CEO Pat Lawler
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Patrick W. Lawler, Chief Executive Officer

Patrick W. Lawler is chief executive officer of Youth Villages, one of the largest private providers of services to troubled children and their families in the country. Under his leadership, Youth Villages has established an array of specialized treatment programs operated by an effective team of more than 3,000 employees in 74 locations in 58 cities. Youth Villages' mission is to help children and families live successfully.

Since 1980, Mr. Lawler has served as CEO of Youth Villages, which has grown from serving 25 youth daily to 4,600, offering hope to more than 26,000 children and families each year. With an emphasis on the importance of family, program intensity, outcome measurement, community-based services and being accountable to families and funders, Youth Villages’ area of service has expanded across Tennessee, and to Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Georgia, Indiana, New Hampshire, and Oregon.

In 2006, U.S. News & World Report recognized Mr. Lawler as one of “America’s Best Leaders” in conjunction with the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

In 2009, Harvard Business School completed a case study examining Youth Villages’ growth and impact, and exploring the organization’s innovative treatment approach, use of research in program development and targeted growth strategies. The case was written for inclusion in an HBS course called “Leading and Governing Highly Effective Nonprofit Organizations,” which teaches what it takes to be an organization that does innovative and highly effective work. Mr. Lawler is a frequent guest lecturer at Harvard Business School and Columbia University about the Youth Villages approach.

Also in 2009, the White House cited Youth Villages as an example of “effective, innovative non-profits” that are “high-impact, result-oriented” organizations. The White House listed Youth Villages with three other organizations that offer “promising ideas that are transforming communities.”

Mr. Lawler’s entire career has been spent working with society’s most vulnerable children. He began as a counselor at Tall Trees Guidance School when he was 18 years old and then worked at the Juvenile Court of Memphis and Shelby County for five years before becoming CEO of Youth Villages. 

Chairman of the Diocesan Review Board Catholic Diocese, a member of the Bank of Bartlett Board and the St. Francis Hospital Board, and the Society of Entrepreneurs.

MS, Memphis State University, Counseling, 1981; BA, Memphis State University, Criminal Justice, 1977

Enjoys swimming, reading and biking and spending time with his wife, Ellen, his daughter, Brooke, his son, Brad, and his grandsons, Cooper and Luke.

About Us
Youth Villages is a national leader in children’s mental and behavioral health bringing help and hope to more than 25,000 children, families and young people across the United States this year. The organization offers a continuum of evidence- and research-based programs, including its two national models: YVIntercept, which offers intensive in-home services, and YVLifeSet, which gives former foster youth a good start on a successful adulthood.
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