Celebrating Recovery Month

The Exponents Center for Personal and Professional Development

is growing the field of professionals working in substance use prevention,

treatment, harm reduction, and recovery support

Tawana Rowser-Brown
Director of ECPPD
Toby Haskins
Intake Consultant

Volunteer for Recovery!

Recovery Centers and other local agencies are always looking for volunteers and interns who share the vision to help support the NYC Recovery community.

At most Recovery Centers, volunteers are the foundation of their programs and day-to-day operations. Since many agencies and recovery centers’ services and events are supported by volunteers whose lives have been touched by substance use disorders in one way or another, volunteers are vital to their success and mission. Most volunteers are primarily interested in giving back, enhancing their life skills, and connecting with recovery community members.

Why Volunteer in the NYC Recovery Community?

  • Help others in recovery
  • Become empowered in your own recovery
  • Participate in fun events such as Stand Up for Recovery Day and Rally for Recovery
  • Help create and facilitate new ideas for recovery activities
  • Become a leader in the recovery community
  • Volunteer side by side with your peers
  • Gain valuable customer service and office skills
  • Enhance your resume

At Exponents, individuals suffering from substance use disorder discover pathways to find a process of change to improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential. recovery, employment, and spiritual wellness. In addition, at the Exponents Center for Personal and Professional Development (ECPPD), we aim to grow the field of professionals by training individuals who want to be certified to provide alcohol and substance use disorder-related recovery services in approved work settings.

Why not volunteer at Exponents?  Be a part of a community where individuals learn to become leaders in transforming lives. We foster an intellectual and progressive academic environment where you can inspire and be inspired.

In the years since ECPPD was formed, Exponents has endeavored to celebrate individuals during their long-term recoveries.

The success of Exponents programs depends on the help of a fantastic network of volunteers teaching and spreading the word about the Recovery services.

Exponents’ volunteers hold a variety of roles, including Certified Recovery Peer Advocates, peer facilitators, online group facilitators,  committee members, and more. These volunteers have a diversity of backgrounds, including treatment professionals, family and/or friends of someone with addiction, and individuals who are in long-term recovery. What they have in common is a desire to help others along their journey.

One day at a time, we can create a brighter community full of hope.  We would love to have you on our team.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am originally from Miami, FL and moved to New York about 5 years ago after graduating from the University of Miami where I majored in Economics. I currently work at JP Morgan Chase as a Senior Associate in their Capital Planning Group. I am of Guyanese descent and am immensely passionate about mental health and giving back to the community

Tell me how you first got involved with Exponents.

I first got involved with Exponents when I saw that the organization was looking to restart its Junior Board. As a young professional who strongly values creativity and community building, I saw the Junior Board as an opportunity to provide other young professionals with more exposure to the organization and to offer my expertise in fundraising and event planning.

What was your first impression of Exponents?

When I toured the agency, I was so impressed with the organization’s commitment to outreach and providing a wide variety of services across the spectrum relating to recovery services and mental health.

What do you wish other people knew about Exponents?

How amazing the people in this organization truly are! I’ve been involved in many organizations in different roles and capacities, but the commitment and dedication of the people within the organization really stands out to me.

Why are you supporting Exponents as opposed to other groups working on recovery services and mental health?

I support Exponents due to the client-driven nature of its programs. The organization is heavily focused on the needs of each individual and adjusts based on the specific circumstances and experiences of each person. I believe this approach proves most effective and speaks to the high retention and graduation rates from the program.  

What would you tell someone who is thinking about becoming involved with Exponents? 

Feel free to reach out and please get involved! We are doing amazing work and are always looking for other like-minded individuals who have a passion for helping others.

What do you do when you aren’t working?

I enjoy traveling more than anything. My favorite trip this year has been to Costa Rica. The food and culture were truly unique, and the views were breathtaking.

Donald R. Powell, Sr. Director of Programs & Development

As a new virus hit NYC in July, Exponents jumped into action. When it became apparent that lessons learned (again) during our response to COVID-19 related to health inequities, access and stigma thought to have been learned had been forgotten, Exponents DID what we always do: ADVOCATE!! 

For two weeks, Exponents staff participated in webinars, town hall meetings, and panel discussions related to MPV (formerly known as MonkeyPox) ensuring that access for BIPOC (Black and Indigenous People of Color) queer and trans community members was provided in meaningful ways. On July 22nd, Amanda Phi and Patrick Padgen, from the New York Knows program of the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, reached out to ask if the agency would be willing to see if we could connect folks to appointments if they were provided direct access to the portal for scheduling those appointments. 

An emphatic yes led to a selection of our Director of Special Projects, Yvonne Soto, our Testing Manager, Sade Ellis, and Service Navigator, Roger Adamson. We all started being trained along to participate in a series of trainings, and gained access to the city’s MPV Vaccination scheduling portal.  Exponents was provided with 64 appointments for its first week of engagement. Those appointments had been exhausted in a little over 24 hours.

