Leadership

William ‘Mel’ Taylor
Chief Executive Officer 

Mel TaylorWilliam M (Mel) Taylor, MSW has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston for 20 years. During his tenure with The Council, the organization has become the place for families in the Houston area to start when seeking assistance with substance abuse issues. He has led The Council in becoming one of the most comprehensive non-profit family addiction agencies in the greater Houston area, providing best in class service while turning no one away. Now, as Chief Executive Officer of Austin Recovery, he is charged with developing the Austin non-profit toward that same goal. Mel is adjunct faculty at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, and a Senior Facilitator with the American Leadership Forum. In addition, he serves on numerous national, state and local behavioral health committees and policy groups, and is speaker on numerous topics regarding leadership and behavioral health.

 
Joel Ferguson
Executive Vice President

Joel FergusonJoel Ferguson serves as Chief Operating Officer of Austin Recovery and as CFO of The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston. He is a graduate of Rice University and its Jones Graduate School of Management, with degrees in Economics, Management and Accounting. Joel was an adjunct faculty member at Rice University, and is a Senior Fellow and Board member with the American Leadership Forum. A seasoned business leader and former practicing CPA, Joel has a broad background in all aspects of business operations and management. Joel has over 30 years of business experience, having served as Managing Partner of the Houston office of Pannell Kerr Forster, an international CPA and consulting firm; as CEO and CFO of Cordúa Restaurants, an award-winning independent restaurant chain; certified mediator and arbitrator in business, community, and family disputes; experienced trainer and group facilitator in coaching and communications.

 
Angela Vickrey
Chief Operating Officer

Angela VickreyAngela Vickrey has ten years of in-depth addiction treatment experience with Austin Recovery and is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. Prior to her role as Chief Client Operations Officer she served as director of admissions, coordinator of outreach and referral services and as a counselor in admissions, women's residential treatment and outpatient services. Angela earned her bachelor's degree in liberal arts with a specialty in counseling and is currently working on her master's degree in mental health counseling. Angela is a certified CPI instructor, a mentor for the Institute of Chemical Dependency Studies and a member of the advisory board for Austin Community College’s Human Services degree plan and Faculty at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine.

 
Marilyn Vaché, MD
Medical Director

Dr. Marilyn VacheDr. Vaché came to Austin Recovery with years of experience in psychiatry and addiction. She is board-certified in both Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine. After receiving her BA from Prescott College in Arizona, Dr. Vaché completed her MD at the University of Arizona and an internship at Brackenridge Hospital here in Austin. She gained valuable field experience during a Psychiatric Residency at Stanford followed by a Substance Abuse Fellowship at both Stanford and the Palo Alto VA. After beginning her career as a Psychiatrist and Medical Director of Chemical Dependency in California and Arizona, Dr. Vaché returned to Austin in 2002 where she maintained a private practice with specialization in integrative psychiatry, addiction medicine, and transcranial magnetic stimulation. In both 2008 and 2009, Dr. Vaché was ranked as a "Top Doc" in Psychiatry in Texas Monthly. Our clients and medical staff will surely benefit from her extensive knowledge-base and experience.

 
Molly Sherman
Chief Advancement Officer

Molly ShermanMolly has over 20 years of experience in fundraising and development, along with deep ties in the Austin philanthropic community. After receiving her undergraduate degree in Plan II from the University of Texas at Austin, Molly received her MBA from UT’s McCombs School of Business. She worked as Development Associate for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center for two years. She then served as the Director of Development at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School here in Austin for 17 years. While at St. Andrew’s she increased annual giving from $200K to over $1.2 million, grew the endowment fund from $300K to more than $10 million, and assisted in raising more than $60 million in capital funds. Molly most recently served as Director of Development for the University of Texas Blanton Museum of Art, where she managed a successful development team responsible for a gala that raised more than $1 million. Molly oversees fundraising and development for both Austin Recovery and The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston.

 
Monica Brown-Broussard
Chief Business Development Officer
Moncia Brown-Broussard

Monica Brown-Broussard, MBA, Chief Planning & Development Officer of Austin Recovery and The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston, contributes extensive knowledge in clinical admissions, operations, marketing, and development. Her 20 years of service in the field of behavioral healthcare includes leadership positions at the Menninger Clinic in Houston, University of Texas Health Science Center-Harris County Psychiatric Center, and Disney and Associates Inc./Counseling Services of Southwest Louisiana. Monica brings expertise in the areas of implementation of integrated delivery systems, reimbursement, quality assurance, and assessment services. She earned her MBA in Healthcare from Our Lady of the Lake University, San Antonio, TX, and her BS in Psychology from McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA.

