Our Team

Meet Our Staff

Our members frequently tell us that our staff go above and beyond to care for them and we witness this every day. This is the most important attribute that we have for staff. They are all professional and do their best, but it is the little things that they do for our members that make the difference. And there are multiple examples every day in every department of the organization.

We currently have more than 80 staff and we have approximately 10 hours per day of staff time for each of our members reflecting our commitment to doing all that we can for our members’ recovery. We invest in continuing training and personal and professional development of our staff to ensure they are abreast of the latest tools for the safety and betterment of the member’s experience. We strive to have the best care, programs and outcomes. It takes the best people to do so. We are grateful for each member of our staff.

Below are some of our staff members for you to meet.

Management

Paul Melnuk

Founder and Chairman

Paul has led and directed many public and private companies in a variety of industries over a distinguished 40+-year career. Paul is deeply passionate about recovery and gives of himself in a variety of ways to help individuals and their families experience the sacred gift of recovery. Based on research, Paul believes that addiction and co-occurring mental health issues must be integrated, and treated with the most advanced and effective methods, concurrently. for the best outcomes. 

As Founder, Chairman, CEO and owner of Aurora, Paul is committed to Aurora becoming a world-class treatment centre with a caring member-centric culture with the best professionals providing the most advanced and effective practices and techniques available, personalized for the unique needs of each member, all within world-class facilities in a beautiful serene setting. Aurora is well on its way to becoming the world-class centre Paul has committed to it being.

Ian Rabb

Business Development, Addiction Specialist

Ian was the visionary behind the development of Aurora’s beautiful facilities on Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba. As the Director of Business Development and Public Relations Officer at Aurora Recovery Centre, Ian is a certified Interventionist and has been active in the recovery community for many years. In 2016, Ian was honoured and named “A Manitoba Hero” for his service work with people of Manitoba. Ian also heads Two Ten Recovery, the only sober living housing organizations in Winnipeg.

Brenda Dilello

Member Care Management

Brenda Dilello has over 33 years’ experience in both Health Care and Addictions Treatment. Brenda began her career at the Health Science Centre and Grace Hospital where she worked in both the Medical and Mental Health Care units. Brenda has worked in the areas of the Chemical Withdrawal, Eating Disorders and Forensic Mental Health. She was also an instrumental part of the startup program for the extended treatment unit at the Grace Hospital for long-term mental health patients. Brenda’s experience in Intensive Care, Emergency, Recovery Room and Dialysis have given her a vast range of experience in medical health care. Brenda continued her work in the addictions field and was a part of the startup program for the Youth Drug Stabilization Unit. Brenda is passionate and committed to continuing her work in the field of addictions, and believes in maintaining a high standard of integrity, compassion and respect for her members.

Conny Anderson, PhD

Director of Clinical Services

Conny has over 30 years of experience in addictions and mental health. She has contributed to the development, facilitation, and management of numerous treatment programs, in addition to providing individual, group, and family therapy services to diverse populations. Conny has a PhD in Psychology and a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. She is a Clinical Fellow of the AAMFT and presently serves as the Ethics Chair of the MAMFT. Conny teaches research and addictions courses in the Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Winnipeg and provides Clinical Supervision for MFT students. Conny is also a surveyor with the Commission for Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), a certified Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist, and a Certified Fitness Leader.

Tara Kirton

Member Care Manager

Tara Kirton has over five years experience as an executive administrator and was a contributor in the opening of treatment centres in Ontario. Tara is dedicated to ensuring that all members at Aurora have a comfortable, safe and positive stay. She oversees the duties of our Member Care Specialists. Tara also coordinates the transportation, to and from evening AA or NA meetings, airport transportation, and possible medical appointments that members may have while in treatment.

 

Michèle Stanners

Michèle Stanners joined the Aurora Recovery Centre Team in November 2017. She is assisting with community engagement, branding, marketing, public relations and business development.

