At Pillars Recovery, our addiction treatment staff dedicates their time and energy to helping individuals recovery from addiction. With years of experience and knowledge, our team knows a range of methods and treatment modalities for helping young professionals break the cycle of addiction and begin living health and productive lives.
Executive Addiction Treatment Staff
Chief Executive Officer
Darren Orloff founded Pillars Recovery in 2014 on three guiding principles: (1) to incorporate the model under which he got sober; (2) to take advantage of the advances in modern medicine and technology to create an even more effective program; and (3) to meet people where they are in their own personal journey. His ambitions stem from his own personal journey.
A California native, Darren moved to New Jersey at a young age. He grew up in the suburbs and excelled at athletics. Baseball soon became his passion and he dreamed of playing professional sports. This passion led Darren to head off to college for what he thought would be an amazing collegiate athletic and academic experience. However, like so many before and after him, Darren was not ready for college; and his dreams and aspirations were quickly taken over by drugs and alcohol. He spent the next decade moving up and down the east coast burning bridges and destroying relationships with anyone in his path before he made a decision to come to California to begin his road to recovery. It changed his life forever.
Today, Darren supports those who have found themselves on a similar path. Dismayed with the “cookie cutter” approach often used by treatment facilities and addiction treatment staff, Darren and his partners set out to put together a top-quality clinical team. Together, they combine the most advanced therapeutic techniques to help clients on their road to recovery. The product of their experience, along with the three guiding principles, has since led Pillars Recovery to become one of the finest treatment centers in all of Southern California.
Chief Operating Officer
Peter Gates is the chief operating officer at Pillars Recovery. As part of the Pillars addiction treatment staff, he is responsible for the general operations and oversight of the business.
Peter has more than 20 years of experience working in finance, real estate investment and recovery. Throughout his career, he has worked in various executive leadership and management roles. Stemmed from passion and his experience working within the recovery community, Peter joined the Pillars Recovery addiction treatment staff. His leadership philosophy is based on team collaboration, authenticity, transparency and integrity.
Peter understands the trials and tribulations that come with working towards sobriety. He believes that with the right mentorship and accountability, individuals can achieve permanent sobriety and a balanced, purposeful life.
Native to Orange County, California, Peter attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration.
Director of Operations, Licensed Vocational Nurse
Susan Kue is currently the director of operations at Pillars Recovery, where she manages the day-to-day operations. She is a licensed vocational nurse (LVN) and works as the head nurse on the addiction treatment staff, as well. Susan began working in the home health medical field and though enjoyed it, it was not her passion. Susan then took the challenge and accepted a job working in a dual diagnosis substance facility elsewhere. While working there, she found joy in working with addicts and mental health clients. Susan eventually left the facility and accepted an opportunity to work for Pillars Recovery upon its opening. Susan also helps with admissions and works closely with the medical team and clinical team to provide the best care possible for every client.
Vice President of Finance
Joe Weber is the VP of Finance at Pillars Recovery. He received his BBA degree in accounting from National University in San Diego, CA. After graduating, Joe moved to Texas to begin his accounting career. He primarily worked in the construction industry before coming to Pillars. Joe has over 30 years’ experience in accounting working for small and medium size companies where he developed and managed accounting departments.
When not at Pillars Recovery, Joe enjoys being with his family, reading a good book or riding his bicycle. However, he says the Orange County roads are a little scary compared to riding the country roads of Texas.
Natasha was born and raised in Palm Springs, California. She attended University of California, San Diego and received her BA in Sociology, with a minor in Psychology. Raised by Betty Ford Alum in a well-known treatment area, she appreciates the strength it takes to get help and start the journey to recovery. Always eager to learn, Natasha was excited to join the Pillars Recovery addiction treatment staff in 2017 as executive assistant to Darren and Joe and learn about the treatment field. Well-organized and detail-oriented,, Natasha is using her skills to keep the company files up to date. She also helps with a variety of HR tasks including getting the new hire’s through the fun stack of new hire paperwork.
In her spare time Natasha loves spending time with her family, especially her nieces and nephew. Since she is not native to Orange County, she also enjoys exploring local places and meeting new people. She owns a vintage 1960’s English bike, which she loves to show off riding around Orange County.
