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Posted: 8:31 a.m. Monday, April 24, 2017

Jan Cairnes is the new executive director of the Hanley Foundation, a West Palm Beach-based non-profit that provides substance abuse prevention and education programs for parents, caregivers and school age-children.

It’s a leadership change that coincides with a new name for the non-profit, a new headquarters office and an enhanced mission.

The non-profit, which had been called the Hanley Center Foundation, has dropped the word “center” from its name. The foundation is also planning to move its headquarters from a building near St. Mary’s Medical Center to a larger space at the Center for Philanthropy in downtown West Palm Beach.

Cairnes, who has led the foundation’s prevention services for the past 18 years, takes over the non-profit as local and state officials look for solutions to the national opioid epidemic.

As part of its effort to expand services, education and advocacy, the foundation said it plans to hire seven new prevention specialists, bringing its total number of educators working throughout the state to 25.

Name: Jan Cairnes

Age: 60

Hometown: Pineville, Kentucky

Where you live now: Lake Park, Florida

About your company: In the early 1980s, Mary Jane and Jack Hanley retired to Palm Beach County to discover the absence of any facilities dedicated to quality substance abuse treatment. Through their visionary leadership, the Hanley Center and Hanley Center Foundation were established. We have recently rebranded simply as Hanley Foundation, a charitable 501(c)(3) organization providing programming and grant support for statewide substance use disorder advocacy, prevention, education, and access to quality treatment. Our prevention programming is available free of charge to schools, churches, and community groups, and can connect people to additional resources.

How your business has changed: Besides our new name and my new role as executive director, we’ve made additional leadership changes and organizational updates that will help launch the Foundation’s enhanced mission of providing critical substance use disorder prevention resources for Palm Beach County and all of Florida. We have all seen the devastation caused in our communities by the opioid epidemic. We want to work with local leaders to lend our prevention, education and advocacy expertise to the battle against substance addiction, while also offering hope to those living with substance use disorders.

First paying job and what you learned from it: I was an usher at the “Book of Job” outdoor drama that ran at a natural amphitheater in Pine Mountain State Park in Pineville, Kentucky. I learned that I enjoyed meeting new people and learning about them and where they were from as I escorted them down the trail to their seats.

First break in the business: In 1998, Pat Rooney donated $20,000 to Hanley Foundation to start Hanley Foundation’s substance abuse prevention department. I received a call from a dear friend, Lynn Guelzow, asking if I wanted to go with her to be trained as a “Roots and Wings” parent facilitator. At the time, I was a stay-at-home mom and very involved with my three boys and had been actively involved in La Leche League as a leader. Through La Leche League I discovered that I really enjoyed supporting parents and I jumped at the opportunity to be trained in “Roots and Wings.” Immediately after the training I began facilitating parenting programs for Hanley Foundation. Through that experience, I found my true passion for working with families, and I will forever be thankful to Pat Rooney for opening up an opportunity at Hanley Foundation that has brought me from parent facilitator to executive director.

Best business book you ever read: I’ve read many business books but I must confess that “How to Really Love Your Teen” by Dr. Ross Campbell has been inspirational in teaching me to deal with adversity, relating to difficult people, keeping calm, etc.

Best piece of business advice you ever received: Help others achieve their goals and you will achieve yours!

What you tell young people about your business: We will present the Alcohol Literacy Challenge program to nearly 50,000 students in 15 Florida counties this year, and every time our staff is on a school campus it’s an opportunity to not only share our prevention messaging, but to keep the conversation going with young people in the ways they connect today. We are using Twitter and other social media to reach out to them following our presentations and keep communication open.

What do you see ahead for Palm Beach County?: A healthy community that continues to support quality treatment and advocates for our youth to make good decisions that will positively shape their futures.

Where we can find you when you are not at the office: Georgetown, Florida, in southern Putnam County in the northern part of the state. Georgetown is a tiny place where the St. John’s River exits Lake George. You’ll find me throwing my custom Kentucky blue cast net when the shrimp are running or relaxing in the springs when it hot.

Favorite smartphone app: What can I say? Facebook! I love people and connecting with new and old friends brings a lot of joy.

What is the most important trait you look for when hiring?: Passion for our mission: providing substance abuse prevention, education, advocacy, and access to quality treatment.