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.
Director of Marketing and Business Development
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.
Director of Admissions
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!
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.
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.
Heather Kranz, LADC
Heather graduated from Colorado State University in 1997 with a major in physiology and an emphasis in Cardiac Rehabilitation. After a family tragedy, Heather shifted her career path and earned her LADC in 2008 after attending Metro State. For the last 5 years, Heather worked at New Beginnings in several roles including Clinical Supervisor.
Heather has many years working with diverse populations, with her strength being working with women with both mental and chemical health concerns, in a trauma informed manner. Heather wholeheartedly believes that every Woman holds her own answers, they just may need help finding them. Heather hopes that by working side by side with a woman, she can begin to tap into her true potential and start to live a better, healthier lifestyle. Heather is also a certified parenting instructor.
Heather has been married to her husband for 25 years and they have 2 children and a goofy dog named River. She enjoys spending time in Eagle River Wisconsin with family, and admits to being a reality TV fanatic.
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.
Anna Dalton, MPS, LADC
Anna is a Licensed Alcohol & Drug Counselor with a master’s degree in Professional Studies from the University of Minnesota Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH) program. She is presently completing clinical supervision to obtain her Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) by early 2023. Before joining Elite Recovery, Anna has primarily worked and interned with individuals identifying as male at Huss Center for Recovery in both the residential and outpatient program, Restoration Counseling & Community Services (RCCS), and the Minnesota Department of Corrections – Stillwater.
Anna enjoys providing individualized, Person-Centered Care to every client to encourage their independence and autonomy with hopes of improving their quality of life. She also finds value in exploring The Self to assist with increasing self-awareness both internally and externally.
In her free time, she enjoys spending time with loved ones, traveling, and trying new restaurants.
Ava Drake, MA, LADC
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.
Jalisa Glynn, LADC, CDCC
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.
Taharah Hovey, LADC
Taharah graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Alcohol and Drug Studies and a Minor in Psychology from Minnesota State University Mankato. She started her career working in the all-women’s treatment program at Wellcome Manor as a Client Manager. The last three years she worked at the co-ed high intensity treatment program at Beauterre Recovery Institute as a primary counselor. Taharah finds great purpose in her life by assisting individuals in understanding their substance use and mental health. She is driven to help individuals who are searching for healing, hope, and purpose. She values a holistic approach to recovery and is compassionate with her patients by using motivational interviewing and person-centered care.
She loves outdoor activities, traveling and exploring new places, embroidery, fashion, exercising, yoga, and spending time with her family and friends.
Christopher Larson, AS, ADC-T
Christopher, who’s pronouns are he/him/his, graduated with honors from the Addiction Counseling Program at Minneapolis College, formally Minneapolis Community and Technical College, in 2019. Since completing his Associates Degree, Christopher has worked as a full-time counselor in the IOP setting, while continuing to pursue his bachelor’s degree with Metropolitan State University. Working extensively with a diverse population of individuals, including LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, and individuals involved with CPS, Drug Court, and probation/parole involvement.
He believes in the value of a client’s recovery narrative and the ability it has for a client to live their authentic self while reducing stigma, which for many is a barrier for recovery. Christopher provides a client centered and holistic approach with group and individual counseling, encouraging self-efficacy, structure, and accountability with clients.
Christopher is planning on pursuing a master’s degree in Couples and Family Counseling while also becoming certified in Sexual Health and Intimacy Counseling.
Christine Lindholm, MSE, LADC
Christine is a Licensed Alcohol & Drug Counselor with a bachelor’s degree in Communication as well as a master’s degree in Counseling. Prior to entering the field of addiction, she worked in mortgage lending as a loan officer and in vocational rehabilitation as a medical case manager and vocational specialist. After beginning her own path of recovery, she went on to earn her certificate in alcohol and drug counseling and is currently working on her licensure to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. Before joining Elite, Christine gained experience in co-ed outpatient treatment and women’s residential treatment facilities.
Christine is passionate about assisting individuals in their recovery from a person-centered individualized approach. She provides clients with compassionate and personalized care in helping them to identify their own worth and skills, while challenging their maladaptive thoughts and behaviors. Christine works from a trauma-informed and open-minded lens and is committed to guiding clients to make positive changes needed for their on-going recovery.
In her free time, Christine enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and her mini-dachshund, June.
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.
Lulu Sveen, LSW
Lulu is a licensed social worker who received her Bachelor’s degree from Saint Catherine’s University in Saint Paul in 2018. She previously worked in the recovery field with Meridian Behavioral Health as both a program assistant and program coordinator. In these roles, Lulu gained her skills in case management and building relationships with referral partners. Lulu enjoys working on a team and collaborating with others.
Lulu found her inspiration for the recovery field through her own journey in long term recovery. Recovery has given her all the things she has in her life today. Lulu has hopes that everyone who finds recovery – whatever that means for them – can find true happiness and peace for themselves.
In her free time, Lulu is a new mom to her son who is nicknamed little man. She enjoys goofing around with him and going for walks with their dog Gertrude Eloise the Pug. Music is a huge inspiration for Lulu and her form of expression. She enjoys going to shows to hear new bands as well as talking about new music.
Elise Melancon, BA, LADC
Elise is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor who graduated from Century College with an Associates of Science degree in Addiction Counseling and continued her education at Bethel University where she graduated with honors with a degree in Human Services. Elise previously worked at a high intensity residential program doing intakes, assessments, and has been in an assessor role for most of her career. Elise enjoys helping clients take the first steps in their recovery and meeting them where they are.
In her free time, Elise enjoys spending her time on the water and traveling.
Annie Russell, LADC
Annie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Human services from Saint Mary’s University in 2009 and obtained licensure as a drug and alcohol counselor from Metropolitan State University in 2013. Annie has spent most of her career working as an intake and assessor clinician with a diverse population including seniors and those impacted by the criminal justice system. She has enjoyed assisting clients as they work towards recovery.
When Annie isn’t working, she enjoys stating active, spending time with family, reading and traveling.
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!
Philip Carroll, CPRS
Peer Recovery 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.
Linda Towle, CPRS
Peer Recovery Support Specialist
Bio Coming Soon!
Administrative Support Specialist
Bio Coming Soon!
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