The Women's Association of Addiction Treatment (WAAT) is a unique membership organization of professional women who work in the field of recovery. WAAT is committed to advancing and supporting women in the field. Our membership is comprised of therapists, counselors, treatment center owners, frontline staff, nutritionists, business development, yoga instructors, and more.
In 2001 founder Victoria Smart gathered six women who worked in recovery for a monthly lunch meeting to share their experience, support and knowledge with each other. As more women were invited the lunch meeting became a breakfast meeting and a few months later, in early 2002, the meeting had grown so large it was moved to conference room to accommodate everyone. The original six women formed the first Board of Directors and began to organize WAAT into a membership organization of diverse and dynamic women.
Under the leadership and vision of the founding Board, WAAT became more than a supportive networking group. Members and other leaders in the field were invited to give presentations every other month, and eventually WAAT began offering CEs. An extensive resource directory was created for members, by members, based on their direct experiences. Chapter expansion began a few years later.
At the core of every WAAT Chapter meeting is the same central purpose born from the first gathering of six women. Today with Chapters all across California and other states, WAAT members continue to uphold the mission and values established by its founders.
Annie Behringer, LCSW
Elizabeth Suti, LMFT
Chanda Rankin, PhD
Linda Gingras, LMFT, CADC II
Joanne Barron, PsyD
Chapter meetings are held monthly and typically alternate between Speaker Presentations and Networking/Roundtable Discussions. Each chapter is run by chapter elected Chairwomen (volunteer WAAT members) responsible for the Chapter's operation and programming during their term. As a member driven and chapter-based organization, each chapter is guided by the mission and vision of WAAT while having its own unique style. Members choose a home chapter to be affiliated with but can attend any WAAT meeting.
A list of chapters, online meeting dates and times can be found on the Chapter page.
At this time, due to current health concerns, most chapters are hosting meetings online. In-person meetings will resume on a chapter by chapter basis as safety permits. Meeting locations will be available on the chapter page at that time.
Linda Gingras, LMFT, CADCII President/Co-Founder
Natanya Ross Vice President
Chanda Rankin, PhD Operations/N.California Liaison/Co-Founder
Amna Butler Treasurer
Marie Hills Secretary
Angela Carrillo, CIP Membership Outreach/Social Media
Jillian Greene, PsyD Membership Services/Continuing Education
Colleen Capistrano Marketing/S.California and Mid-West Liaison
Joni Lavick, LCSW Chapter Expansion
Marie Hills, Administrative Assistant
Joni Lavick, MFT, maintains a private practice in Santa Monica, is a long-standing employee at The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center - currently as clinical supervisor and past Director of Mental Health Services - and is a contracted provider at Moonview Sanctuary.
Joni has been working with HIV-positive individuals since 1988. In 2005 she received a National HIV Leadership Award from thebody.com. The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapists Association honored her expertise and advocacy in 2000, with their Annual Community Service Award.
In addition to her work within the HIV community, she has special training in the scoring and administration of Mary Main's Adult Attachment Interview, and studied Intersubjective Systems Theory with Robert Stolorow for five years. She has years of experience treating individuals with sexual compulsivity and methamphetamine addiction.
Her most current publications include "Trauma and HIV: Frozen Moments, Frozen Lives" (in press) and "Conquering Anxiety; Living with HIV" BETA Winter 2007. An experienced public speaker, she has presented at many national conferences, University classrooms, and Community Based Organizations.
"I came for the networking, but stayed for the humor! Women of WAAT are hilarious!"