(Sr. Vice President & Chief Operating Officer)
(Vice President & Chief Development Officer)
(Case Manager & Clinical Intern)
(Outreach Admissions Coordinator)
Susan Sloan-Velez has worked in the treatment industry for over 20 years, serving in various administrative and management capacities. Mrs. Sloan-Velez joined Covenant Hills in 2005 as Director of Administration, where she was responsible for credentialing and licensing of all of Covenant Hills’ treatment programs, as well as securing and managing contracts with commercial insurance carriers. Additionally, she was in charge of managing utilization review, third-party billing and Human Resources.
In 2018, Mrs. Sloan-Velez was promoted to Chief Operating Officer of the Company and elected as Senior Vice-President. In her current role she is responsible for managing all of clinical operations of the Company while retaining all of her previous management responsibilities.
Susan’s recovery journey and renewed faith of over 22 years fuel her commitment to helping others break the chains of addiction. What drew her to Covenant Hills and has kept her here for over 16 years is the compassion and integrity of the company, its program, and staff who provide clinical, emotional, and spiritual healing to all who come through its doors.
With nearly 20 years’ professional experience in the behavioral health industry and the current Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Covenant Hills Treatment, Dustin Frei is a driving force in the movement of high quality, ethical services across the spectrum of addiction treatment. His passion for meticulous, evidence-based, and compassionate addiction/behavioral health treatment, as well as his experience leading teams, developing marketing strategies, and driving revenue expansion—then ensuring the integration of all aspects of organizational efforts—give him distinct insight and combine to make him a exemplar, leading the way in the realms of behavioral health and addiction treatment.
According to Heather, the greatest pleasure of being the primary therapist at Covenant Hills women’s facility is watching the beautiful evolution of change in others. She remains “ridiculously passionate” about the work she does on a daily basis, which includes being an integral part of the multi-disciplinary treatment team providing individual, group, and family therapy, as well as formulating unique and specific treatment plans of each resident.
Her educational background includes a BS in pastoral ministries and psychology (Vanguard University) and a Master’s of Science in Clinical Psychology (Vanguard University). She is also a California licensed marriage and family therapist, a certified eating disorder specialist, and is EMDR certified.
She educates from the efficacy of positive interventions and believes that everyone gets stuck once in a while, but she maintains that “it’s never too late to be who you might have been.”
As a program director at Covenant Hills, Alex oversees the operational and clinical departments for the men’s program. With over three years of experience in addiction treatment, Alex’s most recent role was outpatient and extended care program manager at Northbound Treatment where he oversaw a large co-ed outpatient and extended care program, as well, he managed the clinical staff to ensure compliance and quality client care.
More than anything, Alex cares about helping people find their way out of addiction and into long-term sustainable recovery.
To accomplish this, Alex says, “I try to emulate the high caliber of work that I expect of my team, and I will always take time to support staff and clients when needed. In my experience, consistency, reliability, and passion are integral qualities to have as an effective clinician, and I do my best to bring those qualities into my work every day.”
With over 14-years’ experience in addiction treatment, brings her experience as a residential manager, residential manager supervisor, case manager aid, and yoga instructor for individuals in addiction treatment, Denna is passionate about being a part of women changing their lives for the better.
She believes in recovery to heal your mind, body, and spirit. That addiction takes us away from our true self and recovery brings us back.
Ed Volk is the Therapist at the Company’s men’s treatment facility in San Clemente. Ed Volk is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with an advanced certification in addiction treatment, Licensed Advanced Alcohol Drug Counselor (LAADC). Ed received his BA and MA from Wheaton College. He has worked in the field for over 20 years and has worked as a clinician on the administrative side overseeing and developing programs. Ed is certified in Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Seeking Safety. He is also a member of the Orange County, CA Trauma Response Team and has interned at Saddleback Church in the Counseling Dept. Ed has a personal and professional expertise in the field of addiction. He believes in the restorative power of the recovery process with the individual and the family.
