Our Coaches

Each of our Strides in Recovery coaches came to us on a different path, but we are each moving forward toward together the same goal. We are here to change lives. We are each here to bring our unique skills, background and passion to support people on their journeys to long term sobriety.

Headshot - LeslieGold 2020.JPG
Leslie Gold
Executive Director and Founder

Since 2013, while volunteering at a West LA residential treatment program, Leslie has coached hundreds of people in their first year of sobriety across the finish line of the LA Marathon. She saw first hand how life changing the experience was for the participants. In 2018, she could have retired from a 30+ year career in healthcare consulting, and taken life easy. Instead, she decided to start Strides in Recovery to bring the healing power of exercise to more addiction recovery communities. 


Today, in addition to leading Strides in Recovery, she still coaches the LA Marathon Team, as well as several of the Strides in Recovery teams.

Hannah Bonaparte, LCSW

Hannah is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working in addiction recovery since 2014 and has been running for over a decade. Hannah first started running as a child with her father who is now 20 years sober. She came to truly love the sport as she learned how cultivating her physical strength and stamina positively affects her mental health.


In addition to working with the Strides in Recovery team and running her own therapy practice on the Westside, Hannah facilitates groups in addiction treatment centers around LA. She is a two-time marathoner and one-time half-marathon and hopes to complete more races in the coming years if her joints cooperate.

20211028_095433 Joel_edited.jpg
Joel Vasquez

Joel discovered the joy of running when he ran with Strides in Recovery at Fred Brown Recovery Services and met his goals. He found that not only did running help him physically, but also emotionally and mentally. The program has been an important part of Joel’s recovery.

When he is not running, Joel is working the 12 steps and socializing with others in recovery, meeting his daily goals, and learning to incorporate other healthy habits into his life, such as a good diet, walking, yoga and sleep. As a coach, he enjoys encouraging others and sharing his story. He wants to be a positive influence, just as others have been for him.  He has been clean and sober since 2019.

newprofile_space Michelle_edited.jpg
Michelle Shegda
Michelle, Founder of PACT (aka Girls PACT), is a professional life coach specializing in self-worth, limiting beliefs, self-talk, relationships, communication, and wellness.  She is recovering from perfectionism. It’s been a long and windy road, but she acknowledges (most of the time) that she is lovable, despite all her imperfections. She found strength in her pain and ultimately created PACT to love others until they could love themselves. 

Michelle values physical activity and integrates movement  in her daily life. Strides in Recovery provides the opportunity to share her enthusiasm for self-love and recovery. 

image0 - Alex_edited.jpg
Alex Aguirre

Alex is a trail runner with race experience ranging in distances from 5k to 50k.   He primarily trains in the Angeles National Forest that overlooks the San Gabriel Valley.  “Running has been such an amazing transformative tool in my own life and I love that I have the opportunity to help other reach their goals using those tools and skills.”

Alex has become a coach with Strides because he is a firm believer in everything the organization stands for and the positive help it brings the members. Alex’s philosophy is whether he sees you on the roads or on the trails all miles are good miles.

Our Dedicated Volunteers

We couldn't do what we do without the support of our dedicated volunteers.  Our assistant coaches show up every week to make sure everyone feels supported, welcome, and included, regardless of level of fitness.   No matter what pace someone is going, a volunteer is there to offer uplifting conversation and make sure that nobody moves forward alone.  We also have people who give their time behind the scenes, keeping everything running smoothly, from social media to  accounting and more. 

If you would like to volunteer with Strides in Recovery, click here