Our Team

Our team members are the very fabric of our organization and are living examples of Cornerstone’s values of Compassion, Integrity, Service, and Humility. We are fortunate to have a dedicated, talented group of people who work each and every day to make our recovery community the most incredible place to be! We asked them to share a little bit about themselves with you!

Cornerstone Management Team

Blaine Hobson
Co-Founder & Executive Director (Volunteer)

Blaine is an experienced operator, manager and investor with more than 30 years of experience successfully starting, building and running companies. He has direct leadership experience as a founder and CEO in a variety of diverse industries including automotive manufacturing, medical tech, telecom and food tech. He holds a degree from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. Blaine is active in the community including his involvement with Hope House , Southlake Hospital and as founder and ongoing supporter of Cornerstone to Recovery (previously STEPS). His vision drives the ongoing development of unique recovery community services at Cornerstone.

Cornerstone Residential – Women’s

Carleen Riffle, RSSW, CACII
Director of Women’s Residential Programs

Carleen is a Registered Social Service Worker and Certified Addictions Counsellor. She has experience working in the sectors of addictions & mental health and homelessness. Carleen began her time at Cornerstone to Recovery as a placement student in 2019 and worked as the Pathways Program Facilitator from 2021 to 2022. As the Director of the Women’s Residential Program, she continues to support Cornerstone clients on their recovery journey. Alongside her formal education, Carleen is trained in trauma-informed care, anti-oppressive practice, concurrent disorders, CBT, and ASIST. Carleen is a passionate and caring social justice advocate who seeks to provide her clients with a safe and supportive environment to achieve their goals. She understands the complex layer of experiences that contribute to addiction and uses her lived experience, compassionate nature, and broad skill set to help clients unravel these layers and grow along their path of recovery and healing.

Nikki Nakamichi
Women’s Residential Addictions Counsellor

Nikki has a diploma in Addiction and mental Health and is working towards gaining her CACII. Nikki has a wealth of experience and a strong passion for her work as an Addiction Counselor. Her background in addictions and mental health, as well as her experience working with people experiencing homelessness, gives her valuable insight into the challenges her clients may be facing. As an Addiction Counselor, Nikki’s work is not only rewarding for her but also essential in helping improve the well-being of the clients she serves. Her combination of professional expertise and personal experience provides a unique and empathetic approach to her counseling sessions. Nikki is dedicated to helping those new to recovery find purpose and direction in their lives while gaining the tools and confidence to rebuild relationships with their loved ones and community.

Jeanine Sullivan 
Women’s Residential Addictions Counsellor

Jeanine joined Cornerstone as a residential counsellor with the Garden in 2023. She brings strong interpersonal and leadership skills to the team, having worked for over 30 years in the service industry and in various managerial roles. Jeanine’s own experience in recovery led her to the Garden and the field of addictions. She is working towards obtaining her Addictions certificate through Wilfred Laurier University and her Associate Addictions Counsellor certification. Jeanine is passionate about supporting women in empowering themselves. With her empathetic and genuine nature, she aims to share her experience, knowledge, and hope of recovery with all those who walk through the doors of The Garden and Cornerstone.

Erika Saari, BA, RT
The Garden – Bus Driver and Administrative Assistant

Erika has valued the work of Cornerstone to Recovery for many years and is glad to be a part of the organization as a bus driver for the guests of The Garden and Administrative Assistant at Cornerstone Head Office & Community Centre. She enjoys getting to know her coworkers, Cornerstone guests, and all who visit the Community Centre, sharing her lived experience as able. When Erika is not at Cornerstone, she enjoys reading, arts & crafts, puzzles, and spending time with her dog.

Cornerstone Residential – Men’s

Shawn Sowten, CAC II, ADS, CPI, ASIST
Director of  Men’s Residential Programs 

Shawn has over a 15 year career background in the property maintenance industry in both managerial, and business development capacities. He transferred his skills to a career in the addiction field backed with over fifteen years’ experience in the recovery community.  Along with an Honour’s degree from the University of Windsor, Shawn is professionally trained in ASIST, CPI, and CBT for his CAC II certification.  With a strong passion working with those new to recovery from addiction, Shawn uses his leadership skills, along with lived experience, to help client’s find purpose and direction in their lives.

