Management Team

Management Team

Stephen Mercurio

Stephen Mercurio, President

Stephen’s unwavering commitment to excellence is the hallmark of his position as the President at AKUA Mind and Body. His work in Drug and Alcohol Treatment has become a staple in the industry. His experience ranges from hands-on work with clients as a Case Manager and Director of Academic Development to Administrative positions directing programs and facilities. Stephen holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education and is an Internationally Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor. Stephen believes that the best way to honor his commitment to quality of care for every AKUA client is to support his team of Directors, Clinicians and Technicians, so they may dedicate themselves to the work of transforming lives.

Catherine Pare

Catherine Pare, Sr. Finance Manager

Cathy Pare has over eighteen years experience in Finance and Accounts. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in accounting from Columban College and is responsible for managing Akua’s banking relationships. Cathy works closely with our financial partners and auditors, and utilizes her experience and professional knowledge in the preparation and presentation of Akua’s financial information.

“Focus on being productive instead of Busy” – Tim Ferris
Connie Antenorcruz,

Connie Antenorcruz, Human Resources Director

Connie Antenorcruz is a compassionate professional with more than fifteen years’ experience in leading operations, planning, developing and evaluating personnel and labor relations strategies including policies, programs and procedures to address the organization’s human resource and accreditation requirements. She considers herself a life-long learner, which has prepared her for the challenging position of Human Resources/Accreditation for AKUA Mind and Body. Connie has keen and innovative insights in the areas of talent management, organizational development, and building and motivating teams. Connie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management and a Master of Science in Business Administration.

Rebecca Palmer

Rebecca Palmer, Compliance Officer

Rebecca brings many years of experience to AKUA with a wide array of insight into the field of behavioral health and addiction services. Her passion for helping others lead her to behavioral health treatment, right out of college, where she has operated in the capacity of Supervisor, Administrator, Project Specialist and Executive Trainer. Rebecca’s strengths include best practice implementation, workflow enhancement and data management, which help her to excel in various quality improvement and compliance efforts. Rebecca is deeply invested in improving the quality of AKUA’s team through project planning, comprehensive root cause analysis, corrective action planning and organization wide training. She is passionate about the behavioral health industry and is consistently looking for ways to improve upon AKUA’s internal practices.

Board & Advisors

Kenny Dewan

Kenny Dewan, Founder & Number ONE Fan of the Best Clinical Team in California

Kenny Dewan, is the founder of AKUA Mind & Body and of MondayOne. Kenny is an accomplished leader, motivational speaker, and a business executive. With over 30 years of business experience, Kenny brings a vast array of knowledge, passion, and leadership skills to AKUA. He is also a popular motivational speaker who has been interviewed by Forbes and Builder & Developer in regards to his philosophy and business acumen. With the assistance of the best clinical team in California, Kenny has created an open, collaborative culture at AKUA, which has directly translated into an environment of health and healing for all clients. With an unparalleled commitment to excellent and active fostering of ownership across all levels of the company, Kenny has helped AKUA become a Leader in Mental Health & Addiction Treatment.

Raj Takhar

Raj Takhar, Board Member & Senior Vice President Strategy Provider Integration

His Role at Huntington to lead Corporate Strategy including Joint Ventures, Alliances, Payer Strategy including Network Affiliation(s), and to oversee relationships with Aligned Physician Networks who operate in San Gabriel Valley on a Global Risk basis. In addition, he is responsible for Physician Integration which includes directing and leading the Strategy and Operations of Huntington’s Foundation Model: 1206(L). He has over Twenty Five (25) years experience in Physician Delivery Operations, including Medical Group Model and IPAs, mergers and acquisitions of Delivery, network development and management of Physician Networks assuming Global Risk.

Suzanne Richards

Suzanne Richards, Board Member RN,MPH,MBA,FACHE

Suzanne Richards is currently serving as the CEO of SMR Healthcare Management, Inc providing healthcare consulting and owner of ACASA Senior Home Care Orange County providing senior home care to our community. Prior to this, Suzanne spent six years as the Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Operations for an Orange County multi-hospital system and the CEO of an Orange County regional trauma center.
Named Businesswoman of the Year in 2017 by the Orange County Business Journal, Ms. Richards is an accomplished healthcare executive with a diverse background in management and direct patient care. Throughout her career spanning more than twenty-five years, she has added significant value to the organizations and people she has served.


Karen Hiteshi, Board Member Healthcare Strategist, Advisor, Transformer

Karen joins Akua with 30+ years of experience in managing operations and revenue for healthcare organizations. Her expertise ranges from treasury management and capital allocation to executive team building and performance coaching. She led mergers and acquisitions involving $350M+, engineered business turnarounds, and created Independent Physician Associations and Physician Hospital Consortiums accepting Medi-Cal, Medicare and commercial insurances. She not only managed, but also retained a health client portfolio of 5000+ physician groups. Most recently, she led the sale of a telemedicine provider for on-demand and scheduled behavioral health services. Karen also serves on the board of Amvi Care Health.

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