Meet Our Team
Drew Horowitz, MA, LADC, LPCC
CEO and Addiction Specialist
Drew Horowitz brings a vast range of expertise working with and overseeing our clinical team. He gained a wealth of knowledge through his own recovery, extensive training, and a master’s level education from the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation’s Graduate School of Addiction Studies. Drew did his undergraduate degree at Hofstra University in NY, where he focused on psychology and human development. Most recently, Drew became an Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with the capability to diagnose and provide mental health treatment.
Within his decade plus of experience in the field, he has worked with a multitude of populations providing consultation, intervention, coaching, and counseling. Drew is most well known for his mastery in conducting clinical interventions. Over the past several years Drew has gained significant experience traveling the country and even internationally to assist individuals with accessing treatment. The intervention process, according to Drew, must be done with compassion, empathy and a strong understanding of the pain individuals are experiencing while active in addiction. Drew has assisted over 500 families with the intervention process. Primarily, focusing on young adult males and adolescents. Drew’s intervention and coaching style was shaped by a background and training in motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, and client-centered care.
Justin Scharr, LADC CDCC
Justin is a Licensed Alcohol & Drug Counselor, a BBHT Approved LADC Supervisor, and a Certified Co-Occurring Disorder Clinician. He has worked in the SUD treatment industry for 10 years as both a clinician and an administrator. Before joining Elite Recovery, he helped create, and served as the Program Director for Roots Recovery, an intensive outpatient program for adults, adolescents and families operated by Minnesota CarePartner. Prior to that, he spent time as a primary counselor, clinical supervisor, and/or treatment director for various adult and adolescent treatment programs across the metro area including Kindred Adolescent Recovery, Huss Center for Recovery, River Ridge and Omegon Residential.
Justin is passionate about building and growing dynamic recovery programs rooted in evidence-based, trauma-informed and person-centered care. His experience and expertise includes 245G treatment program operation and business development, telemedicine implementation, clinical supervision, and administration. He currently resides in South Minneapolis with his two rescue dogs, Boomer and Harley.
Marketing and Outreach Director
Kara obtained her bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 1991 from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. She spent over 20 years after college in account management roles, mainly in the information technology field. After entering a life of recovery, herself, Kara began using her experience to serve others still suffering from addiction. For the past six years, she has worked in residential and outpatient addiction facilities coordinating resources and collaborating with individuals to embark on a healthy journey in sobriety. She also works as a sober coach and companion to walk beside women who are beginning a life in recovery. Kara has 20-year old twins who are off to college. In her free time, you can find her in the woods either hiking or cross-country skiing.
Ava Drake, MA, LADC
Alcohol & Drug Counselor
Ava graduated high honors with her bachelor’s degree in alcohol and drug counseling from Metro State University in 2019 and has been working as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor in SUD treatment facilities ever since. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Social Work at Augsburg University. Ava has a passion for her work and tirelessly seeks social justice, equity, and fair, compassionate treatment for all.
Ava is from, and still lives in, Minneapolis with her 8-year-old son Kingston and his Guinea Pig, Mr. Piggy Smalls. When she gets free time she enjoys going for walks, spending time with her family, and dinner dates with her girlfriend.
Paul Gleich, BA, LADC
Paul graduated with a Bachelor of Art in Exercise Science from Concordia St. Paul and obtained a Graduate level certificate in Addiction Studies Through Winona State. Paul has spent his career working with men in a high intensity residential setting at River Ridge and Valley View Recovery Center. He enjoys helping others find solutions that allow them the opportunities to have a quality of life they feel is worth living. He does this through providing client care that allows everyone to get a personalized treatment experience based on building a therapeutic relationship and meeting each client where they feel they are at. Some of his hobbies are hiking with his dog, being on the lake, drag racing motorcycles and golfing.
Jalisa Glynn, LADC, CDCC
Alcohol & Drug Counselor
Jalisa graduated with her diploma in Addiction Counseling from Minneapolis College in May of 2020. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre from North Central University. Jalisa is currently enrolled at Saint Mary’s University to earn a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Psychological Services. Jalisa is eager to continue her education to better serve her clients.
