WEEKEND LEADERS

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Leighton Clark, LCSW, Wisdom Years Weekend Leader. Leighton is in private practice as a body psychotherapist, organizational development consultant, executive coach, educator, and registered yoga instructor. He is the Executive Director and Board Member of the Midwest Institute for Somatic Psychotherapy, and he is a former Victories Board Member.

Steven Curry, BreakThrough Weekend Leader. Steve is a medical insurance professional who heads his own brokerage firm in the Chicago area. Steve has attended and staffed numerous Victories weekends for over ten years and currently co-facilitates the BreakThrough Weekend with Joe Seldess. In addition to his work with Victories, he has participated in many native American spiritual programs that promote health and self-awareness. He has also developed expertise in massage therapy. Steve is married and has two children.

Leo Dhont, Wisdom Years and Couples Weekend Leader. Leo has been involved in Victories since he did the Break Through Weekend with the founders, Buddy Portugal & Bob Mark, in 1994. Leo has been a LCSW for over 50 years, and has worked almost exclusively with couples and relationships for the last 25. He received his Imago Relationship Therapy certification 25 years ago; training with the originator, Dr. Harville Hendrix. For the past 2 years he has been involved in a Master Class training with therapists from all over the world called Encounter Centered Couples Therapy, with it's originators - Hedy & Yumi Schliefer. For over 20 years, Leo and his wife, Peggy, facilitated "Getting the Love You Want" workshops for couples.

Howard Englander, Wisdom Years Leader. Rather than idling on the sidelines after a long career in the business world, Howard Englander set out to revitalize the basic underpinning on which his life rested, putting in place a new foundation upon which to build life’s purpose. As a leader of the Wisdom Years Weekend, Howard shares his belief that everything we need to achieve a life of joy and fulfillment is within us, rebutting the false beliefs and negative programming of our past. He is the author of several books guiding readers to experience the transformative shift from simply tolerating life to celebrating life.

Kevin W. FitzPatrick, L.C.S.W., Psychotherapist, BreakThrough Leader, Shadow Weekend Clinical Advisor, Board Member. Kevin has been involved in Victories since 1987. He has lead BreakThrough Weekends since 1991 and is the co-creator of the Shadow Weekend, which he's co-facilitated since 1996. In his private psychotherapy practice he counsels individuals, couples, groups, and families and has consulted with schools, businesses and hospitals. As part of his mission to empower through healing, Kevin has a particular interest in and commitment to working with men. He presented at all of the Chicago Men's Conferences, Oakton Community College Men's Day, and the Second International Men's Conference in Austin, Texas. He has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Monmouth College and a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois, Chicago. Kevin and his wife Ellen have been married since 1980 and have two grown sons.

Niles Frantz, BreakThrough Weekend Leader. Niles has worked on the public relations team at the national headquarters of the Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago since 1993. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Temple University, Philadelphia; is an avid reader, a pretty doggone good guitar player, and loves cats. Niles has been married since 1993. He is committed to his own personal growth - most recently developing a strong interest in Vipassana meditation - and to assisting others on their journey(s). Niles participated in the Breakthrough Weekend in October 2001, and has completed both the Wisdom Years and Shadow Weekend. He has assisted Victories with marketing and strategic planning, and has a special interest in the music used on the weekends.

Mark Hagen, BreakThrough and Shadow Weekend Leader. Mark is a manufacturing professional currently serving as head of engineering and business development for an aerospace and defense contractor in the western suburbs. He spent the previous 15 years building a successful manufacturing company from the ground-up. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Mark experienced his Breakthrough Weekend in 2003 and has staffed or facilitated numerous Victories weekends and programs. Mark became a BreakThrough Weekend leader in 2012.

Ryan Hagerty, BreakThrough Weekend Leader. Ryan is a Shareholder with the law firm of Asher, Gittler & D'Alba, Ltd., a firm specializing in the practice of labor and employment law. He is a graduate of Illinois State University and DePaul University College of Law. Ryan attended his first Breakthrough Weekend in December 2003. He is firmly committed to the notion that one's training never really ends. He has also actively staffed Introduction to Psychodrama, and facilitated several Personal Growth Groups. In December 2009, Ryan became a member of our Board and served for five years. Ryan and his wife, Monica, have been married for over 12 years and have two daughters.

