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Ask Me Anything with Jay Hayston

What drew you to the role of President/CEO at Cedarcrest?

Frankly, it’s a fantastic mission and an organization well-positioned for where I want to make an impact in health and human services. When I met with the children, staff, and board I was inspired by the culture, atmosphere, and orientation toward excellence. Cedarcrest has also enjoyed a long history of stability and success under [retiring President] Cathy Gray. I’m excited to help support the team and look forward to diving in.

What are your priorities for your first few months in this role?

My top priority is getting to know the children, staff, families, and supporters. I think it’s really important for leaders to serve with a sincere and ongoing interest in their teams and in those receiving services. That means making regular time to spend in classrooms and in the home with children and staff. While I’m familiar with federal Medicaid regulations I’m also looking forward to getting to know regulations specific to Cedarcrest in New Hampshire.

During your interview with Managers, you were asked about Merrick Rosenberg’s four personality styles that link to four birds – dove, owl, parrot, eagle and you chose owl, why?

I loved this question! I approached it by associating common personality ideas with each bird, and then determining which of those resonated with me. For example, I think of peace and neutrality with doves, boldness and imperiousness with eagles, flash and mimicry with parrots, and wisdom and a measured approach with owls. With those four categories fleshed out, owl stood out to me as most similar to how I lead.

What motivated you to achieve a Doctorate in Policy and Law? What was your doctoral thesis theme?

I think it’s fair to say I’m a policy wonk, and a curious person by nature. Following my MBA, I wanted to pursue doctoral study and the Doctor of Law & Policy program at Northeastern seemed a perfect fit. We worked in a cohort while simultaneously pursuing research in our chosen fields. This allowed me to broaden my knowledge and to take a critical look at a policy problem in my professional field.

My dissertation focused on the implementation of new state and federal policy for people with developmental differences, with special attention for administrative burdens and the intersection of rights and markets. There’s some tension between what we say people are entitled to and what our public policy can actually afford – this is what my dissertation explored.

Do you volunteer with any nonprofit organizations?

I’m proud to serve as the Vice President of the Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Teen Institute (NHTI). NHTI is a statewide youth leadership development and community-focused prevention organization based in Manchester, New Hampshire. I have also volunteered as a staff member during some of their leadership programs.

I’m also a big proponent of internships and service learning. I have engaged a number of nonprofits and educational institutions in Massachusetts to support that work, as well as volunteering as an executive mentor to young professionals.

If you could give a TED Talk what would be the subject? Do you have a favorite TED Talk or podcast?

TED Talks are wonderful – I’m using a couple in a course I’m teaching on policy ethics this semester at Northeastern. A couple of all-time favorites are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s The Power of a Single Story, which tackles preconceived cultural notions, and Daniel Pink’s “The Puzzle of Motivation, which reframes how we think about employee motivation. Were I to lead one it would probably be on administrative burdens in public policy…would just need to find a way to make it appealing!

Some of my favorite podcasts: The Weeds by Vox Media, a public policy podcast; Up First, the NPR quick news podcast; Freakonomics Radio, an interesting look at economics; and all manner of fiction podcasts in the spooky and surreal genres – a good example being The Black Tapes Podcast, by Pacific Northwest Stories.

What books are on your nightstand?

There are so many things on my to-read list. Currently: Doing Justice, a memoir by former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara; The Fifth Season, a fantasy/sci-fi novel by N.K. Jemisin; and Administrative Burdens, a public policy examination by scholars Pamela Herd and Donald Moynihan.

You are a self-professed coffee connoisseur. Do you have a favorite bean or blend?

Controversial opinion, but I think most coffee can be made decently by either using a coffeemaker that gets hot enough, or using a cold brew method. That said, I am partial to Blue Bottle, based in California, as they do a good job making different regions and tasting notes accessible. Also pretty good roasters for more single-origin or interesting beans are Verve, also out of California, and Intelligentsia, based in Chicago. I am very much looking forward to frequenting Prime Roast and Terra Nova in Keene, and getting to know the local roaster scene.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

A couple of fun facts about me: Long ago, I performed two seasons of professional outdoor Shakespeare theater; I also played two seasons of semi-professional football after college.

I’m happy to answer any other questions folks may have – please reach out via phone or email.

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