On Thursday, August 11th, Mr. Adamson and I attended a press conference organized by the LGBTQI Caucus of the City Council, where three pieces of proposed legislation were unveiled. The legislation requests that the City request vaccinations doses commensurate with our infection rates, and that the DOHMH create a comprehensive prevention plan and provide greater transparency on the breakdown of race, sexual orientation, gender identity and zip code of residence for those provided vaccinations. Crafted by the Caucus Co-Chair, Crystal Hudson, this legislation is the first of its kind to specifically address MPV in the country.

To date, Exponents has provided access to more than 300 BIPOC community members, provided recommendations to Speaker Adams and the NYCDOHMH on portal revisions, locations of pop-up clinics and the relationship to safety and many more issues. As a result of our work, Exponents received short-term funding to continue and expand on this support for the community. 

We did not work alone. Eternal gratitude to Snookie Lanore, Icon & Commentator within the House/Ball community; Dominic Faison, NYC Chapter Father of the House of Ebony Tygier Morgan (Founder & Principle of Ty wit Da Live), Ballroom Legend & Videographer, and; Nicole Bowles, Transgender advocate and activist for their Herculean efforts and reaching into their own personal social networks. Special thanks also to Patrick Padgen and Amanda Phi at New York Knows for their guidance and support, and First Corinthian Baptist Church in Harlem for helping us get the word out. None of this would be possible without the support of our dedicated and passionate team working diligently to get folks the access they need to feel safe and protected!!

Reflections from Women in Leadership

Regina Edwards, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

As we celebrate Women’s History Month and the contributions women have made, I also reflect on the milestones women have made in business and the long-awaited recognition we are finally getting. It gives me joy and hope for a future where equity becomes commonplace. That said, we still have a long way to go, but progress is being made and I am a part of this evolution.

Finance is a career field unmistakably dominated by men. So from the start, I decided to focus on what I could control, and to block out all the things around me that said otherwise. I rolled up my sleeves, did the work and proved that I had what it took. Being confident in myself and not allowing stereotypes to prevail has helped me get to my current leadership role. Believing that performance matters, being present at all times and willing to go that extra mile has worked for me.

However, while I believe that my work ethic and determination have paid off, I’m not so naïve as to think that this is all it takes. Women are where we are today by standing on the shoulders of those who came before us. Those women faced insurmountable challenges, some of which remain in existence today–gender bias, stereotypes, equity, and diversity challenges to name a few.

When I arrived at Exponents 26 years ago, I came with intention. I wanted to put my stamp on what was a relatively small agency that outsourced its accounting function. I worked hard to build a full-fledged finance department staffed up to meet the rigorous demands of the non-profit industry. My reach has also increased to include Human Resources, IT and Fundraising. It’s been a ride and I’m not done yet.        

What would I tell a young woman today about leadership? Don’t change who you are to fit a mold or try to please. Do your best, always present yourself in a way that is uncompromising, remain unwavering in what you want for yourself, and know your worth. 

Last but not least, when you get there, lead by example. Be an example for the others that will come behind you and undoubtedly walk in your footsteps, whether you know it or not. Be true to yourself!

Samantha Lopez, Executive Vice President & Chief Operations Officer

Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate the vital role of women in American history. This year, I find myself reflecting on the challenges faced by women in the workforce. I also find myself looking back on my own career achievements and the experiences that have brought me to my role at EXPONENTS in an executive leadership position.

When I began my career, I had the good fortune to work under a series of female leaders. These mentors modeled very different styles of leadership, from leading through fear and intimidation to leading through vulnerability and nurturing. What has stayed with me from those lived experiences is the firm belief that my gender didn’t limit my ability to lead, and the knowledge that there is no one effective style of leadership.

The challenges faced by women in earlier generations and in more male-dominated fields (such as science and technology) have lessened, but not been fully eradicated. We deal with barriers of a more subtle, insidious nature… a slight condescension, overtalking, being mansplained to, or having your ideas reworded as if you were unable to articulate your thoughts. 

Women are conditioned to be polite, so many of us experience difficulty asserting ourselves. We are wary of feeling as if we’re being rude, or being painted as aggressive. In my opinion, this conditioning is a significant contributor to the gender wage gap. Many women are not comfortable with asking for pay increases and promotions because it entails being assertive about one’s accomplishments, which can feel braggadocious or obnoxious. 

Trust me when I tell you, men never feel this way. They are aware there is nothing impolite about knowing your value!

For leaders who are also women of color, these issues are compounded by societal bias and stereotypes. It has been my experience that these negative aspects are offset by modeling potential and possibility to our agency’s participants and staff, which I find to be one of the most gratifying aspects of being a leader. 

Leaning into feminine energy by being able to nurture staff and provide them with a safe space to develop while guiding with a firm hand has been an effective personal leadership technique and has allowed us to continue to flourish during unprecedented times.

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