Jalisa is passionate about serving each individual and facilitating a safe space where clients can grow and support one another. She believes in the power of community. Jalisa has a variety of experience working with people including: various child care positions, Personal Care Assistant with individuals with special needs, and Independent Living Skills Specialist working in mental health. Jalisa is of Native American decent and thrives to assist people that may seek to engage in their personal culture and heritage. Jalisa is passionate about meeting clients where they are in their personal journey and further assist them as they seek their own life fulfillment.
Nicole Friend, BS, LADC
Nicole graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Minnesota State University, Mankato and obtained a Graduate level certificate in Addiction Studies Through Winona State. Nicole has spent her career working with men in a intensive outpatient setting at River Ridge Treatment Center. Her previous employment included working in a co-occurring treatment facility with a specialization in trauma responsive care. She enjoys assisting clients in making positive changes in their lives. She does this by giving clients an opportunity to feel seen and heard while providing skills and knowledge to make lasting changes. Some of her hobbies include spending time with her dog, cooking, being on the water, and house projects.
Kelsey Gregg, MA, LADC
Kelsey is a Licensed Alcohol & Drug Counselor with a master’s degree in Addiction Counselor with a focus on Co-Occurring Disorders. Kelsey obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice from Hamline University and completed her MA at Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies. Before joining Elite Kelsey has had a variety of experience, working as a Mental health practitioner with River Ridge, primary counselor role on the women’s unit at Vinland National Center working with clients who struggle with Traumatic Brain Injury and addiction. Prior to that Kelsey worked at Hazelden Betty ford and Lino-Lakes correctional facility.
Kelsey is passionate about meeting clients where they are at and helping them find their passion for recovery. She’s passionate about normalizing recovery and helping clients find their “why” for recovery. Kelsey utilizes a person-centered approach to therapy with a focus in identifying their foundational values, challenging distortions and finding meaning in connection.
In her free time Kelsey enjoys spending time with her three cats, one dog and fiancé, watching documentaries, traveling anywhere and taking her dog and cat on a walk.
Hunter Hager, MA, LADC
Clinical Support Counselor
Hunter obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Minnesota State University of Moorhead and her master’s degree in Addiction Studies with a focus on co-occurring disorders from the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies. Hunter has extensive experience working with men, women, and adolescents as they work towards long-term sobriety. Prior to Joining Elite Recovery, Hunter worked as a mental health practitioner for NorthStar Regional working with adult men who struggle with co-occurring disorders. Prior to that, Hunter worked for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation as a counselor working with adolescents and their families. Hunter is currently pursuing to become a licensed professional clinical counselor to better serve the clients she works with.
Hunter is passionate about providing her clients encouragement, support, and insight. Hunter meets her clients where they are at by helping them actualize the change they are ready to make. By taking a person-centered approach, Hunter utilizes CBT, MI, and solution-focused techniques to aid in her clients identifying core beliefs, challenging cognitive distortions and behaviors, while increasing and maintaining motivation for change.
Outside of work, Hunter loves spending time with her husband, Sam. Hunter also loves spoiling their dog, Mister Frodo Baggins, and their cat, Oliver. She enjoys sitting around a fire with friends, hiking, watching Marvel movies, and traveling. Hunter also enjoys board games, cooking with her husband, and listening to music.
Choice Pickins Newstrom, ADC-T
Choice has a variety of experience working in the substance use treatment field. He has worked as a counselor with both women and men at Reflections in Stillwater and at Gateway Detox in Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. Choice also worked closely with men at The Recovery Academy and Drew Horowitz and Associates as an Addiction Specialist, Sober Coach and Mentor. He considers himself on a life-long learning quest, recently completing his Associates of Science degree in Addiction Counseling at Century College. Choice continues to grow his knowledge these days at Metropolitan State University. He enjoys music, nature and spending time with loved ones as well as being a volunteer at KFAI radio in Minneapolis.
Megan Boster, BS, LADC
Megan graduated with a Bachelor’s in Law Enforcement from Metropolitan State University in 2005. She worked for Scott County Community Corrections until she went back to school to earn her Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor license from Minneapolis Community and Technical College in 2014. She has worked as a chemical health assessor and intake clinician for most of her career and really enjoys working with clients at the beginning of their sobriety journey. Megan is also a certified Driving with Care instructor and has been instructing classes since 2015.
