Meet the Team

At Banyan, we stand as a leader in providing growth through recovery by having only the most qualified team behind the mission. Our highly experienced staff know exactly how to treat each and every client because several key members of the Banyan clinical team have gone through their own personal trials of addiction and recovery. The Banyan tree not only stands as a symbol for us, but it is a philosophy. You are able to grow through your recovery process with a strong community set in place from our team here at all of our nationwide facilities.

Banyan Executive Team

Joe Tuttle

Founder & CEO
Joe Tuttle

Founder & CEO

Gloria Freifeld

Chief Financial Officer
Gloria Freifeld

Chief Financial Officer

Gloria’s vision for Banyan is simple: that the needs of our clients are being met. By that, Gloria says she is personally invested in making sure that our clients receive both physical and emotional nourishment. Gloria makes it her personal goal to ensure that all clients have a valuable experience that serves to fortify their self-respect and self-assuredness because she believes everyone deserves to walk with his or her head held high.

Her experience with treatment and recovery comes from the personal experience unique to that of a loved one of an addict. Gloria has traversed the entire treatment and recovery process, which gives her insight into and compassion for what our clients are experiencing.

Eric Oakes

Chief Operations Officer
Eric Oakes

Chief Operations Officer

Eric Oakes has been in the helping professions for over 25 years. He got his start working with children and adolescents in schools and therapeutic communities in New England, and has been drawn toward those battling addiction ever since. Along the way, Eric has worked throughout the Eastern United States. He has treated persons with severe and persistent mental illness, advocating from the community and in their homes. He has worked with persons with developmental disabilities and women with young children as well. Eric has worked in addictions in the South Florida region for 15 years, successfully managing and directing several prominent treatment programs. In both public and privately funded settings, the theme throughout has been a commitment to serving those in need. Eric Oakes is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Master in Social Work, is certified by the State of Florida, and has a Master in Business Administration in Health Care Management.

Josh Katz

Josh Katz

Josh Katz brings Banyan over eleven years of experience working with hundreds of hospitals and treatment centers, where he helped thousands of people find the help they need. He studied Communications at Rider University and Health Care Administration at Palm Beach State College. Prior to Banyan, Josh was instrumental in growing many unique and successful programs for many different needs of treatment throughout the treatment industry. Josh is a staple in the South Florida Recovery Community and has built his reputation nationwide by organizing hundreds of conferences and helping families around the country.

Catherine Manley, LMHC

Executive Director
Catherine Manley, LMHC

Executive Director

Catherine Manley is the Executive Director at Banyan Treatment Pompano and Banyan Detox facilities. She earned her Master’s degree at Nova Southeastern University in Mental Health Counseling and is licensed in the State of Florida. Working in the field of substance abuse treatment, Catherine has led staff in multiple roles as Primary Therapist, Detox Supervisor, and Clinical Director. In addition to her experience in human services, Catherine received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Florida International University in 2003. She has a background in marketing, advertising and project management. Catherine brings a great balance of education, compassion, and business acumen to the Banyan family. The driving force behind her ambition is centered on helping individuals struggling with alcoholism and addiction.

Joshua Gamaitoni

National Director of Business Development
Joshua Gamaitoni

National Director of Business Development

Joshua Gamaitoni was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware. After his own personal struggles with addiction, Josh relocated to Florida to start his journey through recovery in 2011. Over the past six years, Josh has gained a well-rounded background in a variety of facets in the treatment industry including sober living management, admissions, community outreach and is currently working towards his certification as an interventionist. Joshua joined the Banyan Treatment Center family in 2017 with the title of National Director of Business Development. His goal is to assist those suffering from this disease and their families in any way he can.

Lauren Connolly

Director of Finance
Lauren Connolly

Director of Finance

Lauren was born and raised on Long Island in New York. She attended community college, as well as business school and majored in Business Administration. Lauren began her career in New York City in 1994 where she worked as a Financial Analyst for two of the largest NY Direct Marketing agencies for over 20 years.

In 2013, Lauren relocated to Wellington, FL and pursued a career in the treatment industry. Since 2015, Lauren has been the Director of Finance at Banyan Treatment. Lauren works with the clients and their families to help create affordable payment plans for treatment. She assists with cash or self pay clients and helps families navigate through the financial process to ensure they understand their payment options and what is best depending on their situation.

Banyan Chicago Team

David Tews, Ed.D, LCPC, CADC

Executive Director
David Tews, Ed.D, LCPC, CADC

Executive Director

David Tews, Ed.D., LCPC, CADC has been in the helping profession for over 20 years. He has worked in a variety of settings specializing in the treatment of substance abuse disorders. Dr. Tews got his start as a volunteer at a community center in Sarasota, Florida providing pre- and post-test services for individuals interested in HIV testing. While working on his addictions certification and master’s degree he worked in halfway houses, recovery homes, treatment centers, and clinics. He has also taught addictions and other mental health courses at local colleges and universities. Dr. Tews serves on the Illinois Advisory Council on Alcohol and other Drugs while advocating for those in need of substance abuse treatment.

James Cunnar, M.D.

Medical Director
James Cunnar, M.D.

Medical Director

James Cunnar M.D. did his undergraduate training at the University of Notre Dame and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Illinois in 1990. He completed his medical education at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in 1994. His residency training was performed at Memorial Hospital, South Bend, Indiana, after which he became board certified in Family Practice in 1997. Dr. Cunnar’s clinical interests include adolescent care, adult wellness, and diabetes. Dr. Cunnar is actively involved within the greater community of family physicians on both the national and state level. Dr. Cunnar resides in Aurora.

Dr. Cunnar is brings an enthusiastic approach to the collaborative model of treatment Banyan champions.

