I was born in Indiana, but spent my early years in Belleville, Illinois. My family returned to Indiana when I was in junior high school, and I’ve been here ever since. I grew up in Indianapolis and graduated from North Central High School. I earned a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in accounting from Indiana University in Bloomington.
How long have you worked for Aspire?
I’ve been with Aspire Indiana for 33 years, having joined one of Aspire’s legacy organizations, BehaviorCorp (then-Tri-County Mental Health), in 1981 as its Accounting Manager. At that time, the organization operated from a two-story house in downtown Noblesville.
What positions have you held with Aspire?
I have held the positions of Accounting Manager, Director of Finance, and my current position, which is Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
Describe your current position, including your responsibilities?
As Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, I am responsible for providing strategic leadership for all financial functions of Aspire Indiana, including accounting, receivables, facilities management, and development of business plans.
What does a typical day as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer look like?
No two days are the same, but if I had to generalize a typical day, it would look like this: strategy and leadership meetings, problem solving, detailed financial activities, and emails.
What in your educational background and work experience prepared you for your current position?
Aside from my educational background in accounting, I began my career at Indiana University in internal auditing, where I worked for seven years. This provided me with a strong foundation in applied accounting. Through the years, the positions I’ve held have come with an increasing amount of responsibility, all of which has prepared me for my current position.
If you weren’t working in this field, what would you be doing?
I would still be working in the financial/accounting field.
What is it that drew you to the field of mental health?
I don’t know that I was necessarily drawn to the mental health field to begin with. I simply applied for an open finance position when Aspire was in a two-story house in Noblesville in 1981. However, I grew to love working for a non-profit organization. I’ve always considered myself as just a humble servant providing nonprofits assistance in problem solving in difficult economic environments, but found that I just enjoy helping others.
What impact do you feel your work has had on Aspire and its clients?
As a financially stable mental health center, Aspire has provided significant, important services to clients, and to the community. Aspire has also provided employment for many people throughout the years.
What things do you do to help you cope with the demands of your job?
I enjoy reading, and I enjoy getting together with family and eating at Muldoon’s on Saturday.
Craig Baird is Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Aspire Indiana. While the beliefs and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mr. Baird, you can learn more about Aspire Indiana at https://www.facebook.com/AspireIndiana.