Michèle has been active in the recovery community for over 22 years and more broadly in the Calgary area as a creative community strategist and educator. Trained at the Harvard Kennedy School and MIT, Michèle leads an advisory practice specializing in growing the resilience of organizations and teams through community building, learning development, stakeholder engagement, and sustainable brand value creation.​

Michèle is fluent in English and French and holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Combined Bachelor of Law/Master of Business Administration from the University of Alberta, as well as a Master of Theological Studies, Harvard Divinity School.

Detox

Dr. Derrek Jensen

Medical Director

Dr Jensen has played an integral role as the director of medical detoxification services at Aurora Recovery. Having obtained his Bachelor of Science with Distinction in Chemistry and Microbiology at the University of Manitoba, he continued at the University of Manitoba to obtain his Bachelor of Science (Medicine), Doctor of Medicine and Postgraduate Medical Education in Family Medicine. Dr. Jensen is also the medical director of an organization providing medical care to homebound patients dealing with various medical issues which can include addictions and withdrawal management. In addition, he provides care to post-overdose, stroke, and brain injury patients at a local facility in Winnipeg. With an interest in opiate addiction, Dr Jensen currently works at a clinic providing opiate replacement treatment. He is a recipient of the Governor General’s Bronze Medal Award and maintains membership with The College of Family Physicians of Manitoba, Doctors Manitoba  College of Family Physicians of Canada, and The Canadian Medical Association.

Dr. Jonah Fulmore, MD

CV to be provided soon

Patty Medd

Nurse Practitioner

Patty Medd has more than 10 years of experience working in addiction medicine. She has over 25 years of healthcare experience, in both family practice and mental health. After practicing in Northern Manitoba, she returned to the University of Manitoba to obtain her B.A./Honors, then in 2001 received her Master of Nursing Degree. Her focus in Addiction Medicine has been providing care in a Residential Treatment Centre for those diagnosed with substance use disorder. Her main roles involved providing medical assessments, primary care and withdrawal management. In addition, she provided ongoing assessment, management and treatment of co-occurring disorders. Patty has also worked in addictions research and as an educator in promoting best practices in addiction medicine. She is dedicated and committed to those persons with addiction and related mental health issues on their journey in recovery.

Tamara Sawatzky

Nurse Practitioner

Tamara has 15 years of healthcare experience. She began as a healthcare aide in 2003, and graduated from the BN program at Brandon University in 2009. Tamara pursued a nursing career in critical care, and has more than 6 years of experience in the area. In 2012 she entered the Master of Nursing program at the University of Manitoba. Tamara graduated in 2014 as a Nurse Practitioner. She had two years experience in family practice, and the field of addiction medicine in August of 2016. Tamara’s focus at Aurora Recovery Centre is providing health promotion, medical assessments, and management of both substance use disorder and co-occurring illnesses. Tamara is passionate about best practices in addiction medicine and takes a member-centric approach to help everyone throughout their recovery journey at Aurora.

Shahid Shams

Nurse Practitioner

Shahid Shams has worked in the healthcare field for over 27 years. He started his career as a health care aide, then a nurse for 8 years followed by pursuing a master’s degree in the nursing field. His experience includes northern nursing, working with First Nation and Inuit populations across Manitoba, NWT and Nunavut.  Since becoming a Nurse Practitioner, Shahid has furthered his experience to working with not only a diverse population, but has developed skills to work with the elderly, specializing in chronic care.  He also works closely with troubled youth in the city, members with mental health issues, and individuals living with addiction issues. Shahid has been instrumental in developing safe chemical withdrawal/ detox protocols. Shahid has a special interest in working with individuals with addictions.  Along with other held positions, Shahid is also currently working with an addiction treatment centre in the city of Winnipeg, more specifically MBATC. 

Sara Magnusson

Nursing Supervisor

Sara is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse who graduated with distinction from Brandon University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychiatric Nursing. Sara’s strengths include suicide assessment, mental health assessment and crisis intervention. Sara’s background includes working with adults with intellectual disabilities, geriatric care, suicide intervention through Klinic’s Suicide and Crisis Hot Lines and home-based nursing assistance. Sara recognizes the importance of providing multi-faceted nursing interventions. Sara’s interest in addictions began at a very young age. Through her education and experience, she understands the importance of treating co-occurring disorders. She conveys realistic expectations to the members at ARC while provided a hopeful, professional environment for them to take their first steps on their road to recovery.

