In the not-for-profit field of children’s services, it’s rare to find someone who combines both business acumen and a clinical understanding of the social, emotional, behavioral and medical dynamics associated with abused kids. When that person also has legal experience and a public health background, we can only be talking about Christine J. Spadafor. Ms. Spadafor was called in two years ago to help a struggling not-for-profit organization that rescues abused, abandoned and neglected children – St. Jude’s Ranch for Children – and she transformed the charity into a thriving national model for how child care services should be delivered.
Ms. Spadafor’s professional career began as an intensive care unit nurse. Then while on her way to medical school, Ms. Spadafor unexpectedly decided to take a different path while writing a law review article in graduate school with one of her professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She applied to law school, was accepted, and never looked back. She began her legal career as a corporate attorney specializing in Family Law at Hill & Barlow in Boston. Asked to take on the position of General Counsel at Franciscan Children’s Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Boston, she was instrumental in that institution’s financial turnaround. This was followed by her being brought in as Chief Executive Officer of a mental health facility that was on the verge of bankruptcy. There, too, she orchestrated a successful financial turnaround. Ms. Spadafor then transitioned into the role of Partner at global management consulting firms including CSC Index, The Boston Consulting Group and AlixPartners, focusing on strategy, operational improvements and corporate restructurings across a broad spectrum of industries including entertainment and media, banking and healthcare. As a Partner, she filled interim executive positions and served as an advisor to boards of directors. Ms. Spadafor also served as an advisor to the United Nations in China on public health and sustainable environmental issues in third world countries.
After more than a decade with the consulting firms, Ms. Spadafor has for now taken a hiatus from for-profit corporations and apply her extensive experience in financial, operational and organizational management to St. Jude’s Ranch. She was brought in first as a consultant after the Board of Directors had been told that in three months the Ranch would be out of funds and likely close its doors forever. Ms. Spadafor designed and led a complete restructuring of St. Jude’s Ranch that has three campuses in Nevada and Texas and watches over the safety, health and future of more than 120 infants and children. The Board then asked her to stay on as Chief Executive Officer, and she has transformed the Ranch from a struggling organization to the thriving place it is today.
Ms. Spadafor received her J.D. from the Harvard Law School and her Sc.M. from the Harvard School of Public Health. She has co-authored a book published by Johns Hopkins University Press on health in the workplace, and published articles under the auspices of the United Nations addressing public health, environmental and maternal and child health issues. Ms. Spadafor serves on the International Board of Directors for the Starlight Starbright Children’s Foundation.