Virginia Mendiola Executive Administrative Officer

Virginia Mendiola joined NDFW in September 2005. She earned an AA in Office Technology from Santa Ana College. Virginia has been an Executive Assistant for more than 20 years for attorneys, Vice Presidents and now the Executive Director/CEO of NDFW. She strives to “make her supervisor look good” and is a trusted and valued member of the New Directions for Women family.

Tania Bhattacharyya

Tania Bhattacharyya, Director of Development and Public Relations

Tania is responsible for the management of fundraising activities, including grants, fundraising events, social enterprises including Repeat Boutique, and our capital campaign. She has been with New Directions for Women since 2009, serving a variety of functions including coordination of all special events, marketing, and alumnae relations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Social Behavior from the University of California – Irvine.


Victoria Herbert, NCAC, CAS Intake Leader

With over a decade of experience in the field of addiction treatment, Victoria Herbert brings a passion to New Directions for Women that demonstrate client centered care and service. As the Intake Leader Ms. Herbert leads her team in providing immediate access to care and additional referral service for every call for help that reaches out to New Directions for Women. Having experience from other treatment organizations that treat a broader scope of patients, Ms. Herbert has appreciated the opportunity to focus on the underserved population of women and women with dependent children suffering from alcohol or drug dependencies. Ms. Herbert is a Nationally Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor (NCAC)

Jeanie Knight

Jeanie Knight is a Human Services Professional with almost thirty years of experience working with children and their families. She has spent the last ten years as Director of School Age Care and Enrichment where she developed a successful year round Before/After and Summer School program for children K-8th grades.

Jeanie’s roots, however, are deeply planted in Early Childhood Education and Intervention. She also holds her certificate as a Licensed Child Care Director. Her vast knowledge and experience with children of all ages have brought her to New Directions for Women with the hope of offering resources and encouragement to the mothers and children so they have all they need to reach their full potential.

She is committed to providing our children “activities with a purpose” with development benefits. Learning by doing, creates more neural networks in the brain and throughout the body, making the entire body a tool for learning. These activities allows our littlest ones the ability to get the innocence of childhood back, and learn how to just be a kid.

Treatment Team

Theodore G Williams

Theodore G. Williams, MD, Consulting Psychiatric Physician

Dr. Williams has been in private psychiatric practice in Orange County, California for 20 years. He had a previous career as a U.S. Navy psychiatrist sub specializing in the treatment of alcohol and drug abuse. After his navy retirement, he served as Medical Director for several private psychiatric hospitals prior to joining the staff of St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, CA where he recently retired as Medical Director of Addiction Treatment Services and Eating Disorders. He specializes in the treatment of patients with dual diagnoses of a psychiatric disorder coupled with a drug and/or alcohol dependency. He has served as Medical Director of New Directions for Women for several years and is a strong supporter of all Twelve-Step programs.

Pam Hughes, LMFT

Pamela has worked in the substance abuse treatment field both inpatient and outpatient with a thorough knowledge of addiction. She received her Master of Science in Clinical Psychology from Vanguard University and has been practicing as a state Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist since 2012. Also as a Certified Couples Communication Instructor she has worked with couples and families on a wide variety of issues including intimacy struggles, parenting and addiction. Pamela has a passion for guiding others to a healthy emotional life.

Chef Jennifer Merrifield

Jennifer Merrifield came to New Directions with a Bachelors in Culinary Management, and is currently working on a Masters in Food Science Nutrition through Johnson & Wales University.  With over 17 years of experience, she has done everything from fine dining on the Newport Coast, to catering Orange County’s and Malibu’s finest weddings and events.  After a 5 year stint at one of Malibu’s most prestigious rehab facilities, she chose New Directions for Women as her home to bring change and mindful healing through the food she prepares.

Care Partners

neliie and kanae pictureNellie and Kanae, Energy Meditation Facilitators

Nellie and Kanae are with the World Divine Organization, an international non-profit organization whose facilitators perform energy balancing of spirit, mind and body based on spiritual teachings that originated in Japan. Nellie and Kanae are both trained in the practice of the Divine Art of Spiritual Purification and volunteer their time here at NDFW to conduct energy meditation and healing groups.

ethan fbEthan Hedayat, Certified Personal Trainer

Ethan has studied a variety of martial arts as well as acupuncture, acupressure, holistic herbs, body meridians and chakras. He is a certified personal trainer, “Johnny G” spin instructor, and certified in the YMCA’s “Get Real” weight management and nutrition program. He also has an intimate knowledge of recovery. Ethan is a firm believer in whole foods, a natural approach to healing and a universal balance of mind, body, and soul. He practices these philosophies within his own life and utilizes them in his training sessions.

gina tabrizy updated photo 2Gina H. Tabrizy, Psychodrama Facilitator

Gina H. Tabrizy is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with over twenty years of experience, knowledge, and expertise in the areas of Addiction, Trauma, and Codependency. She is the Co-Founder of Harmony Heals, in Laguna Hills, CA. In her desire to deliver the best possible care she gained several specialties: E.M.D.R., Certified Hypnotherapist, Director of Psychodrama, Inner Child Work, and P.I.T. ( Pia Mellody Training).She acts as a part time Professor at Cal State Long Beach, teaching Introduction to and Advanced Techniques in Psychodrama.

Sparrow GoudeySparrow Goudey, Drum Circle Facilitator

Sparrow Goudey (Tsalagi/Cherokee/Wyandot) is the founder of Waya Nv-No-Hi (Wolf Road) Healing the Circle Workshops and is an international trainer for White Bison and the Wellbriety Training Institute. She has developed her workshops for both Native and non-Native communities that assist adults and adolescents, affected by drugs, alcohol, eating disorders and mental illness, by incorporating curriculum, traditional arts and spirituality as tools for change, growth and recovery.

Jody Danese, Ph.D, D.C., Lac

Dr. Jody is a renowned holistic and alternative medicine practitioner. She takes wellness to a whole new level, combining the practice of ancient acupuncture with chiropractic medicine applied together at every session. Her knowledge in Kundalini, a more effective healing form of Yoga, Neuro-Emotional Clearing, takes every client to a higher level of mental awareness. Dr. Jody is skilled at persuading the brain to heed one’s body to effectively be in touch with their skin. Her work in Chemical Dependency at Hoag Hospital and Mission Hospital, as well as many private facilities, spans over 20 years. She received Deepak Chopra Center and Sharp Institute Ayurvedic Medicine training, has been a licensed Acupuncturist since 2001, and received a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Los Angeles College of Chiropractic in 1987.

Jessica Hedayat

For the past 13 years, Jessica has been a professional personal trainer. After graduating Cum Laude from California State University, Fullerton, Jessica and her husband, Ethan, opened the Pa Kua Newport Martial arts and Yoga school. With her 30 years of expertise, Jessica is recognized as an International Pa Kua Instructor in Chinese Yoga, which helps realign and balance the body through a series of breathing techniques combining yoga, tai chi and martial arts moves. Jessica Hedayat has brought these healing aspects to New Directions for Women. Jessica is also a certified holistic nutritionist and gives group lectures and private consultations.

Lori Freeman

Lori is a fully certified Pilates Instructor with 20 years of experience. Lori started doing Pilates while in college to prepare for her career as a professional dancer on Broadway and TV. Pilates is an amazing body conditioning system because it works for everyone from athletes to the inexperienced, injured, expecting and more. Lori has shared her passion serving on the fitness staff at UCSB, doing a live stream on Chazz Live, published a deck of Pilates Cards and has opened her private studios wherever she lived, Connecticut, Santa Barbara and currently in Orange County. The women at New Directions hold a special place in her heart and she appreciates being a part of their healthy, confident journeys in recovery.