Our Story & Our Team

Steve and Diahann understand that they are only as good as their team and that there is no substitute for experience. In turn, they have worked hard to acquire the most talented, seasoned and passionate treatment professionals in the field. They are immensely proud of the La Ventana multi-disciplinary treatment team which consists of some of the most dedicated, compassionate and highly trained treatment professionals, perfectly poised to treat those struggling with mental health, chemical dependency and co-occurring issues. The client-to-staff ratio is low so as to be able to offer depth of personal connection, individualized support, and accountability at every step. The staff are a close knit team in constant communication, hypervigilant about each client’s unique needs upon admission, throughout their stay, and after they launch back into life. The staff understand the clinical interventions and overall care required for a successful treatment experience as well as the aftercare planning necessary to be able to sustain long-term recovery. Once a client admits, they genuinely become part of the La Ventana family and staff will do everything in their power to not let their family member fall. 

Steve Zamarripa, MBA

Chairman of the Board

Steve’s Story: Born and raised in Southern California, Steve earned his BA from USC and his MBA from Columbia University. Steve had launched, grown and sold several highly successful businesses over the years and began to realize what he thought was the American dream – independence and abundance amidst an early retirement. Once that dream materialized Steve became increasingly aware of a profound emptiness and felt something essential in his life was missing. He craved a life of more substance, where he could give back and make a difference, and so began his journey inward in search of meaning and connection.

During his self-reflection, Steve began to gain insight into the profound impact his family of origin experiences had had on his development and, in turn, his ability to have meaningful connections with others. The lives of his father, grandfather and uncles were fraught with alcoholism and addiction and his mother had suffered an eating disorder which contributed to her early death. With his primary caregivers living in the grips of addiction and an eating disorder, Steve was left to fend for himself in a household full of fear and dysfunction. As an adult, despite his best efforts to change the intergenerational patterns of dysfunction that he experienced, Steve saw his own familial relationships continue to suffer. In 2007 Steve had a spiritual awakening when he realized he had been living only as a survivor. This realization in conjunction with inspiration from his personal experiences manifested a desire to create a place to help, a peaceful place for people to heal. La Ventana Treatment Programs became that place: a home for professionals deeply invested in the recovery process, and a place for those suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues to find help and long-term recovery. La Ventana is held up by a stellar staff that carries the same passion for recovery and service that Steve does. With the birth of La Ventana Treatment Programs, Steve has found a way to give back to the world, fulfilling his passion to help others live long and prosperous lives.

Diahann Klein, MA, LMFT

Chief Executive Officer

Diahann’s Story: Diahann grew up in New York, the daughter of a union president and high school math and chemistry teachers, within a household that respected academic achievement and social and political activism. Working hard to live up to what she interpreted as the highest of her familial and societal standards, she catapulted forward daily in a relentless pursuit of perfectionism and accomplishment. Diahann graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Political Science and Music from Middlebury College in Vermont, and she studied at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the London School of Economics and Political Science. She went on to pursue careers in politics, real estate, and entertainment in NYC and Los Angeles. She found financial success and her life on paper appeared to be one of abundance. Simultaneously, she was desperately attempting to navigate a progressively debilitating eating disorder with secrecy and shame. She was using anything she could consume in an attempt to fill a void for which there would never be enough. Eventually she ended up in treatment, catapulted into a journey inward. Her ensuing life in recovery led her to get an MA in Psychology from Antioch University and to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Thereafter, she became immersed in the substance abuse and mental health treatment worlds. Diahann offers a unique combination of extensive clinical and executive experience along with a personal connection to recovery in all aspects of her leadership. At the helm of the La Ventana team, she is the face of the company externally, and internally inspires and empowers staff at all locations, while coordinating effective and client-focused care.

Diahann says, “Witnessing and facilitating the healing process is what drives, inspires, and sustains (her) in every aspect of (her) day-to-day work.”

Her plans for La Ventana’s growth and expansion have been in alignment with her profound understanding of the complexities of addiction and mental health, supporting her commitment to comprehensive care and further advancement of ethical practices and professional standards.

Diahann also serves the greater addiction and mental health communities at large in various advocacy, advisory, and Board positions. She is an active member of International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (iaedp), and is immediate Past President of the Los Angeles Chapter. She held a board position on the Women’s Association of Addiction Treatment (WAAT), San Fernando Valley Chapter, and is also a member of the California Association of Marriage & Family Therapists (CAMFT) and the Academy of Eating Disorders (AED). In her various Board positions, she has developed addiction and mental health educational workshops, intervention and awareness campaigns, and high-level professional training for practitioners.

“There is hope. There is help. This is the message I want clients to hear. Our team has a profound understanding of the recovery experience which allows them to deeply hold space between themselves and the client. It is in this very space where clients gain trust and change manifests.”–Diahann Klein, CEO

Kristi Kettle

Director of Clinical Outreach

Other than the people I love and my precious pups (Chips and Oz), there is nothing more important to me than recovery, my recovery and the recovery of those in need. As a teenager, before I had even reached the legal drinking age I became a resident at the newly opened Betty Ford treatment program in Rancho Mirage. This experience changed my life forever. My newly found life in sobriety brought a smile to my face and gave me a twinkle in my eye. It gave me love in my heart and I  found myself repeatedly discovering that all things were possible. However, while my life was full and I was in the throes of a successful career, it was in 2009 when I realized something was missing. I wanted and needed a more meaningful career path, one that filled my heart and soul; however, I had no idea what that looked like. It seemed that it was time to do a little soul searching. After months of prayer and meditation, I attended a Memorial Day party at a friend’s house and spent the better part of the afternoon talking to her 20-year-old daughter about treatment and sobriety. As I walked away from that discussion, I had an epiphany. The thing I am most passionate about is helping people who are struggling with addiction to find and get the help they need. Again, I didn’t know how that translated into a career; I just knew there was something there. A couple of weeks later, I came across an admissions position at a young adult treatment center. That was 5 years ago. I have been in the field of recovery ever since. My heart has never been so full. Nothing is more fulfilling to me than connecting families and those fraught with addiction with the resources they need.  My position at La Ventana not only allows me to introduce our program to families and those seeking help for themselves, but it also gives me the ability to present our services to countless professionals, facilities and institutions who have direct contact with so many who are in need. La Ventana has given me the platform to reach more people than I ever imagined.
Prior to joining La Ventana, I was employed at Sober College, a young adult rehabilitation program. During this time, I had the opportunity to collaborate with La Ventana on many occasions. Since we shared many clients I saw firsthand the treatment and level of care La Ventana’s team provided our clients. Through these experiences, La Ventana earned my deepest respect and trust. Over the course of the last 5 years, I fell in love with the entire LV leadership and clinical teams and they became my extended family. When Sober College opted to close their doors, my LV extended family reached out to let me know that I had a home at LV if I wanted it. How could I say no? Not only do I work with people I adore, but I am also blessed with doing that which brings me tremendous joy!

BUFFY SCHLESINGER

OUTREACH MANAGER

With over 20 years of experience in sales and marketing, Buffy is excited to be a part of the La Ventana family!  Buffy’s career has always been about connecting with people – getting to the true human layer that connects us all.  She began her career in outplacement consulting, working with folks who were transitioning between careers and needed a lot of extra TLC and encouragement.  She then landed in pharmaceutical sales where she got to bring her love of helping others into the medical arena.  By way of educating physicians, nurses and their medical staff about the pharmaceutical regimens she had the honor of representing, she was able to make an impact in patients’ lives.

After almost a decade, she then continued her career in medical sales on a much smaller scale, working on various projects in different arenas:  audiology, Durable Medical Equipment, and mental health programs.  Once again, she was able to use her real love of people and the differences we all have to connect and make a difference for patients.

Most recently, Buffy went through her own personal journey and change and discovered the magic of bikram yoga and meditation.  She saw how powerful it could be to be present, turn inward, and face her own issues and manage them head-on instead of turning away from them.  This awareness combined with her genuine love for people and connection is what makes Buffy an integral part of our team.

Carol Kiriakos, M.D

Director of CD Programs

A board certified psychiatrist with over a decade of experience, Dr. Carol Kiriakos is best known to her clients as, “Dr. K.” A warm, passionate, and approachable expert in the field of recovery in various aspects, Dr. Kiriakos comes from a long line of “shrinks.” Her family legacy runs deep in Los Angeles. Her Father is a psychoanalyst, addiction specialist, geriatric specialist and also works with the eating disorder population. Her brother is a cognitive behavioral specialist and works primarily in helping people work through their phobias and anxieties. With this lineage, it is not surprising that Dr. K believes that client-centered work within a multidisciplinary team helps people and benefits the community.

