Founder, President & Executive Director
Karen Kahn is the Founder, President, and Executive Director of Crescent Moon Center. Karen is an attorney, equestrian, artist, writer, and mother who lives in the Bay Area with her husband, her dog, and her horses. She is a certified member of the Board of Equine Interaction Professionals, licensed as a HorseDream Partner, and a Member of the International HorseDream Partners Community. She is also certified in Art4Healing by Brandman University. Karen has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California in Art History and a Juris Doctorate from the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Law. Throughout her career, Karen has represented plaintiffs with serious injuries from environmental and chemical exposures.
Karen was born and raised in New York City. Her parents were artists and art collectors - her father carried his passion for art into his work as a dentist, thus laying the groundwork for Karen's interest in blending art with the healing of the body and mind. As an introspective person growing up in a family which was not particularly child-oriented, Karen developed a vision of life through her involvement with horses and creative arts. She has always been an advocate for justice, giving a voice to the underserved, unrepresented and injured members of the community.
Crescent Moon Center grew out of Karen's personal involvement with a family member who has struggled with addiction. Karen gained perspective into the recovery process and realized how important it is that people in recovery have access to affordable programs which promote sustained recovery. Karen is also a strong proponent of the belief that horses and creative arts can have a transformative effect on one’s life.
Development & Integrated Marketing Communications Strategist
Clare Dawn is Crescent Moon’s Development and Integrated Marketing Communications Strategist. She is a certified Fundraising Professional and holds a B.A. in Communication Sciences. For 15 years, Clare has worked with leaders and nonprofits making a positive impact in the fields of healthcare, technology, wellness, expressive arts, community arts, regenerative culture, and nonprofit management.
Within the expressive arts, she served as the Marketing Communications Director with The Institute for Poetic Medicine and the online community coordinator and social media manager for the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS), Expressive Arts Therapy Program. As Communication’s Director, she raised awareness and community engagement for FIGMENT BOSTON, a free participatory art event that encourages the exploration of artistic expression in all of its forms. As a global representative for the FIGMENT Project, she advised on community building and communications for other cities’ events as well.
Clare grew up on the East Coast, where she worked in healthcare advocacy. She led the development and implementation of integrated communication’s campaigns and award-winning wellness initiatives for the Massachusetts Hospital Association. With training and a grant from the Department of Public Health, Clare chaired MHA’s workplace wellness committee for 5 years and co-created a comprehensive worksite wellness program that addressed employee stress, nutrition, and physical activity. The program was commended for its success as a case study by DPH and earned 1st place in the Boston Business Journal's inaugural Healthiest Employer Award for the small business category. MHA was also recognized five consecutive years as a “Healthiest Small Employer”in the greater Boston area. Clare was a founding board member of the Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts, and seen as a champion of wellness programs.
Clare learned to express herself creatively at an early age thanks to her mother being an art teacher. She is an artist of life, a writer, dancer and photographer. She found her path to healing from addiction and mental health challenges through expressive arts, loving connection to animals, nature, and supportive community roots.
Community Engagement, Program Coordinator & Facilitator
Victoria (Vickie) Tugwell is Crescent Moon’s Program Coordinator & Facilitator. She recently joined Crescent Moon. She was drawn to the program because of her own experience with recovery. Her journey has been through multiple addictions and mental health challenges. She felt Crescent Moon’s program offered many lenses of self-discovery and aligned with her own experience of healing through self - expression and her connection with animals.
She is a strong advocate for recovery and believes that it is possible to move from the isolation and shame associated with addiction to an engaged and meaningful life.
On her journey, she found her place in the world as a Mindfulness Instructor, Body Positive Facilitator and Yoga12SR Instructor. With the gift of sobriety, she has been able to fulfill her dream of becoming an Intuitive Healer, Certified Massage Therapist, and an Animal Osteopath.
Vickie attended Berkshire College of Agriculture, has a degree in Veterinary Nursing and is registered with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons UK.
Vickie has experience with many recovery programs including AA and the Buddhist 12 Step Program. Her involvement with all of these programs has given her the tools to live a happy and healthy lifestyle.
Peter was born and raised in Berkeley, California. He grew up during the time when drug and alcohol use was reaching epidemic proportions and personally witnessed how substance abuse affected his friends and the community around him. Peter worked for years with a physician in the Haight-Ashbury Medical Clinic and handled many cases in which drug addiction was an issue.
