Leadership

Staff

Jason Howell

Founder and Executive Director
Jason Howell is a person in long-term recovery from mental health and substance use issues. He has an MBA from Texas A&M University and is a Peer Recovery Specialist and state approved trainer. In addition to being the Executive Director of RecoveryPeople, Jason is a founding member and former Board President of the National Alliance for Recovery Residences. Jason currently serves on the Texas Behavioral Health Advisory Committee and it's Block Grant, Policy and Ad Hoc Housing Subcommittees. In addition, he chairs the National Recovery Month Planning Partner's Evaluation Committee and SAMHSA BRSS TACS Steering Committee.

Merlissa Alfred

Director of Operations
Merlissa joined RecoveryPeople in 2015. Prior, she spent 13 years working in human resources and higher education administration. Merlissa holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism and a Master's in Business Administration. From a recovery support service perspective, Merlissa has a background in recovery housing and is a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist.

Board of Directors

Sandra Eames, Ed. D.

Board President
Sandra Eames is a consultant, evaluator, professor, counselor, grant writer and has worked in the field of substance abuse for over 20 years. She currently works as an Adjunct Faculty Professor at Austin Community College and as a consultant for Behavioral Health Solutions of South Texas and SoberHood Austin. She has been a peer grant reviewer for SAMHSA, external evaluator for the Travis County Coalition for a Safe and Drug Free Community, past Chair of the Austin/Travis County Reentry Roundtable and past Clinical Director of Austin Recovery. She holds a doctorate in curriculum and instruction with a minor in counselor education.

Marsha Robinson

Board Vice President
Marsha Robinson is a Marketing Consultant specializing in Addiction Recovery based in Austin, Texas. In the past ten years, she has done the initial start-up marketing for six treatment facilities in the Austin area and worked with numerous organizations assisting with branding, restructuring and expansion. Marsha has extensive industry contacts, participates on three recovery non-profit boards, and maintains a 53-page community service website, SoberAustin.com.

Kimberly Allen

Board Secretary
As Founder and President of Big Blue Eye Consulting, LLC, Kimberly Allen helps behavioral health, peer-led, and recovery organizations to develop and implement strategies designed to maximize business opportunities, through forming and building strategic partnerships with managed care organizations, employee assistance programs and other strategic relationships.

Gail Zorne

Fundraising Committee Chair
As a mother, Gail witnessed the devastating effects of addiction and the miraculous healing of recovery for her son as well as for herself and family. This lead her to make a career change from being an executive in the banking and wealth management industry to providing business leadership in the addiction treatment and recovery support service industry. In addition to serving on the RecoveryPeople Board, Gail volunteers for several other nonprofits.

Craig Crisler, MBA

Board Treasure
Craig has over 20 years in marketing and operations management experience ranging from high tech start-ups to education to construction. After working in Silicon Valley in marketing and operations management, he spent many years working in Japan and the Pacific/Asia region including three successful exits for startup companies. His current work at SupportNinja as Client Services Director is to support clients, specifically start-ups, in a successful business process outsourcing. His focus and career draw upon a novel approach to technology integration from the point of view of a "digital immigrant" educator/innovator/thought leader while having the sophistication of an operational/fiscal manager. In addition, his non-profit board membership ranges from healthcare to education, focusing on "direct impact" to the populations to be impacted with fiscal responsibility and strategic planning. This includes consulting work with non-profits around financial diversification strategies and board management.