Presenter Bios

17th Annual Ohio Problem Gambling Conference

  • Dr. Amanda Burke

    Dr. Burke works as a Prevention Specialist at Townhall II in Kent, Ohio while simultaneously functioning as an Assistant Professor at Kent State University in the School of Health Sciences. She holds dual national certifications serving as a Certified Health Education Specialist and a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist.

  • Ken Buzzelli
  • Michael Buzzelli

    Michael Buzzelli received his Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health from Slippery Rock University and his Master of Public Health from Kent State. He continued his education at Case Western Reserve University where he received a Master’s in Bioethics. In his new role, Michael will launch Ohio's Warm Transfer program, which will strengthen the connection of those calling the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline, the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline Specialists, and Ohio Certified Gambling Counselors. Additionally, Michael will continue his work with the Ohio Problem Gambling Services Advisory Board (PGAB) and the NCPG Prevention committee, where he serves as chair.

  • Beth Burson
  • Dr. Heather Chapman

    Dr. Heather Chapman is Director of the Brecksville Gambling Treatment Program, and Deputy Director of the Veterans Addiction Recovery Center, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center and Associate Professor of Psychiatry Case Western Reserve University. A clinical psychologist, she has conducted assessments, individual psychotherapy, and psychotherapeutic, psychoeducational, and support groups targeting problem and pathological gambling since 1997. Dr. Chapman is a nationally certified gambling counselor and board certified clinical consultant from the International Gambling Certification Board of the National Council on Problem Gambling. She is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers, and as such has developed groups specifically designed to enhance change for those struggling with problem and pathological gambling. Her current research interests include suicide and gambling, as well as personality and gambling, co-morbidity, and treatment retention.

  • Alessandro Ciaffoncini

    VP, Accounts Director at Origo Branding Company, a creative agency focused on branding, marketing, and digital strategy, Alessandro has been responsible for developing the strategy for a variety state agencies and organizations that are involved in advancing the health and wellness of communities around our state and nation. He has led key campaigns that build awareness around critical topics, such as Rx drug abuse prevention, childhood development, and recently, worked with the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to help launch the “Before You Bet” campaign – advocating responsible gambling across the state of Ohio. In addition to his leadership at Origo, Alessandro is also passionate in his efforts to give back to his industry and community, and has been involved in a number of nonprofit boards and committees throughout the years. He is an advocate for his state and is enthusiastic about working with inspired individuals and groups to help the spirit of our region continue to grow.

  • Matt Finley

    Matt Finley joined United Way of Greater Cleveland in 2010. He currently serves as the Associate Director of United Way 2-1-1 HelpLink, helping to oversee delivery of community resource navigation services to 15 counties throughout Ohio, as well as operation of the Problem Gambling Helpline for the entire state.

  • Maria Garner

    Maria Garner is a Licensed Social Worker and has an ICGC-II gambling certification for the Counseling of Gambling Disorder. She provides treatment for those in recovery and for families wanting to support the recovery process. She brings a wealth of knowledge as a Graduate of Capital University BSW program and has a MSW from The Ohio State University Social Work program. Maria has years of experience working with Mental Health and Addiction Disorders in the role of Counselor, Crisis Stabilization Clinician, Emergency Response Clinician and Case Manager.

    Maria’s clinical emphasis of training is in the area of Motivational Interviewing, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Mindfulness. Maria provides client centered treatment focusing on the goal of empowering individuals and groups through development of healthy coping.

    She believes that understanding disorders from a cultural perspective is necessary for sustained recovery. She is passionate about educating and supporting those with Mental Health and Addiction Disorders.

  • Kelly Garza

    Kelly Garza received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and English from the University of Toledo. She is a Licensed Social Worker, a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor III, Certified Prevention Consultant, and Tobacco Treatment Specialist in the State of Ohio.

    She is the Prevention Services Coordinator at the Zepf Center in Toledo where she is developing a prevention program for the agency including problem gambling prevention services and youth-led prevention with high school and college-age students. She provides trainings in Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid to community members, and recently joined the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio Board.

    Kelly’s career spans over 20 years and has focused on working with at-risk adolescents with mental health and substance abuse issues. While working in the social service field, she created, implemented and facilitated several programs, including a Life Skills and art curriculum at a detention center, pet assisted therapy and canine assisted learning programs, and has taught hundreds of Life Skills classes. Kelly is a member of the Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Workers and is the recipient of a Senatorial Citation from Ohio State Senator Teresa Fedor for her work with her therapy dogs with abuse victims.

    Kelly lives in a rural area in Pemberville with her husband of 21 years and son, a sophomore at The University of Findlay working on his doctorate of Physical Therapy, and daughter, who just graduated from Eastwood High School and is working in the health/nutrition field. Kelly spends her free time with her husband, children, and pets, enjoys being in nature, walking in the woods behind her home, riding her bike in the summer and reading.

  • George Hicks

    George is a Prevention Services Specialist for the Maryhaven Gambling Intervention Program, has over 25 years of program development and resources. He coordinates programs both in schools and communities setting. George works to identify the prevention needs of target populations.

  • Bruce Jones

    Bruce Jones is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and a Nationally-Certified Gambling Counselor Level II who has worked for Maryhaven since 2000 and started working with gamblers (leading to the creation of the One More Chance program) in 2009.

  • Andrew Kapela

    Andrew Kapela is currently a pre-engineering college student at Owen Community College. He has enjoyed video gaming and building gaming computers for as long as he can remember. Andrew has long been a source of expert gaming information for his father, Steve Kapela from Zepf Centers gambling treatment program

  • Steven Kapela

    Steve is Manager of Gambling Treatment and Prevention at the Zepf Center in Toledo, Ohio. Steve is also the father of 2 adult sons who have enjoyed gaming since they were children. This situation has allowed them to demonstrate many of the issues involved in gaming and GAMEbling and is the genesis of this gaming demonstration.

  • Bill McGovern

    Bill is an advocate with Recovery Resources, The Problem Gambling Network of Ohio and Lake County Suicide Prevention Coalition. He is a contributing member of Gam-Anon for the past six years. He is here today to talk about advocacy, its importance, and why he volunteers to spread the message and dangers of problem gambling

  • Jody Morgan

    Jody Morgan is the Director of Special Projects for Thrive. She identifies as an individual in recovery from mental health diagnoses since 2004. Jody is a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Ohio Peer Supporter, Supervisor. Her previous work experience has been in human resources, office administration, statewide behavioral health organization, mobile peer recovery support. Jody began her work at Ascent and currently works in project development and implementation for recovery support programs at Thrive.

  • Lauren Munk

    Lauren Munk is a Licensed Social Worker and an Ohio Certified Prevention Consultant. She is the Prevention Coordinator for CHC Addiction Services in Akron. She has been in the Prevention field since 2001 and has been doing gambling awareness since the casinos came to town. Lauren works with Kindergarten through 12 grade population.

  • Bill Newberry

    Bill worked 30 years as a cook, retiring to become a counselor. He states, “I fed stomachs for 30 years; now I feed minds.” Bill is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister. He worked in a prison treatment program. Bill has worked mostly as an individual counselor with PG clients.

  • Diana Padrutt
  • Paul Pellizzari

    Paul Pellizzari is Vice President—Global Social Responsibility, Hard Rock International. For over two decades he has led corporate strategies and programs that span purpose-driven brand marketing, environmental sustainability, responsible gambling, operations, culture-building, and research. He has: forged collaborative partnerships with governments, the United Nations, and not-for-profits internationally, authored two books and many articles, and taught at Queen’s University, in Kingston Ontario.  His programs have received numerous awards, including twice being recognized for the world’s best responsible gambling program by the World Lottery Association.

  • Rory Rennick

    Rory Rennick is a native of Columbus, Ohio and has performed for thousands at corporations, schools, universities, historical museums, cultural arts facilities, comedy clubs, casinos, churches, libraries, restaurants and community events in almost every imaginable venue from New York to California. He is the first magician to regularly host his own family show at the National Funny Bone Comedy Club & Restaurants in Columbus, Dayton, Toledo, and Liberty Township Ohio and Newport, Kentucky. He was also seen on NBC’s America’s Got Talent. Rory is a teaching artist with the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education and a member of the Ohio Order for the Preservation of Storytelling and the Ohio Local History Alliance. Rory is a founding member, and currently serves as the historian of the International Association of Black Magical Artists. He has also appeared in a number of historical stage productions, including one that he produced himself about Henry. He is the foremost authority on the escaped slave turned magician Henry “Box” Brown, and was a consultant and a voiceover artist featured on the award-winning documentary: Quiet Masters- The History and Relevance of the Black Magical Artist (On Amazon Prime). Rory is also the author of the upcoming book: Henry “Box” Brown’s Legacy and My Life With Him.

  • Michael Rosen

    Mike Rosen is the Vice President of Clinical Services at Center for Addiction Treatment in Cincinnati. Mike graduated from the Ohio Disordered Gambling Treatment Supervision Fellowship Program and is a Stage 1 trainer for statewide gambling treatment trainings. Mike is a board member of the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio.

  • Kelly Smith

    Kelly Smith is the State Program and Policy Director for the Mental Health and Addiction Advocacy Coalition. Kelly began her career as a Legislative Aide at the Ohio House of Representatives where she developed a keen understanding of the legislative process. In her current role as an advocate, she educates policymakers about mental health and substance use disorders, organizes Statehouse advocacy days and meetings with members of the General Assembly, and supports public policy initiatives that strengthen prevention, treatment, and recovery supports.

    Kelly is a strong advocate and continues to provide proven leadership for planning and developing public policy strategies to improve the lives of those impacted by behavioral health disorders.

  • Claire Spada

    Claire Spada works for Lake-Geauga Recovery Centers as a Problem Gambling Prevention Specialist. She has 12 years of paid experience working in the prevention field in varying capacities and is an Ohio Certified Prevention Specialist. She has a passion for educating others on issues that can greatly impact their lives including drug, alcohol, and gambling prevention, coping with emotions in a positive way, and empowering young people in leadership roles. In her current role, Claire solely focuses on expanding problem gambling education, awareness, and screening into organizations that may already provide services to vulnerable populations such as college-aged students, senior citizens, middle and high school students as well as those who have a history of drug and alcohol abuse or a mental health concern.

  • Jess Stewart

    Jess is an advocate and a board member of The Problem Gambling Network of Ohio. He serves on multiple committees and has been a speaker at various events including the 2019 Ohio Conference. He's here today to discuss the importance of advocacy and to find opportunities for possible use of them by those in prevention and treatment.

  • Melinda Swan

    Melinda Swan launched The Collective Genius (TCG), an entrepreneurial research, marketing and business strategy firm located in Central Ohio, to marry an expertise in strategy and marketing to a lifelong commitment to the greater good. The Collective Genius has worked with Maryhaven since the launch of One More Chance in 2015 to increase public awareness and bring more problem gamblers and their loved ones in for treatment.

  • Louis Weigle

    Louis Weigele is a clinical social worker who has worked with gambling addictions.