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Nonprofit behavioral healthcare provider Community Health Resources (CHR) recently welcomed Orlena Cowan-Bailey, SHRM, SCP, as the new agency’s new Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I).
Cowan-Bailey brings nearly 20 years of progressive Human Resources (HR) leadership experience to CHR, with expertise in a full spectrum of HR processes, DE&I strategy, and more. She joins CHR from The Hartford, where as an Employee Relations Consultant, she managed complex employee relation matters while fostering inclusive and human-centered workplace strategies with employees and leaders. During her tenure at The Hartford, Cowan-Bailey also served as a DE&I Council Leader and successfully launched new and innovative programs geared toward inclusion and equity within HR and across the enterprise.  Orlena is known to be a strategic, inclusive, and innovative senior HR leader, public speaker, and culture architect.
“We’re delighted to welcome Orlena as CHR continues its long-term journey to become a more just and welcoming organization,” said Heather Gates, CHR’s President and CEO. “Orlena is joining us at a critical time as we implement an ambitious DE&I roadmap, continue thought-provoking trainings for our staff, and launch a series of Employee Resource Groups to build allyship and community. Her skills and commitment to DE&I will help us continue to move forward,” Gates said.

In recent years, Cowan-Bailey has been named a Hartford Business Journal “40 under 40” and 100 Woman of Color honoree. She is currently a State Council Executive Director for the CT SHRM Council and a recent Chapter President for the Human Resource Association of Central CT (HRACC). She also serves on the advisory board of the New Haven based Collaboration of Minority Women Professionals (CMWP).

In addition, Cowan-Bailey brings a deep passion and commitment to creating and nurturing inclusive environments and advancing DE&I across organizations and within our local communities. She will play a vital and strategic role in shaping CHR’s organizational culture and ensuring that the agency continues to create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected.

“I look forward to the positive impact her unique perspectives and fresh insights will have on CHR as we continue to work together to drive meaningful change and foster a more inclusive workplace for all,” said Turkessa Antrum, SCP, SPHR, CHR’s Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief Diversity Officer.

Cowan-Bailey is a graduate of Fairfield University and earned a HR Certificate from the University of Saint Joseph; a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate from the University of South Florida; and is a SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and Certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR). She is an adjunct instructor at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU).

About CHR: CHR is Connecticut’s most comprehensive, nonprofit behavioral healthcare agency, offering a broad range of services for people of all ages whose lives have been touched by mental illness, addiction, trauma, homelessness and more. Accredited by The Joint Commission, CHR was the first nonprofit in CT to meet all of the rigorous federal criteria as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic and has repeatedly been named among the Top Workplaces in the state. Learn more at


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