Associate Marriage and Family Therapist
Sabina Kalsey has worked at various treatment facilities throughout Orange County, California. She earned both a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in counseling with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy from California State University, Fullerton.
Sabina’s passion for helping individuals in treatment stems from witnessing first-hand the positive results and progress made through addressing core issues during treatment. Sabina uses a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, person-centered therapy and motivational interviewing to work on common issues presented by clients, including depression and anxiety. Sabina is also a trained eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) therapist, which specifically targets traumatic experiences that have occurred in the past, in hopes of decreasing their level of distress associated with the trauma.
Substance Abuse Counselor
Raymond Dinh joined Pillars Recovery’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), where he provides one-on-one Substance Abuse Counseling. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers University. During his studies, he volunteered with Alcohol & Other Drug Assistance Program, a counseling and information program developed for students. He is currently seeking a master’s degree in psychology at Alliant International University.
Raymond supports clients in their treatment with life-skills development, including building a resume, job searches and education. He also assists with community-based support groups (AA/NA, Smart Recovery) and developing a discharge and aftercare plan. His passion and hope is to help others achieve their goals of living a better, more fulfilling life. He believes in meeting clients where they are in their recovery journey and providing the best care.
Substance Abuse Counselor
Michelle earned her B.A. in Advertising and Public Relations with an emphasis in Entertainment from Chapman University. After spending nearly 4 years as an Account Executive in an Advertising Agency, Michelle made the decision to pursue her purpose in life for helping others recover from addiction. Michelle is working towards her M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy and plans to continue her education and obtain her Psy.D.
Michelle believes an essential piece of recovery is commitment to personal growth. As IOP Substance Abuse Counselor, Michelle is responsible for case management, group and individual counseling, treatment, and discharge planning. Her day-to-day responsibilities also include crisis intervention, facilitating psychoeducational groups and client education.
Uyen “Wynn” Nguyen
Substance Abuse Counselor
Wynn was born and raised in Orange County, CA. She has been working in the treatment field since 2015. Wynn joined Pillars Recovery in 2018 as a substance abuse counselor and primarily works with the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). She received her Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor II (CADAC II) certification through CCAPP and is currently enrolled in community college to obtain her degree in social work and addiction counseling. Wynn started out working in behavioral health as a graveyard support staff in a female residential house. She worked her way up to lead support staff and then was promoted to a case manager position. Wynn realized that working in behavioral health is her passion and she wants to help people who struggle with addiction. Wynn herself is in recovery with over 4 years sober. She never thought that she would find a way out of her addiction but since she has found a solution, she wanted to help others find their way. Wynn believes that developing trusting relationships with her clients has allowed her to become someone that they can come to when they are struggling.
In her spare time Wynn enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She loves that she lives so close to the beach.
Substance Abuse Counselor
Erin Levin is originally from Riverside, CA. She joined Pillars Recovery in 2018 as the substance abuse counselor for Pillars Recovery’s initial medically assisted treatment program. Erin is a Registered Alcohol and Drug Technician (RADT-I) through CCAPP and has been working in behavioral health since 2016. She attended Sober College where she completed her course work and is currently finishing the required field hours to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC-I). Having struggled herself with the grips of addiction, Erin has a great understanding and empathy for people struggling with substance abuse and is passionate about helping people change their lives. Erin moved to Los Angeles to work on her sobriety and then relocated to Huntington Beach. When not at work she enjoys spending her time with her son and the rest of her family and friends.
Substance Abuse Counselor, Associate Professional Clinical Counselor
Kendra Parks is a native of Kentucky, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Murray State University and then a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Tennessee State University.
Kendra’s background experience has varied over the years from working with victims of sexual abuse to helping children and adolescents through a community mental health program. She has also helped children diagnosed with autism disorders using applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy.
For the past three years, Kendra has focused on substance abuse treatment as a Substance Abuse Counselor. She is currently working to complete California’s requirements for a licensed professional clinical counselor (LPCC) internship, with the goal to complete requirements for LPCC licensure by the end of 2018.
Associate Clinical Social Worker
Julia Ruffolo attended Chapman University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in sociology with an emphasis on social work. From there, she attended the University of Southern California where she obtained a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree with a concentration in mental health.
Julia has worked in a few treatment facilities on addiction treatment staff teams, where she has gained experience and knowledge about addiction and various mental health issues. She has led groups on relapse prevention, relationships and meditation. She also sees clients individually and helps them to achieve short term and long-term goals in recovery.
Julia is currently working on becoming a certified sex addiction therapist (CSAT) and will have this certification by the end of 2018.
Associate Marriage and Family Therapist
Whitney Dominguez has four years of experience as an associate therapist working with adolescents, couples, families and adults. The adolescents she worked with have autism and other disabilities. Such experiences have taught her patience and that even the smallest progress can be an amazing achievement. Her experience in helping adults is from working/interning at a drug and alcohol rehab facility and in private practice. She relies on her interpersonal and therapeutic skills to foster a supportive relationship in group and individual therapy settings to enhance clients’ self-esteem, coping skills and the building of healthier relationships. In addition, Whitney’s experience as a customer service manager demonstrates her responsibility, dedication and leadership skills as part of our addiction treatment staff. She attributes her professional experience along with her abilities to be empathic, open-minded and uphold appropriate boundaries to her successful therapeutic relationships.
Russell “Russ” Shapely
Substance Abuse Counselor
Russ is proud to say that he was born and raised in beautiful Laguna Beach. Russ has been working in the behavioral health field since 2014. He joined Pillars Recovery in 2018 as a substance abuse counselor. Russ has completed his coursework for his Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC-I) through CCAPP and is excited for his chance to take and pass the state International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (ICRC) exam.
Russ understands that every person is different and has different experiences. He applies this idea to his work and believes everyone needs an individualized approach toward how they recover and discover their purpose. Every morning Russ is excited to wake up and motivated to learn something new from each client and from the clients as a group. Russ enjoys that everyday his work as a counselor provides new challenges that not only help his clients but help him grow as an individual both emotionally and spiritually.
Growing up Russ directed all his energy into outdoor activities which included surfing, skateboarding, skim boarding and snowboarding. Russ still maintains an active lifestyle but also enjoys spending time with his family which includes his parents, brothers and his son. Russ’s son means everything to him and he believes that his work helping others, helps him to be a better man and father for his son.
Associate Marriage and Family Therapist
Casey O’Brian received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from California Lutheran University. He completed his first master’s degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University in 2010. In 2013, he obtained his master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, also at Pepperdine University. Virtually all his clinical hours have been accrued while working with the substance use population. Prior to becoming a therapist, Casey worked as a neurofeedback technician where he was introduced to the field of addiction and recovery. Casey’s therapeutic philosophy is based on the premise that although every client is unique, all human beings have basic emotional needs. It is this lack of having their needs met, primarily during childhood, that is the primary driving force that leads clients to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol later in life.
Currently, Casey is the primary therapist for Medication Assisted Therapy track, and has been with the program since its inception. Casey does not share the commonly held view that those who take opiate antagonists, agonists or partial agonists are not sober. Addiction is a disease, and some need more assistance in building a solid foundation than others, and that is the purpose of anti-craving medication. Instead of participating in the definition of insanity (doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result), Casey encourages clients to try things they have not attempted before, including Medication Assisted Treatment. Everyone’s path to recovery is different, and the research is supporting MAT as an option for long term, lasting abstinence from illicit opiates.
Licensed Vocational Nurse
Cathy Ma joined the Pillars Recovery addiction treatment staff in April 2016. Born and raised in Orange County, California, she began her career in a mental health clinic, which created a desire to further her education. She went forth to become a licensed vocational nurse (LVN), graduating from Concorde Career College, and has since received a registered alcohol drug technician (RADT-1) certification. She now assists in the day-to-day operations as the lead nurse for the women’s detox/residential house. Cathy enjoys providing counsel and connecting with the clients during their journey in recovery. She hopes to continue her career in helping people strive to better their lives through recovery.
