COR’s Leadership Circle is a group of firebrands, activists, visionaries, and change-makers. They’re our role models and show us what’s possible with their local and national advocacy, philanthropy, influence, activism, personal stories, and life’s work. Together, we’re able to create greater understanding about addiction and recovery. We are inspired by their leadership and honored to call them our partners.
Paula Viragh Williams
Local Bay Area sportscaster and former San Francisco 49er Dennis Brown played defensive end for seven seasons with the team, which included their 1995 Super Bowl XXIX Championship win. Since his retirement from the NFL, Dennis has been a four-time winner of the San Francisco 49ers Community Relations Alumni Service Award, currently serves on the Players Advisory Board of the NFL Alumni Northern CA and is a sports analyst for Comcast Sports Net. Dennis was a keynote speaker at COR’s inaugural Road to Recovery Event in 2016 and interviewed in Facing Addiction’s docu-series, Addiction Across America, also filmed at COR. Dennis is proud to be a recovery advocate.
New York raised, San Fransisco based Josh Elkes currently works at Getty Images in strategic sales and business development. He has also enjoyed a rewarding career in the music industry and is a respected advocate and consultant for several highly regarded non-profits. In his spare time, he is an ultra marathon runner and musician.
Elkes holds seats on the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Committee, Lincoln Center’s Young Patrons Committee, the Guggenheim’s Young Collectors Council Acquisitions Fund, the New Museum’s Curators Council, SF MoMA’s SECA (Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art), the MET Museum’s Apollo Circle Patrons Committee, the MoMA Junior Associates, Team Tassy’s (non-profit in Haiti) Board of Directors, and Grassroot Soccer’s (AIDS/HIV Prevention in South Africa) Ambassador’s Council.
Christopher Kennedy Lawford
Chris spent 20 years in film and television as an actor, lawyer, executive, and producer. He is the author of five books focused on addiction, three of which are New York Times best sellers.
In recovery for over 30 years, Chris campaigns tirelessly on behalf of the recovery community. He works with the United Nations, the Canadian Center on Substance Abuse, the White House Office on National Drug Control Policy, and the World Health Organization. He speaks globally on issues related to addiction, mental health, and hepatitis C.
Chris has served on the California Public Health Advisory Committee and was named Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to promote activities supporting drug treatment, care, and recovery.
Chris holds a juris doctor from Boston College Law School and a Masters in clinical psychology from Harvard Medical School, where he held an academic appointment as a lecturer in psychiatry. Chris has three children and lives in Los Angeles.
Stephen H. Simon
Stephen H. Simon, age 50, is a co-founder of Simon Equity Partners, LLC and has been a managing member since January 2007. From February 1997 to December 2006, Mr. Simon served as president and chief executive officer of Melvin Simon & Associates, Inc., a privately-held real estate and investment company. Mr. Simon also serves on the board of directors of the Pacers Basketball Corporation, Yes To, Inc., and Coalision. Mr. Simon is a director for the Herbert Simon Family Foundation and serves on the boards of the following non-profit organizations – Conscious Alliance, Simon Youth Foundation and HeadCount. Mr. Simon holds a degree in General Studies with a concentration in Public and Environmental Affairs from Indiana University., graduating in 1989.
Paula Viragh Williams
Paula Viragh Williams is Founder and CEO of the Mortar Foundation, a San Francisco philanthropic organization providing financial support to local organizations that address Mental Health, Recovery & Substance Abuse, Sex Trafficking and Homelessness. Because the issues we care about are often hidden by stigma and shame, Mortar’s primary purpose is to shine light into shadows, to See the Unseen.
A graduate from The Chicago Art Institute, Paula is an artist who finds beauty not only in painting and sculpture, but in people and places others avoid. Paula’s full-time commitment to philanthropy began in 2003 in her adopted hometown San Francisco, where she lives with her husband, three daughters, and two dogs. Paula is most interested in providing support to those serving special needs of children and teens. Her desire to help others has evolved over the years as the result of her own struggles and subsequent long-term recovery. She is grateful to be in a position to give back.