Kevin Kellington, AAC, ASIST
Lead Men’s Residential Addictions Counsellor

Kevin is an Associate Addiction Counsellor who is working towards completing his Addiction Certificate through Wilfred Laurier and gaining his CACII. He begin his journey at the Kettleby Ranch in 2019. His passion for recovery led him from volunteering to a full time counsellor position at the Ranch in 2020. Kevin is also the owner of a small home improvement company. Kevin is known for his dedication to working with those in early recovery, his Honesty and his relatability. He enjoys working with clients to support them rebuilding their relationships with others and themselves. 

David Walker, CAC II, CPI
Residential Addictions Counsellor

Dave began his career with U.S.I. Lighting in San Leandro California, gaining unparalleled experience in the North American lighting industry, establishing himself as a respected and trusted businessman. Dave has been part of the Men’s Residential counselling team since 2017.Currently working as an Addiction Counselor for Cornerstone to Recovery, Dave is widely known for his passion, energy and expertise in the field of recovery.While his business background took David across North America, he resides in Bradford Ontario and is an active member within both our recovery community and broader York region.

Cornerstone Connections

Tina Bentley, RCS, ACSW, CACII, ADS, CPI
Senior Director of Community Programs

Tina began her career with Steps to Recovery in 2010. Tina is The Director of Community Programs. Tina oversees Connections, Pathways & Wellness. She completed her diploma as an Addictions and Community Service Worker and she is designated as a Canadian Addiction Counsellor, Certification Level II. Tina holds additional certificates in Acupuncture Detoxification, Life Skills Coach, Personality Dimensions Facilitator, CPI Training, First Aid and CPR. Tina’s approach encourages positive change through improvement on skills individuals already possess. Tina has a strong passion for working with clients with addictions. Her empathetic and caring personality truly help clients feel at home and safe to begin building productive lives.

Cornerstone Pathways

Andy Venable, CACII, ASIST
Pathways Program Facilitator

Andy is our Program Facilitator for Pathways here at Cornerstone to Recovery. 7 years ago he was in treatment at Cornerstone and I took the very same program that now he is facilitating. Since graduating from this program and with the help of the community, he has maintained sobriety and began work in the social services field as a way of giving back to the community. “I want everyone to know that recovery from any addiction, trauma, or any situation is possible, as I have witnessed the transition in myself and others. I know that no matter how hopeless you may feel at the moment, there is always the possibility for change, and you are not alone. There are others out there, like me, who want to help”. Andy has  chosen this profession because of his lived experience of being the one needing help, and wanting to be able to give back and now help those in need. I look forward to seeing you in class!

Arianna Markle, BFA, SSW
Pathways Program Facilitator

Arianna’s lived experience has drawn her to the addictions field. She is an honours graduate of Seneca College’s, Social Service Worker program. Arianna’s background is in theatre. She completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a specialization in Theatre Performance at Concordia University in Montreal. Her theatre training informs the Self-Exploration workshop which she facilitates in the Wellness Centre at Cornerstone. Arianna draws upon her lived experience for the compassion and wisdom required to support clients in the Pathways Program. She works with community members to achieve their recovery goals through Case Management and Peer Support. Arianna completed her student placement at Cornerstone. She describes her work now, as a Program Facilitator, as a celebration of her recovery thus far— it is life affirming! She reinforces a strong sense of community at Cornerstone— bringing her collaborative spirit, heart and joy to the work.

Cornerstone Wellness

Mackenzie Campbell, AAC, ASIST
Wellness Program Facilitator

Mackenzie joined Cornerstone to Recovery Wellness Center team in October 2022 and is currently working towards his Bachelors of Psychology from Athabasca University as well as his CACII. He is in recovery and is an alumni from the Ranch. Mackenzie energetically facilitates programs such as Art Therapy, Mindfulness Meditation, Express Fitness and much more all while being available for peer support for community members that come into the Wellness Center. Mackenzie has a passion for diversity and inclusion and started the first LGBTQIA2+ 12 Step Book Study in York Region that runs Tuesdays at noon at Cornerstone.  

