Chief Executive Officer
Tom Nemat is a co-founder and CEO of Beginnings Treatment Centers and the founder and principal attorney at the Law Firm of Tom Nemat. Tom brings his business and legal background to Beginnings along with an intense passion to eliminate the shame and stigma associated with addiction.
Prior to practicing law and pursuing his entrepreneurial dreams, Tom earned his J.D. from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles with an emphasis in corporate law. Prior to law school, Tom graduated from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. At Berkeley, Tom was involved in several consulting and entrepreneurial activities in conjunction with his business courses, including Technology Entrepreneurship and Strategic Planning/Consulting.
Ehsan Gharadjedaghi, Psy.D.
Chief Clinical Officer
Dr. Ehsan Gharadjedaghi is a California-licensed clinical psychologist with specialties in couples and sex therapy, substance use addiction, complex trauma, and youth concerns. He is also the founder of multiple successful organizations including Norooz Clinic, a non-profit community mental health clinic; Therapy Impasse Exploration & Resolution Institute, a specialty training and research institute to help therapists improve their clinical skills; AlumniSuccess, a private practice startup organization for emerging pre-licensed and newly licensed psychotherapists, Couples & Sex Therapists of Orange County, a local Orange County, CA, based training institute for couple and sex therapy; TherapyCable.com, an online educational streaming media hub with the purpose of reducing obstacles to therapy and healing.
Dr. Gharadjedaghi is also on the part-time faculty of multiple OC-based private universities including Argosy University, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and the University of Phoenix. Furthermore, Dr. Gharadjedaghi serves on the editorial board of Who Is Who, Inc. Health + Medicine magazine, and on the Board of Advisors at the MACP program at Argosy University, as well as a member of Orange County Mental Health Board.
Chief Communications Officer
Joe Milligan has been an active member of the recovery community for more than 20 years. A successful professional in the Healthcare and Hospital industries, he brings a new level of expertise and sophistication to Beginnings Treatment Centers as we create a new paradigm in the art and science of addiction treatment.
Tarek Greiss, M.D.
Chief Operating Officer
Dr. Tarek Greiss is the COO of Beginnings Treatment Centers. He received a BA in Economics from the University of Washington then his Medical Doctorate from The George Washington University. After completing his residency in Anesthesiology and fellowship in cardiothoracic anesthesiology he went on to work in private practice for several years.
Dr. Greiss entered the world of addiction recovery through the front door, as a client. He is a recovered impaired professional who navigated the very difficult road to durable recovery through an intense trial and error period. Through an initial rocky course of recovery, Dr. Greiss identified the many shortcomings in traditional treatment and has worked with Beginnings Treatment Centers to develop a state of the art Impaired Professionals Program, designed to assist addicted professionals in maintaining or regaining their professional stature and attaining durable recovery.
Dr. Rafael Penunuri has over 20 years of extensive experience in detoxification and general family practice.
He has been a trusted doctor in the Southern California medical community since 1985, and is board certified with the American Board of Addiction Medicine and American Board of Family Practice since July 1985.
Dr. Penunuri is a graduate of UCLA School of Medicine.
Shahrzad Jalali, Psy.D.
Content coming soon...
Dr. Samira Vafadar is a Licensed Psychologist in California with over 10 years of experience working as a multicultural and bilingual in Farsi therapist in a broad range of settings. Dr. Vafadar completed a B.S. Specialized Honors degree in Psychology at York University in Toronto, Canada. In Canada, Dr. Vafadar worked at clinical private practice with clients suffering from all sorts of mood disorders as well as providing assessments and therapy to injured adults suffering from PTSD.
Dr. Vafadar moved to California in 2004 where she completed a masters and a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology at Alliant International University, an APA-Accredited school. Since moving to California, Dr. Vafadar has worked with a wide variety of clinical populations, including: criminal offenders and sexual offenders, at risk youth and children, chronically ill as well as work-related injured patients. Currently Dr. Vafadar works with victims of addictions and substance abuse and has a private practice where she works with individuals, couples and families. Dr. Vafadar also supervises and mentors interns that are in the process of becoming a psychologist.
Clinical Care Coordinator
Erin Garibaldi, M.A.
Erin Garibaldi, M.A. is a Psychological Assistant, practicing counseling since 2008. She has worked with survivors of sexual assault, cancer patients and their families, college students, HIV patients and their partners, and drug and alcohol abusers.
Erin received her Masters through Antioch University Santa Barbara and is currently working on her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University Santa Barbara.
Bob Weathers, Ph.D.
Dr. Bob Weathers holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and has over his professional career provided tens of thousands of hours of therapy and recovery coaching, particularly to those seeking recovery from addiction.