Peter has been a leading litigation attorney in the Bay Area for 39 years. He has represented plaintiffs with catastrophic injuries and has developed an expertise in the representation of children who have been physically and emotionally abused in the private and public school systems. Many of the children he represents are autistic or have other special needs.
Peter holds a Preeminent AV rating with Martindale-Hubbell since 1990 and has been ranked as Tier 1 Best Lawyers in America for years. He is a member of San Francisco ABOTA and past President of Alameda Contra Costa Trial Lawyers Association. Peter co-founded the personal injury firm formerly known as Hinton Alfert Sumner & Kaufmann more than twenty-five years ago. He is now the President of The Law Offices of Peter Alfert, PC.
Peter has a particular interest in African art. In his spare time, he likes to travel with his wife and play with his grandchildren.
Georges Schneider has spent most of her life around horses. She grew up with a mother who had significant mental health issues, and her work and relationship with horses was her refuge. Through horses, she was able to connect with her own authenticity, aiding in her journey towards success. She began teaching riding professionally at the age of 16 and was drawn towards work with disabled and troubled youth and adults.
While getting her B.S. in Biology at U.C. Irvine and her MBA at U.C. Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, Georges continued to work with horses and troubled youth. Georges personally observed, and was amazed by, the power of horses to heal her students from the difficulties and challenges they faced. During her MBA Program, George was recognized for her volunteer work and became a “Haas Community Fellow.”
After graduating from the Haas School of Business in 2007, Georges developed and incorporated her own unique and innovative business called Equestrian Entries (www.equestrianentries.com), an online horse show entry platform. She undertook this work while employed within the high-tech industry - starting at Oracle, continuing into a position at Apple, and then most recently, with her current employer, Google. Georges moved to Reno, Nevada in 2012, where she began to volunteer as a mentor for tech start-ups through Summit Venture Mentoring Service. She also guest lectured at the University of Nevada, Reno Business School and judged business competitions, such as the Governor’s Cup and Sontag Entrepreneurship. Georges currently lives in Northern California and works as a Program Manager at Google in the Silicon Valley.
Georges strongly believes that individuals, including people with challenges such as substance use disorders, can benefit from the equine-human relationship and find authenticity, peace and prosperity.
MICHELLE BONSIGNORE, M.A., LMFT
Michelle graduated from Dominican University in Marin County, California with a Master’s in Counseling Psychology and with the intention of working directly with families impacted by Substance Use Disorder. Michelle has held the position of Family Therapist in a variety of residential and outpatient treatment settings, facilitating family programs and advocating for the needs of family members and family--system care within and beyond the treatment experience.
Michelle’s passion for wellness stems from her personal experience and wish to pay forward the skills that help people grow beyond the destruction of addiction and to create more stable and satisfying ways of living. Michelle believes in the intrinsic resources of a family and draws on its strengths to motivate lasting change. Her family curriculum design is noted to be eclectic in style, yet rooted in attachment, trauma and family systems theories.
Currently, Michelle dedicates her time and energy to nurture a private practice in Marin County and connections with her family, friends and her two dogs.
Lori is moved by Crescent Moon’s vision and unique approach to helping people who struggle with substance use disorders. She believes that the healing power of creative arts when combined with the nurturing and intuitive nature of horses create a magnetic synergy that reaches people who have lost their way in life.
Lori is President and CEO of Prescient Films. She is an actor, screenwriter, producer and director of films that address urgent social needs which she feels must become part of the public dialogue. She harnesses the power of storytelling to change entrenched perspectives and cultural norms that too often go unquestioned.
Lori is the executive producer of "Mea Maxima Culpa Silence in the House of God" a film which was an effective call to action that helped to bring about protections for youngsters in religious institutions. Lori is currently producing and directing a film she wrote called The Game which explores the damage gang violence inflicts on the mental health and well-being of youth, families, and communities.
Among Lori’s many accomplishments are documentaries that have won over 20 film festivals, including best documentary at the London Film Festival, a Peabody award, 5 Emmys, and 2 films were short-listed for an Oscar. Lori is a Golden Globe-winning actress who won ShoWest Newcomer of the Year for her role as Ariel Moore in the film Footloose. She was nominated for an Indie Spirit award as best supporting actress for her role in Trouble in Mind.
Lori is a Juilliard graduate and a concert cellist who has performed as a soloist at Carnegie Hall, with the Oregon Symphony, and Caracas Philharmonic among other orchestras. She performed with Yo Yo Ma in the film Inspired by Bach. She was also soloist in Robert Altman’s Shortcuts. Lori plays cello, and stars in the television series FAME. She also starred in VR5 and plays the title role in Rachel Hendrix by Victor Nunez, a film that will be released in spring 2023.
Lori is on the Board of the East Hampton Artists & Writers Charity Softball Game, a 501c3 which donates to nonprofits including Phoenix House, a substance use disorder treatment program helping individuals rediscover their strength. She also serves on the board of the Woodstock Film Festival. Lori has a life-long devotion to the arts and being a Texan, has a natural love of horses.
Lori is particularly concerned about the current fentanyl crisis because she has lost young friends in their twenties from this drug – not because they intended to overdose, but because fentanyl is so unforgivingly lethal. It is causing devastating harm and increased deaths among both young people and adults across the country. A true story of a young boy and his interaction with fentanyl will be told through Lori’s upcoming film The Game. Lori is motivated to produce a film on addiction and to help bring Crescent Moon’s program to the East Coast in the future.
Jan Cobaleda-Kegler, PsyD, LMFT, is the Mental Health Program Chief for Adult and Older Adult Behavioral Health Services for Contra Costa County Behavioral Health. She brings a lengthy history of experience in mental health treatment serving children, youth, adults, and families in a broad spectrum of community-based mental health treatment settings that include in-patient, residential treatment, specialty mental health, outpatient services, and private mental health practice. She is committed to the implementation of Evidence Best Practices in community based mental health and has developed programming, implemented and helped train county Behavioral Health staff in the use of Evidence Based therapies including several Cognitive Behavioral Therapies in the treatment of trauma, depression, and anxiety. She was awarded the Behavioral Health Vision Award in March 2014 for making a significant contribution by Contra Costa Behavioral Health Services towards envisioning a “system of care that supports independence, hope and healthy lives by making accessible behavioral health services that are responsive, integrated, compassionate, and respectful.”
She completed her Doctor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies where she nurtured and refined an integrative approach to mental health treatment, integrating Eastern and Western psychology. She is a long time practitioner of Mindfulness, integrating Mindfulness, Meditation, and Wellness practice into her work with clients, families, staff and students and participated as a trainer at the Marin Mindfulness Institute in Fairfax, California.
Dr. Cobaleda-Kegler was the Director of the Chris Adams Girls Center in Martinez, CA, 1999 to 2009, where she supervised and developed an Animal Assisted Therapy program for the adolescent residents in collaboration with Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation. She believes passionately in the healing power of the human-animal connection. She was awarded the HOPE award in January 2007 by Tony LaRussa’s Animal Rescue Foundation at a “Stars to the Rescue” event in recognition of her work with animal assisted therapy at the Chris Adams Girls Center.
Dr. Cobaleda-Kegler operates a private practice for adults, couples, and families in Sonoma, California.
Joseph DeNucci has been a valuable resource in the development and the implementation of Crescent Moon Center's programs since its inception. He continues to consult as we move forward and grow.
Joseph DeNucci has been actively involved in the healthcare and the wellness industry for over 25 years. He is the President of DeNucci & Associates, a consulting company providing expertise in comprehensive strategic planning and business development, specifically for clients with interests in merging conventional health and medicine with Alternative Medicine, Integrative Medicine, Healthy Lifestyle and Wellness. DeNucci has developed and owned a number of healthcare related businesses, and has consulted and developed projects for clients that include Duke University, Baptist/St. Vincent Health System, Medtronic, and Menla Mountain Retreat and Tibet House-Manhattan on behalf of the Dali Lama, Sierra Tucson Treatment Hospital and Miraval-Life in Balance Resort and Spa, Insight Intensive at Gold Lake, and many others.
DeNucci is co-founder and managing partner of NextHealth, LLC, a Chicago based private investment firm lending expertise and capital to startup companies in the healthy living and healthy lifestyle space. Additionally, DeNucci is a manager and investment advisor to William O’Donnell Jr., founder of ODE, LLC in Chicago; and DeNucci also manages the Family Office for O’Donnell.
For a complete professional file of Joseph DeNucci click here.
WILLIAM "BILL" O'DONNELL
Bill O’Donnell has been actively involved in the healthcare and wellness industry for over thirty years. He is a nationally recognized entrepreneur and business innovator, known in his field for starting companies with progressive behavioral health and lifestyle programs.
