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About Us


Executive Committee Officers

  • President: Suzette Garcia, LPCC
  • President-Elect: Kristin Dempsey, EDD, LPCC, LMF
  • Secretary: Abbey Ronquillo, MS, LMFT, APCC, PPS
  • Past President: Denique Boxhill, MS, MA, APCC

Board of Directors

Photo: Suzzette Garcia

Suzzette Garcia, LPCC

Suzzette's desire to serve CALPCC is rooted in her passion for creating a culture of wellness and diversity within organizations and communities. She believes in CALPCC's mission and wants to support CALPCC members in providing quality therapeutic services and achieving professional advancement.

Suzzette is currently the Outpatient Clinical Program Manager for Rebekah Children's. She oversees clinicians that empower families through community strength-based therapeutic treatment. Her position allows her the privilege of collaborating with mental health providers, county representatives and community members in improving systems of care and mental health awareness.

She hopes to utilize the experience she's acquired through previously serving on nonprofit boards, coordinating community outreach, serving on marketing and fundraising committees, mentorship, development of programs and training curriculum to support CALPCC in addressing needed policy reform, legislative changes, advocacy and promotional efforts on behalf of current and future Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors. 

Photo: Kristin Dempsey

Kristin Dempsey, EDD, LPCC, LMFT

Kristin is a psychotherapist, counselor educator, and trainer. Kristin has worked over 26 years in community mental health non-profit, county-based, and school programs. She specializes in working with individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders, trauma, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. Kristin also trains in evidence-based practices including motivational interviewing, suicide intervention, trauma-informed programming, and mindfulness-based cognitive therapies.

Kristin is an associate professor at the Wright Institute’s Counseling Psychology Program and a counseling lecturer at San Francisco State University. Her private practice is located in San Francisco and Burlingame where she works with individuals, families, and groups.

Kristin’s additional areas of interest include implementing best practices and systems change, providing clinical consultation and supervision, and training and supporting peer mental health providers.

Abbey Ronquillo, MS, LMFT, APCC, PPS

Abbey is a therapist working in a group practice located in the San Fernando Valley as well as a Substance Use Navigator (SUN) in the hospital setting. She has a humanistic approach to therapy and believes it’s important to address an individual’s unique needs. For the past decade, she has worked with a variety of individuals specializing in at-risk and transitional-aged youth. Abbey is passionate about social justice and providing psychoeducation in her community and does so by volunteering for several organizations specializing in homelessness and outreach. As an LMFT and APCC, Abbey is excited to support CALPCC members through obtaining dual-licensure as well as traversing the intricacies of the field. Abbey received her Masters of Science in Counseling from California State University, Northridge in 2014 and returned in 2018 to obtain her Pupil Personnel Services credential. Currently, she is working towards an EdD in Educational Leadership from California State University, Fullerton.

Photo: Denique Boxhill

Denique Boxhill, MS, MA, APCC
Past President

Denique is a registered APCC working primarily in group private practice in Oakland. She is a graduate of the Clinical Counseling MA program at the California School of Professional Psychology in San Francisco. As she pursues licensure, she does so with a passion for the delivery of equitable, quality mental healthcare and the improvement of mental and behavioral health outcomes for marginalized communities. She provides culturally responsive, trauma-informed outpatient psychotherapy for those historically underserved in the East Bay. She does so both in private practice as well as with community partnerships through her role as a Therapist in Residency with the Bay Area Chapter of The Association of Black Psychologists.

Denique brings to the CALPCC board a breadth of leadership experience from her previous healthcare management consulting career. With an MS in Health Services Administration and a decade working in healthcare management and leadership, Denique brings varied skills and knowledge spanning strategy development, organizational performance, operational improvement, and reimbursement/fund management. She is excited to leverage her experiences along with the clinical skills she continues to develop to support CALPPC's vision. 

Photo: Anthony Rivas

Anthony Rivas, EDD, LMFT (CO), LAC (CO), MAC, SAP 
Legislative & Advocacy Committee

Dr. Rivas is currently serving as the Coordinator for the Rehabilitation Counseling program at CSUS. He has previously taught at the undergraduate level at MSU Denver, and at the graduate level at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs in the Department of CHS. Here he taught: clinical mental health counseling, substance abuse counseling, student development theory, educational psychology, educational leadership; and within the Air Force Officer Commanding (AOC) Leadership program, which works directly with US Air Force Academy Officers.

