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Green Hills with Blue Sky

Meet the Founder, Board of Directors, and General Counsel

Ana M. Gopoian, Founder/Executive Director

Ana M. Gopoian has lived in Connecticut all her life, growing up on the Westside of Wallingford in the Yalesville section of town. She is one of four children that had many benefits in life because of the diverse backgrounds of her grandparents. Ana had gone astray at a young age which took her down a path that was not conducive to meeting healthy social norms in life. Despite her misguided experiences and adversities, she is now enjoying success in many areas. It’s been over 20 years now that Ana has identified herself as a woman in long term recovery, which means she has not used any mood or mind altering substances, including alcohol, since July 13, 1995. At the age of 42 Ana started college and education drives her passions and purpose.

She is a believer that success can’t be achieved alone, and she strives for win-win outcomes. Ana’s strong networks have aided her with helping many people. By remaining humble and open to opportunities while learning about the disease of addiction, she will remain an asset in this profession.

After 26 years in a corporate career on off shift, Ana has transitioned all her energies into continuing her education and working on the new nonprofit TriCircle, Inc. (TCI). She has ruminated on the nature of TCI’s existence for almost 3 years, but on January 1, 2016, a 2-year plan was mapped out. Ana believes this plan will fulfill her lifetime purpose to serve.

TriCircle, Inc. has been created to break the cycle of recidivism that exists in the current system of addiction recovery. We look to release and fulfill our vision in a 3Phase process. TriCircle, Inc. has been creating visibility sponsoring Information and Resource Events with Naloxone Trainings and 4 successful Hope & Support Groups. Our first location is being forecasted to open by the end of 2017 centrally located in CT. Our clients will have what it takes to build strong futures in long-term recovery, tools that will heal, inspire, and educate.

Ana's recovery story was recently featured as part of the "I Am Not Anonymous" project. Read more here: http://www.iamnotanonymous.org/ana


BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Barry Gordon, LMFT, Cht.,
Board President

Barry was born and raised in Southington CT. He has been married to Phylis for the past 32 years and they have been Wallingford residents for 30 of those years. When they first moved to Wallingford, they were blessed to have a son that was one of the most amazing human beings either of them had ever met. His name was Ryan.

At the time of his birth and for the first 7 years of his life, the battle to keep Ryan alive through many surgeries and medical procedures made life scary and very challenging for all three of them. Ryan’s attitude and love of life through all of it made Ryan an inspiration to both of his parents. These challenges and Ryan’s death at the premature age of 19 rerouted their lives and led them both down a path of healing and helping others to overcome the greatest challenges in their lives.

Barry’s path has led him to learn several modalities, energy healing, hypnotherapy, gestalt therapy, bioenergetics, couples therapy, family therapy, and family constellations.  Barry earned his undergraduate degree at UConn, graduated from a 3 year program at the Institute of Healing Arts and Sciences, earned his Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy at SCSU, and graduated from The Family Constellations Institute.

Barry and Phyllis share a practice in Wallingford.  They also continue Ryan’s charitable ways through fund raising for Cystic Fibrosis, Yale’s Cancer Tissue Bank, Kingswood Oxford’s Team Tobati trip, and the Hartford Wolf Pack Community Foundation.

Frank J Chovitz, MS, LADC, CADC,
Board Vice-President Elect

Frank is a Masters level Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor who is currently the Owner of Creative Counseling Center, LLC, located in Cheshire, Connecticut. He has worked in the Addictions field, both for profit and private non-profits since 1991. Frank began his career working with the homeless population at the Eddy Shelter in Middletown, then went on to work in the Clayton Halfway House for a year before being on the first staff to run South Central Rehabilitation Center, the first free standing detoxification center in the state. Following his work at SCRC, Frank began his counseling phase of his career working with the opiate dependent population at Connecticut Counseling Center for the next 8 years. Frank gained a lot of experience working with this population and the use of Methadone and Suboxone both hered and at Community Substance Abuse Centers and Maas where he was the Program Director, before making the decision to work with the non-chemically supported populations at Family Services in New Britain, coordinating IOP Programs in Guilford and then Hamden Connecticut. Additional experience comes from his work at the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services as a Program Evaluator in Region 5 for over a year and a half.

Frank brings both his personal experience with recovery and his clinical and supervisory skills to the treatment of his current clients in his Private Practice. The practice has served Cheshire and the surrounding towns, including Meriden, Wallingford, Waterbury, Hamden and New Haven for the past 9 years, and is going strong. Frank’s transparency and dedication to serving his clients has proved to be both successful and rewarding. Additionally, Frank includes the families and loved ones in the Treatment Plan which always proves to be invaluable in educating them on how they can support and also get the right help for themselves to get through these difficult times.