In 1983, Bill founded and became the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NextHealth, LLC, a company which has been a leading provider of alternative health care services, focused on illness prevention and self-care. Bill is best known in the addiction field for opening “Sierra Tucson,” a behavioral healthcare center and leading residential rehabilitation facility for the treatment of substance abuse and related mental health disorders. Sierra Tuscon’s innovative treatment program included an Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy Program, developed and run by Barbara Rector, the pioneer of Equine Based Human Development (EBHD) work and co-founder of the Therapeutic Riding Organization of Tuscon, Inc. (TROT). In 1994, thanks to a generous gift from Bill O’Donnell, TROT was able to launch its Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) and Psychotherapy (EFP) programs.
In 1996, using the knowledge and programmatic skills Bill acquired working with addictions, Bill focused on bringing this transformative work to people interested in more fully connecting with their lives in healthy, meaningful ways, and opened Miraval, Life in Balance. Miraval, a luxury health and wellness spa, offered a range of healing and alternative health programs which encouraged mindfulness, personal growth and self-realization. Miraval was voted the best resort spa year after year, and in 2001, ranked 29 in a field of 100 best places to vacation anywhere in the world. In 2007, Bill sold Miraval to Steve Case, the founder of AOL, who used it as his beginning platform transaction to build out Revolution Health.
After many years in the desert, Bill returned to his home in Chicago where he is the Founder and Managing Director of ODE, LLC, a private investment firm focused on investing in healthcare, hotels and various multichannel startups. In 2015, Bill along with his longtime partner and friend, Joseph DeNucci, relaunched NextHealth, LLC. The Company provides consulting expertise in comprehensive strategic planning and business development, specifically to clients with interests in healthy living and sustainable lifestyle products.
MICHAEL GENOVESE, M.D.
Michael Genovese, M.D. is the Chief Medical Officer of Acadia Healthcare. Acadia operates a network of 585 behavioral health facilities with approximately 17,900 beds in 40 States, the United Kingdom and Puerto Rico.
Dr. Genovese is also the Medical Director of the Officer Safety and Wellness Committee of the FBI National Academy Associates. He has served as the Chief Medical Advisor to Acadia Healthcare’s Recovery Division, as Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona and Chief Medical Officer of Sierra Tucson, one of the earliest leading residential treatment centers for substance abuse. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, a member of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Dr. Genovese co-founded the multidisciplinary medical practice Long Island Mind and Body in New York while practicing as an attending physician at NYU/Winthrop University Hospital. He was a fellow at the NYU/North Shore University Hospital Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program, and he completed his residency training at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.
Before beginning his medical studies, Dr. Genovese earned a Juris Doctor degree at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He is a member of the New York Bar and the American Bar Association and is an advocate for attorneys and first responders seeking treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders.
Dr. Genovese writes, speaks, teaches and consults widely in the disciplines of pharmacology, neuromodulation and pharmacogenomics. He has championed healthcare communication and serves as a Member of the Academy of Judges for the Sharecare Awards in Association with the Emmys.
BARBARA K. RECTOR, MA, CEFIP-ED
Frequently identified as “OMI”, grandmother of wellness work with horses, Barbara has been credited with the development of psychotherapy practice with the help of horses (Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy EFP). Since early 1990, she has used EFP in the clinical setting of a residential psychiatric hospital. Barbara has also contributed to the widespread teaching practice of experiential education with the help of horses (Equine Facilitated Learning EFL). Adventures In Awareness™ (AIA), her equine facilitated experiential learning process trainings, her seminars and Internship Program are attended by a diverse international community of clinical practitioners, educational facilitators and horse professionals.
Barbara’s current work as the Equine Director of Hacienda at the River in Tucson, AZ (watermarkcommunities.com) includes a spiritual program for campus residents in assisted living, memory care, short term rehabilitation, skilled nursing and hospice. This program, “IN THE PRESENCE OF HORSES™,” is a research-based curriculum designed especially for the completion phase of an individual’s life span. It includes practice teaching by Hacienda residents who act as coaches to the special services students from the Tuscon Jewish Community Center.
AIA’s partnership collaboration with the University of Arizona’s Aging Research, Integrated Nursing Program, and Helen McKnight Brain Institute is sponsored by Watermark Properties. Barbara is continuing to research the physiological exchange of information between horses and humans. In May 2018, Phase Four of this research, with the core investigating team of Alden, Baldwin and Rector, began to measure the process utilized at the Hacienda’s Pony Paddock. This research is funded by a grant from the Ruth McCormick Charitable Remainder Trust.
Barbara provides an invaluable educational experience to equine educators and therapists both internationally and domestically.