Pete Rubinas has been a SMART Recovery participant, facilitator, and Regional Coordinator. He comes to his current position with a diverse set of experiences that he plans to use to help SMART Recovery USA thrive. Pete’s last position saw him lead a local Montessori non-profit from a one-room private preschool into a thriving private preschool and public charter school serving children through 8th grade. In that role, he did extensive work creating an effective governance structure across three separate non-profit organizations to keep the community focused on its mission while complying with the requirements of being a public school. Prior to that, Pete spent 10 years as an internal control auditor and consultant at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Pete believes that SMART Recovery should be available in every community and to individuals from all walks of life. He has studied how power is held in organizations, and how to shift that power so that more voices are included in the decision-making that occurs. He passionately believes that empowerment is the ultimate goal in supporting those with addictive behaviors and those who love them. If we collectively stay focused on empowering one another at all levels of this organization, someday soon SMART Recovery will be a household name and the demographics of those we serve will have expanded dramatically from where we started.
A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Pete has worked hard to build a balanced life that includes time for his family, birding, native pollinator gardening, and running. He continues to facilitate a local SMART Recovery meeting and an online Family & Friends meeting in Chapel Hill, NC on a volunteer basis. His mantra is “You are enough.”
As Senior Director of Partnerships, Christi Alicea oversees the Multiple Pathways Partner Program. Prior to joining SMART Recovery, Christi served as the Mental Health Ombudsman for NAMI Lake County (OH) and participated in several community coalitions, including Lake County Family and Children First Council. She also worked as a CDCA for a Moore Counseling & Mediation Services, Inc. in Cuyahoga County, OH.
Luke Frazier has been with SMART since 2019 and was named the Director of Marketing and Communications in July of 2022. He is responsible for all aspects of communications strategy and execution of marketing activities, including managing outside consultants and hosting the SMART Recovery podcast. Prior to joining SMART, Luke ran his own company, NOW Communications, and worked with a variety of mission-driven organizations to help them deliver their messages in compelling and engaging ways.
Luke’s previous experience includes producing both broadcast and digital-first programming for PBS Western Reserve television in Northeast Ohio, producing an award-winning public affairs radio program, and writing and narrating a documentary film that was selected for the Cleveland International Film Festival. Luke has also worked as a social worker with homeless individuals, marketing director for a real estate developer, and directed a supportive housing program for seniors. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University and the University of Maryland School of Law.
Melina Gilbert began her career with SMART in 2016 as an independent contractor then joined as a staff member in 2017. Melina served in different roles at SMART before becoming the Director of Meetings and Volunteers in 2022. Melina’s primary focus is supporting the growth and development of SMART Recovery meetings and volunteers.
Prior to joining SMART Recovery, Mrs. Gilbert served as the Executive Director of the Lake County Community Network for 14 years. In that role, Melina coordinated volunteers and funding from local churches to provide assistance to individuals and families that did not qualify for traditional assistance programs.
Melina is a graduate of Lakeland Community College with a concentration in Social Work and has a certificate in Case Management.
Gus Curran is a distinguished Learning and Development professional with over 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector, specializing in online learning and facilitation. His career is highlighted by his role as Senior Manager at Humentum Learning Services, where he led the implementation and support of advanced learning technologies, including a Learning Management System (LMS) that served over 60 iNGOs and supported the growth of more than 50,000 active learners. An expert facilitator, Gus has designed and delivered an array of educational events, from webinars to in-person meetups to virtual conferences,, showcasing his adeptness at connecting learners with essential resources for success.
Joining SMART Recovery as the Director of Training, Gus brings his passion for education and a deep commitment to the organization's mission of supporting evidence-based recovery principles. His extensive background in e-learning and educational event facilitation, combined with his hands-on experience as a seasoned SMART Recovery volunteer facilitator, positions him to significantly enhance the organization's training initiatives. Gus's visionary leadership and innovative approach to learning and development promise to further SMART Recovery's goal of empowering individuals through education and support.
Jasmine joined SMART in 2020 and now leads its Culture Change efforts. Grassroots outreach is something she enjoys, building connections with local communities is her passion. Co-Facilitating SMART’s first national BIPOC meeting was a huge accomplishment for her. Creating intentional spaces where people can feel safe to be their authentic selves, she believes is a huge component to self-empowerment and recovery. When Jasmine is not doing DEI work or Outreach, she enjoys spending time with family, crafting and playing soccer.