Jeremiah has been around addiction treatment nearly three decades supporting and inspiring men to find sanity and sobriety. He is currently the men’s home pastoral counselor where he helps individuals resolve spiritual conflicts to allow them to have a more meaningful relationship with God. He also serves as a case manager and works to educate and help clients walk through the recovery process. He has worked for Teen Challenge International and served as an Associate Pastor for many years. He currently holds a degree in Drug and Alcohol Counseling and is ordained through the International Christian Ministers Association.
Carice Blazo is the Pastoral Counselor at our women’s treatment facility in Dana Point. Carice is an ordained minister and holds a B.A. in Psychology and a M.A. in Pastoral Counseling, Addictions and Recovery. Formerly, as a regional director at Christian non-profit educational organization, Carice has experience discipling, training, and equipping individuals and groups in their educational and spiritual journeys. Her roles in the recovery field include administration, group facilitation, spiritual leadership and counseling.
Carice loves to guide clients in transformational spiritual recovery by facilitating Christ-centered lessons, one-on-one counseling, prayer, evidence-based recovery interventions, and 12-Step principles. Carice provides a grace-filled and comforting environment for clients.
As a case manager, Lexi’s role is multi-faceted. At its core, she supports clients in finding a holistic approach to recovery that fits their needs. Understanding that every client is unique and complex, she ensures that their treatment plan is customized to who they are.
Her work experience, which includes roles in addiction treatment operations, clinical, healthcare, and finance, gives her a broad and invaluable understanding into the treatment experience.
From the initial phone calls with concerned family members and potential clients all the way to aftercare planning and continuing care recommendations, her collaborative efforts with the Covenant Hills team are intentional and client focused to offer every individual outstanding care.
Most of all, Lexi is passionate about helping women recover from addiction.
Her personal struggle with addiction almost robbed her of her life and children. When she went through the Covenant Hills program in 2016, she considered herself “completely hopeless and broken—truly beyond redemption.” She says, “The staff at Covenant Hills showed me that my life was worth saving. Today, I am over 4 ½ years clean and I would not be where I am if not for Covenant Hills. I believe my experience is what makes me a high-quality worker. I serve my clients from a place of humility and I know that no addict seeking recovery need die.”
As the case manager and clinical intern at the men’s residential facility, Michael supports clients as a case manager and facilitates/teaches group therapy sessions. As an intern, he provides counseling to clients under the supervision of the staff therapist.
Michael received his B.A. from Chapman University, in English and worked as a professional journalist, utilizing observation, writing and interviewing skills. He received his M.A. from Concordia University Townsend Institute in Counseling.
Previously, Michael has worked as a case manager for a non-profit organization that assisted people with disabilities and was in City government where he provided case management, inspections, interviewing, and crisis intervention. Beyond that, he also has three years’ experience teaching in church and public school settings.
He loves people and enjoys working with and serving others. Michael believes we were built for relationship and too often men have learned or have become disconnected and isolated from that.
Jefferson loves seeing clients break free from the addiction cycle and be free to become the person they were meant to be.
Before his role as case manager, Jefferson was the lead technician at treatment facility for a year and a half, a client advocate at a detox for a year and a half, and he worked dual-diagnosis house for two years.
As a case manager for Covenant Hills, he helps clients stay on track on a day-to-day basis in their recovery, as well as oversees and coordinates their care with admissions, therapists, the operations team, the health care providers—generally helps their stay to go as smoothly as possible.
Jefferson says, “I am passionate about my work and seeing clients recover from addiction. I am committed to doing my absolute best to help my clients. I believe each one is unique and has their own story to tell. I encourage clients to embrace their stories as a part of the healing process and share their stories with others who are hurting so that they in turn may be an encouragement to them.”
Jefferson holds a B.A. in history from University of North Texas and a minor in creative writing. His passion for the arts as a means for healing in recovery, has seen him run a creative writing group for the clients.
Jefferson has been sober for nine years, is a self-published author and blogger, and performs stand-up comedy for fun. A pop culture aficionado, he loves all things Marvel, Stars Wars, and, of course, attends Comic-Con every year.
