Meet the Individuals behind the Supportive Network at Shana’s House

+ Robert Curry, Founder

Robert Curry has more than 37 years of personal and professional experience working with behavioral issues, substance abuse, and addictions of all types. He served in Vietnam with the Marine Corps, earned a B.A. and M.B.A. from Columbia University, trained at Betty Ford, The Meadows, The Relational Life Institute, The Westchester Institute for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, the Institute for Rational-Emotive Therapy, The Tavistock Institute for Group Relations, and is certified in Positive Psychology and Executive Coaching by Columbia University’s Teachers College and Business School with an emphasis on addiction and recovery.

After 22 years working for The Rockefeller Foundation, J.P. Morgan Chase, Price Waterhouse Coopers, and Hong Kong Shanghai Bank, he left the corporate world to found Turning Point For Leaders, an executive intervention, coaching, and consulting organization focused on addressing addictions. Additionally, he serves on the board of Caron in New York City and The Ram Council in New Canaan.

Last year he opened Shana’s House, an extended care sober living house for Women in Westport, Connecticut.

He is married to the lovely Helen, and is blessed with three daughters, two sons-in-law, one daughter-in-law, and two grand-daughters and lives in New Canaan, Connecticut where he enjoys family activities, amateur acting, travel, skiing, and hanging out in and with Fairfield County’s extensive sober community.

+ Pamela George, Program Director & Business Development

With 10 years working in business management and development at Andersen Consulting, Innovative Kids and The Walter Schalk School of Dance, Pamela is well-versed in business practices. She handles all aspects of operations and management at Shana’s House, though her main focus is much deeper than making sure the day-to-day activities run smoothly. As a mother of twin girls, she exhibits strong nurturing tendencies, providing empathy and care to residents who are in the various stages of their recovery.

Pamela has a deep commitment to the women at Shana’s House, having personally lived through the painful experience of loved ones struggling with their addictions. Her strong organizational skills, leadership, and community-building talents offer the support residents need to achieve successful recovery and independence.

+ Margo Friedman, LPC, LADC, CCDP-D, Primary Therapist

Margo has over ten years in the field and specializes in treating women struggling with addiction, trauma, anxiety and mood disorders, exercise addiction, and body image issues. Margo's specialty includes eating disorder treatment. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPS) and a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor (LADC) and holds both national and international certifications as a Co-Occurring Disorders Professional Diplomat (CCDP-D). Additionally, she holds a certificate in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBTC) through the DBT National Certification Accreditation.

Margo uses a strengths-based approach, both individualized and integrative. She draws upon a variety of therapeutic modalities when working with women, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Mindfulness-Based Therapy, Person-Centered Therapy, Trauma-Focused Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Solution-Focused Therapy, among others.

"When treating clients with substance use disorders and eating disorders, it is important to address both problems simultaneously, realizing when one is in remission the other may surface. One approach I use is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This type of psychotherapy focuses on trying to change the individual’s behavior by helping them recognize distorted patterns of thinking and replacing them with healthier and more realistic behaviors."

+ Claire Balducci, Case Manager

Claire has nearly three decades of addiction experience, which she draws upon daily to guide and coordinate clients through recovery at Shana’s House. She provides positive coaching, role modeling, and mentoring for clients to help them achieve a successful life of sobriety and independent living. She is also the main point of contact for family members. Claire graduated from the University of Miami for Drug and Alcohol Counseling Program.

+ Alyssa Kassimis, Program Coordinator

Alyssa has been working in the substance abuse field for the last three years. She completed her associate's degree in Drug and Alcohol Counseling at Gateway Community College. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Social Work with a minor in Psychology at Southern Connecticut State University. With her anticipated graduation date of May 2018, Alyssa is beginning the application process to master's of Social Work programs.

+ Jenna Sharkey, Chef

While currently attending Norwalk Community College for her associates degree, Jenna will transfer to a four-year university in 2019 to earn her bachelor's in Social Work. With years of experience cooking for her family and friends, her self-taught talent in this area is easily seen through her love for food, the gourmet meals that she prepares daily, and the fact that she can cook almost anything! She decided to join the Shana’s House team because she knows the importance of nutrition in recovery. Her goal is to prepare delicious meals to help the clients maintain a healthy mind, body, and soul. Jenna enjoys working in a transitional living atmosphere because of her personal experiences with loved ones in recovery. Starting February 2018, Jenna will be hosting cooking classes for our clients. It is Jenna’s hope that upon completion of Shana’s House, clients will be able to continue their proper nutrition habits.

+ Advisory Board Members

Joyce S. Sixsmith M.A., L.A.D.C. Joyce is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor in the state of Connecticut. She currently works both in her own private practice and with high school students as the Connections Counselor for Substance Abuse at Darien High School. Joyce is also the current President of the New Canaan Ram Council Foundation, a non-profit organization that encourages healthy decision-making for teens to live substance-free lives. With 34 years of experience handling substance abuse cases, it is no surprise that she is often called to lecture on a variety of topics for schools, agencies, and faith communities. Her seminars appeal to parents and professionals as well as teens. She is a strong force working for teen and young adult sobriety. Her expansive knowledge and expertise of substance abuse among younger women is extremely beneficial among our clients.

Lance Minor Lance is no stranger to the intimacies of recovery -- he’s been in his own recovery since 1975. He had a successful career for many years as the advertising and sales rep for Sports Illustrated Magazine. But after losing both his wife and granddaughter to the disease of alcoholism, he decided to take a different and more fulfilling career path. He enrolled at the Hazelden Counselor Training Program located in Center City, Minnesota and today is a Certified and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor. He is dedicated to helping those suffering from the disease get the help they need to achieve sobriety. Lance’s deep commitment to this goal is illustrated by the fact that he has been Robert’s own sponsor for the last 3 decades.