MEET THE TEAM

Julie and Clay Engels

Clay Engels is a natural community builder, who puts people at ease with his accepting personality, wry humor, hearty laugh and direct communication style. These traits allow him to navigate the land-mines which inherently exist when dealing with substance abuse,  addiction, and mental health issues.  

With over 22 years of continuous sobriety, Clay began this journey upon entering his first treatment center, Aspen Recovery Unit (ARU) in 1986 at the age of 16.  Between his severe dyslexia and the unspoken issues going on in his family’s home, Clay fits the classic role of “identified patient.” His addiction took him from a life of privilege in Greenwich, CT to living in transient hotels in San Francisco’s Mission District with no money to his name and a severe heroin habit. In his fifth and final stint in rehab, Clay finally heard the message of recovery and credits his life to the IMPACT Pasadena staff, all of whom were recovering addicts themselves. To those who don’t have the disease of addiction, this may not seem vital—but, for someone in the throes of their drug use, one addict talking from their own experience to another can be the difference between life and death.

Clay has been engaged professionally for over a decade in helping individuals and families connect with the appropriate resources and trusted, proven specialists to receive the level of care they need. The Roots Collaborative approach is a result of Clay and Julie’s cumulative individual and family experiences, intervention training and addictions education, and their own vision and goal-setting methodology. 

Julie Thorne Engels is a lifelong visionary, strategist and entrepreneur with a passion for employing creativity to invite family systems healing, individual recovery from addiction and mental health issues, and drive business and social change. She discovered transformative “power” of rum in the 8th grade and quickly began her full descent into alcoholism before her 14th birthday. Ironically, Julie sobered up at the same hospital in which she was born 20 years previously, and has stayed clean and sober ever since.  After graduating from Columbia College in Chicago, she launched her career as a creative entrepreneur and brand marketing expert in Los Angeles, before founding her own tech startup, Bettyvision. The tech platform was part of a natural evolution of the in-person vision board workshops she developed which provides the space for participants to focus on their goals and dreams. The real power of the vision process comes from sharing one’s board with the community to enlist continual support in turning their desires for the future into reality. To date, Julie has been awed by the hundreds and hundreds of big dreams Bettyvision has catalyzed and helped to launch! And of course, being of service to the recovery community, especially young females, is at the core of Julie’s values.