Board of Directors

The Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization governed by a board of directors. Meet our board!

Peter Ashenden, President

Peter Ashenden is the vice president of consumer affairs for Optum’s behavioral solutions business.  Peter is responsible for developing and implementing behavioral health programs that help people with mental illness achieve long-term recovery and resiliency. He is also a mental health consumer.

Before joining Optum in 2010, he served as Executive Vice President, and then as the President and CEO, for the Depression Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). Prior to his work at the DBSA, he was the Executive Director of the Mental Health Empowerment Project (MHEP) for 12 years. In that role he provided training to consumer/survivors and mental health professionals on a national level.

Peter was the Keynote Speaker at the 2004 Alternatives Conference held in Denver, CO. He also had the opportunity to speak at the Carter Center during their 2014 Mental Health Policy summit meeting in Atlanta, GA. regarding the developing peer workforce and their outcomes from this work. He is the Past Chairman of the Board of United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association (USPRA). He is also a former member of the Board of CARF.

Peter is certified by The Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery to train recipients of mental health services in the Wellness Recovery Action Plan. Additionally, Peter is a member of the Board of iNAPS (interNational Association of Peer Supporters, The Mental Health Empowerment Project, and is a former member of the Consumer Advisory Board for the Center for Mental Health Services a division of SAMHSA.

 

Aidan Altenor, Vice President

Aidan Altenor's career began as a psychologist in Pennsylvania's mental health and intellectual/developmental disabilities service system.  Dr. Altenor retired in 2010 as the director of the Bureau of Community and Hospital Operations after over 30 years of service. As bureau director, Dr. Altenor had oversight responsibility for Pennsylvania's state hospitals and community mental health service system. In addition to volunteer service, Aidan and his wife Robbie enjoy traveling and gardening at their home in Pennsylvania.

 

George Karabakakis, Ph.D.

Dr. George Karabakakis has been employed at Health Care and Rehabilitation Services of VT (HCRS) since 1994 and has held several positions in the organization. Currently employed as chief operating officer, he is responsible for oversight of clinical operations in all agency divisions, special projects, and community relations. He has also functioned as director for most of the programs within the community mental health agency providing a range of services throughout southeastern Vermont.

Dr. Karabakakis holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. He has extensive experience as a clinician and has provided services in a variety of settings since 1976.  He serves as a governor-appointed member of the Vermont State Program Standing Committee for Adult Mental Health and member of Vermont’s Tri-branch Task Force on Criminal Justice and Co-occurring Disorders among other statewide committees.  He has served on many regional community coalitions and has developed many model integrated community-based mental health programs. George’s personal interests include good Greek food, family time and extensive world travel.

 

Patti Bitney Starke, Treasurer

Patti Bitney Starke is the Director of Mental Health Recovery and Wellness Employment Services at Kaposia. In addition, she is the Director of the Kaposia International WRAP Center of Excellence. She has accumulated over 30 years of experience as an advocate for mental health recovery and wellness within a multitude of agencies and organizations, reaching out to adults with mental health challenges, transitional youth and Veterans and military family members. Under her development and leadership, Kaposia, Inc. has received the distinction of becoming an International WRAP Center of Excellence (one of three within the USA).

Patti earned her undergraduate degree in special education, her master’s degree reading and her PhD-ABD in curriculum from the University of Wisconsin. Patti is a licensed teacher, reading specialist, and curriculum specialist. She is an Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator, a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, and is certified as an emotional CPR facilitator. She additionally serves as an Executive Board Director on the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery, on the Hero Care Advisory Council for Veterans seeking mental health recovery and wellness services and supports beyond the VA, and is a member of APSE, among other affiliations.

As a 25-year resident of Minnesota, Patti is privileged to be a wife of a Veteran, mother of 4 children, and she enjoys quilting, cooking and discovering vintage treasures in antique stores and thrift shops.

 

Mae StilesMae Stiles, Secretary

Mae Stiles is a complex commercial litigator specializing in antitrust and intellectual property law.   During the course of her career she has devoted hundreds of hours of pro-bono legal services to children and families across the country, including a year of volunteer work representing children and families in crisis in New York City.  Formerly a partner at a boutique law firm in San Francisco, she is currently shifting her focus to a new path, with the goal of earning her Ph.D. in psychology.  She holds a B.A. in English from the University of Vermont and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.  She has recently relocated to western Massachusetts and is delighted to be able to spend more time with her family, and roam her native woods with her dogs.

 
  
Yvonne SmithYvonne Z. Smith

Yvonne Z. Smith was born in Lynchburg VA and currently resides in Washington, DC.  Ms. Smith received her BA from the University of Maryland.  She is a consumer advocate and master level facilitator in wellness recovery action planning (WRAP).  She is also co-founder and supporter of the Patient Council at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.  Yvonne testifies at various hearings before the DC City Council and the U.S. House of Representatives on issues effecting persons with disabilities.  She also founded two nonprofit 501c3 organizations, The Recovery Group and the Capital Clubhouse, and she is Co-Vice Chair of DC Center for Independent Living.  Ms. Smith has served on several local Mental Health Organizations including NAMI, Laurie Mitchel Employment Center, and the Recovery Group.  Yvonne is an avid museum goer and traveler including trips to Bolivia, China, and Hong Kong.

 

Cheryl Sharp

Cheryl Sharp holds the unique perspective of a person who has recovered from significant mental health challenges, a trauma survivor, a family member of a loved one who died as a result of mental health challenges, and a provider of substance abuse and mental health services. Sharp has worked with adult trauma survivors for over 30 years and trains and speaks internationally on trauma-informed approaches and suicide prevention. She received a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) Voice Award in 2015 for her work and personal stories educating the public about trauma and behavioral health and the Lou Ann Townsend Courage Award for her contributions to persons with psychiatric disabilities. Sharp believes in the limitless possibilities found within each of us to live our lives from a place of personal power.  She has been a longtime supporter of the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery and enjoys living her life to the fullest as a mother and grandmother in eastern North Carolina.