 

 
Ramona Cruz-Peters
Senior Director of Marketing & Communications

Ramona Cruz-PetersRamona joined Austin Recovery in March of 2011. She graduated from University of California - Los Angeles with a degree in Sociology, and has experience in a variety of industries, including fashion, technology, and broadcast media. For the 5 years prior to her time at Austin Recovery, Ramona worked for Myspace in Beverly Hills, California, where she gained valuable insight into the world of social media.  At Myspace, Ramona had her hands in many projects, from managing internal communications and events, representing Myspace at conferences and trade shows, hosting recruiting functions, and helping to establish the company's recruitment brand.  Managing Myspace's philanthropic program, Employee Impact, led Ramona to seek a career in the non-profit world where she could have the opportunity to utilize her skills, while also directly benefiting people in her community. At Austin Recovery, Ramona manages the organization's web and social media presence, helping lead the organization to a Statesman Social Media Award for the Austin American-Statesman, as well as public relations, branding, event planning, and both internal and external communications. Ramona speaks and presents workshops on social media marketing, and also sits on the Board of the Heart of Texas EAPA chapter as the Communications Secretary.

 
Trish Rivera
Director of Community Services

Trish RiveraAs Director of Community Services Trish serves as a liaison between Austin Recovery and Austin area community services providers, participates in community planning groups, and works within Austin Recovery with Marketing, Client Operations and the Alumni/Volunteer program to improve client services. She is a Licensed Baccalaureate Social Worker with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Substance Abuse from St. Edward’s University. She has 22 years as a social worker working with families who experience such challenges as substance abuse, homelessness, domestic violence, teen parenting, child welfare issues and others. Prior to coming to Austin Recovery where she has been for three years Trish spent 16 years in an early childhood agency where in addition to providing community liaison services she worked with low income families who received home visiting case management and parent education to address their needs for housing, child care assistance, parenting skills, mental health and substance abuse care, and employment.

 
Sinclair Fleetwood
Director of Volunteer Services

Sinclair FleetwoodSinclair is a positive, motivated, high-integrity professional with more than 13 years' experience in communications, marketing, nonprofit development and volunteer management. She’s known for innovative thinking, digging into the details and creative problem solving. Sinclair graduated from Texas State University with a degree in mass communications - journalism, and a minor in photography. Before joining Austin Recovery, she spent more than 7 years with the American Red Cross of Central Texas in roles with increasing responsibility and scope. As Development Operations Manager for the Red Cross, she gained experience managing donor data, overseeing direct mail and online marketing programs, writing grants and running event logistics for fund development. In 2013, Sinclair earned the Certificate of Volunteer Management from the Center for Community Based and Nonprofit Organizations at Austin Community College. At Austin Recovery, Sinclair manages the organization's volunteer services program, helping provide meaningful volunteer experiences for those seeking to give back to the recovery community and be a part of the healing process.

 

 


 

Clinical Leadership

Elizabeth Devine
Director of Treatment Services

Elizabeth DevineElizabeth Devine is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and has a variety of therapeutic experience. Her career began at the Elisa Project providing resources and coordinating conferences and events intended to educate and raise awareness regarding eating disorders. From there, she transitioned to New Beginning Center offering counseling to both victims and perpetrators of domestic violence. She worked for several years as the Clinical Coordinator of the Betty Ford Center Children’s Program in the Dallas area providing support and education to children and their caregivers who suffered from substance abuse disorders. In this role, she provided training and supervision to new professionals in the mental health field. Until recently, she maintained a private practice working with a broad range of issues and ages including grief, codependence, recovery from abuse, relationship challenges, LGBT issues, parenting, children and adolescent challenges. She has spoken nationally regarding children, domestic violence, codependence and familial recovery from addiction.

 
Sarah Hartford
Director of Admissions

Sarah HartfordSarah Hartford is a Licensed Master Social Worker and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. Before transitioning to her current role, Sarah worked as the Senior Counselor for Austin Recovery’s detox and as an admissions counselor. Prior to her time with Austin Recovery, Sarah worked to provide in-depth community-based treatment to individuals with chronic mental health disorders and dual diagnosis. Sarah holds a Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Texas and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Saint Anselm College.

