Clay Goddard's New Mission

Clay Goddard has been collaborating with leaders at Burrell Behavioral Health for three decades. Now, he’s leading the health network’s 94 Southwest Missouri locations as its new president of the Southwest Region.

By Ren Bishop

Jan 2023

Clay Goddard headshot
Photo courtesy Kristin Mallett-Forshey/Burrell Behavioral HealthClay Goddard shares his new mission for Burrell Behavioral Health.

Biz 417: You most recently served as the Senior Director of Public Health Transformation for Missouri Foundation for Health, after a very public role as the leader of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department. Why move to Burrell Behavioral Health?
Clay Goddard: My work for the Missouri Foundation for Health was important, and I loved it. But I missed being closer to where services are being delivered. With Burrell, I knew the work, the mission. I served as Board chair. So when I came into this role, it affirmed what I already knew: There is so much passion and purpose behind our team in their work. 

Biz: Burrell is a local flagship in mental health care; what are your priorities as its new regional leader?
CG: I want to get to know my team, engaging with people in all 94 locations. I want to know their concerns and pain points, to empower them to be a part of any solution. In every conversation, I’m issuing a challenge: Every decision we make should be client-centered and executed with efficiency. The more effective and efficient we can be, the more clients we can serve. Ultimately, that leads to a healthier community.

Biz: You’re a proud fourth-generation Missourian, raised on a farm. How has your personal story impacted you as you lead Burrell?
CG: I’m a little late to this admittedly; I was raised with a mentality that you don’t show weakness. I learned with sustained illness and death with my father that the last thing I needed to do was internalize my pain. I found out the hard way that if I needed help, everyone probably needed help, and everyone deserves high-quality services. That’s my mission.

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