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Meet Our Team

With over 200 clients and a 100% accreditation success rate – we are happy to say that we have found a formula that works for us – and will work for you too.

Below is a list of AG staff and consultants that work to deliver on the commitment to achieving (re)accreditation and advising on a host of related compliance, strategic development, and risk management issues for clients every year.

If you would like more information on our accreditation services and how we can help you click here or to read what others are saying about us click here.

Jennifer Flowers, MBA, Founder & CEO

Jennifer Flowers is the founder and CEO of Accreditation Guru, a national consulting firm dedicated to helping social service, behavioral health, and education organizations to become successfully accredited. Her professional knowledge offers clients expertise in accreditation preparation, strategic planning, board development, and risk management strategies. Jennifer has been a leader in the field of accreditation, including her former role as Director of Accreditation Commission at the Council on Accreditation (COA).

Jennifer holds an MBA in International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She is Certified in Nonprofit Board Education by BoardSource. Jennifer is regularly sought after as a subject matter expert to speak at national conferences on the topics of accreditation and nonprofit governance.

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Accreditation Consultants

Dave Branding, PhD 
Accreditation Consultant

Tracy Collander, LCSW, FACHE
Accreditation Consultant

Bobbie Lison
Accreditation Consultant

Viviane Ngwa, MSW, LCSW, ACSW 
Accreditation Consultant

Marcel C. Rivas, MS, LMHC Accreditation Consultant

Carol M. Smith, MA, LPC, CCS, CAADC
Accreditation Consultant

Janice Vermiglio-Smith, RN, MS, PhD

Accreditation Consultant

Mary M. Weaver, MSW
Accreditation Consultant

Yvonne Rockwood, MBA, MHA, CPHQ

Accreditation Consultant

Laurie Reid, LMFT, MCAP
Accreditation Consultant

Dr. Susan M. Johnson, DBH, CHC
Accreditation Consultant

Mary Bedford
Accreditation Consultant

Keith Winfrey, MHSA
Accreditation Consultant

IACET

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Sales & Marketing/Admin Team

Peggy Lavin, LCSW 
Director of Behavioral Health 

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Sara “Laney” Laney
Marketing and Project Manager 

Dave Branding, PhD, Accreditation Consultant

Dave brings over 40 years of expertise in administration, executive leadership, and board governance across a diverse spectrum of health and human service organizations, integrated delivery systems, and health plans. Throughout his career, he has navigated roles as a provider, purchaser, and funder, showcasing his comprehensive understanding of the industry.

Working at CARF International for over 12 years, Dave has led more than 120 accreditation surveys across 40 states and Canadian provinces as an administrative and program surveyor, team leader, and report-writer for the Behavioral Health, Opioid Treatment Program, Employment, Community Support, and Business and Services Management Network’s standard manuals. He also serves on CARF’s appeal and review boards.

Dave earned a Doctorate in Education and an MA degree, along with a certificate in transition planning, from Southern Illinois University and a BS in Psychology from Central Michigan University.

Tracy Collander, LCSW, FACHE, Accreditation Consultant

Tracy has been a leader in the field of behavioral health for more than 25 years, with extensive experience in child welfare, addiction treatment, and community mental health. She was the Executive Director of the Behavioral Health Accreditation program for The Joint Commission and currently is the Regional Director of Behavioral Health for a large Chicago-based hospital and health care system in Illinois.

 

Tracy is a licensed clinical social worker with an MSW in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago. She earned a BS in Psychology at Gustavus Adolphus College and received a management certificate from DePaul University. Tracy holds a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE) certification from America College of Healthcare Executives. 

Bobbie Lison, Accreditation Consultant

During her 24-year tenure as a peer reviewer and team leader at the Council on Accreditation (COA), Bobbie has excelled in multiple roles, including operations manager, program manager, and Performance and Quality Improvement (PQI) chair at Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Green Bay, WI. Her leadership steered the agency through two successful re-accreditations, underscoring her commitment to excellence.

Bobbie’s professional certifications as a consumer credit counselor, student loan counselor, Department of Housing and Urban Development housing counselor, along with her American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) certification and educator license, reflect her diverse skill set. She has played pivotal roles, such as chairing the National Asset Development Committee for Catholic Charities, USA, and served as a national trainer.

