Meet Jesse Finkbeiner, Executive Director of Mental Health Services at Aspire Simi Valley! Jesse has been working with people struggling with addiction and mental health challenges for a decade and a half. His own recovery serves as the foundation for his deep understanding of, and compassion for, individuals and families that know the darkness and unique challenges that addiction and mental health challenges can bring.
Jesse views addiction and mental health problems as complicated systemic issues that are context driven and need to be viewed not only through the lens of the person who is afflicted, but by investing in the individual, family, and larger social system within which any individual is contained. By seeing issues as a part of a system, Jesse works to engage with people and their surroundings to create long term change with the possibility of authentic and meaningful recovery.
Jesse graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Las Vegas at Nevada in 2000. Jesse holds 2 Masters Degrees, one in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica in 2007, and the other in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute in 2010. Jesse has been licensed with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences as a Marriage and Family Therapist since 2014. Jesse’s work experience has included roles as Clinical Director, Program Director, and Primary Therapist for mental health clinics as well as experience working within the system of managed care.
Jesse knows that individuals and families can and do recover. Strong, informed, evidence-based, compassionate, and grounded treatment is the foundation upon which hope can be restored and life can be reimagined. Borrowing from Ronald Hulnick of the University of Santa Monica, “Healing is the application of loving to the parts inside that hurt.” Jesse’s primary focus is in helping individuals and families find their own unique path to healing through a loving and compassionate approach to helping those who suffer.
In his free time, Jesse spends time with his wife, son, mother, and friends and enjoys reading, going to the beach, exercise, and exploring new places.
Meet John Poleno, Executive Director of Chemical Dependency Services at Aspire Simi Valley! John joined the Aspire team because he embraces the vision of transforming the lives of individuals and families that have been impacted by the devastating disease of addiction and mental health challenges. John wants families to know that where there is a breath there is hope, and that he is here to provide that hope. John has a unique way of relating to addicted individuals and their families as John has been in recovery for 10+ years and has been surrounded by the addiction of loved ones his whole life.
John has firsthand knowledge of the progression of the disease of addiction as well as the destruction it causes to loved ones. John began using substances at the age of 12 and was able to get sober at 30 years old. After 18 years of continuous use of substances, John has gained a tremendous passion for helping people recover. He works relentlessly to help the addicted and their families. John’s work as a counselor, program director, executive director, and as a founding board member for Not One More is grounded in his community and in his desire to be of benefit to communities across the country. John is constantly working with families and loved ones to find hope and to provide help.
John began his career in 2010 as an intern and progressed to directing several chemical dependency programs. His commitment and dedication has touched countless families. John graduated Addiction Studies with honors in March of 2010 from ICDC college and since has become CADC II certified though CCAPP, CATC through CAADE, and a CAODC though CADTP. John is also a certified Anger Management Specialist.
Since 2010, John’s extensive experience as an addiction specialist includes managing Chemical Dependency and Dual Diagnosis Intensive Outpatient Services, Partial Hospitalization Services and Residential Treatment Services. John has a reputation for delivering top notch client care and his excitement and enthusiasm rub off on his peers and the populations that he is in service to. On his free time, John enjoys spending time with his son whom he has raised as a single father. Together they enjoy watching and attending Dodgers, Lakers and Raiders games. John enjoys regular drives to the beach where he can reflect on life and connect to inner peace.
Meet Kimberly Beatty, Lead Counselor for Chemical Dependency Services at Aspire Simi Valley! Kimberly is a Southern California native and was born and raised in Granada Hills, CA. Kimberly obtained a liberal arts degree at Pierce College with her primary focus on psychology. Kimberly worked in the Medical field and specialized in geriatric care where she was able to be of service for the elderly.
Kimberly struggled with alcoholism for years, but with the help of treatment professionals she was able to stabilize and maintain long term sobriety and has been sober for 8+ years. Having been inspired by the dedication of her counselors, Kimberly decided to refocus her career and become a certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor to help others obtain long term sobriety. Kimberly returned to school and graduated Valedictorian of her Addiction Studies program in 2013 and has been working in the treatment community for the last five years.
Kimberly is passionate about working with people and utilizes a client-centered approach when working with the public. She has experience working with adolescents, adults, and families in individual and group settings and she brings compassion and dedication to the Aspire team. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her son and advocating for Autism awareness.
Meet Kelly Kozlowski, Marriage and Family Therapist Trainee of Mental Health Services at Aspire Simi Valley! Kelly has been working with people struggling with addiction and mental health challenges for over a year. Her own struggles with mental health growing up allows for a unique understanding and compassion for individuals who are struggling with any type of mental health problems. Kelly views mental health and substance abuse as complex, integrated issues that need ongoing support from not only a treatment team, but from family, friends, and loved ones.
Kelly graduated with two Associate Degrees from her hometown community college, College of the Canyons in Liberal Arts of Science and Sociology in 2015. Kelly then went on to get a Bachelors Degree from Brandman University in Social Sciences in 2016. Kelly then continued her education with Brandman University by obtaining a Masters in Psychology with an emphasis is Marriage and Family Therapy and Professional Clinical Counseling in 2018. Kelly will be applying for her associate number shortly and will be working towards taking her MFT licensing exam in the near future. Kelly has worked in the field of mental health and substance abuse for over a year as a MFT Trainee.
Kelly is a big believer of working with the client to help alter the cognitive mind, to allow the client to apply it into his/her behavior, action, and daily life. This theoretical evidence based practice is known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Kelly loves to utilize Aaron Beck’s work within her treatment approach to help individuals and families heal within and throughout their therapeutic journey. Borrowing from Aaron Beck the founder of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, “There is more on the surface than what our eyes can see.” Each individual is unique in their own way, but there is so much more within the individual that we do not always see.
In her free time, Kelly spends time with her family and friends and enjoys exercising, hiking, going to the river, snowboarding, and spending quite time at home.
Meet Shayna Aken, Counselor for Chemical Dependency Services at Aspire Simi Valley! Shayna is a Ventura County native as she was born and raised in Westlake Village. Shayna has a passion to serve her community and is always available to be of service for the addicted and their families! Shayna attended Addiction Studies at West Los Angeles College. Shayna is registered through CCAPP. Shayna has worked in treatment for the past 5 years at various well known treatment centers. Shayna has served as a peer advocate with SAMASHA where she assisted with the homeless crisis in Los Angeles County and help locate services for those in need. Shayna has a passion for serving all in need and specializes in the treatment of at risk youth.
Shayna has struggled with various substances for 10+ years, before finding recovery from active addiction. She has learned her own experience focusing on the importance of self-awareness and self-esteem. Shayna has helped hundreds of clients. Shayna has been in documentaries about addiction most notably “Do No Harm” where she was filmed in Beit Shuva. Shayna is active in the recovery community and assist many adolescents and adults into their journey in recovery.
Shayna is also a licensed cosmetologist. She is passionate about making people good about themselves, is client centered, and has an unique ability of relating to clients. Shayna enjoys spending her free time with her dog! Shayna enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends.