Meet Our Staff & Board

Peter Espenshade



Peter Espenshade (he, him, his)  is super proud of his long-term recovery and has been the president of Recovery Vermont and VAMHAR since 2013.  Prior to his work here, Peter worked in philanthropy as a VP at the Vermont Community Foundation and as the Executive Director of the Lake Champlain Land Trust.  He is an active supporter of the arts and currently serves on the board of the Vermont Shakespeare Festival.

Melissa Story


CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER (COO) & Director of Training

Melissa Story (she, her, hers) is a person in recovery and a fierce advocate for the reduction of the stigma associated with substance use disorder.  Melissa first discovered Recovery Vermont when she attended the Vermont Recovery Coach Academy in 2017.  For years prior to the Academy, Melissa had her own business as a Wellness Coach, specializing in disordered eating. She felt called to change the course of her career after witnessing the power of Recovery Coaching, and has been a recovery coach ever since! As Chief Operating Officer and Director of Training, she works to help educate, engage and provide leadership opportunities for Vermont’s Recovery Workforce. Out of the office, you will find Melissa dancing to live music, studying astrology, and seeking adventure.

Danielle Sessler


VICE PRESIDENT For CommunicationS

Danielle (she, her, hers) has been working with Recovery Vermont since 2019. Danielle comes from a background of marketing and working alongside mission-driven nonprofits. She moved to Vermont from New York City in 2017, where she worked in video production, producing commercials and social videos. As the Vice President and Director of Communications, Danielle is inspired by her work with the recovery community and feels honored to help get the message out about the power of recovery to Vermonters.  


Daniel Franklin


VICE PRESIDENT For Advocacy and community Relations

Daniel Franklin (he, him, his) joins the Recovery Vermont team after serving as executive director for the Lamoille Valley’s North Central Vermont Recovery Center and as a key collaborator with Jenna’s Promise. A native of Guilford, VT, Daniel lives in Craftsbury with his partner Corrina and their son Josiah. Daniel has worked as leader, advocate, fundraiser, and frontline worker in the health and human services fields for many years. He is devoted to the cause of recovery from addictions and mental health challenges and seeks to advance and enhance the connection between mind, body and spirit by unifying systems of care for mental health and physical health. 

Lisa Lord


Director of Workforce Programs

Lisa Lord (she, her, hers) is the Director of Workforce Programs at Recovery Vermont.  Her work is focused on creating a state-wide network of Recovery Friendly Workplaces and supporting Vermont’s Recovery Coaches and the life-changing work they do as they gain and maintain their nationally and internationally reciprocal certification.  She is inspired daily by the transformative nature of recovery and how transferable the skills learned through a recovery journey are to the workplace – and she looks forward to the day that there is no longer SUD-related stigma. 

Vini Emery


Program Manager: Recovery Coaches in the EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT

Vini (they, them, theirs) is the Program Manager for the Recovery Coaches in the Emergency Department.  They have 17 years of experience working with a variety of communities such as pregnant and parenting teenagers, people experience homelessness, people with disabilities, and children and families.  Vini also brings experience working in mental health (both as a peer and as a support person) and as a housing specialist.  Vini has many years of volunteer work with Social Justice movements that address Race, Class, Disability, Immigration, Gender, and Sexuality. Vini strives for equity, accessibility, and respect in the work they do.  Vini is a family member to several people with Substance Use Disorder, and is honored to be part of the wonderful recovery community in Vermont.

Emma Henderson


Training Coordinator

Emma Henderson (she/her/hers) came to Recovery Vermont in July 2021. Emma received her Master of Science in Leadership from Norwich University in 2021 and comes from a background in higher education. Her passion for helping others, supporting her community, and working for a mission-driven organization is what brought her to Recovery Vermont. She is looking forward to celebrating recovery through connection. Outside of work you can find Emma hiking around Vermont, reading a good book, or cooking a delicious meal for friends.

2021 Board of Trustees

 Catherine Kalkstein, MSW, Chair

William Keithcart, MA, LADC

John Pierce, Dept of Mental Health (ret.)

Katie Whitaker, RN, CRC, CADT

Ted Tighe, PhD

Mary Donnelly, Prevention Consultant

Gary Miller, Writers for Recovery

Aimee Marti, Aspenti Health


Recovery Vermont
A program of VAMHAR
100 State Street, Suite 352

Montpelier, VT 05602