Our team of professionals is dedicated to our mission of fostering long-term, healthy changes in the lives of our clients. We draw on diverse backgrounds and experiences to help our clients achieve recovery.
Arden O’Connor founded the O’Connor Professional Group to address the needs of families and individuals struggling with an array of behavioral health issues, including addiction, mental health disorders, eating disorders, learning, and other developmental challenges. With several relatives in recovery, Arden is passionate about helping families and individuals navigate the highly fragmented treatment system in a way that creates positive outcomes and allows families to heal. Arden is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School. She remains heavily involved in community activities, as a board member of Winsor School Corporation, Collaboration for Family Flourishing, Massachusetts Association of Mental Health, and Attorneys for Family Held Enterprises. Previously, she served as a board member for the Justice Resource Institute (former chair), C4 Recovery Solutions, Harvard Club of Boston, Victory Programs, and Harvard Business School Alumni Association of Boston. She maintains professional affiliations with the following organizations: Boston Estate Planning Council, Worthy Circles and Family Firm Institute.
Diana Clark, JD, MA., is OPG’s Chief of Clinical Operations. She is a renowned family recovery advocate in the field of addiction and mental health treatment. With a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Antioch New England Graduate School in 1997, Diana has been aiding families during times of turmoil for over 20 years. Prior to her work in the mental health field, Diana was a practicing labor and employment attorney advising employers in the implementation of clear and compassionate policies. As a specialist in both family systems and parenting, Diana is a recognized force of clear speech, logic and loving acceptance, and has helped thousands of family members establish healthy boundaries, manage expectations appropriately, and develop plans for their families. Diana has developed and facilitated numerous workshops for families and professionals and is also the author of the book: Addiction Recovery: A Family’s Journey, which offers guidance for family members of those struggling with substance use disorders and mental health concerns.
James Kostecki is OPG’s Chief of Business Operations. He is responsible for overseeing the strategy, development, and implementation of business operations as well as managing the finances of the organization. A graduate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, James worked for the Massachusetts Office of the Inspector General before moving on to public sector consulting for seven years. During this time, he worked with state agencies in the aging, disability, early childhood, and mental health space to maximize public funding and improve administrative and fiscal policies. James received a master’s in public administration from Suffolk University in Boston. Always solution-oriented, James enjoys collaborating with his colleagues to solve complex problems and improve OPG’s capacity to best serve its clients and their families. He lives with his wife, daughter, and dachshund named Ellie in the suburbs north of Boston.
Dr. Ximena Sanchez, M.D. is OPG’s Consulting Psychiatrist. Ximena received her M.D. from Javeriana University Medical School in Bogota Colombia. Following graduation as a clinical and research fellow from the Massachusetts General Hospital Addiction Research Program ARP, she remained as the staff psychiatrist for MGH’s outpatient substance abuse clinic as well as a substance abuse consultant liaison Psychiatrist. Ximena worked under the direct supervision of Dr. John Knight at Children’s Hospital Boston conducting research and clinical work for adolescents (The Adolescent Substance Abuse Program) and providing family training. She has been a part of many research studies as well as developing and coordinating many lectures about substance abuse. She travels throughout the country giving lectures on the identification, diagnosis, and treatment for substance abuse. Her individualized approach with clients has helped create boundaries and goals to successfully achieve independence through their sobriety.
Christopher Baker, LICSW, is OPG’s Assistant Chief of Clinical Operations. Chris received his undergraduate education at The University of Rhode Island where he double majored in Political Science and Sociology. Upon completion of his undergraduate studies, Chris pursued a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Rhode Island College where he completed field work at the Rhode Island Public Defender and worked with clients suffering from chronic substance use and other behavioral health disorders. In Providence, Chris completed further clinical training through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, Providence VA Medical Center where he studied and was trained in working with individuals suffering from severe and persistent psychiatric diagnoses including, but not limited to, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, and Major Depressive Disorder. After graduate school, Chris provided consultation to a private health care company on managing the clinical care of the veteran population within their facilities. While in this position, Chris developed systems processes to coordinate veteran care in a clinically-appropriate and policy-informed manner. Chris has professional experience in inpatient psychiatric settings, partial hospitalization settings, community mental health and most recently as a therapist in private practice. In order to best assist individuals in improving their lives, Chris believes that individual evolution is the product of a collective process. In his work, Chris is a strengths-based and client-centered provider who utilizes treatment modalities that include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing. When Chris is not fully engaged in his work, he enjoys playing golf, being outdoors and valuing the time that he spends with his family and friends.
Jennie Kramer, MSW, LCSW-R, is OPG’s Senior Clinical Advisor. Jennie is the Founder and Executive Director of Metro Behavioral Health Associates Eating Disorders Centers located in Scarsdale and NYC. Additionally, Jennie is the co-author of Overcoming Binge Eating for DUMMIES, served as Chairperson for the Board of Directors of the Binge Eating Disorders Association, and as Director of the Renfrew Centers for Eating Disorder for over 5 years. Before entering the field of social work, she was a management consultant to the healthcare industry for many years. Jennie has dedicated her life to helping others and is thrilled to be a part of the OPG team. She looks forward to providing motivational and therapeutic coaching to individuals and families needing support. In her spare time, Jennie enjoys spending time with family and friends and giving back to her local community.