Ron Himmelman, MD, Wisdom Years Weekend Leader. Ron completed dual undergraduate majors in pre-med and philosophy at the University of Minnesota, where he also received his M.D. degree. He served his residency in internal and emergency medicine at  Cook County Hospital. Ron currently practices emergency medicine at Skokie Hospital, part of NorthShore University HealthSystem. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine.

Paul Kachoris, M.D., FAPA, FAPA, FAACP, FAAT, Psychiatrist, BreakThrough Leader, Shadow Weekend Clinical Advisor, Board Member. Paul is a Board Certified Child, Adolescent, and Adult Psychiatrist, as well as Board Certified in Pediatrics, in private practice, who works with children, adolescents, adults, couples, families, and groups. He is a student of men’s issues, an expert in play therapy with children, and a psychiatric consultant to School District 65 in Evanston-Skokie, Illinois. Paul received his undergraduate and  medical degrees from Indiana University. He is a member and Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a member and a Life Fellow of the American Academy of Child/Adolescent Psychiatry, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and a member of the Illinois Psychiatric Society where he serves on the Illinois Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Paul has served on the Victories Board since its inception in the mid 90's. He has been leading BreakThrough Weekends since 1990 and co-leading the Shadow Weekend since 1996, a weekend which he co-created in 1995.

Phil Kirschbaum, LCSW, Wisdom Years Weekend Leader. Phil is co-founder of Gurnee Counseling Center, where he currently practices psychotherapy. He has over 30 years of experience in working with adults, adolescents and children. His specialties include marital therapy, adolescent and family therapy, trauma recovery, performance enhancement using EMDR, recovery from loss, and mind-body work integrating meditative practices  into the treatment of depression, anxiety and stress. He completed his master’s degree at the Jane Addams College of Social Work and advanced training in behavioral medicine at the Harvard Mind-Body Institute. Phil regularly provides training and consultation to businesses, schools, churches, and community groups on varied topics that include parenting, building healthy marriages, stress and anger management, leadership, group development, and overcoming trauma and loss. He is a member of the National Association of Social Workers.

Alan M. Levin, JD, MA, LCSW, Wisdom Years Weekend Leader, Board Member.
After retiring from a distinguished career as a labor and employment relations attorney, Alan received his master’s degree in social work (clinical concentration) from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. He is currently a psychotherapist both at Turning Point Behavioral Health Care Center in Skokie, and in private practice in which he focuses on the issues of lawyers and other professionals in high-stress occupations (www.CareForLawyers.com; www.EvanstonTherapy.com). He is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and of the Chicago Bar Association. Alan completed his undergraduate degree at Yale University and legal studies at the University of Chicago Law School. He is a past board chairman of the Center for Advancing Domestic Peace.

Phil Metres, Ph.D., Wisdom Years Weekend Leader. Phil is a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice in Northbrook, Illinois. He has been conducting body psychotherapy work for 19 years and has long had an interest in men’s issues. He is a Fellow of Midwest Institute for Somatic Psychotherapy and a former member of its Board.

Rich Milne, LPC, Personal Growth Group Leader. Rich has sold commercial printing in the Chicago area since 1975. As an avocation from 2004-2011, Rich trained in Heart-Centered Hypnotherapy, Breath therapy, and psychodrama. During that time, he assisted and then co-facilitated Personal Transformation Intensive™ Weekends. He also completed Level 1 training in Internal Family Systems therapy. In 2011, he earned a Masters in Community Counseling. Rich has been involved with Victories since 2009 assisting and leading Wisdom Years Weekends, staffing Breakthrough Weekends, and facilitating Personal Growth Groups. Rich also participates in a peer support group for the Wisconsin Truth Project at a prison in Racine, WI. Rich is married and is a grandfather.

Peter Myran, BreakThrough Weekend Leader, Personal Growth Group Leader, Wisdom Years Leader, Board Member. Retired. Pete received his computer science education from DePaul University and worked as a software engineer and IT Manager in the financial services sector for 30 years. In addition to his recent work at Magnetar Capital, LLC, he spent a significant period with Citadel Investment Group, LLC. Pete briefly attempted semi-retired life and became a certified Gyrotonic® instructor, but the economic winds of 2008-09 blew him back into his IT career. Pete attended his first Victories program, the Wisdom Years Weekend, in 2006. Over time he has experienced all of Victories’ programs. Pete has been married for 33 years, is a proud step-father, and just recently became a proud grandpa.