Dr. Rivas has clinical experience providing mental health & substance abuse counseling in both private practice and working with court-mandated offenders. Dr. Rivas holds clinical licensure in Colorado as both a Licensed Addiction Counseling and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with national credentials of Master Addiction Counselor and Substance Abuse Professional (US DOT credential). His research interests focus on student development of 1st generation students and the effect of socio-economic-status on clinical relationships, diagnosis, and prognosis.

Photo: Theodore Burnes

Theodore Burnes, PHD, LP, LPCC
Membership Development Committee

Theodore (he/him/his) is committed to advancing the recognition of the LPCC across the state of California. He is a Full Professor and Core Faculty at Antioch University-Los Angeles' graduate programs in psychology and counseling. He received his doctorate in Counseling/Clinical/School Psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and has numerous years of clinical experience as both a licensed professional clinical counselor and a licensed psychologist working with LGBQ people's mental health and wellness, sexuality and sexual expression, and transgender and nonbinary people's mental health.

He has also worked as an affiliated therapist for the Los Angeles Gender Center with a specialty caseload of clients who identify as transgender adolescents and adults. Dr. Burnes is the Associate Editor of Training and Education in Professional Psychology and conducts research on best practices in clinical supervision, sex-positivity and sexual wellnee, sexuality education, and teaching psychology.

Photo: David Johnson

David Johnson, MA, LPCC, CCMHC
Education & Training Committee

David (pronouns: he/him) is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor, and longtime CALPCC volunteer.

David is a 2014 graduate of the University of San Diego. He currently works as a Blended Care Therapist at a mental heal th tech company in Silicon Valley and operates a boutique private practice in the Bay Area. His clinical specialties include work with Adolescents, Adults, the Latinx, and LGBTQ+ Communities, and Schizophrenia Spectrum.

His passion is helping individuals become who they are so they can help make the world a better place.

Photo: Shane Padamada

Shane Padamada, MA, LPCC, NCC
Conference Committee

Shane (she/her) is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and National Certified Counselor who combines her passion for holistic, trauma-informed clinical practice, equitable care, and community service through her current work in group private practice, nonprofit leadership, and mental health advocacy. She received her Masters degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of San Diego and her clinical experience and training spans across all age groups and levels of care including early childhood and school-based settings; general outpatient, intensive outpatient (IOP), partial hospitalization (PHP); residential, and acute inpatient psychiatric hospital settings. She hopes to utilize her experience serving on various county and statewide councils, committees, and workgroups to further support CALPCC's missions. She is dedicated to enhancing the growth of ongoing statewide support, sense of community, and increased accessibility to resources and training opportunities for improving quality of care for clients and professional development and overall quality of life for current and future LPCCs in California.

Nick Boyd, MA, LPCC, NCC
Legislative & Advocacy Committee

Nick received his M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of San Diego in 2014 and is a current doctoral student at the University of the Cumberlands.  He is an LPCC in California and recognized by the NBCC as a Nationally Certified Counselor. He has experience in the academic and clinical setting, and has held various clinical, research, and administrative appointments in the DoD, VA, and community.  Currently, Nick holds appointments as a staff Licensed Professional Mental Health Counselor with the VA San Diego Healthcare System, therapist with the Cognitive Therapy Institute, and adjunct faculty at the University of San Diego. He is the co-founder of e3 Civic High’s school-based mental health counseling program, is an Army veteran and currently services in the California State Guard as a Behavioral Health Officer.

He is a member is good standing with the ACA, AMHCA, Military and Government Counseling Association, CALPCC, American Academy on the Advancement of Sciences, and International Society for Traumatic Studies.

