"I saw how powerful communities and organizations can be when they
mobilize around a common issue."
Faces & Voices of Recovery
Having grown up during the civil rights and environmental movements, Pat Taylor’s interest in public policy and advocacy began at an early age and developed into a lifelong career spanning over 30 years. Right out of college she became an environmental lobbyist and continued working on campaigns and for organizations that eventually lead her to the recovery community. Her career includes developing and managing local, state-wide and national public interest advocacy campaigns on a range of issues including healthcare, community development and philanthropy.
How did you choose to be in the addiction treatment and recovery services field?
I was brought to the addiction, prevention, treatment and policy arena through my advocacy work. In 1987, I was hired to direct the Alcohol Policies Project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). A broad-based coalition of health, religious, consumer and parent organizations advocated to change alcohol policies at the local, state and federal levels. For example, we successfully waged a federal campaign to require warning labels on alcoholic beverage containers. This coalition was my first introduction to addiction treatment and recovery organizations.
Did you have mentors along the way?
Yes, I have had a number of mentors along the way who have guided me. For instance, I consider Jeff Blodgett, the Executive Director of Wellstone Action and the first person to head what has become Faces & Voices, a mentor. He helped me think through ways to organize, engage and mobilize the recovery community. We still stay in touch. The wisdom and experience that he shared with me was extremely valuable and immediately applicable. Currently, I have mentors in the recovery community and on the Faces & Voices of Recovery Board of Directors. They provide tremendous insight, feedback and support. I also have peer mentors from other organizations. Each is incredibly important in providing feedback on the opportunities in all of our work.
Does Faces & Voices of Recovery have a leadership development plan? Yes, developing leaders within our organization and in the recovery community is a very high priority for us. Emerging leaders have opportunities to participate in our trainings, recovery advocacy teleconferences, organizing conference calls and on our board committees. Our board holds an annual retreat that includes opportunities for building board leadership. The lived experiences of people in long-term recovery, their families and friends and the organized voice of the recovery community are critical if we are to make recovery a reality for even more Americans.
In light of the shift in thinking regarding the development of systems of care which support people finding long-term recovery, what advice would you give to Emerging Leaders?
This is an exciting time where we have a rare opportunity to bring unlikely partners together to change attitudes and influence public policy in a profound way. I would advise emerging leaders to stay active and get involved in existing recovery community organizations or bring people together to start one in your community. Strengthen and diversify your network connections. Join in the mission of making long-term recovery from addiction a reality for the 21 million Americans who have yet to experience it.
Patricia Taylor has over 30 years of grassroots advocacy experience. She is a skilled leader, director and community organizer who has coordinated and led numerous campaigns at the local, state and national level.
Currently she is the Executive Director of Faces & Voices of Recovery, a national organization of individuals and organizations who support recovery advocacy at the local, state and national levels. She served as Deputy Director of Ensuring Solutions to Alcohol Problems at the George Washington University Medical Center; Director of the Alcohol Policies Project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest; and Director of the Advocates Senior Alert Process at Families USA, a health advocacy group.
Ms. Taylor is a member of the ATTC Network Advisory Group. She earned a BA in Far Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan.