Sue Bright, Executive Director
Sue Bright is our Executive Director, and comes to us with almost three decades of experience in the addiction treatment field. Prior to joining NDFW in 2018, she served as Vice President of Patient Services and Quality of Livengrin Foundation in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. Sue specializes in intake and admissions, and clinical services. She has tremendous experience developing relationships with private insurers, working collaboratively with staff to ensure growth and to develop Quality measures that track the success of services over time.
Tania Bhattacharyya, Foundation Executive Director
Tania is responsible for the management of fundraising activities, including grants, fundraising events, social enterprises, 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.
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.
David Yutsus, Intake Manager
David brings to New Directions for Women ten years of working within the addiction treatment field in intake and admissions, and is passionate about getting families out of crisis and presenting the long term solution of recovery. His favorite thing about working in Intake is that he gets to be the front line and solution oriented, as many families don’t know where to turn and he can be a voice of reason and put them on a clear step-by-step course to get their loved ones to a better quality of life. David is very active in the recovery community, has a sponsor, sponsees, and a service advocate with over 21 years clean and sober. His favorite thing about working at NDFW is the community atmosphere that comes from our forty years of experience in the Southern California region.
Victoria Herbert, NCAC, CAS Finance Counselor
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 Finance Counselor, Victoria provides financial customer service for every family 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)
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.
April Arentz, Program Manager
April brings over a decade of experience of working within the addiction treatment field. As an LVN, April has positioned herself medically in this field to treat addiction head on with the women we serve, all the while utilizing her Case Management skills to meet with families and peers that are directly affected by the impact this disease inflicts. As a woman in long term recovery, April loves to be on the front lines doing service work and is active in the recovery community. Her favorite thing about working for NDFW is the new life and transformation that it brings to the women, families and loved ones that walk through our door.
Jeanie Knight, Daycare Coordinator
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.
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.
Nathalie Plan, Alumnae Coordinator
Nathalie brings to New Directions for Women eight years of working within the addiction treatment and the mental health treatment field and has a true passion for working with all of our New Directions for Women Alumnae. Her favorite part about working with the Alumnae is ensuring that they are seen as an active part of our local community and assists them in doing so by staying engaged with them and shares the blessing with them of seeing them thriving in their recovery. Her favorite thing about working at New Directions for Women is being able to see all the alumnae come back to where their recovery journey began and be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
Nellie 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 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 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 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.
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 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.