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Unifying Recovery Advocates: Faces & Voices of Recovery's 2023 Recovery Leadership Summit Recap



Faces and Voices of Recovery recently hosted its annual Recovery Leadership Summit in Washington D.C., bringing together recovery advocates from across the nation for a four-day event filled with networking opportunities and exciting learning experiences. The summit also featured the highly anticipated America Honors Recovery Gala & Dinner, an awards ceremony recognizing the outstanding leaders of the recovery advocacy movement.


This year's summit was attended by Dora Dantzler-Wright and John Wright, members of the CRCC's Executive Leadership team, representing their organization as ARCO Members and leaders of the recovery movement in Illinois.


The event kicked off on June 4, 2023, with a community dinner focused on exploring equity in recovery. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) were highlighted as critical elements of Faces & Voices of Recovery's efforts and values. By leading through example, the organization aimed to inspire the change they seek. The Equity Dinner was a huge success, with registrations reaching maximum capacity, making it clear that the recovery community has a strong commitment to promoting equity in all aspects of recovery.


On June 5, the Capital Hilton became the venue for the highly anticipated America Honors Recovery Gala & Dinner. This event served as a platform to pay tribute to the remarkable leaders who have dedicated their lives to removing barriers for individuals and families affected by addiction. The gala celebrated the legacies of dynamic recovery trailblazers and honored the future of their impactful work.


The America Honors Recovery Gala & Dinner presented various awards to recognize exceptional contributions within the recovery advocacy movement. The America Honors Recovery Award Winners for 2023 were recognized during the gala:

  • The Recovery Organization of the Year Award went to Wilkes Recovery Revolution, a community-based organization dedicated to restoring hope and repairing lives through their impactful work.

  • Jessica Geschke received the Advocate of the Year Award in the Family Member category. She currently leads various projects aimed at raising awareness about substance use disorder and ending the associated stigma.

  • Tracie Gardner was the recipient of the Excellence in Equity and Justice Award. As the Senior Vice President of Policy Advocacy at the Legal Action Center, Gardner has spearheaded major initiatives and fostered strategic partnerships that support the organization's mission.

  • Emily Newton was honored with the Advocate of the Year Award in the Youth/Emerging Adult category. Newton, a young woman in long-term recovery, has made significant contributions by promoting recovery and mental health awareness on her college campus.

  • The Innovations in Recovery Award recognized the Online Museum of African American Addictions, Treatment, and Recovery. Mark Sanders, representing the museum, received the award for his exceptional contributions as an international speaker, trainer, and consultant.

  • The Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Phil Valentine, Executive Director of the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR). Valentine has made significant contributions to the recovery movement throughout his career, and his work at CCAR has positively impacted countless individuals.

  • The Bipartisan Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Task Force in the U.S. House of Representatives was honored with the Congressional Champion Award. This task force has played a vital role in advocating for mental health and substance use disorder issues in Congress.

  • Dona Dmitrovic received the Advocate of the Year Award in the Individual in Recovery category. As the Senior Advisor for Recovery at SAMHSA, Dmitrovic has made significant contributions to advancing recovery support services.

  • The Federal Champion Award was presented to Tom Coderre, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use at SAMHSA. Coderre's extensive experience in public, private, and non-profit sectors has been instrumental in shaping policies and programs related to mental health and substance use.

The summit concluded on June 7 with Hill Day, providing grassroots advocates with an opportunity to meet with elected officials and share their personal stories and experiences. This engagement aimed to raise awareness among policymakers about the challenges faced by those in recovery from substance use disorders. By sharing their lived experiences, advocates hoped to influence legislation and policies that support recovery support services.


Faces and Voices of Recovery's Recovery Leadership Summit, coupled with the America Honors Recovery Gala & Dinner, showcased the incredible dedication and passion of recovery advocates from across the nation. The event fostered meaningful connections, recognized outstanding leaders, and inspired attendees to continue their important work in supporting individuals and families affected by addiction. With events like these, the recovery advocacy movement continues to gain momentum, creating positive change and improving the lives of millions of people in recovery.





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