Jeremy Varnum is the Director of Outdoor and Experiential Programming at OPG. In this capacity, he coordinates and designs outdoor and experiential service recommendation packages for clients. Additionally, he supervises case managers who are responsible for delivering these services to our clients. With over 5 years of personal experience in recovery, Jeremy’s approach incorporates motivational interviewing, combined with outdoor education, adventure therapy, and mindfulness-based stress reduction. Jeremy has a BS in Kinesiology (Outdoor Education) from the University of New Hampshire and is currently pursuing his Master’s in Social Work. When he has free time, Jeremy can be found outdoors rock climbing, snowboarding, and hiking.
Amy Battey is the Director of Operations at O’Connor Professional Group, overseeing and facilitating daily operations for the team and assisting with administrative tasks. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and an Associate’s degree in Chemical Dependency from Keene State College. After graduating in 2012, she worked as an inpatient mental health counselor, then as the shift coordinator at a social model detox. In spare time, Amy can be found reading, singing, or enjoying the outdoors.
Whitney Johnson is the Director of Marketing at O’Connor Professional Group (OPG). In this role, she is responsible for new business development, referent relationships, and ensuring families and professionals understand the services offered by and extensive capabilities of OPG to address behavioral health issues. Prior to joining OPG, Whitney was Founder & CEO of an international nonprofit that provided health and psycho-social support services to young people living with HIV. Whitney’s work received recognition and she was named a World Economic Forum Global Shaper in 2012, attended the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos in 2014, was guest speaker at Chicago Ideas Week, and has been interviewed on several news outlets. She leverages 10 years of experience in programmatic operations and business development. Whitney earned a B.A in Psychology from Colorado College and is a Certified Health & Wellness Coach. She lives in New York with her husband and enjoys hiking, surfing, and yoga in her free time.
Natalie Cohen is Director of Intake at O’Connor Professional Group (OPG). In this role, she is responsible for overseeing the referral process for clients and our professional partners. Natalie works in an efficient and clinically informed way with prospective clients to understand their unique needs and guide them towards appropriate services. With more than seven years of experience in eating disorders and mental health, Natalie comes to us with a passion for ensuring that clients get the services they need and aims to offer a high level of customer service to anyone who contacts OPG. A graduate of the University of Maine in Orono, Natalie earned her bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a minor in Child and Family Relations. After graduation, she held positions in Marketing, Community Outreach, Intake, and Communications for Walden Behavioral Care, an eating disorder treatment center based out of Massachusetts. Natalie enjoys spending time doing yoga, exploring the restaurant scene in Boston, and doting on her Pomeranian mix, Bella.
Sydney Breteler is the Intake and Business Development Associate at OPG. In this role, she is primarily focused on responding to inquiries about services and communicating OPG’s capacity to best cater to the needs of individuals and families seeking help and guidance with behavioral health issues. Sydney also works with the marketing and business development teams, lending her 8 years of prior administrative and communications-related experience. Sydney earned a B.A. in Psychology from Clark University. She lives in Boston and has a passion for worldwide travel, hiking, skiing, and always has a book in hand when she’s not spending time with family and friends.
David Carrigan, MSW, is OPG’s Director of Digital Marketing and a Clinical Case Manager. He received his Masters in Clinical Social Work from Boston College and his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Political Science from the University of New Hampshire. David has worked in a number of capacities within the mental health field including as a Senior Recovery Specialist at The Center for Motivation and Change: Berkshires, an inpatient substance abuse rehabilitation facility, and as a supervisor for the Key Program, a residential program for adolescents with behavioral issues. He specializes in working one on one with individuals to set and achieve treatment goals and employs a motivational client-centered approach. David is an experienced group facilitator and active in his local community. He is trained in Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. He is a trained SMART Recovery Facilitator and runs a weekly SMART Recovery group in addition to volunteering as a youth mentor. In his role as Director of Digital Marketing, David oversees OPG’s various digital platforms, marketing strategy, implementation, and ongoing campaign management. He is an experienced writer and avid sports fan.
Kaitlin Gatti serves as the Office Manager at O’Connor Professional Group. She provides administrative support to the team and helps with day-to-day operations in the office. Kaitlin holds a Bachelor’s degree from Plymouth State University in Marketing and Professional Communication. Her personal experience with family and friends makes her dedicated and passionate about working in the behavioral health field. In Kaitlin’s free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking and spending time with her family.