Tom Ostler, BreakThrough and Shadow Weekend Leader, Board Member. Tom is a senior IT manager for a national water utility company located in Northbrook, Illinois. He attended University of Illinois at Chicago and Illinois Institute of Technology. Tom has been active in every program of Victories, beginning with his own BreakThrough weekend in 2001. He is a member of the Board of Directors, sits on many of Victories committees, and facilitates many trainings. He became a BreakThrough Weekend Leader in 2010 and a Shadow Weekend Leader in 2013. Outside of Victories, Tom's interests include creative writing, cycling, music and dogs. He and his wife of 29 years live in Arlington Heights.

Ron Rooth, BreakThrough Weekend Leader, Board Member and President. After a 34 year career as a successful finance and operations executive, Ron is now shifting his experience, talent and passion to helping executives in various stages of leadership. Simply put, Ron will continue to excel at improving business profitability by creating happy and engaged executives - as vice president and executive coach with the Robinson Resource Group. Prior to his current role, Ron served in senior finance and operations roles – including CFO and/or CEO and board member at both large and small businesses including Fonterra (USA) Inc., Emmi Solutions Exelon’s Enterprises, infiNET Solutions and Searle Pharmaceuticals. Ron began his career at Arthur Young & Company (now Ernst & Young). Ron is a CPA and earned a B.S. in Accountancy from the University of Illinois at Champaign. Ron has been married for almost 30 years and has two grown daughters and a dog.

Joe Seldess, BreakThrough Weekend Leader. Joe is a psychotherapist in private practice and has been active with Victories as a participant, staffer, and leader for nearly 20 years. Joe has made invaluable contributions to the design and implementation of Victories programs, particularly the BreakThrough Weekend.

Rick Simon, M.Ed., LCPC, Wisdom Years Weekend Leader, Board Member. Following a career in marketing communications and consulting to nonprofits, Rick completed his Master’s degree in counseling at DePaul University. For three years, he was a psychotherapist with Jewish Child & Family Services, where he worked with at-risk foster and adoptive families with an emphasis on helping young people recover from early childhood trauma. He is now in private practice serving children, adolescents, and parents with a special emphasis on helping families cope with the challenges of ADHD. Rick is also a part-time clinician at House Calls Counseling in Wilmette, a private agency that specializes in attachment-focused psychotherapy with an emphasis on adoptive families. From 2008 to early 2012, he served as Executive Director for Victories, working to guide the organization towards sustainability and growth. He has been board president from September 2012-2015 and served on the Victories board since its inception.

Donald Spitzer-Cohn, Psychiatrist, MD, Wisdom Years Weekend Leader, Board Member. Don is a psychiatrist with a private practice in Northbrook, IL. He has extensive experience with individuals, couples, and family therapy. Don’s interest and expertise in men’s issues brought him to Victories almost 20 years ago. In addition to leading the Wisdom Years program, Don was for many years a BreakThrough Leader.

Bruce Zimmerman, Personal Growth Group Leader, BreakThrough Weekend Leader, Board Member and Vice President. Bruce works in the business development department of a downtown Chicago law firm. He and his wife of 27 years live in Deerfield where their three grown children went to school. Bruce has been active in various Victories programs beginning with his own BreakThrough weekend in 2007. He is a member of the Board of Directors, sits on the Personal Growth Group steering committee, and became a Personal Growth Group leader in 2010. In addition to Victories, Bruce is active in the Masons and Scottish Rite. He earned his BA at the University of California, Santa Barbara, his MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern, and his MLIS at Dominican University in River Forest.

All leaders are bound by our Service Personnel Handbook and Ethics and Conflict of Interest Policy

Schedule
  • Weekend Celebrations
  • September 19 - 19, 2017
  • October 11 - 11, 2017
  • October 12 - 12, 2017
  • October 26 - 26, 2017
  • December 06 - 6, 2017
  • December 07 - 7, 2017

Victories of the Heart, NFP is an Illinois not for profit corporation. Donations are exempt from income, gift, and estate taxes under Section 101 of the Internal Revenue Code. Victories does not offer professional services that would subject it to regulation or registration by any state or professional licensing body.

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