The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh Launches Vision 2023 – Appoints New Chief Strategy Officer Karen Markle

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Through its new strategic plan – Vision 2023 – and the addition of Karen Markle as Chief Strategy Officer, The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh seeks to be a lifelong partner for individuals with disabilities and their families. The Plan reinforces its position as an influential leader regarding disability, education, family support services, and behavioral health.

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The Children's Institute

By focusing on these strategic objectives, we will guarantee financial stability, innovate to be impactful in meeting our mission, extend our reach to more individuals and families than ever before, and continue to provide the highest quality services through dedicated and talented team members.

Through Vision 2023, The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh – one of the nation’s leaders in pediatric rehabilitation, education of children with special needs, and family placement, preservation/reunification, and enrichment support – reinforces its position as an impactful organization with a healthy, sustainable future.

“Vision 2023 is the culmination of an extensive process by our Board of Directors and organization leadership to update our strategic plan,” explains Wendy Pardee, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Children’s Institute. “This is a pivotal time for our organization as we face challenging decisions and consider new opportunities in the unrelenting pursuit of our mission.”

Using principles outlined in Vision 2023, The Children’s Institute will continue its work to strengthen families and empower individuals with special needs. It will also forge new paths to succeed through our components: Outpatient Physical Health Services, Outpatient Behavioral Health Services, The Day School, and Project STAR. A key step in the implementation of Vision 2023 is the creation of a new leadership position – Chief Strategy Officer – which will be assumed by Karen Markle, MA, BCBA.

“Karen is the right person at the right time for The Children’s Institute,” says Pardee. “Our areas for growth align well with her history of developing intellectual and developmental programs for children in both outpatient care and education, which have produced phenomenal results. She brings to The Children’s Institute her ability to build relationships, leverage existing programs, and establish new services.”

Markle joins The Children’s Institute on Monday, April 8 after more than 20 years with Merakey, where she most recently served as Executive Vice President of the Education and Autism Division. She and her management team pioneered an innovative method to create a continuum of services and discover funding opportunities, building a $45 million book of new business across multiple states. Markle has extensive experience in behavioral health, autism, and education, and her strengths include organization-wide standardization, clinical integrity, development of new service models, expansion, and operational management of autism and educational programs.

“Throughout its long history, The Children’s Institute has shown a continuing commitment to reimagine and redesign its continuum of services to best meet evolving community needs,” Markle explains. “My role is to cultivate that energy and creative vision into strategic alternatives that will prioritize and address issues of immediacy to position the organization for long-term success.”
Three Vision 2023 strategic objectives will guide The Children’s Institute into the future:

  • Operate a portfolio of services within a financially sustainable model that achieves breakeven from operations by the end of fiscal year 2023.
  • Aggressively pursue partnerships that enhance capacity to provide, develop, and connect to a sustainable, holistic array of exceptional services that support individuals with disabilities across their lifespan.
  • Attract and retain the best talent to ensure quality of services and reputation continue to differentiate The Children’s Institute from peer organizations.

“Leaders at The Children’s Institute are excited to move forward with this blueprint to maintain our culture of innovation and quality in today’s complex healthcare environment,” says Pardee. “By focusing on these strategic objectives, we will guarantee financial stability, innovate to be impactful in meeting our mission, extend our reach to more individuals and families than ever before, and continue to provide the highest quality services through dedicated and talented team members.”

About Vision 2023
Vision 2023 is the result of a strategic planning process conducted throughout 2018 by organization leaders, in collaboration with the health and human services industry-focused consulting firm OPEN MINDS. The planning team reviewed and analyzed a variety of information, including: key national and local issues impacting the organization; results of a Pittsburgh-area Community Child and Adolescent Health Needs Assessment; detailed financial information about The Children’s Institute; conduct of key competitors; and feedback from community stakeholders, board members, employees, and thought leaders in the industry. Visit to learn more.

About The Children’s Institute
Established in 1902, The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh is an independent, nonprofit, licensed organization whose mission is to heal, to teach, to empower, and to amaze. Its outpatient pediatric rehabilitation and therapy programs are nationally recognized. The Day School is an approved private school serving nearly 200 students from more than 60 school districts. Through Project STAR, The Children’s Institute offers a wide array of family-centered adoption, foster care, and child and family services. Visit or call 412-420-2400 to learn more.

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Emily Peters

Jenna Ammer
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