In addition to having served as founding clinical director of two nationally recognized residential drug and alcohol treatment centers, and now serving as consultant, trainer, and group facilitator to Beginnings Treatment Centers, he also has more than 35 years of experience in educating graduate-level clinicians. Formerly a professor of clinical psychology at Pepperdine University, he has also taught in graduate psychology programs at Loma Linda University, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Argosy University, and California State University, San Bernardino. For the past ten years, he has been Academic Effectiveness Coordinator for the School of Behavioral Sciences at California Southern University in Orange County, including helping lead the university toward full regional accreditation this past year.
Known to his clients and students as Dr. Bob, one area of career-long passion for him centers around holistic, or integrative, approaches to therapy and recovery coaching --- where the entire spectrum of human experience, from body to mind to soul and spirit, is drawn upon for its resources and nourishing contributions to healthful living. Related to this area of career interest and expertise, Dr. Bob has published numerous articles in a broad cross-section of professional books, journals, and edited volumes.
A sought-after speaker, as well as prolific writer, Dr. Bob’s current research areas of interest focus on reducing shame and stigma in addiction and recovery by means of instructing clients and their families about addiction and the brain. His lifelong commitment to education also motivates his constantly working toward creating and sharing success strategies for online learning and recovery-directed aftercare, including providing openly accessible, internet-based resources for training in mindful awareness practices.
Along with his vocational pursuits, Dr. Bob has maintained an active, lifelong involvement in music, including performing locally as a jazz drummer and world music percussionist. Related to this artistic passion, Dr. Bob regularly applies his having studied popular and ethnic drumming for over fifty years by performing and lecturing widely, to both professional and general public audiences, on the connection between musical creativity, personal spiritual development, and emotional well-being.
Ken Davis, RADT1
Client Care Coordinator
Maria Morris, RADT1
Client Care Coordinator
April Marquez, LVN II
Zachary Willis, CAT-C, MFTi
Case Manager, Therapist
Amanda Kim, MFTi
Marriage and Family Therapist Intern
Jeremy Williams is a Case Manager at Beginnings Treatment Center. He brings 3 years of experience in the treatment field, as well as his own personal experience, strength and hope.
Jeremy is currently attending school at Saddleback College in Orange County to obtain his AA in human services. Jeremy leads the Faith-Based aspect at the center. Jeremy grew up in Orange County, spends time with his children and wife doing, sports, camping, surfing, music, and Church.
Marriage and Family Therapist
Soheila Norolouni received her MS in Marriage Family Therapy at Argosy University in the year 2015 and completed her trainee hours at Norooz Clinic foundation and Elite Care treatment center as a psychotherapist providing individual and group therapy
to a vast population.
Soheila has over three years of experience providing mental health services to the community as a psychotherapist intern. She is continuing her internship at Norooz Clinic Foundation, a non-profit community mental health clinic serving various populations in need of affordable mental health services and Beginning Treatment Center to serve those who seek sobriety and behavioral change to stay in recovery.
Aimee Smith, RADT1
Coming Soon ...
Alexandria Sullivan, RADT1
Life Skills Coach
Kanen Davis, RADT1
Kellie Cuadras, MFTi
Lexis Van Acker
Director of Business Development
Pejman "Pej" Alaghamandan has worked in the field of addiction and mental health for nearly a decade. After finishing his Drug and Alcohol Studies in the Human Services Department at Saddleback College he embarked on a journey of working at Newport Academy, an adolescent facility treating for substance abuse disorder in Orange Park Acres as a recovery coach. He later went on to work on the front lines of treatment specifically in running detox in Morningside Recovery, Rocksolid, and Surehaven. Down the line he held various positions such as case manager, program manager, peer coordinator, and as an admissions counselor. For a period of time Pej moved to Los Angeles to open some high-end highly structured sober livings in Westwood and Bel Air named Pioneers In Recovery. He took on the roll of Program Director there and with a high sobriety success rate.
Pej later became a private life coach in Los Angeles working with some elite individuals in helping strengthen them gain and strengthen their recovery. In the last few years Pej also works alongside Earl Hightower as an interventionist and Director of Marketing at Hightower Associates. Pej takes his own personal recovery extremely seriously and makes it a point to influence anybody and everybody he interacts with that may be seeking to live a sober life.
Senior Admissions Coordinator
Taylor Reichelt, RADT1
Client Care Coordinator
Andrea Wiens, CADC RADT1
Director of Operations
Jeff Hamilton is the Director of Operations at Beginnings Treatment Centers. He brings 26 years of experience in the treatment field with him to Beginnings.
Jeff started in 1990 with one of the largest treatment centers in Orange County, and was instrumental in developing their operations team. Being an Orange County native, Jeff spends his off time surfing and playing beach volleyball.