Jessica Getty, M.A. is a third-year student in the Clinical Psychology PsyD program at William James College and a Clinical Case Manager at OPG. Jess earned a B.A. in Psychology from UMass Amherst and an M.A. in Child Development from Tufts University. Additionally, she has completed a certification in Applied Positive Psychology. Jess has worked extensively with youth and families through providing in-home family therapy, individual school counseling, and group therapies in community-based programs. She has a background in crisis intervention and evaluation. She has participated in several research projects through America’s Promise Alliance and The Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development. Her clinical interests include utilizing individual and interpersonal strengths to treat depression. Jess an accomplished marathon runner, and enjoys making art, reading, and vegan cooking in her free time.
Natalie Gheit, LMSW, MBA, MSW is OPG’s Assistant Director of Clinical Services for New York City and the surrounding tri-state area. Natalie’s interest in human psyche and behavior began with an early love of reading, trying to connect with and understand characters encountered in books. After studying English literature at the University of Virginia, Natalie’s personal and professional evolution led her from publishing, marketing, and public relations to clinical social work, with recent experience in ER crisis and inpatient psychiatric units. Natalie hopes to use her versatile background to bring unique perspectives to the concepts of treatment, healing, and recovery. Natalie believes in being curious, mindful, and creative while keeping a sense of compassion (and humor) close at hand. Her goals include listening, supporting, and connecting with clients, hoping to facilitate self-awareness and encouraging the re-imagination of one’s own story.
Glen Harnish is a Case Manager at O’Connor Professional Group. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from Connecticut College and is pursuing an education in both coaching and clinical social work. Glen takes a compassionate, client-centered approach in his work. He focuses on clients’ adaptive strengths, and believes that “the best way to get rid of weeds is to have a strong garden.” Glen has worked extensively with dual diagnosis individuals struggling with addictions, problems with time management, motivation, procrastination, anger and avoidance issues. He helps clients develop systems, strategies, and tools in order to manage their lives more effectively. Also, models positive interactions and behaviors. His interests include rock climbing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, hiking in the white mountains, stacking rocks on the beach, and mountain biking in the woods of the greater Boston area. He leads meditation centered recovery groups in Cambridge, MA. Glen also serves as a volunteer member of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Internal Research Board (IRB) which reviews protocols of researchers seeking approval to enroll patients in research projects.
Alex Kurjiaka is a Case Manager for OPG. She is working towards a Masters degree in Clinical Mental health Counseling (to be completed 2019) and has a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science. Alex has a diverse background in crisis intervention and treatment, working in multiple capacities including recovery group leadership and smoking cessation. She has working knowledge of substance abuse, co-occurring disorders, mental health eating disorders and addiction medications. She is well versed in both abstinence-based and harm reduction schools of thought. With a background in child care, Alex has worked with individuals at all stages of development, including children and adolescents. She has familiarity with cognitive and emotional developmental norms for adolescents and adults. Alex believes our journeys are unique and each client must be directed to the best fit for their personal recovery.
William Messinger, JD, LADC, is a Senior Advisor at OPG. Bill’s mission is to improve recovery rates for functional alcoholics and addicts, with an emphasis on beneficiaries and family business members. Shortly after completing treatment in 1995, he learned that doctors and pilots had very successful outcomes in comparison to other groups due to their unique treatment regimes. Bill then initiated the concept of applying their recovery protocols to other groups. He combines legal and addiction expertise to help families, trustees, and professionals address addiction in family members and beneficiaries. Bill has written extensively on the topic of applying the pilot/physician model to the affluent, including an article on suggested model language to use in trusts to replicate the pilot/physician model. His articles also address the impact of SUDs on family offices and professionals, recovery management, and the treatment needs of the affluent. He is a graduate of Yale College, University of Minnesota Law School, and the Hazelden School of Addiction Studies. His website is www.BillMessinger.com
Justine Padula, M. Ed. is an OPG Clinical Case Manager. Justine completed her Masters at Simmons College and has accrued over nine years of experience working with individuals with behavioral and emotional challenges. She has expertise in providing care in families’ homes, at schools, and in the community as a client transitions back from treatment. Justine has experience conducting and implementing Applied Behavior Analysis, Functional Behavioral Assessments, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy modalities. She is passionate about supporting individuals in developing strategies and tools to manage daily living tasks, achieve their goals, and maintain healthy behavioral changes. In her personal time, Justine enjoys spending time with her family, playing sports, going to the beach, and traveling.
Jonathan Paul, MSW, is a Senior Clinical Associate for OPG’s New York office. He is a licensed social worker in the state of New York. Jonathan graduated from Yeshiva University with a Masters in Social Work in 2010. He has since practiced addiction counseling, psychotherapy, and case management in a variety of outpatient chemical dependency programs, mental health centers, and private practice. Jonathan helps individuals, couples and families afflicted with mental health and addictive disorders find solutions to their problems. As a native New Yorker, born and raised in Manhattan, he enjoys taking walks in the city with his golden retriever, running in Central Park and weekend adventures to the country-especially during fall, his favorite season.