Counselling

Tracy Fehr

Transitional Care Counsellor

Tracy Fehr studied Applied Counselling (University of Manitoba) and Spiritual Formation (University of Winnipeg/St Benedict’s). She has worked with individuals and groups as an addiction and mental health counsellor, expressive arts practitioner, group facilitator, educator and curriculum writer for more than 25 years. She has worked for the Canadian Mental Health Association, Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, Winnipeg Women’s Centres and Red River College. Tracy has been a spokesperson and trainer in health behaviour change and tobacco reduction, working on behalf of the Manitoba Tobacco Reduction Alliance and The Manitoba Lung Association. In 2015, Tracy went to Quebec City to share her expertise on tobacco reduction and to present on developing integrated, holistic, community strategies in tobacco cessation. Tracy is a professionally trained multi-media visual artist. Her works in thread, ceramics and print-making explore themes of spirituality, wholeness and identity. Tracy brings her own personal experience of recovery as well as professional training in addictions and mental health together in her counselling work. She is passionate about helping people to achieve a more fulfilled, creative and dependence free lifestyle.

Kyle Goertzen

Counsellor

Kyle has a Bachelor of Social Work degree from the University of Manitoba and a certificate in Applied Counselling with Honours from Red River College. Kyle also uses his personal experience in recovery from a client centered perspective. Compassion, non-judgement and congruence are the core values which guide Kyle’s work in addictions.

Michael Rose

Counsellor

Prior to joining the Aurora team, Michael had his own private Counselling practice for over 20 years where he helped many who were dealing with addictions and other co occurring disorders. He then went on to College and got his diploma in Social Care with emphasis on Addictions

Carrie Winslow

Counsellor

Carrie has 8 years experience at the Klinic Community Health Centre working as the coordinator for Dream Catcher program, developed for women who experienced sexual exploitation as youths and exited the sex trade as adults. She also ran groups for women who were recovering from Complex PTSD. She was with the Laurel Centre for 7 years, providing long term therapy to women who experienced childhood sexual abuse. She has 33 years sober and is passionate about living in recovery, happiness and watching the light go on for others who struggle with addiction.

Jennifer Hearn

Counsellor

Jennifer Hearn graduated in 2015 from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Social Work degree. She has experience working with people of diverse backgrounds, spiritualities, and cultures. Specifically, she focused on acquiring the necessary skills needed to provide comprehensive individualized care that supports and serves the individual’s needs and desires to maintain an independent and sober lifestyle. Jennifer’s personal interest in counselling has primarily developed from having family or friends who are in recovery from addictions and experience co-occurring mental health concerns. These situations allowed her to understand first-hand the challenges people face in initiating and maintaining inclusion in society and fighting stereotypes and stigmas about people with addictions while trying to access needed supports. She also knows first hand the challenges that can often be faced with family members and support persons who are standing by their loved ones in these situations. This led her to receive ASIST training to guide her in interactions with people experiencing suicidal thoughts or intentions while on the road to recovery.

LéAmber Kensley

Counsellor

LéAmber is a graduate of the University of Manitoba with an Advanced Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Criminology. She has over 15 years of experience working in the addictions field as a Behavioural Counsellor, working with the Salvation Army Anchorage program for 10 years and the Behavioural Health Foundation for 5 years, working as an assessment worker. LeAmber has NVCI, ASIST, Trauma Counselling and extensive experience working with diverse populations of all genders. She is an experienced facilitator and public speaker.

