Adam Russo's Story


It all began with a chance meeting on the train. Adam’s father was a small business owner, and as he commuted by train into New York City each day, he met many people. One of these people was the Director of Inpatient Psychology at Bellevue Hospital. Adam spoke with the Doctor about volunteering on the unit to learn more about the field, and Adam’s interest in psychology was born.

Throughout college, Adam continued his pursuit of the field, interning multiple times at Bellevue Hospital, Cornell Medical Center, and other institutions. It was at one of these internships that he decided to pursue a degree in Social Work. After graduating from Southern Methodist University, Adam added a Masters in Social Work with a Clinical focus from Smith College.

Adam began his career focused on youth outreach by working with kids to keep them out of gangs and off drugs in the West Side of Chicago. At end of a fulfilling, but tiring, 18 months, he moved into a clinical role as a hospital therapist in a residential treatment center for kids who failed out of the foster care system as their emotional and behavioral needs were too great to be cared for in the community. The goal was to treat them to be emotionally and behaviorally stable to return to a community placement.

After three years of clinical and professional success, he added a small handful of private clients in 2004. He did so simply to work with a different clinical population, one that wasn’t as intense as those in the residential treatment center. As time went by, Adam was promoted multiple times in the hospital system, and slowly the number of clients he was working with privately also increased.

Having gone as far as he could in his current role, he decided the time was right to leave the hospital and open his own practice full time. By 2010, Adam had hired a small number of other therapists, and was looking to grow. Given his background was as a clinical social worker, he knew there were aspects of business that he needed to learn, so he hired a business coach, Rick Lochner.

Over the next several years, Adam leveraged his ability to manage teams with the knowledge and coaching that Rick provided to grow his practice exponentially. With two trips on the INC 5000 list of fastest growing businesses in the US, and annual revenues at $15 million, Adam sold his practice in 2020.

After selling his practice, he managed a team of 1,000 providers and $100M in annual revenue through several transitions including additional acquisitions and the company going public in 2021. Adam soon realized he missed working with individuals and small teams on their own leadership development as he did in his own company. In 2023, Adam stepped away from his role as Regional VP and founded Reliable Coaching and Strategy. He works with small business owners and business leaders on their people, process, and strategy, so they can achieve success.