Dr. Kiriakos’ passion lies in working with individuals who struggle with disordered eating, eating disorders, and addiction. She is regarded as a psychiatric expert in addiction, eating disorders, and dual diagnosis in the Los Angeles area and has held roles as Medical Director and Psychiatrist roles within the field. Dr. Kiriakos completed her B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and went on to earn her M.D. at the Pennsylvania State College of Medicine.

Prior to entering the field of psychiatry, Dr. Kiriakos worked as a Physician Utilization Reviewer for 30 insurance companies throughout the U.S. for 5 years. In her work, she made determinations regarding medical necessity on behalf of insurance companies using approved clinical criteria. Her clinical opinion was sought regarding levels of care, frequency of services, types of care and other modalities of treatment.

In addition to her work in day treatment centers for eating disorders and substance abuse, she has held a private practice psychiatrist in Beverly Hills for over 10 years doing both medication management and therapy covering a wide ranges of diagnoses: addiction, depression, Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, generalized anxiety, Panic Disorder, ADHD, women’s health issues and eating disorders.

Rick Campa, M.D.

Medical Director

Rick S. Campa, M.D., is a graduate of Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia, PA. He trained in family medicine and served as chief resident at the Reading Hospital in Reading, PA. Dr. Campa has been practicing since 2013 in the field of family and addiction medicine. His practice specializes in the detox from chemical dependencies and care of eating disorders. Dr. Campa received the Exceptional Teacher Award and Exceptional Role Model Award during his year as chief resident at the Reading Hospital. He is board certified in family medicine and is a licensed physician in the state of CA.

Gwendolyn Casella

Director of Detoxification and Chemical Dependency Programs

“If I can make a difference in one person’s life, restore hope to an addict’s heart, my job is done. One person can make a profound difference.”

After Gwendolyn got clean and sober in 1997, she worked at Cri-Help, Inc. for over a decade in a variety of direct care and administrative roles while attending Drug and Alcohol Studies at Pierce and Mission Colleges. Since 2002, Gwen has been tied to the recovery community through her considerable experience as a sober coach and by conducting “extreme interventions” (defined as “recovery by any means necessary”). She has her own business, Recovery Services Unlimited LLC and, notably, was featured on A&E’s “Relapse, the Sober Coach Chronicles.”

Identifying integrity as the underpinning of her approach, Gwen considers herself very lucky to be trained by some amazing mentors for whom she has always had a tremendous respect.

Having worked at several treatment facilities, Gwen now passionately devotes all of her professional efforts to her role as Detox Program Coordinator at La Ventana. She believes she was meant to do this work and loves doing it. When Gwen is not working, she enjoys spending time with her family and singing her heart out.

Christine Kelly

Residential Detoxification Manager

“One of the most rewarding things about my career choice in drug and alcohol treatment is the fact that I am able to see tangible results in our clients. Detox is only the beginning of an alcoholic or addict’s journey to recovery, but working at this integral stage of development provides me the opportunity to witness the splendor of life and light as it returns to a client’s eyes.”

Christine joined the La Ventana family in 2012 as a weekend Detox Supervisor. She is now working full time as the Detox Manager. She has been in recovery since 2003 and is an active member of NA. She has over a decade of Detox experience and has worked with a wide range of populations—from homeless to professionals and everything in between. Christy graduated with a degree in Addiction Studies from Glendale Community College. She is a Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor and a member of the California Association of Alcohol and Drug Educators (CAADE). She is passionate about the treatment process, and the joy she finds witnessing alcoholics and addicts transition to actively

Saeed Shakeraneh

LMFT

I’ve been in recovery since 1992. I went back to school in 2004 and got my masters in psychology in 2006. I spend 2 years of my internship working with dual diagnosed population. I was licensed in 2012 as a licensed marriage and family therapist. I love working in the field of addiction and my back ground has given me a good insight into the disease of addiction.

I feel lucky about working in La Ventana. This is a group of people that are passionate about what they do and they’re a dedicated team that works hard to help people change lives.