Kevin Koroscil

Transitional Care Counsellor

Kevin (Nii Gaani Inini -Leading Man) started his career working in group homes for youth and obtained his youth care certificate through night school. He continued working with youth as a Foster Parent for 15 years, and sat on the Board of Directors for the Manitoba Foster Family Network. He then left fostering to become the Coordinator for Aboriginal Services at Selkirk Mental Health Centre. He was part of a team of professionals who helped provide services to all First Nation, Metis, and Inuit members at the Selkirk centre. After three years, he went forward to coordinate a program called Exit Up with Siloam Mission. This program provided service to First Nation, Metis and Inuit young adults aged 18-25 who had been part of CFS and needed housing. The program provided life skills, support for appointments, traditional cultural teachings and ceremonies that included, sweat lodge, Sundance, moon lodge, and pipe ceremonies. Kevin is a Pipe Carrier, Sweat Lodge Conductor, Sundance Leader, Husband, Father, Grandfather, Son, Uncle, Nephew, and Cousin.

Shelley-Ann McDonald

Counsellor

Shelley-Ann has Applied Counselling with Honours from University College of the North. She has training in NVCI, ASIST, Mental Health First Aid Canada Course for Adults and Youth, Mediation, Vicarious Trauma, Outgrowing Addictions, Motivational Interviewing, 12 Step Programs, Therapeutic Community, Palliative Care, Spiritual Health Services and CODI. Shelley-Ann has more than 15 years as a Counsellor working in the field of Crisis Intervention, Addictions and Co-occurring Mental Health Disorders. Shelley-Ann’s experience entails positions such as Support Worker, Intake and Assessment Worker, Key Worker, On-Call Support, Holistic Therapist, Certified Facilitator and Indigenous Cultural Worker. Her passions and experience have always been in supporting family, friends, individuals and their loved ones, with their journey of new beginnings and maintaining a sober and healthy lifestyle.

Stef Meeroff

Counsellor

Stef has training in addictions counselling, stress management, crisis management and family counselling work. His work focuses on skill-based recovery, and moving individuals from active addiction to new opportunities. Stef began working on the front lines of addiction and recovery in 1990 at Covenant House – East Vancouver, and for the next 10 years worked with the addicted youth and the families affected by addiction. He then moved to Winnipeg, joining the Addictions Foundation of Manitoba at the Men’s Residential Program. Stef spent the next 11 years as a counsellor and senior counsellor at the Youth Addiction Stabilization Unit helping addicted youth and families. He was involved in educational presentations at junior high schools in Winnipeg, YMCA Programs, and the Assiniboine Community College. He was also featured in a 3 part, Shaw TV public access series, focusing on Addictions.

Sandy Sandulak

Counsellor

Sandy has worked as a Case Manager for Ma Ma Wi, a Mental Health Worker for Southern Health, a Program Coordinator for the Alzheimer’s Society and as an Adult Mentor for Ndinawe. Addiction treatment and mental health treatment have been her speciality over the last 10 years. Sandy has been trained in Applied Counselling at Red River College, NVCI, ASSIST, Mental Health First Aid and FASD. Sandy’s skills also include group facilitation. She is very committed to helping others achieve the joy of recovery. Sandy also has a passion for helping children in foster care and in her spare time enjoys working on her parent’s farm, gardening, and reading.

Natasha Schreyer

Counsellor

Natasha has worked in the healthcare field for more than five years. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2012 from the University of Saskatchewan. She continued her education and received her diploma, with honours, in Addictions and Community Service Work to enhance her career and professional ability to provide help to those suffering from addiction. Along with her degree, Natasha has ASIST training, NVCI, CPR, and mental health first aid. Natasha’s passion for recovery comes from her own journey through treatment and the miracle of working the twelve steps. She also enjoys practicing yoga and meditation and values quality time with friends and family.

Gerry Verrier

Counsellor

With his own story of recovery from an opioid addiction in the ‘80s, Gerry has worked in the addictions treatment industry for the past 30 years. Having worked with youth, adults, and families, Gerry brings a wealth of experience steeped in trauma-informed best care practices. Motivational interviewing and Applied Counselling combined with a deep passion for the success of addicts in recovery along with a tremendous sense of compassion for the struggles addict face in recovery, are what Gerry would describe as his contributions to the Aurora Recovery environment.