 
Deborah Hooks
Nurse Manager

Deborah HooksDeborah Hooks is a Registered Nurse who brings to Austin Recovery over 20 years of psychiatric and mental health experience. Before accepting the AR Nurse Manager position Deborah played an integral part in the development and coordination of a 16 bed Crisis Respite center serving the Central Texas area which opened in 2008. Deborah has held both director and managers position in several area psych facilities and currently serves as faculty for Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine.

 
Linda Mikesic
Director of Clinical Services

Linda MikesicLinda oversees all of Austin Recovery’s clinical services. She earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin and her master’s degree in Social Work from Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos. Between degrees she worked with emotionally and sexually abused girls and after gaining her master’s joined Austin Recovery’s staff in 1996. Linda is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and a licensed chemical dependency counselor (LCDC). She has extensive training working with families impacted by chemical dependency and implemented a Strengthening Healthy Families Program targeting children ages 6-12 and their families. Linda also created the Multifamily Group curricula currently being used by Austin Recovery and works closely with the University of Texas’ Department of Social Work supervising master level students interested in pursuing careers in chemical dependency counseling and social work.

 
William Miley
Director of Residential Services

William MileyWill has been with Austin Recovery for over ten years in various capacities. As a Director of Residential Services, Will is responsible for overseeing overall client safety, enforcement of rules and policies between staff and clients. He supervises Austin Recovery’s residential coordinators and direct care staff covering 7 residential programs across two locations. He has oversight of the treatment milieu, daily client schedule, off-site client activities etc. Will is also responsible for compiling client satisfaction surveys and the resolution and tracking of incidents reports for all programs.

 
Craig Ross
Director of Outpatient Programs

Craig RossCraig was recruited to open the start-up Men’s Voyage Program in September 2010. He came to Austin Recovery from the Dallas County Divert Drug Court where he was the Clinical Supervisor for four years. He has been the Director of multiple criminal justice residential treatment centers, including a 700-bed halfway house in Houston, as well as the Phoenix House Lake View Terrace flagship facility in Los Angeles. He has forty years of experience beginning in the therapeutic community movement of the 1970’s ranging to adolescent, women’s specialized treatment and has led every type of program on the continuum from out patient, to long term residential services. He has a Masters Degree in Human Relations and Business. He is a Board Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Level III Diplomat Clinical Supervisor, and Internationally Certified Criminal Justice Professional, and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor.

 
Maryse Saffle
Experiential Coordinator

Maryse SaffleMaryse joined the staff of Austin Recovery in 2007, and oversees the Experience-Based treatment. She is a native of Switzerland, and graduated from Cambridge University, England. She was Owner/Director of a Child Development center for 18 years. She is now a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor and a Certified Practitioner of Integrative Breathwork and Soul-Based Psychology through the Eupsychia Institute. Maryse is passionate about bringing the soul back into the treatment and helps bring musical journeys, yoga, drum circles, guided imagery, and art therapy to help clients reconnect with their True Self. Her personal experience with recovery gives her the compassionate guidance needed to help others turn their lives around.

 
Molly Simpson
Director of Clinical Services

Molly SimpsomMolly serves as the clinical director for the men’s and women’s programs located at the Hicks Family Ranch. Prior to her role as clinical director, she served as a counselor in Austin Recovery’s women’s programs for five years. Molly earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Emory University. She earned her master’s degree in social work from The University of Texas at Austin. Molly is credentialed as both a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC). Before coming to Austin Recovery, Molly worked with children and adolescents in the Texas foster care system as well as with children with autism spectrum disorders.

 
Valery Taboh
Director of Client Operations

Valery TabohValery's responsibilities include managing the quality assurance processes related to client intake, service tracking, billing, clinical documentation and reporting in collaboration with the Director of Treatment Services and data entered into the electronic health record (EHR). Valery provides training to Clinical Team to ensure compliance with Quality Management Plan for the agency. He collaborates with leadership on QMP, QA and QIP to ensure consistency with agency goals and strategic plan as well as ensure compliance with DSHS and CARF standards. Valery started in the field of behavioral health in 2003 as a skill instructor, he has also served in the position of Team Lead, Program Manager, Quality Specialist Manager and Quality Analyst at Marc Center, Urgent Psychiatric Care (ConnectionsArizona Inc.), Florence Critttenton, and CVS Caremark respectively. He graduated in 2008 with a BA in Organizational Communication from Northern Arizona University, a Master in Healthcare Administration from Kaplan University in 2012 and from Arizona State University with a certificate in Lean Six Sigma Green Belt.

