Executive Leadership

Joseph M. Costa, Chief Executive Officer

Joseph M. Costa, Hillsides chief executive officer, comes to Los Angeles from Sunny Hills Services, a multi-service children’s charity in Northern California. Joe’s previous leadership includes identifying a multiple year transition plan that increased community-based programs for his previous organization, addressing the weakening demands for residential services, as well as positioning the charity for further development, increased service capacity and strengthened its financial viability.

Knowledgeable on an array of services relevant to the children’s charity, Joe plans to continue an active role in advocating at the county, state and national level for the development of additional funding for Kinship Care, mental health services, supportive housing for transition-aged youth and medical insurance for vulnerable children and youth. He oversees the overall operation of Hillsides and its affiliate, Bienvenidos, which encompasses planning, directing and coordinating the activities of both agencies. Joe administers the policies of both agencies as designated by the board of directors, including training programs and the administration of over 600 employees. As the chief executive officer, Joe is also accountable for the overall management of the residential treatment services on a 17-acre campus, its 14 buildings and the operation of three group homes in the nearby community in addition to its Foster Care and Adoptions Program that serves children and youth in resource homes, the management of a 49-unit apartment building that provides low cost housing for emancipated foster youth, the Family Resource Centers that provide mental health services to families in crisis, and Hillsides Education Center that offers individualized education plans to students with learning and behavioral challenges. Including Bienvenidos, he oversees 35 sites across four counties: Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange.

Acknowledged as a leader in the child welfare community, Joe was selected by his peers to serve on the governing body of Child Welfare League of America, and was recently elected to serve as its Chairman. Previously Joe was on the governing body of the California Alliance for Child and Family Services. He is also a member of the National Association of Social Workers. 

Joe earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and social services from St. John’s Seminary College in Boston. Thereafter, he earned his master’s degree in divinity from St. John’s Seminary, School of Theology before earning another master’s degree in social work from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. He also served as an ordained Roman Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts from 1977 to 1998.

Stacey R. Roth, LCSW, Chief Operating Officer

In her position as chief program officer, Stacey Roth, a licensed clinical social worker, oversees three divisions of Hillsides: 1) Campus-Based Services, including Hillsides Education Center, 2) Transition-Aged Youth Services for young adults transitioning from foster care to adulthood, and 3) Community-Based Outpatient Services, which includes all Family Resource Center programs. Since 1996, Stacey has been a part of Hillsides family. Stacey was a social worker in Tradewinds cottage for seven years before moving to the Family Resource Centers. As coordinator at of the school-based mental health program at San Rafael Elementary, Stacey oversaw the counseling and support services for students and their families.

She quickly became the clinical director and in less than a year was asked to be the director of Family Resource Centers. Overseeing all aspects of Family Resource Centers programs, Stacey was responsible for managing the school-based mental health programs, numerous Los Angeles County contracts for programs such as Family Support, Family Preservation, and Mental Health Services Act. In addition, Stacey oversaw the three Family Resource Centers locatd at Pasadena, Baldwin Park, and downtown Los Angeles.

Stacey oversaw the relocation of the Family Resource Center from the Cathedral Center location in Echo Park to its current site in Los Angeles. In addition, she has encouraged the expansion of mental health programs to serve many more families in Greater Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley, including Baldwin Park and Los Angeles.

One of her main priorities as chief program officer is to lead Hillsides in adopting Trauma Informed Care, part of a movement in the mental health field to recognize profound cognitive, social and emotional impacts of trauma, especially among public mental health clients. Stacey is leading the effort to train all Hillsides employees in trauma-informed practices that are endorsed by the National Council on Behavioral Health. She has been appointed as the vice chair of the steering committee for a Los Angeles Trauma Informed Care Task Force. These practices have been shown to reduce the length of treatment and improve outcomes for clients.

Dan Braun, Chief Financial Officer

Dan Braun is Hillsides chief financial officer. In this position Dan oversees all agency business matters including banking, legal affairs, registrations and filings, tax returns, investments, compensation and benefits.  He is also in charge of developing and maintaining the fiscal and business management of Youth Moving On and Hillsides Education Center. He supervises three staffs at Hillsides:  financial operations, informational technology and operations.  In addition, among his many duties, he is shepherding the financial rollout of Hillsides recent affiliation with Bienvenidos and is playing a significant role in the agency’s $12 million capital improvement project of the Pasadena campus.

