“Watching Demi Lovato’s Journey From Client To Advocate To Business Partner” With CAST Centers CEO, Mike Bayer

“The most interesting story has definitely been watching Demi Lovato’s journey from client to advocate to business partner in CAST Centers. Her dedication to eliminating the stigma around getting help with mental health issues is inspiring. It’s a strength to ask for help, not a weakness. I am proud to call her a friend, in addition to my business partner.”
I had the pleasure to interview Mike Bayer. Mike is a personal development coach who has changed the lives of numerous families, executives, and artists by empowering them to break free of destructive patterns and cycles. With the belief that we all have the answers and power to change within ourselves, Mike guides his clients with a blend of exploration and problem-solving strategies, thereby challenging and encouraging them to live the lives they desire. Mike’s career began over ten years ago as a mental health and addiction counselor. After a residency at The Hazelden Foundation, Mike spent five years in the field and became one of the leading interventionists in the country. He did crisis consulting for several of the country’s top treatment programs, including the Hazelden Foundation. Seven years ago, he founded CAST, which provides a network of professional support — including doctors, psychologists, counselors, and instructors — to help clients heal and improve their mental and emotional health. Mike received his B.S. degree in Alcohol and Drug Counseling from Metropolitan State University in Minnesota. He was a California Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC II) as well as a Board Registered Interventionist (BRI II). Mike currently serves on the Board of Directors for The Zappala Family Scholarship for students enrolled in UCLA’s Extension Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling Certificate. His outreach work also includes sharing leadership with Demi Lovato as Co-Chair for the Lovato Scholarship, which provides financial assistance for transitional living and clinical services for mental health and/or addiction issues.

What is your “backstory”?

I became an alcohol and drug abuse counselor after getting sober at 22. Working in the addiction recovery field, I saw firsthand the significant need for more comprehensive mental health programs than were being offered at the time. I started CAST Centers about 12 years ago to make that vision a reality. My first “office” was my studio apartment in Venice, California — parking was a nightmare!

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

The most interesting story has definitely been watching Demi Lovato’s journey from client to advocate to business partner in CAST Centers. Her dedication to eliminating the stigma around getting help with mental health issues is inspiring. It’s a strength to ask for help, not a weakness. I am proud to call her a friend, in addition to my business partner.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

The thing that makes CAST Centers different is that we don’t put patients into cookie-cutter treatment programs based on a diagnosis — we’re focused on helping them live their best lives in a broader sense. For example, our patients live in apartments, not in a secluded retreat setting, because we believe their treatment plans have to work in the context of their real lives.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

Know your employees well enough to know what makes them love their jobs. I give my staff a lot of room to be creative, because I want them to be inspired at work. When people are living in their art, they feel good about what they’re adding to the team.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?

Phil McIntyre (Demi Lovato’s manager, president of talent at Roc Nation) has helped me the most. It’s so important to have people in your life who believe in you more than you believe in yourself. Phil has the ability to push people in a way that helps them reach their greater potential.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Our CAST on TOUR initiative is a free experience we put on at Demi Lovato’s concerts: fans who have tickets to a show can sign up to attend an intimate workshop before the concert, where they’ll hear stories from influential speakers about their personal journeys. Our goal for CAST on TOUR is for everyone to leave feeling empowered and motivated to live their best lives. We also work closely to develop relationship in the local communities so we can offer local resources. And when we meet someone we can help, like Suzanne from Nashville, we are ready to do it. Watch Suzanne’s story here:

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?

One of my first mentors taught me the mantra “grow or go.” The only way to stay resilient and not get jaded is to keep growing.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

I’m very drawn to artists and creative people whose work is provocative and has a message — people like Marina Abramovic, Banksy, and Lady Gaga, who use their art to make a statement for the greater good.