Alison Camhi

Primary Therapist

Alison brings over 20 years of work in the field of recovery from addiction and co-existing disorders. Currently a Therapist at La Ventana Treatment Programs in Chemical Dependency and Mental Health. Alison has focused her passion for dynamic, multi-modal work with Clients, integrating Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills, somatic experiencing, spirituality, psychodrama, and Post-Modern elements to facilitate meaningful growth and healing. Alison holds a Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) credential and has worked with students at elementary, middle and high school settings. In addition, Alison is a Certified Instructor for Systematic Training for Effective Parenting (STEP).

She maintains a private practice in Agoura Hills, California, working with Clients struggling with trauma and complex PTSD, mood disorders, learning disabilities, eating disorders into her work with individuals, families and groups. Alison earned her Masters degree in Marital and Family Therapy in 1998 and PPS Credential in 2001. Alison is a Member of the Alpha Beta Chapter of Alpha Epsilon Lambda (AEL), the National Honor Society for Graduate Students.

A passionate advocate of early intervention in treatment of addiction and mood disorders, Alison has been involved with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the Depression

Tony Gomez

Tony Gomez is a professional with over seven years of dedicated experience in the Substance Dependence Treatment field. He has extensive knowledge in facilitating Relapse Prevention Groups , Crisis Intervention as well as applying Individual Counseling Techniques and is passionate of the services he provides to the client. Mr. Gomez attended Los Angeles City College where he earned his Addiction Studies Certificate and Is Registered with CCAPP as CADC-I (in-progress). Now as CD Floor manager for La Ventana he enjoys working closely with clients applying his skills and providing a safe environment where they can grow. When not working he enjoys spending time with his family and exercising on a regular basis as a form of self-care

John Mews, NMT, MA, MFTI

Music Therapist

“People often say, ‘Music is my Therapy’. I believe that we all are musical beings and most of us have naturally been drawn to use music to match and/or shift our moods
through music. My intention and passion as a music therapist at La Ventana is to help clients recognize their own abilities to use music to transform, become their best self, and to fully express and achieve ultimate health.”

John Mews, NMT, MA, MFTI, is the Founder, Director and Neurologic Music Therapist at Mewsic Moves, a private practice that offers support to families of individuals with special
needs. Mewsic Moves in addition, supports clients who struggle with eating disorders, addiction and mental health challenges in various treatment centers throughout the Los Angeles area.

John received his bachelor’s degree in music therapy from Capilano University in Vancouver, BC in 2004. After six years in private practice, John completed his master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from University of San Francisco in 2011. Since then he has expanded his practice to provide counseling, support, and education to the whole family. Recently, John has studied his advanced training in Neurologic Music Therapy and is supporting clients through evidenced-based neurological music therapy practice.

John has since moved his practice to Southern California in 2013, and is grateful to have a skilled team that shares in his passion in working with children and adolescents and
clients in treatment programs with eating disorders, addiction and mental health challenges. John originally started at La Ventana as a marriage and family therapy intern and has since helped build a supportive music therapy program. John loves to educate and advocate the benefits of music therapy and is a member of the Creative arts committee of
the Marriage and Family Therapy Chapter of Los Angeles. John also has presented at numerous workshops and conference throughout Canada and the United States. John’s passion is to educate and share the benefits of music therapy.

Paige O’Shea, MS, AMFT

Paige has worked in the mental health/recovery field for many years in different capacities. She worked in Camarillo State Hospital with a broad population as a Psychiatric Technician for just over five years before it closed. Paige took the opportunity of the closure to focus on being a mom before going back to school and getting her counseling certificate in Chemical Dependency Counseling with a specialty in Trauma. Paige started working for La Ventana in 2014 as an Addictions Counselor while continuing her Master’s program at California Lutheran University for Marriage Family Therapy. She is now an Associate Marriage Family Therapist working with both the Chemical Dependency and Mental Health Departments. Paige utilizes a mind body approach to recovery and treatment focusing on the individual’s life experiences.

Jimena Tobon,

Yoga Instructor

My deep passion for fitness led me to begin practicing yoga over 10 years ago. I quickly learn that there are significantly more important gains from practicing yoga than just the physical ones. My classes are carefully planned as observing students’ bodies and adjusting their poses with the help of props such as pillows, straps, and blocks as needed is part of my teaching routine. Yoga gives people the opportunity to be alive, loved, and free. I am grateful to share something that I am passionate about with other people.