Jeff Gartner 
Weekend Wellness Program Facilitator 

Jeff is Cornerstone’s Weekend Wellness Program Facilitator, 1 on 1 Personal Trainer and offers Peer Support.  He began his journey towards health optimization in his early youth as an athlete of several different sports.  Those sports led to injuries, and without the adequate knowledge and guidance eventually led to a path of recovery.  Combining his lived experience, passion for learning, people and finding out what humans are truly capable of resulted in Jeff joining the Cornerstone Team. Jeff has been a personal trainer in many different capacities since 2010, more recently his focus has been on studying the cultivation of discipline, courage, mindfulness, purpose and how he can help others no matter their starting point, one right action at a time.

Eric Lambert, RSE, ASIST, NVCI, TIC
Evening Wellness Program Facilitator

Eric has entered the field of addictions through his lived experience. He is active in the recovery community; expressing his love for giving back through extensive service work in the 12 Step Fellowship. Eric’s passion for service has inspired him to switch careers after two decades as a mechanic. He is currently completing the Addictions Counselling and Community Service program at Algonquin College. Eric is a Wellness Program Facilitator at Cornerstone; providing peer support, personal training, and group fitness facilitation in the Wellness Centre. Eric approaches recovery, and all aspects of his life, holistically. He emphasizes the importance of all aspects of us which require healing; our minds, our bodies, and our souls. In addition to 1-on-1 training and peer support, Eric currently facilitates “Prime Time;” a workout program which introduces participants, at various levels, to physical fitness. Eric is grateful to be in recovery; to get to fully live an extraordinary life. He is grateful to be a part of the Cornerstone to Recovery family. Through his work, Eric wholeheartedly embodies a core belief which he maintains: that everyone can recover and grow into their dreams.

Lucas Wade
Social Media

Cornerstone Social Enterprise

Patty Trudel, CPA
Director of Finance & Operations

Patty is a Certified Professional Accountant and holds her Certificate in Human Resources. She has spent over 30 years gaining experience in finance and accounting within various industries. As the Controller for Cornerstone to Recovery for the last 5 years, she enjoys working in a charitable non-profit organization that strives to help those in need in the under serviced field of addiction recovery. While accounting is her day job, Patty also enjoys spending time with her grandchildren and cheering on the Toronto Maple Leafs!

Lisa Fockler, CHRP
Human Resource and Payroll Administrator 

Lisa comes to Cornerstone with over 15 years in retail management and is passionate about people and helping, she made the jump to human resources and is currently working towards her degree in HR, with a designation in Payroll management. Her main focus is on helping people navigate complex issues that arise in HR, having completed several certificates in mental health and human resources she aims to educate people about the importance of a safe workplace. Obsessed with good coffee and the show Friends her office is a safe space for all employees and guests of Cornerstone.

Melissa Macri
Administration & Accounting

Melissa officially joined the Cornerstone team as a staff member in August of 2019, but her journey with the organization started in 2017 when she was first introduced to Cornerstone to Recovery as a member of the 12 step community.  Her lived experience is the driving force that fuels her passion to help others who have been where she was to obtain a life of complete sobriety.  As such Melissa has been able to see both sides of the incredible support that Cornerstone to Recovery provides. Melissa provides accounting assistance to Patty Trudel, Director of Finance and Operations and supports the rest of the staff, volunteers and clients with day to day operations.  Through the Social Enterprise pillar she also obtains the licensing for the clothing donation drop boxes.  Melissa loves to see people smile and always up for a laugh. Her lighthearted spirit is what has led to the staff affectionately giving her the nickname “the brat.”

Vivian Guglietti
Community Liaison

Vivian Guglietti’s passion for recovery can be traced back to 2008 when she made a personal decision to address her addiction and embrace the responsibilities connected to achieving a recovered way of life! Vivian has spent over a decade pursuing personal development and professional leadership. In addition to being mother of three vibrant daughters she is very active in her local community and has helped many achieve personal transformations in their own lives! Vivian holds the role of Community Connector and Business Development leader where she brings people together to support our growing and evolving organization! Her commitment to those in recovery and high standard for partners has contributed to the success of our Textile Recycling program. Vivian holds an Honors Degree in Languages from York University, her Toronto Real Estate Board License and an Addiction and Professional Counselling Certification.

Navigate the 5 Pillars of Cornerstone to Recovery

Cornerstone to Recovery is proud to be awarded a four-year accreditation by the Canadian Centre for Accreditation (CCA) in recognition of achieving established CCA standards for quality in governance, management, and community mental health and addictions services.