Photo: Sabrina D. Morris

Sabrina D. Morris, LPCC (CA), LPCC-S (OH), MSED, BA
Education & Training Committee

Sabrina is a humanistic counselor whose passion is building stronger global communities one individual at a time. Ms. Morris possesses 28+ years of experience in comprehensive behavioral health care development and administration. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Counselor Education and Supervision while practicing for United Health Group’s Optum division. Over the years, Ms. Morris has served infants, youth and adults, with innovative program development and evaluation as core passion areas, and has served in leadership roles for several professional organizations. One of her most notable accomplishments is the highly acclaimed Teen Talk Responding Program--one of 2 ground-breaking diversion programs in the country (led by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Models for Change Mental Health/Juvenile Justice Action Network).  Currently, Ms. Morris is committed to advocating for mental health justice and equal care for all. She looks forward to serving her profession, community, and California state in her role as a Board Member. Ms. Morris resides in San Diego with her daughter, enjoying the beach, concerts, and international travel.

Angel Brutus, PSYD, LPCC, ACS, BC-TMH, CMPC®
Education & Training Committee 

Dr. Angel Brutus is Director of Mental Health Services of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s Sports medicine department. Previously, she served as the inaugural Assistant Athletic Director of Counseling and Sport Psychology for Mississippi State University; and managed a private practice based in Atlanta, Georgia, where she provided clinical and sport performance services. There, she served as a medical advisory board member and training facilitator for the Eating Disorders Information Network (EDIN). Her training includes Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, Licensed Professional Counseling, Certified Rehabilitation Counseling and Sport-Performance Psychology. Angel is certified in Mental Health First Aid for adults and is also a Certified Mental Performance Consultant as recognized by the Association for Applied Sport Psychology.

Dr. Brutus' desire to serve on the CALPCC Board stems from her passion to support the advancement and recognition of the greater community of professional counselors.  

Emery Cowan,  MS, LPCC, LMHC
Ethics Committee
Legislative & Advocacy Committee

Emery is currently the Interim Behavioral Health Director for Solano County, and serves in CBHDA and liaison to the state plan with DHCS and other statewide groups. Her experiences here and across 2 other states as a bilingual Spanish speaking Hispanic/Latina in direct service and leadership capacities offer a unique set of experiences to advocate for equity: for both staff and clients served.

Her areas of focus include working with people with severe and persistent mental illnesses, co-occurring substance use disorders, implementation of evidence based practices and expanding areas of counseling to be focused on social justice, whole health, community inclusion and recovery.

Sarah Kelly
Membership Development Committee

Sarah brings to our Board her current and previous experience managing San Diego CAMFT's website and social media presence, overseeing and executing their email marketing and member retention digital strategies, and helping to produce and monetize virtual CE events. She has a 10+ year career in digital marketing (web, content + social strategy), including projects with Fortune 500 consumer brands.

Svanfríður “Swany” Arnardóttir,  MS, LPCC
Ethics Committee, Legislative & Advocacy 

Swany is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) working in a group practice located in the High Desert area where concentrates on working with clients who have experienced abuse, trauma/PTSD, grief, cults and/or religious trauma. Swany is passionate about the human behavior and has a humanistic approach to therapy and believes it's important to address an individual's unique needs. Before transferring over to the group practice environment, Swany provided therapy to the homeless population, to court mandated clients and foster youth. As an LPCC, Swany is excited to support CALPCC members through finding likeminded professionals, where a safe space is created through variety of group of peers. Swany received her Masters of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University in 2017. Currently, she is working towards EMDR credentials.

Photo: Kenneth Edwards

Kenneth Edwards, MA, LPCC, LCPC (IL)
Executive Director

Kenneth earned his M.A. in Clinical Psychology and is currently working towards his PhD in Business Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Kenneth has specialized training in working with LGBTQ, Latino, and marginalized populations and has a wide range of experience from young to elder adult counseling. Kenneth previously worked as a VP in Business Banking. With his previous career experience, Kenneth has a depth of knowledge in organizational management as well career counseling and development from a clinical perspective. Kenneth is currently in private practice in San Francisco, California. Kenneth hopes to continue to advance the mission and vision of CALPCC, work with all partners internal and external in implementing a sustainable growth strategy, and helping to create renewed excitement around the LPCC license.



Kenneth Edwards, MA, LPCC, LCPC (IL)
Executive Director

Savannah Ey
Administrative Assistant

Devra Polack, Spinster Design
Web Specialist

G.V. Ayers
CALPCC Lobbyist

Dean Porter
MS Executive Director Emeritus

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