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, Attorneys for Family Held Enterprises, and C4 Recovery Solutions. Previously, she served as a board member for the Justice Resource Institute (former chair), 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.
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.
Paul Sawyer, LICSW, MSW is OPG’s Director of Case Management and is a Licensed Certified Social Worker with a broad range of experience in the behavioral health field. He has worked in inpatient, residential, and outpatient settings with individuals who are experiencing substance abuse and mental health challenges. He completed his Masters in Clinical Social Work at the Boston College School of Social Work. Paul incorporates motivational interviewing and mindfulness with a strength-based, person-centered approach to help his client’s reach their personal goals. Paul has a talent for developing a strong therapeutic relationship with the individuals he works with by providing a genuine, compassionate, and non-judgmental environment. He believes that people can make lasting changes to their lives given the proper conditions and support. He is open to and driven by, each client’s stated goals, understanding that every journey to recovery is unique. In his free time, Paul enjoys hiking, playing soccer, racquetball, running, and just about any other sport, in addition to finding time for daily meditation.
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.
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.
Alexa Barach, LCSW, MSW, is OPG’s Associate Director of Intake and a Clinical Case Manager. She is a Licensed Certified Social Worker receiving her Masters in Clinical Social Work from Boston College School of Social Work. Alexa has experience in conducting individual and family therapy sessions incorporating Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness, Solution-Focused Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy modalities. She completed the Neuroscience in Social Work Certificate and has informed her work with clients through a neuroscience lens. While pursuing her Masters, Alexa interned on the Boston College campus in the Alcohol and Drug Education program working with young adults struggling with substance use and abuse. She also worked on an In-Home Therapy team and at Tufts Medical Center in their Outpatient Psychiatry. Alexa brings compassion and empathy to her client-centered approach and believes that all people have the ability to achieve their goals for change given the right support. Alexa has lived in and around Boston for the majority of her life and in her free time enjoys outdoor activities, cooking, and reading.
Maureen Borkowski is a LCSW and Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor. She has worked with and for some of the most prestigious treatment facilities in the country. She has expertise in various capacities, including coaching, case management, and relationship dynamics. She takes a collaborative approach with both her clients and other professionals, which optimizes each patient’s treatment outcome by ensuring that all needs are being met through coordination of care and delivery of needed services. She sums up her professional life by saying, “There is no more rewarding work on this earth than watching someone get their life and their dreams back. To play even a small part in helping someone regain hope and dignity is an honor and a privilege that leaves me both humbled and elated. I actually get to witness miracles!”
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.
Diana Clark, JD, MA is an OPG consultant. She is the author and facilitator of several workshops specifically designed for family members and the recently released book Addiction Recovery: A Family’s Journey’. Diana offers a calm, compassionate and logical voice during a time of family turmoil. She also works in a supervisory role with OPG’s family coaches, and collaborates extensively with case managers on cases where she provides coaching services to families. Diana holds a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Antioch University and prior to working in the addiction field, Diana was a practicing labor and employment attorney advising employers about the need for clear, compassionate and enforceable policies.
Hallie DeLory is a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor, Interventionist, and Clinical Case Manager for OPG. She has been a drug and alcohol counselor, case manager, interventionist, and sober companion for 28 years. She discovered personal recovery in her early twenties. Hallie works with a diverse set of clients and is passionate about helping others find their path in sobriety. She takes a client-centered approach to every case, fostering deep connections with her clients and their families, and investing herself fully in their success. As part of this approach, she meets clients at their current level of functioning and helps them to rediscover the joy of living a healthy and happy life. Through her many years of experience in recovery, Hallie models appropriate sober behavior and is a great power of example.
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 second-year student in the Clinical Psychology PsyD program at William James College and a clinical practicum student 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.
Maria Reid is the Director of Intake at OPG. She is often the first point of contact for persons seeking information and services from OPG. Maria evaluates needs of clients and provides assistance ranging from education about OPG and its services to arranging near-immediate action and logistics for new cases. She matches clients’ circumstances with the appropriate OPG services as to best support the clients’ journey toward wellness. Maria has a B.A. in English with a minor in psychology from Salem State and is currently enrolled in the Masters of Education program there. She is a former teacher and had previously been counseling families in the senior living industry for nearly 20 years. Maria enjoys traveling, rainy days, reading, and sewing.