Meet the Staff | The Palm Beach Institute
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Meet the Staff

DanDan Dowdle B.A., LADC
Executive Director

Dan is an experienced businessman with more than 30 years of management expertise. Dan began his career in a family owned and operated chain of retail shoe stores where he spent the first 10 years working after college. Dan has also owned and operated full service and quick serve restaurants. Dan began his journey in the Behavioral Health Industry after having his own issues with alcoholism. Sobriety took root in the tenet of working with others and he soon began pursuing a second career in the treatment field. After completing a yearlong resident training program at the Hazelden Foundation, Dan stayed on and worked for three years as primary counselor on an adult male unit. After moving to Florida in 2002, Dan worked in an Intake and admissions capacity where he discovered the passion for working with families. He soon began his intervention practice as well as business development work representing treatment facilities. Dan is an advocate of 12 step treatment that integrates proven clinical practices to deliver the finest possible experience to clients and their families. Dan is a graduate of Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina, and is a native of Chicago and a huge sports fan rooting for his favorite teams including the north side professional baseball team.

Lisa-S.Lisa Sussman
Clinical Director

Lisa Sussman is the Clinical Director at The Palm Beach Institute. Lisa has over 13 years in the substance abuse field. She graduated with a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling from South University. She is a licensed mental health counselor, a clinical hypnotherapist and trained in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing. Her counseling experience entails working with numerous life issues that vary from substance abuse, addiction, eating disorders, sexual abuse, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, to a variety of other diagnoses to family systems, couples, individual, and group therapy. Additionally, she has worked with adolescents and adults in inpatient treatment, intensive outpatient programs, and in private practice, treating those with co-occurring disorders. She has developed and facilitated family programs in substance abuse treatment.

Lasandra-L.Lasandra Lee RN
Director of Nursing

Lasandra began working in the substance abuse treatment field in 2007 at a sober house in Delray Beach. This experience kindled in her the passion and dedication to work with the suffering alcoholic/addict. She has diligently sought to further her education and is perpetually striving to explore new avenues in which she can be of service to others. Lasandra has an undergraduate degree in both Hospitality and Tourism Management (BSC) and Nursing (BSN) and is a Registered Nurse. Her experience includes working as the Director of Nursing and overseeing 80+ nurses and the ancillary staff at a large Behavioral Healthcare Facility. Lasandra balances her work life with spending time with her father, cooking, exploring new cuisines, dancing, skating, kickboxing and travels internationally as often as possible.

Kim-TKimberly Traxler, B.S.
Primary Therapist

Kimberly has her Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and is currently working on her Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology at Palm Beach Atlantic University.  She has been working in the Substance Abuse field for three years and her passion continues to grow as she understands the importance of reintegrating those with substance abuse issues back into society. Before her work in substance abuse, Kimberly has been a part of clinical internships dealing with domestic violence victims and families, children on the autism spectrum, troubled youth of Palm Beach County, and those dealing with a history of trauma. She has had training in relapse prevention techniques, coping and life skills, domestic violence, and family systems. Kimberly is a passionate promoter for the client’s aftercare plan and making sure the client’s have the best possible chance at sobriety upon leaving treatment. She truly enjoys working with the client’s throughout their recovery and focuses on solutions to everyday dilemmas in the client’s life outside of treatment.   Kimberly loves being active in her free time and enjoying the outdoors at any chance she gets. When not working she can be found playing sports, at the beach, reading, or spending time with friends and family.

Julia-C.Julia Christodoulou, BA
Case Manager

In 2013, Julia began employment at The Palm Beach Institute, as a Behavioral Health Technician. She now works as Case Manager to help client’s make a smooth transition into aftercare. She has also been given the opportunity to work with both the adolescent and adult programs. She is originally from the Dominican Republic and moved to West Palm Beach, where she met her husband and obtained her Bachelor’s of Science in  Psychology. Today, she is currently working on her Master’s of Science in Counseling Psychology at Palm Beach Atlantic University, to one day become a Licensed Mental Health Therapist. She is very passionate about this field in particular and enjoys being able to make a difference in each and every individuals’ life in some way, shape or form. Julia also enjoys the beach, traveling, and spending time with her family.

Kristina-D.Kristina Dygulski, MA
Clinical Coordinator

Kristina has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from South University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Florida Atlantic University. In addition, she is currently a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern in Florida. Moreover, in the past three years, Kristina has completed more than 92 hours of additional training in various aspects of the mental health field.  Kristina’s education, internships, and work experience have prepared her to diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders. She has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults in substance abuse and community mental health facilities. As a Primary Adolescent Therapist at The Palm Beach Institute, Kristina works closely with her clients and their families. Utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Kristina’s eclectic approach allows her to make connections with her clients and facilitate change and growth. Kristina believes that to make impactful and lasting changes, one must examine their behaviors, cognitions, and family dynamics.

Genna-G.Genna Gowen, MS
Adolescent Therapist

Genna graduated with her Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University and has worked in the behavioral health field for two years.  Her fresh, enthusiastic, and committed  approach combined with her  understanding of the disease of addiction stems from her education, training and personal recovery journey.  She joined the PBI team full-time after being a clinical intern with the adults for a year and currently enjoys working with the young adults in the adolescent unit.  Genna believes healing happens when we recognize how our negative thought patterns affect our behaviors, and strives to help clients reframe their thoughts and perceptions.  Genna’s passions include the Philadelphia Eagles, animals, going to the gym, and hanging out with her chocolate Lab, Boomer.

