Northbound's leadership team has over 200 years of combined experience working in behavioral healthcare. We are dedicated to providing the best possible care to our clients and helping them to achieve long-term recovery from alcoholism and addiction. We are passionate about creating an organization focused on exceptional organizational health. Senior leadership developed a system of top-down transparency, authenticity, and honesty that has served as the solid foundation Northbound is built upon. At the heart of Northbound’s success are the people who make everything possible, and the culture that prioritizes the health of the organization and therefore all of the clients that Northbound is honored to serve.

Paul Alexander

CEO and Founder

Northbound’s founder, Paul Alexander, has been at the helm leading the organization since its inception in 2008. An astute clinician, conscientious businessman, and compassionate leader, Paul has shown willingness to take risks both personally and professionally in the service of developing a treatment environment where clients and staff alike can truly thrive. He believes wholeheartedly in transformative leadership, and ensures that his fellow leaders at Northbound are empowered to bring transparency and collaboration into all aspects of their professional lives. Paul excels in his ability to inspire and coalesce groups of individuals into action oriented, effective teams. Paul believes that recovering addicts are best equipped to succeed when exploring and embracing their spirituality, and when enhancing their self-efficacy. To ensure the latter, Paul has been instrumental in the development and oversight of Northbound’s occupational and collegiate services – innovative programs that empower clients to work or participate in school while in the supportive treatment environment. Paul received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, California, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, summa cum laude, from the School of Social Ecology at University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. Paul lives in Orange County with his wife and their young son, Noah.

Michael Neatherton


Mike Neatherton is an industry leader with a career spanning more than 30 years. When Mike joined Northbound he immediately began to transform the corporate culture by building on the transformational leadership principles of transparency, authenticity, and collaboration. Mike believes that successful leadership requires not only vision, but the ability to gain the agreement and commitment of all of the other people in the organization. As President and CEO of Northbound, Mike’s passion for treatment is founded upon the belief that all individuals can recover. Mike maintains a solid 12-Step program as the foundation for treatment at Northbound, informing all aspects of treatment, and serving as the core philosophy for the organization. Mike embraces the challenge of providing superior treatment services to the entire family system impacted by drug addiction, alcoholism, and mental illness. He cites his strong spiritual values and the ability to find balance in his personal life as the keys to his professional success. Prior to Northbound, Mike served in various executive positions at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage California, where he worked for more than 20 years. Mike holds a bachelor’s degree from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, and a master’s degree from Indiana State University in Terra Haute, Indiana. He is a member of both the American College of Healthcare Executives and the American College of Addiction Treatment Administrators. Mike and his wife, Maria, have 3 daughters, and they reside in Newport Beach, California.

Devon Wayt

Chief Operating Officer

With more than a decade of experience in managing behavioral health treatment facilities, Devon Wayt’s expertise ranges from quality and compliance, to operations and change management. He graduated from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business and Management in Southern California where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in management and a Master of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in global business. Devon’s leadership philosophy is based on the understanding that leadership itself takes practice. He believes that everyone can be a leader, but leadership would not exist without ethical utilities such as honesty, authenticity, transparency, integrity, a commitment to self-respect, and leading by example. He believes that determination ultimately leads to spiritual, physical, and monetary success, through leadership, for organizations, and those within the organizations. Inspiring creativity and innovation while honoring the freedom to make mistakes sharpen the ability to achieve organizational goals and win. Devon’s leadership philosophy also entails the fact that he has inherited energy to help and inspire others. It is through healthy relationships with his family, business, and friends, combined with a spiritual consciousness, that his whole-heartedness can ultimately inspire others to effect change.

Dr. Edward Kaufman

Medical Director

Dr. Kaufman brings a wealth of knowledge to our staff and has been practicing psychiatry in the behavioral health field for over 40 years. He blends his knowledge of psychology, family systems and psychopharmacology to address a wide array of disorders and meet our client’s individual needs. His commitment to helping those struggling with co-occurring disorders reinforces Northbound’s vision for providing quality care in an environment that’s conducive to recovery. He received his medical training from Jefferson University, USC and Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons. He has previously served as the president of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, the editor of American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse and the Director of Psychiatric Services at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Kaufman has authored 3 books, edited 5 more and contributed over 200 articles on addiction, mental health disorders and family therapy.

Emily Bielen

Chief Marketing Officer

Emily Bielen sets the local and national marketing strategies that merge Northbound with its commitment to the evolvement of engagement-driven behavioral healthcare service. Drawing on more than 15 years of marketing and finance experience in both the public and private sector, Emily is responsible for Northbound’s sales force and admissions, as well as brand marketing, public relations and digital ecosystem. She works collaboratively across the company to develop creative sales and marketing strategies that increase sales, brand value and differentiation across the behavioral healthcare industry. Emily’s appointment followed three years in independent consulting for marketing and academic advising. She entered behavorial healthcare programs, including Northbound’s Collegebound, by integrating with clinical staff while developing and implementing academic curriculum for clients to sustain their educational journey while in treatment for substance abuse disorders and co-occurring mental health issues.

Emily attended Colgate University and New York University, and went on to graduate school at Columbia University’s School of Social Work. Her educational background and personal journey in recovery has motivated her to seek uncommon collaborations with programs and individuals to expand the opportunities available to clients of all ages and walks of life.