A Leader on the Course
Devon Wayt has been impactful in keeping transformation constant at Northbound — mostly through his own.
Devon’s appointment as Chief Operating Officer in January was the culmination of a journey in management at Northbound that started in Quality and Compliance and continued in operational leadership.
In that same period, Northbound completed developments for providing premier behavioral healthcare service to clients seeking treatment for a substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorder. Northbound now has a full continuum of care that includes detox, gender-specific residential, outpatient, support, family and alumni programs. Accreditation by The Joint Commission has been achieved in recognition of the organization’s ability to meet the highest quality of standards for behavioral healthcare.
And the momentum has continued. Effective Jan. 1, Devon is serving on the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP) Education Board of Directors following his appointment to the Board last fall. Northbound recently celebrated the grand opening for a new behavioral healthcare facility in Seattle specializing in outpatient treatment and will formally open our new center for clinical services in Newport Beach this summer.
For the newest Staff Spotlight edition, Devon recently discussed the maturation of his leadership approach, how it has helped Northbound navigate the shift to organizational health and the influence of his upbringing within a small Colorado community:
How has your family and journey in recovery shaped where you are today as a COO?
Growing up on a 72-acre cattle ranch in Southwestern Colorado gave me the opportunity to learn the value of hard work. My family of origin consists of ranchers, educators, and community leaders. They showed me how to be a leader and how to give to a community. One my favorite prayers that my grandfather left us, after his passing, stated “God give me the strength to help others lest I become a stagnant pond without an outlet.” This family taught me to have faith and have given me unwavering support throughout my life.
My family today consists of my beautiful wife Claribel. We have been married for 13 years, and we have two children named Ethan and Liam who are the lights of our lives. They have been ever-supportive of me and the work I do, and I am certainly influenced by them to consistently become a better version of me.
I have also been given, and continue to have, the gift of great mentorship in this field. The challenges that my mentors gave me taught me to be authentic, transparent, and to show up as my true-self in all my interactions. These opportunities have uniquely prepared me for this position. This support translates to high degree of my love for the addiction profession and the addiction professional.
My ongoing contributions to the profession will be in supporting and growing the addiction professional, as well as guiding the development of the clinical product and program structure, so that they can continue to create the transformational experience. Many persons are entering a life of recovery, halting their active addictions, and improving all aspects of their lives. I am committed to their journeys, and it is truly an honor to do this with the wonderful professionals at Northbound.
What elements in your background have uniquely prepared you for your new role?
I was fortunate to have obtained sobriety at 22 years of age where I was afforded the opportunity to enter a long-term residential treatment program and sober living. The professionals and peers there launched me into a new life and a recovery community. They made a lasting impact on me.
Fifteen years ago, when I became an addiction professional, I immediately fell in love with this work. It provided me the intrinsic value of helping others while giving me the opportunity to grow personally and professionally. I’ve also had some excellent mentors in this field. They challenged me to innovate, push past my own barriers, and constantly transform so that I can provide the greatest assistance to those suffering from the disease of addiction.
These disciplines, along with the disciplines gain from my undergraduate and graduate studies at Pepperdine University, assisted me in developing a personal leadership philosophy. The synergy between this philosophy and how Northbound operates was realized when I joined the organization eight years ago.
Can you elaborate on some accomplishments at Northbound you are most proud of?
I am proud of being a leader on a team, defining the Northbound experience. Organizational health continues to be our number one strategic initiative. The journey to organizational health has been a rewarding and difficult one. One of the most rewarding parts of this journey has been defining who we are and how we interact with one another.
The most difficult part of this journey has been staying the course. Since we set out on this initiative, we have been moving in one direction — Northbound. After defining who we are, operationally rallying the organization to support our mission, vision, values, and strategic initiatives has been most rewarding. Our singleness of purpose, the Northbound mission, is strong. Whether I ask our Chief Executive Officer or a Clinical Support Specialist, what is that you do here? I receive the same answer, “I assist our clients in achieving one year of continuous sobriety.”
Knowing, without hesitation who we are and how we interact with one another, make me the proudest because I witness how that work translates to our clients recovering from their active addictions.
How does your role contribute to our mission/values/brand?
When I meet a client for the first time and I tell them “Welcome home!” I am excited for them. The cultural work we have done towards defining who we are and how we interact with one another translates to defining touchpoints for the clients along their journey. They are clinical innovation, service excellence, and an unwavering commitment to our culture.
These strategic anchors, within the Northbound Experience, remove barriers to our clients’ journeys to lasting recovery. The journey itself accumulates to our brand promise: “We offer a transformational experience to anyone who interacts with our brand.” Our staff initiate this journey for our clients by being greeted with a smile and being continuously welcomed into safe spaces. It is reinforced by telling our clients and other stakeholders the truth, and trust is built through varying degrees of consistent interactions.
It is delivered through the quality of our clinical product and program structure. Ultimately, our clients connect with a thriving recovering community in our In Vivo model of treatment. Our clients and families do this sacred work, and we are given the gift of being a part of their journeys. Our vision is “Creating an experience people love.” It is a privilege and an honor to oversee the staff who create and foster the Northbound experience.