Bill Greer is a lifelong leader and professional in the nonprofit field. He began his career at SmithBucklin, North America’s largest association management firm. He then worked for nearly three decades as a communications executive for the Food Marketing Institute, representing the supermarket industry, serving as a speechwriter, strategist and media spokesmen, focusing especially on public affairs issues. Over the past seven years, Bill has volunteered for SMART Recovery at every level, facilitating regular and Family & Friends meetings and serving three years as a regional coordinator. He helped create a 12-meeting InsideOut course for youth offenders in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Maryland. For this work, he was honored by the correctional system with an award for excellence and by the city of Rockville with a public safety award. Bill was elected to the SMART Board of Directors in 2017 and served as the principal writer for the SMART Recovery Five-Year Strategic Plan. He was a founding Board member of SMART Recovery International. Bill holds an M.S. in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and earned a B.A. with honors from Lawrence University. An accomplished writer, he authored America The Bountiful: How the Supermarket Came to Main Street, A History of Alarm Security and chapters on communications and information technology for SmithBucklin’s Complete Guide to Nonprofit Management.
Ron Lott majored in economics at the University of Houston after serving as a medic in the US Army. He spent the next 40 years as CEO of Lott Marketing, a sales and marketing agency in the foodservice industry. Ron has served on numerous boards of Fortune 500 food manufacturers, industry organizations, and private companies. After retiring in 2015, he began volunteering in the prison system for Bridges To Life. A year later, Ron found SMART Recovery and introduced our InsideOut® program to the Texas prison system, which has authorized this program’s use at all of its correction facilities. He co-authored, along with Charles True, Successful Life Skills, and has generously donated all proceeds from the book’s sales to SMART Recovery.
Tom Horvath is a founding board member of SMART Recovery. A graduate of St. Johns College, he went on to earn a PhD from the California School of Professional Psychology at San Diego. After serving as an active duty Navy psychologist for three years, he established a practice as a clinical psychologist. In 1985 he founded Practical Recovery, which offers a self-empowering alternative to 12-step and disease-oriented addiction treatment. Dr. Horvath is past president and fellow of the San Diego Psychological Association. In 2015 he received their Distinguished Contribution to Psychology award. He was appointed by Speaker Willie Brown in 1992 to the California Controlled Substances Prescription Advisory Council, which produced recommendations regarding California’s triplicate prescription program for controlled substances. Dr. Horvath was elected in 2016 as a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA). He is a past president of the APA Society of Addiction Psychology (Division 50), the world’s largest organization of addictive behavior psychologists. He has taught graduate school substance misuse courses since 2010 and is the author of Sex, Drugs, Gambling & Chocolate: A Workbook for Overcoming Addictions.
Rob McDonough is the Director of ESG and Regulatory Initiatives at Angel Oak Capital and leads the ESG integration process across the firm’s investment strategies and corporate sustainability initiatives. He also coordinates a variety of research and publication activities with a focus on developments in the regulatory environment for financial institutions of all types.
He previously led Angel Oak’s financial institution advisory practice, managing client engagements which included risk model validations, strategic and regulatory stress testing implementations, and investment portfolio risk and performance assessments. Rob was Angel Oak’s Chief Risk Officer from 2012-2014 and initiated the organization’s enterprise-wide risk management framework and SEC compliance program. He also served in the Federal Reserve System for 12 years, first as an Economic Analyst in the Research Division and later as a Capital Markets Examiner in Supervision and Regulation.Rob earned an M.B.A. in Finance and Economics from Georgia State University and a B.B.A. from Emory University.
Joseph Gerstein, MD, FACP, a retired Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine from Harvard Medical School, introduced Rational Recovery into the greater Boston area before becoming the founding president of the new nonprofit entity, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Self-Help Network, Inc., d.b.a. SMART Recovery, in 1994. He reprised his role as president for the 2017-2018 term. Dr. Gerstein is responsible for the widespread penetration of the Massachusetts medical environment by the SMART Recovery program. He has personally facilitated over 3,000 SMART Recovery meetings, almost 800 of which were held in prisons, and he has invented tools currently used in the program. Dr. Gerstein has delivered approximately 100 lectures and workshops on SMART Recovery, including those at Harvard Addiction Symposiums, the International Association of Addiction Medicine meeting in Helsinki, and other national and international venues. Dr. and Mrs. Gerstein introduced SMART Recovery into Great Britain (UK) and Australia (AU). The former professor served on the Board of SMART Recovery UK and AU, and helped grow the former to its present sponsorship of almost 500 weekly meetings, over 80 of which take place in prisons. He is also responsible for the introduction of the SMART program into Uzbekistan, Vietnam, and South Africa.
Daniel Hostetler comes to us from the West Side of Chicago, where he directs Above and Beyond Family Recovery Center. This free outpatient behavioral harm-reduction addiction treatment center features SMART Recovery and SMART Family and Friends alongside six other self-help process groups.