Active in her local community, Bobbie has contributed her expertise to various boards and committees, driving collaborative efforts aimed at enhancing community well-being. She holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay.

Viviane Ngwa

Viviane Ngwa, MSW, LCSW, ACSW, Accreditation Consultant

Viviane Ngwa is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in both Illinois and Nevada with more than 25 years of experience in the human services field and has led core growth and new business development in multiple states. Viviane holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work and a Graduate Certificate in Global Policy Studies from the University of Georgia, and she is presently completing her PhD dissertation at Adler University in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. 

 

She comes with leadership experience in the provision of services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, services to youth with juvenile probation involvement, as well as extensive experience in child welfare and behavioral health service structure across many states. Viviane has leverage her program and organization development skills both nationally and internationally as a reviewer, consultant, and subject matter expert, and comes with many years of both local and national board experience.

Marcel C. Rivas, MS, LMHC, Accreditation Consultant

Marcel C. Rivas 30 years of professional child welfare experience serving in administration, senior management operations, and direct service roles. His educational background includes a Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in Psychology and Economics, and a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Florida International University. In addition, he has an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration from Miami Dade College and is American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Certified. 

Marcel is the Vice President of Operations for K-Care/Stabilify, which is a mission-driven organization providing software solutions for human service agencies. Much of Marcel’s professional career has been spent serving children and youth as both director and staff member, and he has also volunteered for over 15 years as a Commissioner and Team Leader for the Council on Accreditation (COA).

Carol Smith, MA, LPC, CCS, CAADC, Accreditation Consultant 

Carol brings a variety of human services experience to Accreditation Guru from her 40-year career as a clinician, supervisor, administrator, and consultant. These include working in prevention and education, outpatient and intensive outpatient care, residential and inpatient care, sub-acute detoxification, and psychosocial and vocational programs.

She has also worked in programs dedicated to special populations, including adolescents, those in the criminal justice system, persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and persons with co-occurring disorders.

 

Carol’s experience as a surveyor for CARF International provides her with an exceptional foundation from which to guide our clients through the accreditation process. In addition, she is a survey report editor, trainer and mentor who serves on the appeals board for CARF.

 

Carol received an MA in Counseling Psychology from Michigan State University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified Clinical Supervisor, and Certified Advanced Addiction Counselor.

Janice Vermiglio-Smith RN, MS, PhD, Accreditation Consultant

Janice is a Registered Nurse with advanced degrees in psychiatric nursing, community mental health and a PhD in public administration. She began her career as a staff nurse in hospitals, both public and private, while she obtained her advanced education so she could work in social services, education, and administration.

 

She has surveyed or consulted for Council on Accreditation (COA), The Joint Commission (JCAHO), Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS), Accreditation Commission on Health Care (ACHC), CARF International, and National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

 

In her fifteen years as a COA reviewer, Janice participated in site reviews as a Peer Reviewer and Team Leader. She reviewed private non-profit as well as for-profit agencies and worked for Catholic Charites as the Quality Improvement Director. She is American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) certified, a surveyor for Home Health Accreditation through CARF, and a reviewer for ACHC.

Mary M. Weaver, MSW, Accreditation Consultant

Mary Weaver has served in child welfare for more than 30 years. As a human services program representative specializing in child welfare, she works at the state level to improve and ensure transparency, quality, efficiency and internal best practices for numerous nonprofit agencies and consumers of their services.

 

In addition to her vast experience at the state level, Mary has been volunteering for 15 years as a Peer Reviewer and a Trained Team Leader for the Council on Accreditation (COA). She has extensive experience in overseeing and monitoring compliance of child welfare regulation, providing technical assistance, conducting site surveys and evaluating private and public agencies to ensure the safety of children and families.

 

Mary has an MSW in Administration, Policy, and Planning from Rutgers State University, and a BS in Psychology from Tuskegee University. She is American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) certified and has been an AG consultant for over ten years.

