Friday, August 17 , 2018, 10:28 pm | Fair 69º


Kristine Schwarz Named Executive Director of New Beginnings Counseling Center

She brings extensive experience building organizations and managing multifaceted projects in the nonprofit and for-profit sectors

New Beginnings Counseling Center has announced the appointment of Kristine Schwarz, a seasoned executive and psychotherapist, as its new executive director.

Kristine Schwarz
Kristine Schwarz

According to New Beginnings’ recently installed board chairwoman Diane Pannkuk, Schwarz brings extensive experience building organizations and managing multifaceted projects in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors; considerable experience as an educator and clinician; expertise in developing film and television projects after 13 years as an entertainment industry executive and producer; and a fresh perspective and creative ideas regarding how New Beginnings can improve its service to its clients and to the Santa Barbara community.

“New Beginnings has undergone some changes over the past year in leadership, touting several new board members and an expanded advisory committee,” Pannkuk said. “Kristine Schwarz is a person who comes to us with a unique set of skills, vision and professional savvy. These characteristics certainly have the potential to raise the bar for New Beginnings in ways that will be beneficial to our entire community.”

“I look forward to becoming a member of the New Beginnings family,” Schwarz said. “The passion and dedication of our board, staff, volunteers and community partners are fundamental to our clients’ success. I am awed by the tremendous history New Beginnings has in serving the Santa Barbara community and the programs it offers to the most vulnerable among us. I look forward to working with the city, county, area businesses, educational institutions, foundations and other nonprofits in addressing our community’s most pressing mental health needs. Our continued collaboration will foster new gains in best practices, research and advocacy.

“Particularly because today’s economic challenges are great for individual and organization alike, it is imperative that we work together to provide these essential services.”

Schwarz is a former entertainment industry executive whose career path led her to a desire to give back. After years of working internationally on motion picture and television productions, including Kalifornia and Silent Fall, she left Los Angeles and attended Antioch University Santa Barbara, receiving a master’s degree in clinical psychology and subsequent licensure as a marriage and family therapist.

She has worked locally as a therapist at Domestic Violence Solutions, COPE — the intensive outpatient chemical dependency program at Cottage HospitalFull Spectrum Recovery, the Goleta Union School District and Working Alternatives, an early release/alternative to incarceration group therapy program for federal prisoners. Schwarz maintains her psychotherapy private practice, Santa Barbara Psychotherapy.

Before joining New Beginnings, she was associate director of institutional advancement at Antioch University Santa Barbara. She also served as core faculty and clinical director of Antioch’s Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology Program, where she founded the MFT Consortium of the Central Coast Region, and served as the Central Coast Chair of the MFT Leadership Collaborative and Chair of Antioch’s Alumni Association Steering Committee.

Schwarz began her career as a media buyer in Washington, D.C., working with clients such as the Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts, before moving to Los Angeles in 1987, where she joined the Walt Disney Studios and started her career in entertainment. She received her undergraduate degree in marketing and advertising from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

New Beginnings was formed in November 2000 to continue the work of the Santa Barbara Counseling Center and other mental health agencies before it. It offers low-cost mental health counseling and community outreach and support services through its Counseling Center, Homeless Outreach and RV Safe Parking Program, and Life Skills Training Programs. For many years, New Beginnings has been recognized as a true safety net organization in the Santa Barbara community.

New Beginnings Counseling Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Click here for more information.

— Jenna Higgins is the director of community relations and development for the New Beginnings Counseling Center.

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