Before coming to Hillsides, Dan served for eight years as the chief financial officer for Five Acres, a residential children’s mental health agency located in Altadena.  There he negotiated and managed $30 million in government mental health and residential treatment contracts, among many other accomplishments.    Previously, he was the controller for the Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles, and the assistant vice president for finance and accounting for Hathaway-Sycamores Child & Family Services, a child welfare organization in Pasadena.   

During a long and distinguished 29-year career in finance, Dan also worked as the economic vice president of a leading forensic economics firm, IBAR Settlement Company, Inc. in San Marino, and as the controller for All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena. Dan considers his experience with children’s agencies to have begun when during college, he worked as a recreational supervisor and crisis support counselor at LeRoy Boy’s Home in La Verne.

Dan received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Azusa Pacific University and a master’s degree in business administration from the Peter F. Drucker School of Management at The Claremont Graduate University.

Carrie Espinoza, Chief Advancement Officer

Well-respected among her peers and donor community, Carrie Espinoza was promoted as the agency’s chief advancement officer. In her role, Carrie is responsible for raising more than $2 million a year to augment public funding for Hillsides programs. In addition, she is charged with fundraising for special initiatives such as the agency’s current $12 million capital campaign to enhance its aging Pasadena campus. 

Carrie began her career at Hillsides in 1997 in the community resources department, cultivating relationships with volunteers and in-kind donors along with organizing special events, outings, and activities for the children living at Hillsides. In 2004, she was named assistant director of development and in 2013, director of development. Carrie brings knowledge of the various components of our advancement services department, an effective working relationship with her team, the confidence of our donors, and a demonstrated commitment to our mission. She oversees major gifts and planned giving, annual support, grant management, corporate sponsorships, communications, direct mail, and marketing, special events, and the fundraising component of support groups. In addition, Carrie participates in the board of directors meetings including attending executive, finance, capital campaign, membership, and building and grounds committees.  Carrie is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

As a former board member and Ways & Means committee member at Holy Angels Catholic elementary school in Arcadia, she honed her special event skills by developing and overseeing all fundraising events for several years.

Previous to Hillsides, Carrie owned and operated adult residential care facilities for thirty years. She received her associate’s degree and certificate of achievement in nursing home administration from Pasadena City College. Carrie also earned her nursing home administrator license from the California Department of Public Health. 

Diana Buehler, Chief Administrative Officer

Diana Buehler is the chief administrative  officer, bringing some  20 years experience working in nonprofits.   In this role, she is responsible for overseeing risk management, the human resources department, contracts, and our accreditation process.  

Diana comes to Hillsides from Bienvenidos, where she served as the chief operating officer for 11 years, from 2005 to July, 2016. There, she oversaw 170 staff and  15 satellite offices, acted as a liaison with the Department of Children and Family Services  and Community Care licensing, managed human resources and partnered with the division directors to plan and direct all aspects of the agency’s operational policies, objectives, and initiatives.

Diana also worked for Bienvenidos from 1990- 2000 as the human resources director.  She created the human resources department and instituted all necessary state and federal labor laws.  She also assisted the agency in creating the employee policies and procedures handbook.

In between jobs at Bienvenidos, Diana earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of La Verne and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of La Verne Law School.  During these years, she also worked as the human resources director for the Urban Education Partnership, an education nonprofit  in Los Angeles.   She also earned a masters of science in leadership and management with a concentration in nonprofit management from the University of La Verne in May 2015.  

Miriam Gonzalez-Coultas, Chief Programs Officer

Miriam Gonzalez-Coultas brings 17 years of experience in the social services field to her role as Hillsides chief program officer. In this role, she will oversee community-based programs, among other responsibilities.

Previously Miriam held the same position at Bienvenidos. There, she oversaw the mental health, foster care, and community services divisions, and was responsible for a $15 million budget. She also acted as the liaison with the county social service entities and other community organizations.

Miriam began her career with Bienvenidos in 2003 as a foster care social worker. She was promoted to a lead mental health therapist, then to clinical manager and director of mental health before assuming the title of chief program officer.

Miriam is very active in the community and serves as a board member and secretary at Valley of Hope Children’s Center in Pacoima, a nonprofit that provides mental health counseling to victims of violent crimes. She is also involved in children’s ministry at Rocky Peak Church in Chatsworth. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from California State University, Northridge and a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University. 

