Change youth group has resulted in their statewide and national recognition.
Lorna holds a Bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation and Counseling and a MEd. in Rehabilitation and Counseling with a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Psychology. In addition to serving on the Board of the Vermont Coalition of Runaway and Homeless Youth and the Vermont Care Partners Outcomes committee, she is also a member of the Alliance for Community Transformation. Lorna is a past recipient of UCS’s Peter D. Scully Award and was named a Vermont Youth in Transition Culture Competency Champion.
Mattern has been actively involved in the agency’s efforts to become a center of excellence and has helped shepherd the organization’s transition to increased utilization of technology and social media. She plans to continue to build on the agency’s mission to build a stronger community by empowering individuals and families to live healthy and meaningful lives. “United Counseling Service provides excellent service not only to our clients, but to the community as a whole. Ralph has led us with vision and integrity these many years and I look forward to continuing our efforts to make UCS a great place to work and get care,” said Mattern.
Mattern is replacing Ralph Provenza who will be retiring as Executive Director at the end of October. Provenza, a 40 year veteran in the field of mental health, worked at UCS for 28 years and served as its Executive Director from 2003 to 2016. Previous to joining UCS, Ralph was director of a private mental health agency in Newton, Massachusetts. During Provenza’s 28 year tenure UCS’s client base rose to over 3,200 individuals and families, and its budget grew from an annual budget of $2 million to nearly $18 million. While developing and expanding care to meet community needs, Provenza and UCS weathered and creatively addressed several unique challenges, including the downsizing of the state’s Psychiatric hospital, the closure of the Brandon Training School, the advent of health care reform, the erosion of state funding support and the significant increase in opioid dependency in the community.
“We thank Ralph for his exceptional leadership and guidance during interesting and challenging times for community mental health organizations like ours,” said UCS Board President Bob Thompson. “We all wish him well as he settles into a well-deserved retirement”.
With close to 300 employees operating in 15 facilities throughout Bennington County, United Counseling Service provides support and guidance to help individuals and families improve their quality of life. UCS provides outpatient counseling and addictions services, emergency mental health services, extensive rehabilitation services, home and school-based services, employment services for people recovering from mental illness or with developmental disabilities and a nationally recognized Head Start program.