Frank has been married for 23 years to his wife Nancy and they have lived in Wallingford all of those years with their daughters Heather and Sarah who are now both in college.

Karen Corriveau, Board Treasurer

Karen brings 30 years of finance experience to TriCircle, Inc. For 25 years, she has owned and operated her bookkeeping business. Her clients range from family owned small businesses to multi-million dollar corporations. She works with her clients from startup through closing. Her wide range of finance knowledge in pension plans, insurance, stocks and other business necessities, keeps her client retention rate at 95%. Prior to opening her business, she held several positions in the banking industry. Karen also served as a board member on her local football boosters in various capacities for over 6 years when her children were in school. She has also been a volunteer throughout her life. As a mom of four children ranging in age from 24-33, Karen has lived the unfortunate experiences that happen with substance use disorder. She had an extremely difficult time finding a treatment facility that treated the substance use disorder AND provide her child with the tools to build a great future.

Tad Varas, Board Secretary

Tad Varas, is a resident of Norwich, CT that graduated from Norwich Free Academy in 2006. He is currently enrolled at Manchester Community College in the DARC Program after transferring from Three Rivers where he took all his General Ed requirements. Tad Varar is a young man in long term recovery, and for him that means he hasn’t used any mood or mind-altering drugs, including alcohol, since January 24th, 2014. His main goal in life is to acquire an education in Drug and Alcohol Counseling so he can help those who still suffer with substance use disorders. He is very committed to a 12 Step Fellowship where he gives back in a variety of ways to the service structure. Service to him is a privilege at any level, no matter if it’s group level, area, or regional level, including Public Relations. Despite his past adversities, the choices he now has in his personal life will assist his in creating an amazing career. It’s not about making money for Tad as much as it is about living and working toward his passion and purpose to supporting lifesaving changes for those seeking recovery. Tad is also the proud father of an 18 month of boy named Ryker, he is his pride and joy.

Dr. Teo-Carlo Straun, Board Member

Dr. Teo-Carlo Straun's professional passion rests in connecting with patients and communities to maximize individuals’ mental health and wellness. Dr. Straun firmly believes that the promotion of mental health and the integration of physical and mental wellness are important factors in determining one’s quality of life. His primary modes of service include psychiatric evaluation, a complementary style of psychotherapy, medical management of individuals suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders.

As an experienced Board Certified Psychiatrist and graduate of Yale School of Medicine specializing in Addiction Psychiatry, he is currently serving a broad spectrum of patients in numerous capacities. Among his areas of expertise are 12-Step facilitation, motivational enhancement therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, auricular acupuncture and other holistic models of recovery

Dr. Straun is a dedicated medical professional with a wide-ranging skill-set suitable for individuals seeking anything from general care to state-of-the-art, evidence based treatment. Focused on patient-centered service, Dr. Straun is committed to providing individualized, comprehensive treatment plans that address physical, mental and spiritual needs. He believes that the optimal way to provide excellent care is by meeting patients where they are; and through focused treatment and attention empowering them to find hope and experience joy. Dr. Straun provides services and maintains private practices in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Ray Demers, Board Member

Ray Demers is the parent of a recovering addict and looks forward to helping others fight drug addiction and getting them started on a journey to a better life. He is currently the president and owner of New Life Homes LLC which takes dilapidated homes and brings them back to life. He previously worked as a Marketing Director for AT&T responsible for the development and profitability of business services. Ray has an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and BS in Electrical Engineering/Computer Science from the University of New Haven. Ray is married with three children and in his spare time likes to volunteer at the local food bank, serve on the church council, and play guitar at church functions.

Daniel Vill, PE, Board Member

Dan is an Eagle Scout and newly licensed Civil Engineer working in central Connecticut. He brings with him many skills of a younger demographic. Dan joined the Board in May, 2017 and looks forward to assisting with events and operations as well as overseeing the Communications Advisory Board.

Thomas Harvey, Board Member

Tom has been involved in the recovery community for over 30 years. His career started working at Gaylord Hospital in their Recovery Treatment Unit. He has worked in many different homeless shelters and provided diverse communities with needle exchange. Tom has offered people the opportunity to get into treatment and provided transportation to get them there when needed. Mr. Harvey has a long history of developing programs for people with substance use disorders and cooccurring mental health disorders. He developed the outreach program for the Bridgeport Health Department HIV Unit and has been instrumental in opening multiple detox centers throughout the years including Gunster and SCRC. The last 10 years Tom has worked with various visiting nurse agencies to develop programs for HIV, mental health, and substance use disorder patients. Tom, and his wife Sue, have adopted two children nine years ago, and his last two years have been kept exceptionally busy as the primary care for his son and daughter.

 

John F. Mezzanotte, General Counsel

Mezzanotte Law Firm
256 N Main Street
Wallingford, CT 06492
(203) 269-1426