Dr. Catherine Liesman Appointed New CEO of Development Centers





April 24, 2018


Dr. Catherine Liesman Appointed New CEO of Development Centers


Detroit, MI Development Centers has announced the appointment of Catherine Liesman, Ph.D. as their new CEO. She assumes responsibilities on May 1, 2018 and will succeed Robert Shaw, Ph.D., who is retiring.  Robert Shaw was the founding CEO of Development Centers, holding that position since 1983.


Dr. Liesman has been part of the Development Centers team for 35 years, beginning as Children’s Coordinator in 1983 before being promoted to Deputy Director in 1984 and Chief Operating Officer in 2014. During that time, Catherine worked alongside Robert Shaw to position Development Centers as a leader and core provider of community mental health services, workforce development programming, and Early Head Start and Head Start services within the City of Detroit. She supported the expansion and diversification of funding sources, growing the agency from one primary funder with an annual budget of 4 million to multiple grants and contracts now totaling 23 million annually. All the while, Dr. Liesman has provided oversight of all clinical operations, directed agency-wide fiscal operations, and lead teams to facilitate projects such as quality improvement systems, Evidence Based Practices, and CARF accreditation status.


Rodger Prong, Development Centers Board President stated, “Cathy’s strong leadership, hard work and reliability over the past 35 years has demonstrated the kind of commitment to the agency that makes her the best fit for this appointment.  The Board is confident that Development Centers is smoothly transitioning into ‘good hands’ with Cathy.  We are certain that she will continue to work as diligently at the helm to guarantee that the agency continues to fulfill its mission of helping children, adults and families live healthier, happier lives as she has in her previous role.” 


Dr. Liesman holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from Saybrook University in San Francisco, CA. She has dedicated her entire career to supporting healthy families and communities. She also serves on several committees and boards within Wayne County and the state of Michigan, always maintaining her convictions to advocate for children, adults, and families with the greatest need. Currently, Dr. Liesman serves as the co-chair for the Detroit Wayne System of Care’s Cross Systems Management Committee, as well as the Treasurer and former President of the Michigan Association of Infant Mental Health. Throughout her career, she has been recognized as an exemplary public servant with awards from groups including MI AIMH, The Brightmoor Alliance, and Behavioral Health Professionals, Inc.


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Established in 1983, Development Centers serves thousands of Detroiters and residents of neighboring Wayne County each year through its extensive offering of innovative programs and expertise in the field of human services. You can learn more at


For additional information please contact Sally Bond, Development Director, at or at (313) 531-2500 ext. 1218.