Megan enjoys spending time with her dog Leela and going for long walks with her. She also loves traveling, spending time with her family and cooking.
Natalia Kuzdzal, MA, LADC
Mobile Access Clinician
Natalia is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of MN-Twin Cities, as well as a master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology through Capella University. She has over a decade of experience working in the behavioral health field, working in a variety of roles such as an ARMHS Practitioner, MH Case Manager, Psychiatric Associate, and a Crisis Counselor.
Natalia has worked primarily in the hospital health care system with Allina Health, as well as M Health/Fairview. Natalia most recently worked as a primary counselor at M Health/Fairview Outpatient Programs, as well as being a chemical health assessor with Park Avenue Center. Natalia is extremely passionate about health and wellness, the strong connection between mind and body, and incorporates a holistic, client-centered approach. She enjoys taking the time to help clients understand their “why” for recovery, and to help them feel comfortable in their own skin.
In her free time, Natalia is a 200-hr Registered Yoga Teacher and teaches vinyasa and yoga sculpt with CorePower Yoga Studios throughout the metro area. She is very passionate about animal advocacy and takes time to offer free yoga classes through different animal rescue organizations to help them raise money. She loves to spend time outdoors, hiking and paddle boarding the lakes, going to concerts with friends, and adores her beautiful, sassy long-time pet cockatiel, Mika.
Nicki Zeidner, M.Ed, RDN, LD
Nicki is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with a Master’s degree in Health Promotion and Education from Vanderbilt University. Prior to joining the Elite Recovery Team in April 2021, Nicki was the Community Relations Specialist for Melrose Center. Utilizing her past experience as a dietitian for treatment programs, she supported the Melrose Eating Disorders and Substance Use Disorder (EDSUD) specialty program by providing nutrition education presentations for clients and trainings for staff at several local treatment programs.
Nicki skillfully helps individuals and groups translate the complex science of nutrition into understandable and relatable terms. With Nicki’s help, eating to support recovery is realistic and enjoyable!
Director of Human Resources
Samantha LeMieur is the Director of Human Resources. She has over 13 years of Human Resources experience in the healthcare field and in areas such as full employee life-cycle needs, organizational development, and HR Administration. She has worked with both nonprofit and for-profit organizations, most recently with Associated Clinic of Psychology as their Human Resources Supervisor. Samantha has a strong passion for helping others and supporting colleagues to succeed. In her free time, Samantha loves spending time with her family, traveling, and spending time outdoors.
Program Support Specialist
Michelle joined our team bringing over 10 years of experience working in the chemical dependency field. She was previously with Meridian Behavioral Health as their lead intake coordinator. Michelle worked primarily in the women’s residential program where she worked directly with referents, patients, families, funders, etc. to assist in accessing the care they need as quickly as possible. During her time in the field she has built a network of resources and relationships that are ongoing. Michelle has passion and a deep understanding of chemical dependency and mental health. Aside from the years of experience and all she has gathered, what drives Michelle is her heart and dedication to see others succeed.
In her free time, Michelle enjoys spending time with her husband, 3 daughters and variety of pets. She is an animal lover. They enjoy traveling, attending the Indy 500, camping and plans on taking up golf this summer…FORE!
Peer Support Specialist
Philip Carroll is a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist who has been working in the recovery field since 2016. He has worked at two inpatient facilities as a chemical dependency technician and most recently he was the Family Liaison, Case Manager, and Medication Manager at The Recovery Academy in Saint Paul. With the guidance of a 12 Step Fellowship and enthusiasm for service work, Phil has enjoyed continuous recovery since 2012.
Not only is Phil passionate about his own recovery, he also is excited about sharing his experience with newcomers to the world of recovery. He helps them see how much fun can be had without substances. Being a self-proclaimed nerd, Phil likes to spend his free time tabletop gaming with his friends in recovery. He currently resides in the Greater East Side of St. Paul with his girlfriend and their Siamese cat named Smudge and their Shiba-Inu named Rowan.
Elite Recovery News
Get Started Today
Elite Recovery is a safe place to find your individual journey while surrounded by people who understand. We believe in recovery and we believe in healing. We believe in you!