 
Abi Williams
Senior Clinical Advisor

Abi WilliamsAbi Williams, Ph.D., LCSW, CSAT, CMAT, CGP joined the Austin Recovery team as Senior Clinical Advisor in January 2014. Dr. Williams' expertise in family work and co-occurring disorders will assist the agency in preparation for the spring 2014 launch of the Center for Recovering Families, a flagship program of our sister organization, The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston. Dr. Williams helped to develop the Center for Recovering Families (CRF) program in Houston along with her late mother, CRF founder Mary Bell. She spent 20 years with the program while also receiving certifications in Sex Addiction Therapy and Multiple Addiction Therapy, and training in eating disorders, process addictions, codependency, and group psychotherapy. Abi left CRF in 2010 when her family moved to central Texas. After 2010, she continued working in the field clinically, helping to develop psychoeducational curricula and intensive family programs for Austin-area residential treatment centers.

 
Zhan Yang
Nurse Practitioner

Zhan YangZhan Yang is Family Nurse Practitioner, joined Austin Recovery in February 2014. After receiving her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Michigan State University, Zhan moved to Austin with her family and worked for Seton Medical Center Austin. She worded as staff RN in intensive care unit for 5 years before she completed her Master of Science in Nursing from Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi. After board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner, Zhan started her career in a walk in clinic. Zhan has a unique combination of strong nursing skills and strives to provide the best health care possible. Her true desire is to enhance a positive healing experience and confidence to those in need.

 


Administrative Leadership

Christina Hernandez
Director of Administrative Operations

Christina HernandezChristina joined Austin Recovery in June 2011 with more than 15 years of experience in executive administrative and operational support. She has a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Political Science and a Master's degree in Latin American Studies- Planning and Urban Development from The University of Texas-Austin. With a focus on increasing operational efficiency, she currently oversees a wide range of support services including information technology, administrative services, procurement and vendor relations and food services. Christina works with the Finance Department to assist with financial and business planning activities, including: overseeing business policies, supporting organization budgeting processes and overseeing risk management and legal activities. Christina provides executive support to the COO and coordinates the activities and provides administrative support to the Austin Recovery Board of Directors as its staff Liaison.

 
Jodie Hooks
Business Office Manager

Jodie HooksJodie brings over ten years of leadership and management experience to Austin Recovery. As the Business Office manager, she oversees insurance contracts, billing and utilization review. She is responsible for ensuring that Austin Recovery is in licensure compliance with various reporting agencies. She provides client tracking, follow-up and outcomes reporting as well as census and medical records monitoring.

 
Marisa Morales
Director of Human Resources

Marisa MoralesMarisa brings 12+ years of experience in Office Administration and Human Resource Management with specialties in employee medical leave, benefits administration and payroll management. Prior to joining Austin Recovery Marisa began her career in San Antonio, Texas were she held positions in the legal and banking fields, most recently at Vantage Bank Texas were she was Assistant Vice President/Payroll & Benefits Officer. Marisa is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Austin Human Resource Management Association (AHRMA). Marisa attended St. Mary’s University were she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and a Master of Public Administration.

 
Elaine Swenson
Controller

Elaine SwensonElaine brings over 20 years of experience, including financial statement preparation, account analysis, GL accounting, treasury accounting, budgeting, and cash flow forecasting. She has a proven track record of improving and streamlining processes. Her software expertise has given her the ability to create flexible, streamlined, automated reports for all levels of management. Elaine is a CPA. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. Prior to her current role, Elaine worked as the Senior Accountant for Austin Recovery.

 


Governing Body

Austin Recovery is governed by a 6-member Executive Committee which also serves on the Executive Committee of The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston. The Advisory Committee helps provide strategic support in the continuing development and growth of the agency. The agency strives to have a diverse leadership in terms of gender and race as well as professional backgrounds. Committee members are not compensated for their service.

2013 Executive Committee Members:

Patti Halladay - Chairman of the Board
Hamilton Beazley - Secretary
Wayne Langham - Treasurer
Val Armstrong
Steve Hicks
Rachael Wyatt

2013 Advisory Committee Members: 

Betsy Abell
Dawn Crouch
LaVonne Mason
Parker McCollough
Judy Osborn
Jaime Shaw
Terrell Sherman
Mike Wilfley
Mary Yancy