Donna Youngdahl

Detox Counsellor Supervisor

Donna Youngdahl works as intake and detox counsellor at Aurora. Donna welcomes new members to the centre and delivers them to the next phase of treatment with the support and individualized care plans they require. She has been studying and working for the past five years as a marriage and family therapist, addictions counsellor, and family mediator. Donna will complete her M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Winnipeg in  2018. With additional training in Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, Expressive Arts Training, and family mediation, Donna brings rich life experience and theoretical background to her work with individuals, couples and families. Donna honed her skills in listening, communicating, mediating, and holding space for people while working in diverse roles in industry and the non-profit sector as a manager, analyst, writer, and marketer. A lifelong student and practitioner of wisdom traditions, Donna has over thirty years of experience practicing Buddhist meditation, contemplative Christianity, Native American spirituality, and Sufism.

Therapists

Michael Kurek

Clinical Therapist and EMDR Certified

Michael is a Marriage and Family Therapist and is a Clinical Fellow of the AAMFT. He is currently secretary of the MAMFT. Michael is also a member of the Manitoba College of Social Workers in the area of addictions. Michael began his counselling career while doing his Master of Divinity degree where he was introduced to the complexities of co-occurring disorders. He was one of the first HIV counsellors in Winnipeg. Michael’s approach to therapy is broad, having extensive experience with indigenous and marginalized populations. He has taught therapy related courses at both the University of Manitoba and Winnipeg. For Michael, therapy is a balance of body, mind, and spirit.

Samuel Whelan

Clinical Therapist

Sam is a Marriage and Family Therapist with education and experience in group, family, couple and individual psychotherapy. His undergraduate degree is in psychology and his graduate degree is Master of Marriage and Family Therapy. Sam is a Clinical Fellow of the AAMFT and serves on the MAMFT board in a variety of capacities. Sam also provides Clinical Supervision for MFT students in the Masters of Marriage and Family Therapy Program at the University of Winnipeg. One of his guiding psychotherapy principles is that the goal of treatment is to achieve our potential as opposed to changing ourselves.

Psychiatrist

Dr. Adrian Hynes

Psychiatrist

Dr Hynes is a psychiatrist specializing in co-occurring disorders. He was born, raised, and received his medical training in Ireland. He trained as a family doctor in England. After arrival in Canada in 1980, he practiced and taught family medicine in Manitoba until 1992, when he began training in psychiatry and addictions in Winnipeg and Minneapolis. He practiced co-occurring disorders and methadone maintenance in Thunder Bay from June 1996 until September 2003, when he moved to London, Ontario to become physician leader of the Concurrent Disorders Program in London. He returned to Winnipeg in July 2005 and is now based at the Health Sciences Centre. His official titles are Psychiatric Consultant in Co-Occurring Disorders to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, and Medical Director, Co-Occurring Disorders, Health Sciences Centre, Winnipeg.

Administration

Shirley Finnbogason

Accounting Manager

Shirley was born and raised in Gimli. She graduated from Gimli High School and lived in the Interlake area before starting a family and moving North to Thompson for eight years. She has also lived in Southern Manitoba, but the with the Interlake area always calling her home, she returned to Gimli in 2016. Her background is in accounting and human resources, and she has received a degree in Business Administration and Accounting from Red River College. She brings with her over 20 years of managerial experience, having worked in retail and the hospitality industry. Shirley is dedicated to providing members and employees with a high standard of professionalism.

Carmen Kreutmayr

Office Manager

Carmen started working for Aurora in spring 2016 and has over 15 years of extensive professional experience in the field.
She was born and raised in Bavaria Germany, holds an international Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Operations and worked as a Senior Executive Assistant for AIRBUS before moving to Canada in 2012. Carmen oversees the administrative and operations departments. She manages projects, implements processes and provides comprehensive support for executive staff. She has an eye for small details, consistency and accuracy and is able to tailor her skills to meet the needs of various interest groups. In her free time, Carmen enjoys many creative outlets as well as spending time in nature. She loves traveling the world, eating good food and riding her motorcycle.

Riley Sigurgeirson

Member Care Administrative Assistant

Riley has more than 10 years of experience in healthcare and administration. Her administrative career began as a unit clerk at the health sciences centre in Winnipeg, working in various inpatient and outpatient clinics and wards. Toward the end of her career at HSC, she moved into an administrative and secretarial position within the medical and surgical relief team. With her expertise in administration, she ensures all Aurora member contracts are completed accurately and maintains internal records throughout various software programs utilized at Aurora.

