Women Lead the Way at Embark Behavioral Health

Embark re-confirms its commitment to leading the industry in gender equality in the workforce.

With the recent promotions of several women to key leadership roles, Embark re-confirms its commitment to leading the industry in gender equality in the workforce. According to current statistics from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 80% of the healthcare workforce is made up of women, while fewer than 20% currently hold key leadership roles. At Embark that number is 64% and rising.

“Embark embraces gender diversity as a critical component of organizational success,” said Alex Stavros, President and CEO of Embark Behavioral Health. “We believe in gender diversity not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it is the best thing for our company and our clients.”

Nicole Fuglsang is the new Chief Operating Officer of Embark Calo Teens and Preteens programs and the mother of two daughters and a son. “Gender inequality is something I have chosen to fight for my entire adult life,” said Fuglsang. “As a mother, I want to be an example of what it means to be a strong, confident, capable, and impactful servant leader. I am thrilled for this new role–not just to be recognized for many years of service to Calo, but to be in a position to be a strong female role model for my children.”

Leah Madamba, who was recently promoted to VP of Embark’s Potomac Programs division, said, “In the field of mental health where many of our clients, therapists, and front line staff are women, I believe it is especially important to have female voices and input at the highest levels, where the most impactful decisions are made.”

Stavros said Embark recognizes the role women play at every level every of the company, and believes healthcare organizations need to change their culture from the boardroom to the executive teams and throughout the organization. “We have to set the expectation, and be intentional about it. If we do, we know from studies and from experience that organizations that actively pursue gender diversity in leadership will reap benefits throughout, all the way to the top,” said Stavros. Currently, nine out of fourteen Executive Directors and program-level CEOs are women.

“I believe many traits women have lend themselves well to leadership, especially in our field,” said Nikki Garza, LCSW newly-announced Executive Director at Fulshear Treatment to Transitions. “Communicating, listening, empathising, being open-minded, multitasking; these are things women often excel in.”

According to a 2019 report from the global organizational consulting firm Korn Ferry, 64% of Healthcare executives surveyed said they believed their organizations would be more profitable with more greater gender parity in leadership, while 59% said they would experience less employee turnover.


“We need to recognize that while both men and women have strengths and bring amazing things to the table, female leaders are unique. Teams are strongest when they have multiple perspectives and leadership styles represented,” said Jeana Thomsen, new Executive Director of New Haven Residential Treatment Center. “I think it is especially important to allow women the space to lead differently than men. I’ve appreciated that I’ve been given the freedom to lead in my own style.”

“Though we’re proud of our current diversity, we can always do better,” said Stavros. “Our goal is to reflect our core values and have the very best people in every position.”

The Embark promotions include:

Nicole Fuglsang M.A., L.P.C., N.C.C., current VP of Business Development, was promoted to CEO of Calo Programs Teens and Preteens. As one of Calo’s original founders, Nicole has led in many capacities during her twelve years with the program.

Nikki Garza, LCSW, Executive Director of Fulshear Treatment to Transition, is the new Chief Executive Officer of Fulshear Programs. Nikki has worked as the clinical director for a young adult treatment centers, as a clinician at Utah State hospital, and in private practice.

Leah Madamba, MS, NCC, LPC, a 20-year veteran of the mental health field, was promoted to Vice President of Embark Potomac Programs. Leah was the former Director of Vive Family Services, and before that Vice President of Clinical Integration at InnerChange.

Jeana Thomsen, LCSW, ED is returning to Embark after stepping away to raise her three children. She returns as the Executive Director of New Haven Residential Treatment Center. She has experience as both a therapist and a clinical director.

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