Meet Our New National Director of Strategic Development Melissa Townes

Since joining FHE Health’s business development team on May 29, our new National Director of Strategic Development Melissa Townes has hit the ground running. Her first project: recruiting a national team of “National Strategic Development Representatives,” who will be stationed in key regions of the country with the goal of building new relationships with potential referral partners (therapists, attorneys, hospitals, physicians, unions, etc.).

When asked what she hopes to accomplish in her new role, Townes said she wants to “hire a stellar team of Strategic Development Leaders that will continue to raise national brand awareness” related to “the fabulous treatment happening every day at FHE Health.” Townes also emphasized her desire to see “more targeted collaboration between the Strategic Development and Marketing teams.”

An Extensive Background in Addiction Treatment and Business Development

Townes has been working in the human services field for 19 years. Of those 19 years, 13 have been in the substance abuse field.

How did she first end up in business development? “A local treatment facility was hiring for someone to complete mobile substance abuse assessments and level-of-care recommendations at local detox and other venues.  I felt as though my past experience of working in a case management role with HIV-positive patients—many of whom had contracted HIV from IV drug use and were still struggling with addiction—could be helpful in the position, along with PA state training.” (By “PA state training,” Townes was referring to “Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol training that certified you to do clinical substance abuse assessments and level-of-care recommendations.”)

From there, Townes moved to a hybrid business development/mobile assessment position, eventually making the transfer entirely to business development.

“The opportunity to be mentored by some amazing leaders” has helped Townes get to where she is today in the field.

How Helping People with Addiction Became a Passion

But the fact that Townes is networking and building new business relationships on behalf of an addiction treatment provider is no coincidence:  she has “a deep feeling of empathy for those struggling from substance abuse,” having had several family members and friends who have struggled with and lost their lives to addiction.

This personal experience with addiction and mental health issues is one reason “I strive every day to help anyone I can find their way to recovery,” Townes said.

Other Reasons to Serve in Business Development for FHE Health

What most excites her about her work and motivates her to do what she’s doing? “I love working with people, and I strive to inspire people to be the best they can be.  I also love to learn from the individuals I work with. And I strongly believe in teamwork and servant leadership.”

Additionally, “one of the things I really love about FHE Health is our family-like culture,” Townes said.

Worst Fear and Other Personal Tidbits That You Might Not Know

Other things that you might not know about Townes? Her favorite superhero is Batman, “because I love his gadgets”— and, she has a phobia of pigs. The pig phobia goes all the way back to childhood when she used to visit her beloved uncle in Puerto Rico. He regularly would ask her to go feed his pigs.

“I did not want to tell him ‘no,’ so I did it, although I was scared of them. As soon as I opened the gate, they’d make these loud squealing sounds and were really scary.” Ever since, Townes won’t go near a pig, even if it’s no longer squealing and on her plate. Thankfully, she has a friend who owns a pet pig named Atticus— so Townes is hopeful that exposure will one day help her conquer her fear of pigs.

Townes has three children and one grandchild: Eli (24), Sadie (23), Indi (10), and RJ (2). She lives and works in Pensacola, Florida, (and will be the first to tell you that it was a bit of a cultural adjustment for someone with roots in Erie, Pennsylvania). But Townes will be poking her head in at FHE Health’s headquarters at least once monthly— so if you see her, please say “hi.” Or, feel free to drop her a note of welcome at!

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