Patrick W. Lawler has served as chief executive officer of Youth Villages since the organization's beginning in 1986. Under his leadership, Youth Villages has grown from two small residential facilities serving 40 youth in Memphis to being a national leader in the child welfare community. The organization now serves more than 23,000 families every year and has established more than 70 locations across 13 states and the District of Columbia.
Lawler collaborated with Tennessee's Department of Children's Services to establish the Youth Villages Continuum of Care. This nationally recognized service approach has become a model for other states interested in reforming their systems of care.
In 2006, Lawler was recognized as one of "America's Best Leaders" by U.S. News & World Report in conjunction with the Center for Public Leadership at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He also is one of the few professionals in the nonprofit sector inducted into the Society of Entrepreneurs. Youth Villages has been cited as a model by such prominent organizations as the White House, Harvard Business School, the American Youth Policy Forum, National Coalition of Juvenile Justice and the United Way of America.
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 the CEO of Youth Villages.
ADDITIONAL PROFESSIONAL AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
Lawler is chairman of the Diocesan Review Board Catholic Diocese and a board member of the Bank of Bartlett, the American Re-Education Association and the Society of Entrepreneurs.
MS, Memphis State University, Counseling, 1981; BA, Memphis State University, Criminal Justice, 1977
Lawler enjoys swimming, reading and biking, annually serving as a volunteer in Honduras, and spending time with his daughter, Brooke, his son, Brad, and his grandsons, Cooper and Luke.