Before this chapter in his life, Dan served as president of an international change management consulting firm and has resolved thousands of business dilemmas during his 24-year consulting career. With a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management, a Diplomate in Logotherapy (Viktor Frankl), a CADC, and a CODP I, Dan’s passion for lessening the impact of, up to and including the eradication of, harmful and unwanted addictions is unbounded.
David Koss earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and his law degree from Georgetown University. He began his career as Legislative Director to a Michigan Congressman who served on the House Banking and Science & Technology Committees. In 1983-1984, he served on the staff of the Governor of Michigan in Lansing and Washington.
An attorney in private practice (and a member of the District of Columbia Bar), David has represented banks, investment companies, builders of affordable housing, and tenant advocates. His work has included securities filings, corporate mergers and acquisitions, and government affairs. More recently, serving as the SMART Recovery Director of Government Relations, he has educated numerous Congress members and their staff about SMART Recovery and our need to launch more meetings to help end the opioid and broader addiction epidemic.
David’s association with SMART Recovery began in 2015 when he became a meeting facilitator. He has served as Regional Coordinator for our Delaware-District of Columbia-Maryland region since 2017. David has led the growth of the SMART Recovery East Coast into a premier annual event bringing together participants, volunteers, professionals, addiction scientists, and public health officials.
David received the Joe Gerstein Award in 2019, recognizing his extensive volunteer work benefiting the SMART Recover community.
Elaine Appel hails from the greater Boston area and graduated from the New England School of Art and Design. She also attended Boston College, taking courses in Business Administration and Psychology before becoming a sales executive. This background, along with her personal history of recovery, enabled her to become a volunteer, a meeting facilitator, and SMART’s first regional coordinator in New England, all in rapid succession. She served as regional coordinator for ten years and become a member of the Board of Directors in 2004. Ms. Appel later relocated to Columbia, South Carolina where she continues to bring to the SMART Board of Directors outstanding experience in community organization, activism, and charitable work. She has particular expertise in the formation of nonprofit organizations, including the drafting of operational documents such as bylaws. She finds continuing to serve the board very rewarding.
Brett Saarela, Board Member Emeritus, has been actively involved with SMART Recovery since 2001. She was a founding member of the NYC Chapter and joined the USA board in 2009, serving as Vice President from 2011-2021. In addition, Ms. Saarela served as a SMART Recovery UK trustee while living in London, and has served as the Vice President of SMART Recovery International since it began in 2019. Professionally, she was a Licensed Clinical Social Work (LCSW) and practiced mental health and addiction treatment with older adults, often serving the home-bound. She earned her BA from Carleton College and Masters of Social Work from Hunter College. Brett was nominated for an Emerging Social Work Leader Award by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) in 2007 for her work with the older adult population. Brett was also nominated for the Social Work Image Award in 2012 by the New York Chapter of NASW for her work with SMART Recovery NYC.
Roxanne Allen graduated from University of West Florida summa cum laude with a degree in accounting, and became a licensed CPA. She worked for many years as an auditor, accountant, and a treasurer with firms in New York City and Charleston, South Carolina. While raising her family in Virginia, Ms. Allen became an active volunteer in numerous education-related projects, facilitating and enhancing communication between faculty/staff and parents, serving as supervising volunteer for scholastic chess, and earning numerous recognition awards in the process. In 2010, she became involved with SMART Recovery as a meeting facilitator and continues in that role today. She developed the training course for the Family & Friends program, served as Family & Friends coordinator from 2013 to the present, meeting facilitator, and also editor of SMART Recovery’s Family & Friends Facilitator’s Manual and Handbook. A member of the SMART Recovery Board of Directors since 2014, Ms. Allen now chairs the SMART Recovery’s Fundraising Committee and Strategic Planning Committee, and devotes some 20-30 hours each week to the organization, including its social media outreach efforts.
Randy Lindel, Assistant Treasurer, holds a BA from Harvard College and an MBA from the University of Washington. In his twenty-five year advertising agency career, Mr. Lindel worked with the J. Walter Thompson and McCann-Erickson agencies, was a founding member and director of account services for the Backer & Spielvogel agency, and was COO of Bates Worldwide before becoming a marketing consultant. His specialties include competitive positioning, communications strategy, agency selection, and planning facilitation. His association with SMART Recovery began in 2009 as a program participant. Mr. Lindel then became a meeting facilitator at Massachusetts General Hospital in 2010, a member of the SMART Board of Directors in 2015, and treasurer in 2017. He has participated in drafting the current editions of the SMART Handbook and SMART Facilitators Training Manual. He regularly contributes to the marketing, communications, and website needs of the organization.