“I value being part of a team that helps people in their recovery journey by challenging them to be self-aware, honest, and courageous in facing change.”
Dan Pender left the streets of Brooklyn, N.Y., as a teen for a Catholic Seminary, stopping short of ordination to begin a career in advertising, and subsequently worked as a Wall Street broker for five years, after which he decided to make yet another change.
In a career about-face on becoming a new father, Dan decided he wanted to give back to families in need and earned a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Saint Joseph’s College. From there, he went on to build a private practice where he supported two churches as ministry staff, counseled victims of clergy sex abuse, and worked with adolescents. Although Dan didn’t work directly in addiction treatment, he sometimes encountered issues of substance abuse and worked with a case manager to refer his clients to treatment services.
When Dan decided he wanted to move in a new career direction, he saw that a Phoenix House treatment program for adolescents in Springfield, Mass., was looking for a family therapist; Dan applied and was hired as a senior counselor. After working in that position for over two years, he headed the launch of a new Phoenix House program for adult men and women: Phoenix House Transitional Support Services.
Dan is beginning his thirteenth year with Phoenix House and is now the Vice President of Clinical Services, Continuous Quality Improvement and Risk Management for Phoenix House New England, and he has used his experience to advance performance improvement, create reports, and provide consistent measurable outcomes to integrate greater efficiencies of these three key areas within our programs. “My specialty as a family therapist is relationships and understanding systems,” he says. Just as a family system depends on how people relate to each other in different roles, so does an organization like Phoenix House: “I’ve always been a student of the system of change.” It is this passion for service and customer satisfaction that Dan brings to his position of leadership as Teacher-Learner and Learner-Teacher.