Our People

Key Personnel

Rory, Denise, JD, Stanley, Gary M, Gary H, and Aurora

Stanley Weinstein, EMBA, ACFRE, is Executive Director of Best Chance and has spent more than 50 years in the nonprofit sector. As a consultant, he has provided services for more than 300 nonprofit organizations nationwide, including numerous social service/behavioral health institutions. From 2010-2018, Stanley was a volunteer mentor at Central New Mexico Correctional Facility, where he taught mindfulness and coping skills. Mr. Weinstein was also trained at Presbyterian Hospital, participating in the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program. Subsequently, he worked as a chaplain at the hospital for 2 years. Mr. Weinstein is the author of two books on nonprofit management and resource development published by John Wiley & Sons.

Rory Wolf, Certified Peer Support Worker (CPSW), has been clean and sober for 11 years and serves as Peer Support Worker and Administrative Specialist. He came to Best Chance as an intern from CNM and has been integral in refining the program and maintaining records of the organization. He is a veteran and is familiar with the programs offered at the Veterans Integration Center. He has an Associate degree in human services and a certificate in substance abuse counseling. Rory obtained his CPSW through OPRE in September of 2019.

Gary Mares, Certified Community Health Worker (CCHW), Certified Peer Support Worker (CPSW), was trained as a Peer Educator by Project ECHO during his term of incarceration. He completed the 40 hour training period for Best Chance Peer Support Workers and is enrolled full-time in CNM’s Human Services program. He completed his Community Health Worker Certificate from CNM in August 2019 and obtained his CPSW through OPRE in September 2019. A gifted presenter, Gary has represented Best Chance at several conferences and outreach presentations.

Deborah Whitley, Certified Peer Support Worker (CPSW), Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (LADAC), Bachelors in Social Work (BSW), has an extensive history of peer support and substance abuse counseling. Deb has worked with multiple service providers as a Case Manager, Services Coordinator, and Substance Abuse Counselor. She facilitates our Women’s Support Group, and works closely with our participants coping with Substance Use Disorders.

Joe “JD” Medina, Peer Support Worker is also a Certified Peer Support Worker (CPSW). JD has a strong artistic flare. He encourages his clients to not only find meaningful employment, but also ways of expressing their unique talents. JD has close ties to many other service providers. This allows him to help secure the services that each Best Chance program participant needs to succeed.

Gary Hernandez, Operations Manager/Peer Support Worker (trainee), is the newest member of the Best Chance team. He has a BA in Urban Studies and a MA in Sociology both from Stanford, and a MPH from University of London. His life experience combined with his extraordinary education have molded Gary into one uniquely qualified to help administer the organization. At the same time, he brings a deep sense of empathy while working with program participants. Gary comes to us through the program New Mexico Workforce Connections, funded by a grant from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

Board of Directors

Jeff Hoppe, M. Div. – Board President – Rev. Hoppe formerly was head of Presbyterian Hospital’s Chaplaincy Department. He is currently the Manager of the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program—an interfaith chaplain training program—at Eastern Oklahoma Veterans Administration Health Care Services.

Scott Sibbett, PhD – Board Vice President – Dr. Sibbett headed Intel Corporation’s external research programs.

Margaret Broenniman, Attorney – Board Secretary –Ms. Broenniman is former Assistant Public Defender for the State of New Mexico.

Daniel Rowan, CPSW – Mr. Rowan is a former Program Director for Best Chance. He is currently Senior Program Manager for justice involved programs at Project ECHO, overseeing the statewide community and prison based programs there. Daniel is an International speaker and writer who passionately shares his own recovery journey with individuals and institutions, sharing a vision of making recovery and a life after incarceration more accessible to everyone who needs it.

Clifford Blaugrund – Mr. Blaugrund is an attorney, businessperson, philanthropist and community leader with extensive experience on numerous nonprofit Boards of Directors.

Jacob Tolk, CFA, CRPC, – Mr. Tolk is Senior Vice President and Senior Portfolio Management Director at the Compass Rose Group at Morgan Stanley. Additionally, Jake is a summa cum laude graduate of New Mexico Tech, and is a published author in the International Journal of Finance and Economics.

Barbara Schwartz, Pd.D., L.P. – Dr. Schwartz is a retired psychologist who has returned to Albuquerque after a lifetime dedicated to incarcerated individuals. Dr. Schwartz started and ran sex offender treatment programs for Departments of Corrections in a number of States. She is an author, editor, and presenter of resources and curricula involving treatment of sex offenders.

Alexandria Viszolay – was the Curriculum Development Coordinator for the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of New Mexico, Clinical Research Coordinator for the Emergency Department at Presbyterian Hospital Downtown, and is a researcher with the SOM Community of Scholars. Alexandria is currently training to be a Doctor of Medicine at the University of New Mexico with a focus on addiction medicine. 

Richard McClarkin – is an Independent Mediator and Actor. He attended the University of Denver Sturm College of Law and practiced civil and criminal law in the State of New Mexico. Since his retirement in 2006, Mr. McClarkin has had a successful acting career; he is known for his roles in The Astronaut Farmer (2006), In Plain Sight (2008) and Elvis Has Left the Building (2004).

Advisory Board

Mike Alberti, MFA, received his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota in May 2016. He has worked as an investigative journalist and is an award-winning writer. Mike taught classes with the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop (MPWW) since 2014. He also has experience with a mentorship program and support group for the recently released in Minnesota. Alberti received the 2015 Scribe for Human Rights Award from the University of Minnesota.

Larry Cotter, MDiv and a Masters degree in Counseling, has served in a broad variety of comforting and advising roles. Larry graciously shares his wisdom and insights with our Peer Support Workers and the entire Best Chance team.

Jesse Tatum, LMSW. In addition to Jesse’s education in social work, she has experience working for an advertising and public relations firm. Jesse also is a professional flutist and frequent chamber music soloist in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

Donald Hume, CPSW, is a Supervisor of Peer Support Specialists at Presbyterian Healthcare System. Donald has years of experience as a Peer Mentor. He is considered a pioneer in the field of Peer Support and one of its earliest advocates.

Jaymes Fairfax-Colombo, JD, PhD, is Assistant Professor in University of New Mexico’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and is the Fellowship Director. His clinical interests include forensic mental health assessment, competency restoration, and reentry of both criminal offenders and psychiatric patients.