Wendy Roehr

Primary Therapist

Wendy Roehr is a Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, who comes to La Ventana with 12 years of clinical experience. She has spent over eight of those years in the field of addiction recovery and co-occurring disorders helping individuals, couples and families in their process of recovery: repairing, rebuilding and supporting them in motivation toward a healthier lifestyle.

In addition, Wendy spent several years gaining experience in working with children, adolescents and their families in foster care, adoption and family reunification. She counseled families in crisis while working hand in hand with a California State Agency to meet court ordered requirements for the ultimate goal of family reunification. She provided in-home support for many families using attachment and family system based modalities. She was also on-site at a California Community college seeing students and working with teen mothers. She developed a program that ran weekly to aide students in skill development and communication. She held interactive groups, psychoeducation, didactic groups to support interpersonal development, relationship and positive change.

Wendy received her Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and a Master of Science degree in Counseling with an emphasis on Marriage and Family Therapy from California State University, Northridge. Wendy has gained a wealth of experience during her career working with individuals in trauma, addiction, family reunification, mental health and co-occurring disorders. She has worked with children, adolescences and adults in family, couple and group settings. She uses multiple modalities of therapy, designed to best meet the needs of the client. These styles include DBT, CBT, Psychodynamic, Person-Centered, Motivational Interviewing, Family Systems & Trauma focused. Wendy has a passion for her work in helping other’s and a strong belief in the therapeutic process as a healing tool.

Outside of work, Wendy supports her personal well being with physical fitness, yoga, hiking, healthy cooking & nutrition. She is spiritually motivated, and believes in a healthy mind and body connection. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, going to church, travel and having new adventures & experiences.

Sharon Volner

LMFT Clinical Director Chemical Dependency Programs

“My philosophy is that people, whether they are struggling with mental health or addiction issues, need to know their reality. With a loving, supportive, and caring environment people can get through anything.”

Sharon brings a broad range of experience to her role as the Clinical Director of La Ventana’s Thousand Oaks Chemical Dependency Program. She has over twenty years experience working with at-risk youth, couples, families, and adults in the field of mental health and addiction. She has worked at various rehabilitation centers with youth and adults struggling with issues of addiction and their underlying psychological causes. Sharon has worked as a trainer and operator on a crisis suicide hotline. Sharon has worked directly with the homeless population in assisting them in stabilizing severe and persistent mental health and substance dependence as well as gaining housing and employment. Sharon maintains a private practice in Westlake and is a Clinical Supervisor to registered interns working towards their licensure. Sharon’s approach is multi-modal: she addresses the biological, psychosocial, spiritual, and nutritional aspects of addiction and treatment. Sharon earned her MS in Counseling with Distinction from California State University. She is a member of CAMFT, and a Co-Leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop in efforts to help young girls develop empowerment and leadership.

Karla Barnett

LMFT Program Director Mental Health Treatment Center

Karla has worked in the treatment center field for many years as a therapist & program director focusing on individuals who suffer from chemical dependency and mental health issues such as BiPolar disorder, Anxiety disorders, and Major depressive disorders.

Her goal is to provide a nurturing, non-judgmental, compassionate environment in which to heal from overwhelming feelings, negative thought patterns, and behaviors that hold clients back from leading the life they are meant to live.

She utilizes EMDR as a therapeutic modality that facilitates the rapid processing & healing of traumatic events from the past that may contribute to PTSD, and negative self beliefs. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness Based practices are also used to heal long term patterns of anxiety, depression and addiction.

Karla achieved her MA in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University in Santa Barbara and is also a Clinical supervisor to registered interns. She believes that an empathetic, collaborative, and trusting relationship is the key to growth and change. Karla has a private practice in Westlake village and keeps busy with her twin 15 year olds.

Elizabeth Bayley

Mental Health Clinician

Liz joined La Ventana family over three years ago. She started as an intern in the chemical dependency program, and now works as a clinician in La Ventana’s outpatient mental health. Liz has over a decade of experience in the substance use disorder field. Liz’s primary concern is providing a safe place to help clients and their families find hope, healing and transformation. Liz holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and is in her fourth year working towards a PhD Clinical Psychology. Liz’s research interests are marginalized populations in substance use disorder treatment and brain imaging as adjunct in measuring treatment outcome. Liz is registered with CCAPP and holds a Certificate in Addiction Studies.

La Ventana Treatment Centers