Yvonne Rockwood, MBA, MHA, CPHQ, Accreditation Consultant

Yvonne brings a wealth of expertise in regulatory and compliance matters, garnered through a distinguished career as a healthcare executive. Renowned for her adept leadership, Yvonne has successfully spearheaded Joint Commission Surveys across diverse healthcare settings, demonstrating excellence in areas such as behavioral health, substance use disorder, acute psychiatric care, IOP, PHP, skilled nursing, home care, and hospice. Notably, she held the role of Associate Director of Behavioral Health Care at The Joint Commission.

Yvonne excels in guiding teams to surmount challenges and attain ambitious goals. Her strategic approach and commitment to excellence have consistently propelled organizations to new heights.

Yvonne’s impressive academic credentials include an MBA, MHC, CPHQ, and an Executive Leadership Certification from Harvard Business School. She holds certifications in Quality (CPHQ) and LeanSix Sigma, further underscoring her commitment to the highest standards of professional excellence. 

Laurie Reid, LMFT, MCAP, Accreditation Consultant

Laurie Reid has over 20 years of experience serving individuals, families, and communities in the behavioral healthcare field. After her service in the US Navy, Laurie earned a BS degree with a major in Sociology from Wichita State University, and an MS degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Friends University. In addition, she is a Certified Addictions Professional, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Life Coach, Mental Health First Aid facilitator by the National Council for Behavioral Health and Certified Recovery Educator from the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery.

 

Laurie is an expert in quality assurance, clinical processes, clinical documentation, as well as specialized Medicaid documentation regulations, and she often provides consultation to agencies seeking state licensing and accreditation with The Joint Commission or CARF International. One of her most visible and well-defined talents is her ability to clearly communicate clinical issues to administration and to clearly communicate administrative issues to clinicians.

Dr. Susan M. Johnson, DBH, CHC, Accreditation Consultant

Susan has 20+ years of experience in behavioral healthcare, serving in clinical and operational roles. Recognizing the value of prevention, intervention, and treatment services for children and families, Susan started her career as a social worker.

 

Susan served as the Director of Performance Improvement/Compliance for a behavioral healthcare organization. She was instrumental in organizing and facilitating the agency-wide CARF accreditation process, which resulted in two, three-year accreditations, with the last being a perfect survey.

 

Susan’s professional knowledge includes expertise in accreditation preparation/maintenance, performance improvement, compliance, organizational policy development, and the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) Criteria. As a CARF surveyor, Susan has conducted over 100 ASAM Level of Care Certification surveys.

 

Susan obtained a Doctor of Behavioral Health from Arizona State University, an MA in Human Services Counseling from Liberty University, and a BS in Counseling from Old Dominion University. She is Certified in Healthcare Compliance and holds a Lean Six Sigma certification.

Mary Bedford, Accreditation Consultant

Mary Bedford has more than 25 years of experience working exclusively in the education operations and accreditation areas. She has worked with all types of entities – from multinational corporate enterprises to small nonprofits – to develop and implement their successful licensing, accreditation, and strategic planning processes. She has organized the evolution of a Florida university from concept to operation, including planning the curriculum, recommending faculty, creating policies and procedures, licensing the institution, and ultimately achieving full accreditation.

 

Ms. Bedford’s educational background includes a BA in Psychology, an MS in Child Development, an MBA, and a PhD (abd) in Educational Measurement and Evaluation. She is trained in accreditation for ACICS, IACET, SACS, and Cognia (AdvancEd). She also holds an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management. 

Keith Winfrey, MHSA, Accreditation Consultant

Keith Winfrey is armed with a Master’s Degree in Health Service Administration and possesses a rich background in Clinical Psychology. His strategic acumen, adept project management, and passion for innovative digital solutions have consistently propelled organizations towards growth and success.

 

During his tenure at The Joint Commission, Keith made significant contributions and held various key roles, notably as Manager of Business Products, Survey Technology & Application Innovation, and as a Behavioral Health Surveyor. His leadership in revolutionizing the survey process through technology-driven solutions and user-centered innovation elevated customer satisfaction and led to substantial cost savings.

 

With a proven track record of driving strategic initiatives, fostering collaboration, and delivering tangible results, Keith continues to occupy a prominent position at the intersection of healthcare, technology, and business development. Keith is presently Health Equity Advisor at AllianceChicago, which has the mission to improve personal, community, and public health through innovative collaboration. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL.