Who We Are
TIM RYAN – Founder & Executive Director
Tim is known as “The Hope Dealer” for his gift of inspiring change in the hearts of addicts—and speaking to the real solutions in the opioid epidemic.
A tireless advocate for long-term recovery, Tim Ryan is no stranger to addiction – including heroin, cocaine, and alcohol. Despite a successful business career, Tim found himself in the grips of heroin and, ultimately, was sentenced to seven years in prison for a number of drug-related convictions. Tim got clean and sober behind bars and was released in just 14 months.
Six months after his release, tragedy struck. His 20-year-old son, Nick – for whom Tim had paved the way to use deadly drugs – died tragically from an overdose. Attempting to get beyond the devastation and heartbreak, Tim used Nick’s death as the inspiration to spread a message of hope and recovery to others, believing that if even one addict or one family could be spared the horrors of the disease of addiction, he would be making a difference. As a result, he founded A Man in Recovery Foundation.
Tim Ryan was the subject of the A&E documentary, Dope Man, reaching millions. He has been a featured thought leader in numerous national media, including USA Today, Newsweek, Chicago Tribune, and “The Steve Harvey Show with Dr. Drew,” and dozens of nationally syndicated radio shows. He was an invited guest by the U.S. President to the 2016 State of the Union Address. He is also the author of the bestselling book, From Dope to Hope.
Tim frequently speaks to schools, healthcare providers, municipalities, community groups, corporations, and others who care to hear his message.
Tim Ryan’s message is powerful, because he has walked the journey of addiction and recovery. He spreads hope and tools to those who need them most. He is blessed with the gift of continued sobriety, and his personal mission is to guide others into recovery–while initiating change on a broader scale to prevent and address the opioid epidemic. He educates all who will listen about the hard truths of addiction and the potential for a full and joyful life in recovery.
JOSEPH SCIALABBA – President
Joe was born and raised in Chicago. He is a single father to a 6-year-old girl whose mother died from addiction when she was only 3. He has been an event organizer and business owner of 18 years, and has served as a highly sought after DJ. He has raised funds for various charities and organizations including ASPCA, Wounded Warrior, Chicago House, and TWLOHA. He is a father’s rights advocate and creative writer. He has done work for Vice Magazine, Nylon Magazine, People, and Iheartmedia.
JOHN JACOBS – Chairman of the Board
John has over 35 years of experience in serial entrepreneurship; engaged with start-ups, early stage through blue-chip companies. Combining John’s extensive network of relationships, business leadership and technology foresight, his teams consistently deliver innovative and disruptive product/service solutions along with rapid high-growth sales to the market.
Most recently, John was founder and CEO of TeamLife Health Group, a home health care agency provider in Chicago, Illinois. Prior to TeamLife, John founded and managed start-up venture companies including Momentum Capital Partners and Beleve.net — advising start-ups and early stage companies with their growth strategies and securing capital for expansion, including companies such as GoHealth, SimDesk Technologies, and creator/founder of Flatlander’s Brewing Company. John also held managerial and executive sales positions at Harris Corporation, Oracle, Bachman (sold to Computer Associates) and SimDesk Technologies. John holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering degree from University of Illinois.
John’s passion to help and serve others is a priority in his life as he has lost two close family members inflicted with the abuse of drugs and alcohol. His youngest brother abused dangerous drugs, and combined with bi-polar mental illness, John and his family struggled and loved their brother/son with an unfortunate outcome that plagued in acute schizophrenia. John’s oldest brother tragically died recently from the result of heavy use of alcohol and pain killers. These life experiences motivate John to make a difference in other people’s lives where he believes with proactive intervention and compassion – we can save lives, together.
As one of the nation’s leading advocates on addiction recovery, Jennifer Gimenez has become a regular fixture on numerous television networks and across multiple social media platforms. Upon moving to the U.S. from Argentina, Gimenez was discovered by famed photographer Bruce Weber at the tender age of 13. The young and exotic beauty quickly ascended to international stardom, appearing on 100’s of magazine covers from Vogue to Bazaar & Marie Claire, and was the youngest model ever to appear on the cover of American Elle. As a highly sought-after runway model, Gimenez walked the catwalks of Paris, NY, Tokyo, London and Milan for the world’s top designers such as Chanel, Armani, Jean Paul Gaultier, Carolina Herrera and Prada, and shot campaigns for Calvin Klein, Guess, St. John, and Paul Mitchell.
Named one of Maxim’s “Hot 100” and Esquire’s “Women We Love,” Gimenez went on to appear in videos for artists such as Mick Jagger, Prince, 2Pac, Lionel Richie and Baby face just to name a few. After landing roles on The Young and The Restless and Bold and The Beautiful, Jennifer scored her first major film role in Ted Demme’s Blow, starring alongside Johnny Depp. She followed that up with blockbusters Vanilla Sky, Corky Romano, Charlie’s Angels as well as appearances in the Oscar nominated documentary, “Let’s Get Lost.”.
Surrounded by a fast-paced Hollywood lifestyle and unprepared for the trappings of fame, Gimenez eventually found herself at the mercy of her own drug & alcohol demons. Both her personal and professional life spiraled out of control and her Hollywood dream had become a dark and lonely place. Ultimately, Jennifer found the courage to reclaim her life and take control of her career. Her journey back to sobriety and her story of redemption are now part of her message to others looking to find their own path to happiness.
Now over 13 years sober, Gimenez has used the story of her recovery to help others, starring on VH1’s hit Sober House Seasons 1 and 2, Celebrity Rehab Season 5, and Season 6 of Rehab With Dr. Drew. She’s also appeared on The O’Neal’s Show on OWN, as a judge on Model Latina for SiTV, Celebrity Wife Swap and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, as well as an expert on top tier media including The View, CNN, HLN, Today Show and ENews and other all press outlets.
Jennifer Gimenez is passionate about helping others battling addiction, eating disorders, mental illness, or any of life’s other challenges. In 2013, Jennifer launched SoberBook, a site that allows everyone to be the writer by sharing their stories anonymously. Through these efforts and by sharing her story so openly, Jennifer has become a leading advocate in the substance abuse recovery world. Jennifer also speaks on mental health, substance misuse disorder, eating disorders, suicide, trama and overcoming obstacles and adversities in life. Gimenez and her fiancé Tim Ryan speak across the U.S and abroad, determined to keep spreading her message of hope and recovery as well as fighting to break the stigma surrounding the horrible epidemic of addiction.
In January 2019 Gimenez was highlighted on the cover of Recovery Today Magazine. This led her to becoming a feature writer for the magazine, under the tagline: Jennifer Gimenez The Real, Real. Her stories include open and raw vignettes about the obstacles and adversities she has faced throughout her career and the demons she continues to overcome on a daily basis.
Jennifer has also appeared on The Doctor’s TV Show, and in the fall of 2019 was a speaker at TEDxNaperville, speaking about “The Dark Side Of Beauty.”
Tom has spent almost all of his adult life working in sales. He has excelled with multiple companies, from small businesses to large corporations. Tom has serviced customers in several fields, from flowers to outdoor power equipment to automobiles. Providing great value for his services has always been the key to his success.
That all changed after his son passed away in March of 2014. When he became an Angel Dad, his passion shifted. Although he enjoyed a very rewarding career, Tom felt he needed to move in a different direction. Since then he has been committed to helping others by guiding and directing their way through the minefield of substance abuse. Tom started to learn as much as he could. He listened, changed his perceptions, and grew. He was a regular attendee at the original AMIRF support group in Naperville. Then Tom became a Parent Coach for the Partnership for Drug Free Kids in 2015. While he enjoyed the training and the mission, he wanted to work more directly in his community. So in January of 2016, Tom started his Family Addiction Support Group under the umbrella of A Man In Recovery Foundation. The group meets every Tuesday night in his hometown of New Lenox, Illinois. In 2018, Tom was asked by by Tim Ryan to join the board of A Man In Recovery Foundation. In November of 2019, Tom became the Executive Director of A Man In Recovery Foundation.
Tom is passionate about helping move AMIRF forward, and helping one addict and one family at a time.
Todd is Managing Partner of Conor Green, which is a development company engaged in medical cannabis projects with Native Indian tribes, as economic development opportunities for their nation & members. This entails establishing regulatory frameworks, business partnerships, financing, construction, wholesale distribution and operational management for medical cannabis businesses that are owned/operated by sovereign nations or their members.
Having the industry exposure to cannabis, Todd continues to see mounting evidence as to its benefits in reducing or eliminating opioid use in patients and believe that the advent of one medicine can reduce the need for the other. He firmly believes in its powers to be an “exit medicine.”
Additionally, Todd lost his sister’s long time boyfriend in 2013 to a heroin overdose and in July 2019, his close family friends lost their 30 year nephew to the same. Anything Todd can do to help raise awareness or get someone the help they need – he wants to be part of it.
DR. FREDERICK TIESENGA
Dr. Frederick Tiesenga has been an established surgeon in the Chicagoland area for more than 20 years. He received his M.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, and is currently the chairman of the Department of Surgery at West Suburban Hospital. He also serves as the President of Medical Staff at Westlake Hospital.
Dr. Tiesenga is the president of the Chicago Medical Society’s District 5, as well as the President of the Illinois Reflux Society. He is a board member of the Illinois Association of Bariatric Surgeons, a member of the Illinois State Medical Society, as well as a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Not only has Dr. Tiesenga’s work been published in professional journals, he has given countless presentations over his two-decade-long career.
Patrick joined the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office in 2007 as an assistant state’s attorney. During his tenure as an assistant state’s attorney, Patrick worked in traffic court, misdemeanor court, felony court, as a special prosecutor, in the Civil Division, and as the First Assistant. He handled thousands of criminal prosecutions and represented the County in civil litigation and on government-related legal matters. Patrick was elected McHenry County State’s Attorney in 2016.
Patrick believes it is his duty to stand in solidarity with victims who often must endure for a lifetime the consequences of the senseless criminal acts of others. He is committed to resolutely prosecuting criminal offenders, but doing so without ever losing sight of his ultimate ethical responsibility to seek justice before all else and ensure a defendant’s rights are protected.
Patrick has been awarded the Turning Point Peace and Justice Award for his work on behalf of victims of domestic battery and currently serves on the Executive Board of the McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition. He is also a member of the McHenry County and Illinois Bar Associations.
Patrick earned his law degree from Washington University School of Law in 2005 and also has a master’s degree in environmental law from the University of Vermont. Prior to law school, Patrick earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and liberal arts from College of the Holy Cross. At Holy Cross, Patrick was named to the All-Time Patriot League Academic Honor Roll.