Nicole Widman is a Case Manager for the Women’s Residential and IOP programs at Covenant Hills Treatment Center. She is currently obtaining clinical hours to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has obtained a master’s degree in social work from Louisiana State University and a bachelor’s degree in communication from University of California, Santa Barbara. She has worked in the addiction field for over 5 years and is a member of the National Association of Social Work. She believes her most valuable “credential” is her relationship with Jesus where she gets to see her clients according to the Spirit, leading women in receiving the fullness of their identity and inheritance through the simplicity of faith in Him. It is here that she sees stories powerfully redeemed and narratives rewritten with hope. In the past, Nicole has worked as a MSW Intern for The Salvation Army ARC, OC Dream Center and Discovery Mood and Anxiety Program. Her time outside of ‘work’ is enveloped in full-time ministry, where she gets to stand in faith with men and women for God’s love for them to become their reality.
With over 8 years of experience in the addiction treatment industry, Ryan’s day-to-day responsibilities include logistics, staffing, coordinating doctor’s appointments, managing medications, supervising house managers, ordering supplies, and overseeing compliance and safety. However, it is seeing broken men go on to lead productive sober lives and rebuild damaged relationships that Ryan finds most rewarding about being an operations manager at Covenant Hills.
Deeply involved in recovery over the years, Ryan has seen many roles, including being an owner/operator of sober living and detox facility. Perhaps the most important role, however, is in working a program of recovery himself. It is from this foundation that Ryan can share his experience, strength, and hope to those that are struggling.
Professionally, this all comes together in his capacity to empathize with clients and meet them where they are while also effectively managing the staff and keep the operation running smoothly so the treatment team can focus on client care.
Mike Robertson is an established authority in the substance use disorder field. He brings a deep understanding of SUD, process addictions, and mental health issues to the field. Beyond that, his intimate knowledge of the community, treatment centers, various programs, and wilderness and therapeutic schools (and more), make him an invaluable pillar of the organization.
Joseph Price knows that people are happier when they are sober. This knowledge has given him a passion to work in the addiction treatment industry for over a decade. This conviction comes from his personal experience with recovery, which he found treatment for here at Covenant Hills (formerly Pacific Hills Treatment).
Joey’s role as outreach manager finds him identifying and optimizing important partnerships within the community of addiction treatment in Southern California and beyond.
Born and raised in Southeast Texas, Joey relocated to Orange County in 2010. He attended Sam Houston State University on a football scholarship, receiving “all-conference” status and leadership accolades.
After earning his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, Joey embarked on a successful 8-year career in the financial industry. Representing prestigious firms such as; JP Morgan, BNY Melon, United Capital and Sage View Advisory group.
All that said, believes it is his unique, personal interaction with clients and the ability to connect with people at a genuine level that helps him stand out in the addiction treatment field.
As the outreach admissions coordinator, Tayler serves as the bridge between our marketing efforts, the community, and our admissions team. Though relatively new to the addiction treatment field, she has worked in a myriad of roles in addiction and mental health treatment including project management, utilization review, admissions, and case management. Beyond that, she has experience working in hospitals and for various insurance providers.
Working in the mental health and substance abuse field has enabled her to cultivate a skill set that makes her as adaptable as possible because working in this field requires one to be able to work quickly and efficiently with so many moving parts.
Tayler currently holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from Concordia University Irvine and is currently expected to graduate with her Master’s in Healthcare Administration in 2022.
However, it is her ability to support not only the client in their early recovery but work with families to better understand and support their loved one that is struggling that makes her such an important part of the Covenant Hills team.
Eddie Lysen works in the admissions department at our corporate office where he works through the entire admissions process with families and clients. That ranges everything from engaging through the initial phone calls of individuals looking for addiction treatment, going over the program, explaining insurance/finances, coordinating detox, transportation, and pre-assessment for admission for treatment.
Having had the experience of recovery himself, he can share his story in hopes of helping others. This also gives him particular insight on truly understanding where addition can take someone and how hard it can be asking for help.
Previously Eddie worked as a house manager for Covenant Hills where he was able to work face to face with the clients and over the years developed a sense of how things work at the treatment level.
Ultimately Eddie is most interested in helping lift others out of addiction to give them a new hope in life—in the same way that it was done for him.
Blair has been part of the Covenant Hills team since 2015 in the capacity of office manager and financial administrator. Her current role as admissions coordinator finds her interacting with prospective clients and family members looking for guidance about the substance abuse treatment program offered at Covenant Hills. Using her own experience in sobriety as a reference point, she walks with the family through the admissions process and continues to act as the point of contact through the course of treatment.
Her upbeat, can-do personality brings an atmosphere of positivity to the Covenant Hills’ program, and her firm belief in the mission of the company gives her a deep sense of joy and pride in her role.
As an alum of the program, she considers herself living proof that sobriety is possible no matter how hopeless and dark life may appear, and that the program at Covenant Hills really does work. Blair truly loves what she does—helping other alcoholics and addicts find hope again, showing them they are not alone and by helping them see that sobriety is possible.
Ken has worked in the substance abuse treatment industry for over 4 years in various roles including operations, intake, clinical, and leadership. However, his vast knowledge and experience have led him to a new role as Admission Coordinator at Covenant Hills Treatment. The admission manager role is a good fit for Ken because of his logistics and counseling background which makes him a trusted resource for families and individuals looking for help getting into treatment.
Always showing interest in helping people, Ken pursued the required schooling and practical experience needed to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC); he is currently working towards his bachelor’s degree in the Psychology field. Ken knows that addiction can be a difficult thing to overcome, but he remains hopeful that through compassion, support, and education, he can help those affected by it.
Compassion and empathy for people who seeking help is the driving motivator behind “why” Ken does what he does. We believe that people immediately recognize sincerity and authenticity when they are working with you, and they need to feel comfortable and trust you with the process.
Ken is the recipient of The Northbound Vision Award. This award is given to the staff member who goes above and beyond to create an experience that people love. Ken’s dedication to his clients, families, colleagues, and community has earned him this prestigious honor.
Covenant Hills Treatment is proud to give Ken the opportunity to use all of his experience to help give people a chance to make positive changes in their lives.
Cody is the Resident Manager Supervisor at Covenant Hills men’s residential treatment center in San Clemente, CA. The responsibilities that come with include supervising the resident managers and working alongside the program director and transportation director, making sure they have what they need to do their jobs as efficiently as possible.
Cody is passionate about producing a high-quality of work. Not interested in half measures, he puts his all into everything he does. His dedication to the treatment field finds its origins in his personal experience in treatment where he was given the help he needed. He believes in returning that to the clients that he works with.
As the Covenant Hills utilization nurse, Mary obtains authorization at the highest level of care possible based on medical necessity. She works closely with the clinical team and the insurance companies case managers in tandem to ensure quality care. She passionately encourages the ongoing relationships with our administration, our treatment team, and insurance case managers to ensure that Covenant Hills continues to provide the highest level of care for clients utilizing their insurance benefits.
Mary has been involved in Behavioral Health industry since 1985. She has worked in hospital-based detox and treatment for addiction. As well, she’s worked with the elderly addicted and mentally ill in underserved communities in California, Florida, Arizona, and Oregon managing a Health and Wellness Program providing resources for treatment. Beyond that, she managed a team of providers that helped the stabilization of patients with co-morbid diagnosis utilizing a multitude of resources.
Understanding that recovery is a process of transformation and those struggling with addiction are separated from God, she is particularly inspired by Covenant Hills utilizing a God centered approach to addiction treatment. She holds herself accountable daily to her own program of recovery and her relationship with God.
With over a decade of experience working in the field of recovery, Pooya is responsible for all revenue cycle functions in support of the company mission, vision, and goals. She has been the director of billing & collections and has a vast knowledge of insurance rules and regulations within major payers.
She loves to be able to give back in a way that helps and supports the families she works with.