Samantha Reis

Member Care Administrator

Samantha graduated as a Personal Support Worker in 2006 from Algonquin College in Perth, Ontario and has 10 years of work experience in healthcare field. She worked in dementia and palliative care in a long-term care home for 6 years following college and has worked in the addictions field since 2015. She has always been drawn to the mental health and addictions aspect of health care, as she has had personal, as well as family history of addictions. Samantha joined Aurora in February 2017 bringing personal, administrative, and management experience in private treatment centres that equips her to work successfully and compassionately as a Member Care Administrator at the Gimli Centre to ensure the best care and recovery for our members.

Samantha Hampton

Community Outreach Administrator

Samantha has over a decade of experience in healthcare and has worked various jobs in hospital settings around the province of Manitoba. Samantha works hard to coordinate activities for the members at Aurora, as well as coordinating volunteer and charity work within local communities for ARC members to participate in. Samantha is the coordinator of Aurora’s ARC Squad, editor of the monthly newsletter, and directs the annual Fun Run for addictions awareness. Samantha is dedicated to assisting and providing a well-balanced program of activities for our members to enjoy and building healthy outreach avenues within communities.

ARC Counselling

Nicole Corriveau – Outpatient Counsellor

Nicole has training in NCVI, CODI Crisis Response, Mental Health First Aid, Trauma Informed Training, and Motivational Interviewing. Nicole has 6 years’ experience working with trauma affected members of the Behavioural Health Foundation. Rapport building, active listening and team building are some of Nicole’s strengths. Nicole utilizes a combination of her personal experience and professional training to provide compassionate and insightful support to those with whom she works.and respect.

Michael Kurek

Clinical Counsellor, Therapist, and Supervisor

Michael is a Marriage and Family Therapist and is a Clinical Fellow of the AAMFT. He is currently secretary of the MAMFT. Michael is also a member of the Manitoba College of Social Workers in the area of addictions. Michael began his counselling career while doing his Master of Divinity degree where he was introduced to the complexities of co-occurring disorders. He was one of the first HIV counsellors in Winnipeg. Michael’s approach to therapy is broad, having extensive experience with indigenous and marginalized populations. He has taught therapy related courses at both the University of Manitoba and Winnipeg. For Michael, therapy is a balance of body, mind, and spirit.

Richard Held

Registered Psychiatric Nurse

Richard’s passion for helping those with addictions and mental health issues shaped his aspirations to become a psychiatric nurse. Richard is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse who graduated with distinction from Brandon University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychiatric Nursing. Richard’s background includes working as a health care aid in long term care, as well as experience working as a nurse in acute mental health settings.
Richard is a key contributor to Aurora’s mental health team. Richard’s duties include conducting mental health assessments as well collaborating with the rest of the team to help guide treatment decisions.

Eddie Miller

Trainer

Eddie has over 20 years of full-time experience in the Dance, Fitness, Martial Arts & Entertainment Industries. As a Dance & Fitness Instructor, he is trained, certified and/or licenced to teach AcroYoga (AYT100), Gymnastics (NCCP), Hawaiian, Jazz, Pilates, Tap, Yoga (Hatha) and Zumba. As a Martial Arts Teacher, he holds Black Belts in Kung Fu & Arnis-Kali and won Silver Medal at the 2014 WSB World Championships in Knife Sparring. The focus on values and non-violence is interwoven throughout all the programs.

Aurora Recovery Centre’s philosophies are consistently reflected in the way we value our members and staff. Everything we do is in the interest of our members’ recovery for life.

Aurora’s treatment process is built upon a member-first culture and stands on three pillars that reflect our philosophy toward our members’ recovery: Heal, Connect and Recover.

From initial contact with Aurora, you begin to experience our Member-First Culture. Our highly experienced Addiction Specialists help you navigate the complex, emotional decision to admit to treatment.

Pin It on Pinterest