LEADERSHIP & STAFF
We work to demonstrate the power and promise of Recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, and the value Recovery provides to individuals, families, and entire communities throughout New York State.
Angelia has centered her career around improving treatment outcomes for those in recovery, as well as exploring research designed at substance use counselor development. Her doctoral dissertation, entitled, “Examining the Relationship between the Substance Abuse Counselor Knowledge of the Models of Disability and their self-assessment of cultural competence working with the Deaf Sign Language User,” afforded her the opportunity to learn and study addictions from the counselor’s perspective.
Dr. Smith-Wilson has a B.S. in Psychology from SUNY Brockport, Master of Social Work from Roberts Wesleyan College and a Doctorate in Education from St. John Fisher College. Dr. Smith-Wilson is adjunct faculty at the School of Social Welfare, Graduate MSW Program, University of Albany, where she teaches Macro Practice Social Work.
Dr. Smith-Wilson comes to us from her most recent position as the Assistant Director of Local Program Operations at the New York State Office for the Aging, within the Local Programs Division.
Christopher is no stranger to advocacy, having developed and planned advocacy campaigns for a local nonprofit based in Albany where he was Program Manager prior to his work in the NYS Legislature. As Program Manager, he founded and led a steering committee which helped foster advocacy while promoting empowerment for individuals with disabilities. He was responsible for all advocacy efforts and planned many advocacy events, including lobby days at the capitol.
Advocating for recovery efforts is not only extremely important to Christopher, but it is personal. Christopher is in long term recovery and credits a wonderful support system and access to resources as critical to his recovery. Personally, he is a graduate of the University at Albany, loves his dogs, is an avid hiker and weather watcher. He is honored to be part of the effort to make sure that everyone has access to recovery in their own way.
Jennifer is graduate of SUNY Ulster with an A.S. in Liberal Arts & Science with a Certificate in Sign Language Interpreting and an A.A.S. in Human Services with a Certificate in Direct Care Practice. She also earned her BSW and MSW through University at Albany.
Jennifer is passionate about exploring intersectional identities and the unique experiences of the recovery community. In her personal time, Jennifer is a supporter of the art of drag and affectionately has two cats named Coco Peru and Sashay.
Ms. West began her educational advancement on the campus of Virginia Union University, located in Richmond, Virginia and has worked in Public Administration for over 22 years. She has held several positions in city, state, and local government such as: Administrative Assistant to late Chair of the New York State Assembly Ways and Means Committee, the Honorable Herman “Denny” Farrell, Jr.; Payroll and Accounts Payable Administrator and Personnel Assistant for the City of Albany. Most recently, Ms. West served as the Assistant Director of Human Resources for the City School District of Albany and was responsible for overseeing benefits administration for over 1800 employees, FMLA, workers’ compensation, civil service, contract negotiations, recruitment, teacher certifications, and employee trainings.
Ms. West is an active member of the community and has served in various capacities. In January 2016, she was appointed to the Diversity Council for the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York. She has volunteered with Equinox for over 20 years; tutored elementary and middle school children; helped build homes with Capital District Habitat for Humanity; and facilitated workshops for teens on etiquette, police contact, and conflict resolution. Most notably, Ms. West was elected city-wide to serve a five-year term as Albany Public Library Board Trustee for the City of Albany, NY in June 2022.
Ms. West fundamentally believes “It is important to lead by example and not be afraid to share your mistakes with others. We learn from our mistakes. If I can help someone by sharing my failures and missteps; then I have done a good service.” She also believes “It is better not to make a vow, than to make a vow and break it.” If she makes a commitment to do something, it gets done!
Ms. West is the proud mother of two sons, Bakari and Amir.
For the last 10 years Melissa has been working in the nonprofit sector on a variety of social issues within her local community, statewide and nationally. In her time working in the field, she has developed a deep understanding of community organizing, volunteer leadership development, communications, and public policy.
Personally, Melissa is a homeowner, pet lover and reputable member of the local recovery community. In her free time, she enjoys yin & kundalini yoga, indoor spin class, power lifting and sharing meals with her loved ones. Artistically she’s tapping into creativity in photography. Outdoor activities are her favorite, but her heart belongs to the top of a snowy mountain in the middle of winter.
Youth Voices Matter + New York Team
His educational background highlights Ashton earning his Bachelor’s degree in Social work at Slippery Rock University, then his Master’s degree in Social Work with a MACRO concentration at University at Albany. Along the way, Ashton has earned certifications in Psychological First Aid, Human Services Management, and is a provisional Certified Recovery Peer Advocate.
In his professional career, Ashton has held multiple positions working with a wide range of populations including youth, the elderly, people experiencing addiction and people in recovery, people living with Alzheimer’s, and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, all of whom include those who have the lived experience ranging across all gender, sexuality, racial, ethnic, and religious identities.
Ashton is a firm believer in being of service to the community around him. He holds multiple service positions through his recovery program, volunteers in the community, and serves as a volunteer youth mentor for trans-identifying young people in the Capital Region.
Alumni Association of New York State
Ms. Gordon has extensively traveled in relation to professional addiction recovery service in Thailand, Indonesia, Switzerland, Poland, Canada, and Peru. Ms. Gordon is a graduate of Harvard College, Bank Street College of Education and has graduate course work at New York University, Oxford University and Columbia University Business School. Ms. Gordon is a mother of three sons. She sponsors women internationally and is an ally of the LGBTQ community.