Assistant Director of Operations
Johnnie is the Assistant Director of Operations at Beginnings Treatment Centers. Johnnie grew up in Southern California and has undergone great struggles in his life since early childhood. Johnnie’s untreated addiction robbed him of many years of his life. Today with his sobriety he loves giving back to people and he finally feels that he doesn’t have to wear a mask anymore. Johnnie knows that by leading a sober life he can put the tough guy stuff away and just finally be himself. Sobriety keeps him from being complacent and he continues to strive for better things. Johnnie’s greatest gifts are his patience and tolerance. He loves to work with troubled young people because he can relate to their struggles. During Johnnies years of using he has seen a lot of death and lost a lot of friends to this disease. He knows that for an addict continued using will only lead to jail, institution or death.
Johnnie’s goal when working with clients is to break the revolving door of recovery. His goal is to not see clients constantly yo-yoing in and out of treatment and sober living. One of his strengths is that he doesn’t judge others as there is not a lot that people have done that will shock him. Johnnie believes that he went down such a bad path in life and was placed here in order for people to learn from his story. His greatest hope is that his experiences will enable other people to learn and make different choices without having to experience everything he went through. Johnnie is well aware that money cannot make you happy as he grew up with a privileged life. Johnnie says his greatest blessings today are his sobriety, his freedom, and the people that he considers his family today. Johnnie is very proud to say that his mother has 31 years sober and is his best friend today.
Addiction tore Johnnie and his family apart for many years and now with sobriety he has been able to get his family back. Everything Johnnie searched for as a child he has now and he would never have it if he and his mother weren’t both sober. He made bad choices most of his life trying to be part of something or trying to be someone he wasn’t in order to fit in. The path that Johnnie took ended up taking his freedom away from him.
Today Johnnie says he loves who he is. He doesn’t act on impulse anymore. Sobriety has enabled Johnnie to hear the word no and be ok with it. He says he has learned in life that it no longer a me thing but a we thing. With recovery, he now feels able to get through any traumatic times and daily trials and tribulations. For so long Johnnie said he used to just sit on his problems and make bad choices but now he is able to think things through and live in the solution and not the problem. While everyone who meets Johnnie can see his intelligence and innate abilities it is obvious he could work in so many different fields. His heart and passion is with helping those in early recovery just as so many reached out to help him in the past. Johnnie knows the importance of family involvement in recovery and is diligent about staying in touch with families and helping to ease the transition into sober living and then back home again. For Johnnie this isn’t a business - this is about saving lives.
Beginnings Treatment Centers in Orange County, California is Johnnie’s home and he goes above and beyond to make everyone feel loved and welcome. Just like a good parent though, Johnnie knows the importance of saying no and setting limits. But he is able to do it in a loving way and teach our clients to learn to set limits for themselves, and to ask for help when needed.
Patrick R Smith, LADAAC
Associate Program Director
Patrick R. Smith ICADC, LAADC, CAMF is an addiction professional that has a passion for recovery and helping others. He was inspired and encouraged by his mentors to work with individuals and families that have been affected by alcohol and drug addiction. He has been working in the field of addiction recovery for 17+ years and is an Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and a Licensed Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor through the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals and is Certified in Adult and Adolescent Anger Management.
His Career in addiction treatment began in 2001 at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage CA. as an Addiction Specialist working on the inpatient campus and is the co-creator of the Young Adult Track specializing in work with 18-25-year-old Patients. He also excelled in working with addicted and Impaired professionals in the Professionals Relapse and Recovery Program while at Betty Ford Center. Patrick transitioned to Orange County in 20011 where accepted a position as the Program Director for Orange County Recovery Services. Patrick is a gifted lecturer, speaker, and counselor with a passion for recovery and he has been an active recovery member for over 24 years.
Toxicology and EMR Liaison
Ashley is the Toxicology and EMR Liaison for Beginnings Treatment Centers. She analyzes drug testing results and provides help with the electronic medical record website used to document notes for the clients.
Ashley has a hard work ethic, in order to help provide whatever is necessary to ensure the clients are well taken care of.
Nancy Soto is bilingual, speaking fluently in both English and Spanish. She is the Billing and the Collection Manager of Beginnings Treatment Centers. Nancy is enthusiastic and motivated with extensive Medical and Substance Abuse Billing experience, and a strong background in collections.
Nancy maintains a high level of personal drive, a confident nature and an aggressive attitude in achieving results. She earned a Medical Billing and Terminology Certificate from Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, and is a current Student of Medical Coding at Allied Business School.
Heather Bastio, RADT1
Noah Medina is the Utilization Review Specialist at Beginnings Treatment Centers. As an Orange County native, she has a strong sense of community and a desire to help others which is what propelled her into becoming a member of the Beginnings Treatment Centers family.
Working alongside her peers, she can turn obstacles into opportunities to help others achieve their greatness.
Ana Galvan, RADT1
Nickole Galvez, RADT1