Cheryl Zaabel, LCPC, CADC, CSAT

Clinical Director
Cheryl Zaabel, LCPC, CADC, CSAT

Clinical Director

Cheryl specializes in and has been working in the field of substance abuse and mental health disorders since 1993, earning her CADC from College of DuPage in 1996. Cheryl’s earned her Masters of Science in Human Services Counseling from National Louis University. She is trained and certified in Sex Addiction Therapy (CSAT) by Dr. Patrick Carnes from the International Institute for Trauma and Addictions Professionals (IITAP). Cheryl came to Banyan after working 5 years as Clinical Supervisor. Prior experience includes hospital settings, Intake and Emergency Department, Community Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Centers, Halfway House and 3/4-way house coordinator, and in private practice for 7 years.

Cheryl believes the basis for health and wellness is rooted in relationships. She is inspired by those who courageously share their stories individually, with their families or in a recovery group setting. Her goal is to hold space and develop a warm, safe, therapeutic relationship built on trust, congruence and compassion for those she is honored to serve.

Taylor Klutke, MA, LPC

Clinical Supervisor
Taylor Klutke, MA, LPC

Clinical Supervisor

Taylor is licensed as a Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Illinois. She earned her Masters of Arts (M.A.) in Forensic Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in Chicago, IL. She earned her Bachelors of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology and Criminal Justice and a minor in Sociology from Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.

Taylor has a wealth of experience in a variety of clinical settings, which includes counselor in an inpatient and outpatient programs at Linden Oaks Psychiatric Hospital, mental health professional at Kane County Adult Correctional Center, and crisis counselor at Swedish Covenant Hospital. She has experience working with both adolescents and adults on a group and individual basis. Taylor has had the opportunity to work with an array of clinical presentation, which includes eating disorder, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, bipolar, and PTSD.

Taylor believes that treatment should be a collaboration between patient and counselor, which allows her to work closely with her patients in developing a healthier level of functioning.

Jessica Gerke

Intake Supervisor
Jessica Gerke

Intake Supervisor

Jessica got her start in the field volunteering as an advocate and working with several foundations in the Midwest for drug addiction for the past 8 years. She has been a public speaker on public forums, schools, jails, and treatments centers throughout Illinois. Additionally, she has been running a small-scale sober home for the last 5 years.

Jessica first came to Banyan Treatment Center in May of 2016 as an Admissions Coordinator. After showing her dedication and strong work ethic, Jessica was given the opportunity to take training courses in Recovery Coaching. Jessica was recently promoted to Chicago’s Intake Supervisor, which allows her to fulfill her passion by helping individuals and families who suffer from drug addiction through the admissions process.

Vanessa Whitnell, MA, LPC

Therapist
Vanessa Whitnell, MA, LPC

Therapist

Vanessa has had a long standing passion for the study of addiction and addiction treatment, stemming from her days at the University of Missouri, Columbia where she earned her Bachelors of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology. During her senior year, she completed an internship at a residential addiction treatment center for men, while simultaneously assisting with a research study on alcohol use behaviors among sexual minority women. Vanessa completed her own research study entitled, “Drug-use Behaviors among Sexual Minority Women: Vulnerabilities associated with Negative Mood and Cognitions and Protective Effects Afforded by Internalized Homophobia”. She presented these findings at Psychology Day in May 2012.

Vanessa went on to earn her Masters of Education (M.Ed.) in Community Counseling at DePaul University in 2015. During this time, Vanessa completed her graduate student internship at an outpatient treatment center for adults and adolescents with substance use disorders. Concurrent with her clinical internship, Vanessa gained experience working with the eating disorder population within a residential treatment setting.

Presently, Vanessa is licensed as a Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Illinois. She recently became a published author who assisted in writing a chapter within the Handbook of Strengths-Based Clinical Practices edited by Jeffrey K. Edwards, Andy Young,

Kent Wohlrabe, LCPC, CADC

Therapist
Kent Wohlrabe, LCPC, CADC

Therapist

Kent is licensed as a Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and is certified as an ADOC counselor (CADC) both in the state of Illinois. He earned his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) in Psychology from Eastern Illinois University, in Charleston, IL.

Kent has experience in a variety of clinical recovery treatment settings, including Senior counselor at Interventions for adolescents where he also helped set up the first state funded Recovery home for adolescent males in the state of Illinois. Kent also was Clinical Supervisor of three half-way houses for males, women, and a MISA (Mentally Ill Substance Abuse) houses in Aurora for Community Counseling Center of Fox Valley and Gateway Foundation. He has worked as Senior counselor for Presence Behavioral Health Outpatient programs in Evanston, Ill. and Lake Bluff, Ill. Kent has recently worked Ben Gordon Community Counseling in DeKalb, Ill. Kent also oversees mental health services in DeKalb County jail.

Kent believes that successful recovery is a collaboration between patient and therapist. A collaboration that works best with trust and respect for each other.

Heidi Wagner, APN, FNP-BC

Nurse Practitioner
Heidi Wagner, APN, FNP-BC

Nurse Practitioner

Heidi was born and raised in the Chicago area and recently started with us in the nurse practitioner role. She graduated with her Masters of Science degree in nursing from the nurse practitioner program at Lewis University in 2015. Prior to becoming a nurse practitioner she worked in a variety of nursing fields including medical-surgical, home health, hospice, case management and behavioral health nursing.

Prior to coming to Banyan Treatment Center, Heidi worked as a nurse practitioner in a long-term care behavioral health facility where she cared for many dual diagnosis patients. Heidi performs medical and mental health assessments and treats immediate problems that arise with patients while in treatment. Heidi has always been interested in the sciences and in helping people.