Director of Recovery Practices
When I joined RI International on September 5, 2000, I was excited but had no idea that my new job would take me on such an amazing journey. My career with RI International, then called META Services, began with helping prepare, present, and experience the joy of participating in Peer Employment Training. The fifteen individuals and two other team members that were part of that first Peer Employment Training gave me a fantastic opportunity to see recovery happen and experience it first-hand! We have trained well over 3000 individuals internationally since then.
My story is not unique, I went to university, worked all of my life (since age seven as a model and actress), and have a wonderful husband and 2 children. Even though I experienced significant trauma in my childhood, which caused me great sadness and self-doubt, I still persevered. However, in the early 90’s, following a violent mugging while I was working for the State; I was told by a psychiatrist that I could never work again! Rather than understanding my emotions and fears as a trauma response, I received that hopeless message from a doctor. I believed the words. Those words, rather than my challenges caused me to stop working, and forget who I was for six years. I forgot my resiliency and strength. I forgot my intelligence, kindness, and energy. Sitting home alone gave me too much time to think about how bad I felt and to live that hopeless message day after day. The love of my family and my faith sustained me and helped me heal.
Then in August of 2000, I interviewed with the CEO of RI International (then Recovery Innovations). When he and I met, he recognized my strengths and saw my courage. He embraced my diversity as a convert to Islam who wears a scarf. I always say that RI is the first place I have worked where I get to be all that I am in the same place at the same time. I get to use my education (more than 29 years working as a social worker), my lived experience of recovery, and enjoy my right to embrace spirituality in my own way.
It is my joy to witness the miracle of recovery every day all around me. I have seen hundreds of people recover, obtain employment, and take their rightful place in society. Everyday my work fills me with joy and reminds me that with every sunrise we all have the opportunity to “remember who we are and become all we were meant to be.” I have had the opportunity to travel to many places and support recovery, including beautiful, peaceful New Zealand. I send greetings to our friends in New Zealand, kia ora! (Hello! Cheers!)
I have had the opportunity to hold many positions at RI International through the years. Currently, I serve as the Director of Recovery Practices. I have written books, articles, and developed many tools that support recovery practice. I have supported the start-up of many recovery programs during my employment at RI International. Every day I look forward to supporting our mission: Empowering people to recover, succeed in accomplishing their goals, find meaning and purpose in life, and reconnect with themselves and others.