Amy Ley-Sanchez, LCSW, Chief Clinical Officer

Amy-Ley Sanchez, LCSW, is Hillsides chief clinical officer.  In this position, she oversees intake referrals, the centralization of and funding sources of mental health allocations, and s quality assurance standards.  She evaluates data and outcomes to better deliver services to clients and   assures ongoing communication and collaboration with county representatives, external funders and county leadership.  Amy also ensures proper preparation of program and division plans as well as oversight for all new program initiatives with respect to contractual compliance.

Formerly, Amy served as the division director of the Behavioral Health Division and division director of community-based outpatient services. She joined Hillsides in 1999 as a Family Resource Centers case manager, collaborating across departments in the coordination of services and resources for our clients. Her initiative, perseverance, and leadership were demonstrated through the many achievements as the program manager/contracts manager, a position she formerly held. She served as the principle grant writer for government grants, initiated subcontracting and capacity building partnership with community organizations, led the first Peer and parent Partner program in 2006, and helped cultivate intermediate leadership roles for emerging leaders. In her position today, Amy coordinates the agency’s response to all contracts and solicitations  as offered by county and private sources, including evaluating the decision to bid, leading out program design, and coordinating the contract writing team.

Amy was instrumental in launching the Trauma Informed Care initiative at Hillsides, establishing our agency as the premier provider of parenting education within two service areas, and developed efficient modes of communication among FRC staff and supervisors. In efforts to anticipate new initiatives and changing trends in community behavioral health, Amy continues to participate in county associations, local area planning groups, and integrated care networks.

She currently serves as adjunct faculty at University of Southern California, providing mentorship and guidance to new social workers. Amy received the Master Field Instructor Award from USC in 2011 and earned her licensing credentials in 2010. She received her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and anthropology from the California State University Fullerton and a master’s degree in social work from USC in 2003.

James Gibson III, LCSW, Division Chief, Campus-Based Services

James W. Gibson III, LCSW, is the division director for campus-based services at Hillsides.  In this position, Gibson oversees the Residential Treatment Services program, group homes, residentially-based services, clinical services, the nursing staff, community resources, and the library.

Gibson comes to Hillsides after a 21-year career at the Optimist Youth Homes and Family Services in Los Angeles where he served as the director of mental health programs.  There he managed and oversaw daily operations of all mental health programs, including residentially-based services, as those services related to mental health treatment programs, aftercare, out-patient programs, and adult services relating to direct mental health implementation.  He supervised the mental health senior program managers, ancillary therapists, psychiatric consultants, and medical director. He helped train staff and ensured that the coordinated treatment for the clients met the agency’s and county contract guidelines.   

Gibson is a faculty member at the University of Phoenix in the human service bachelor program and the marriage and family graduate program. He has more than 20 years experience working as a therapist, primarily with children and adolescents. He is also a certified trainer for the “Parent Project,” a nationally recognized parenting class that helps parents improve parenting skills with their strong-willed children. Gibson received bachelors of social work from Mars Hill College in Mars Hill, N.C. and masters of social work from Tulane University School of Social Work. 

Stephanie Ivler, Division Chief, Foster Care and Adoptions Programs

Stephanie Ivler is Hillsides division chief of foster care and adoptions. She creates, implements and monitors foster and adoptive family services to ensure quality, compliance with legal and contractual mandates, and operational efficiency.

She previously held the same position at Bienvenidos. She continues to act as the agency’s primary representative to the California Department of Social Services during the statewide transition implementing new foster care reform legislation, the Continuum of Care Reform. She was also responsible for Bienvenidos being chosen as one of the state’s five early Resource Family Approval implementers, a new system where foster family agencies approve a comprehensive array of resource families aimed t increase the number of foster homes.

An attorney, Stephanie has practiced business law in the U.S and abroad and has 30 years experience in nonprofits. She created two non-profits, one teaching martial arts to children and adults with special needs, and another serving the elderly. She has held leadership positions at several nonprofits including Ability First, which serves children and adults with disabilities in Pasadena, and the Western Law Center for Disability Rights in Los Angeles. In addition, she is an independent nonprofit management and consultant to organizations in the State of Israel. In all her jobs, she has a unique talent, in her own words, for “operating and expanding within tight financial disciplines imposed by abrupt changes.”

Stephanie received her bachelor’s degree in international relations at the University of Southern California and her Juris Doctor at Southwestern School of Law.