Teddy-S.Edmund “Teddy” Kevin Sullivan
Alumni Coordinator

Teddy’s work as Alumni Coordinator at The  Palm Beach Institute consists of facilitating 12 step education groups and coordination of all alumni activities, including the Tuesday night alumni meeting.  Teddy is from the small town of Short Hills, New Jersey.  He has lived and worked in West Palm Beach for more than four years where he has worked construction and in the treatment field. He is 30 years old and is attending school to become a therapist at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Some of the things you may find Teddy enjoying outside of work are going to concerts and to the beach, bowling, hanging out with friends and family, and relaxing watching movies.

Cecily-B.Celee Budosh
Medical Records Coordinator

Celee joined The Palm Beach Institute in 2012 relocating from Arizona with her husband, Tony.  Before coming to Florida, she worked in the Medical Records Department of another treatment facility and also has experience as a legal secretary for more than 13 years in the small town where she was born and raised. As Coordinator, she maintains client records working closely with several departments to assure client confidentiality and compliance with licensing and accreditation agencies.  She enjoys being a part of The Palm Beach Institute team whose primary goal is client care. While not at The Palm Beach Institute Cecily enjoys riding around in her jeep and enjoying the Florida outdoors.

 MatteaMattea Davis
Intake Specialist

Mattea joins the Palm Beach Institute staff as an Intake Specialist, dedicated to helping others achieve their goals.  She is a recent graduate from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Arts and Letters where she received her B.A. in English with concentration in British Literature. Originally from Presque Isle, Maine, she moved to South Florida in 1999 and enjoys visiting her loved ones up north as often as possible. In her spare time, Mattea is in avid reader, live music enthusiast, and frequent flyer.

Teri-H.-1Teri Harris
Marketing Coordinator & Administrative Assistant

Teri was born in Hartford, Connecticut.  In 1998, she moved to Florida with her family. She graduated from high school in 2000, and started her own family. Teri was working for a diabetic company for seven years, she decided it was time to move on and found herself here at The Palm Beach Institute. Teri was hired at The Palm Beach Institute as a receptionist, answering phones and helping with admissions in 2012. This is the first treatment center she has worked for, and Teri is so happy she made that change. She has a passion for helping people and being like a mom to everyone. Currently, Teri is working with the Marketing team as Marketing Coordinator. When not at work, she loves to spend time with her husband and three kids, a day at the beach, or just relaxing watching TV, and making baby blankets.

JW-picJessica White
Regional Development Director

Jessica White lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has been working in the addiction treatment field for nearly a decade. She’s passionate about removing barriers to treatment and helping people find meaningful and sustainable recovery. Jessica joins the PBI team as a Regional Development Director.  Prior to her four years in marketing roles, Jessica enjoyed working in administration for McLeod Addictive Disease Center; there she managed several departments, conceptualized and supported a Residential DWI program, and built new relationships for the organization. She also planned, developed  and promoted McLeod Center’s Professional Training Series that received national recognition from NAADAC and CARF while under her direction. Jessica serves on UNC-Charlotte’s Collegiate Recovery Community Board, the North Carolina Foundation for Alcohol and Drug Studies Board and is a board member and the 2014-2015 Conference Chair for Addiction Professionals of North Carolina. Jessica loves the sunshine, and in her free time can usually be found outdoors reading, running, hiking, or walking her dog.

Unknown-4Ivette Olmeda
Human Resources Director

Ivette is originally from Miami, and at the age of 13 years old she moved to West Palm Beach. She holds a Master’s Degree in organizational leadership and Bachelor’s in Organizational Management from Palm Beach Atlantic University located in West Palm Beach Florida.  She has a passion for employment advocacy and empowering others to find their true leadership potential.  She believes that good leaders grow good leaders and investing in others exemplifies good leadership.  She is always striving to expand her knowledge as an HR Director by attending continuing education seminars, because, when you know better, you do better.  Ivette enjoys spending her free time with her daughter and their three dogs.  She has a love for the culinary arts, traveling, animals, and Disney.

Unknown-2Krystal Ortiz

Krystal comes to PBI with outstanding customer service qualifications.  She prides herself in helping both our clients and employees with any administrative needs. She loves being a part of the PBI team and truly feels honored to be apart of the family!  Krystal and her family relocated to Florida from the Bronx, New York, more than four years ago. Krystal has a 2-year-old son named Nicholas and enjoys spending all of her free time with her family.


Dee-W.Marian Wright (Dee)
Head of Housekeeping

Dee has worked for The Palm Beach Institute for 37 years.  She is the lead housekeeper, maintaining the cleanliness of the facility. She is originally from Asheville, North Carolina, and moved to West Palm Beach at the age of 5. She has been married to her husband for 42 years. She has two wonderful children, and she is the proud grandmother of one grandchild. Her hobbies include reading, gardening, and dancing in her spare time. She enjoys working for The Palm Beach Institute and being a part of not only the lives of her co-workers, but of the lives of clients as well. She believes that anyone can make a positive impact on a client’s life, regardless of the department she works in.