Johnny Martinez is part of the support addiction treatment staff at Pillars Recovery. He has registered alcohol drug technician (RADT-1) certification. Johnny has been involved in the recovery community for more than 10 years and has substantial knowledge of the 12-step program. His compassion to help others began when he realized the impact of addiction on our local community. Johnny then joined and began to volunteer at a nonprofit men’s detox facility in Costa Mesa, California to help others. There, he found joy in helping those struggling with addiction. In addition to Johnny’s full-time position at Pillars Recovery, he continues to help with Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous and is a general service representative for the 12-step community.
Johnny is a father to a two-year-old and strives to teach the young men in treatment that they can be a pillar to their families through sober actions. Johnny continues to make his dreams come true through service for others and helping within the community that he loves. He plans to continue his education to become a drug and alcohol counselor so he can guide others in their road to recovery.
Leah Campanella joined Pillars Recovery as support addiction treatment staff in January 2018. Originally from Spokane, Washington, she experienced drug and alcohol addiction first-hand, which lead to her passion to help others. Leah has received registered alcohol drug technician (RADT-1) certification to gain further knowledge in the field of recovery. Using her personal experience with recovery as testimony, Leah offers support to others who struggle with addiction. She works as support staff at the women’s detox/residential home at Pillars Recovery.
Mark Stringfellow was born in Washington, D.C. and raised in Northern Virginia. He grew up with a normal upbringing but ended up turning to drugs and alcohol towards the end of high school. His addiction progressed quickly, prompting the decision to seek help. Mark began a series of treatments in residential facilities across the country. His move to California, however, offered a fresh start. Here, Mark found a new way of living through the 12-step philosophy and Alcoholics Anonymous. Today, Mark works as support staff and a house manager for sober living at Pillars Recovery.
Kiersten Soderlund was born in Illinois. She lived in Singapore for three and a half years and Atlanta, Georgia for six years before moving to California in 2017. Kiersten joined the Pillars Recovery addiction treatment staff in March 2018 as support staff. She is a Registered Alcohol and Drug Technician (RADT) and is excited to further her education in the treatment field. Kiersten has been in recovery since March 2017 and brings both personal and professional knowledge about 12 steps and recovery to our clients. She enjoys coming to work and seeing our clients change. Kiersten knows starting recovery is a huge turning point and enjoys being able to help and be a part of this moment in our clients’ lives.
Timothy Newman was born and raised in East Tennessee, and came out to California in April of 2016 to try and get sober. He was in a treatment program for a total of 14 months where he was able to find a way to change his life. Tim has been sober for over 2.5 years and living a life beyond what he ever expected. Tim has been employed by Pillars Recovery since January of 2017 and is RADT-I certified and truly enjoys his job today. Tim is also currently a house manager at a men’s sober living home. Tim started with the company at the men’s detox facility and now he is a lead at the IOP facility. The thing that Tim really loves about the Pillars addiction treatment staff is that they truly care about the clients and they make you feel like family. Since he was able to find a way to maintain sobriety and seen how much better life was, Tim knew that he wanted to give others the same hope. Tim is currently active in the community and with AA, he enjoys sharing his experience with others and helping them see the joy in life and find a way out of the grips of their addiction. Tim truly enjoys life today and all the experiences he has been through since being sober. Tim enjoys kayaking, paddle boarding, hiking, and anything outdoors. He also enjoys cooking and having a quiet evening in, every once in a while.
Dillon is dedicated to helping others. He moved to Orange County from Albuquerque, New Mexico. He studied Media Arts and Psychology at the University of New Mexico where he attained his Bachelor’s degree. Dillon is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor (CATC-R). He has experience as Vehicle Safety Chairman and Lead Program Technician at a Joint Commission accredited dual diagnosis treatment facility. Dillon has experience in a variety of fast-paced environments while maintaining quality of care. These skills along with an array of others with the treatment industry make Dillon a well-rounded addiction treatment staff member. Dillon cherishes the family-like business culture of Pillars Recovery and its positive effects on the lives of our clients. Dillon has been grateful to learn from Pillars experienced team members and to grow with the company to provide the best possible experience we can for our clients.
Begin Your Recovery Journey Today
At Pillars Recovery, our addiction treatment staff works hard to meet addicts and families where they are. If you’re ready to begin the addiction treatment journey and turn your life around, then call us today at 866-782-0247.