Venture Academy helps teens who would benefit from academic support, health, wellness and clinically focused treatment services. Our treatment programs for struggling teens employ staff that have a comprehensive understanding of the diverse challenges faced by today’s teens and students. Team members have a proven record of proficiency in working with adolescents who may be struggling for many reasons or would benefit from extra support specific to their academic, emotional and mental wellness needs.

Venture Academy clinical professionals and support staff are carefully screened and selected for their integrity, compassion, and ability to help school-aged adolescents make real changes – changes that parents can see, and youth recognize themselves.

We help teens overcome their challenges while teaching them how to develop and maintain healthy and productive lifestyles and relationships with family and peers.

From an often self-limiting or self-destructive lifestyle, back to health, wellness and optimism, our staff will go the distance with your family and help get your child (and family) back on track.

Josh Montgomery, MBA


Joshua is a seasoned healthcare professional and leader with extensive experience in mental health and addiction treatment. Josh began as a Registered Nurse who started his career in acute psychiatry at Grand River Hospital. Early in his nursing career Josh was identified as a talented individual who demonstrated excellence in care, collaboration, and leadership.

Read More

Josh continued his career at other organizations, holding various roles from Director of Operations to Vice President of Operations. One of his most notable roles was with the Edgewood Health Network where he was the Director of Operations and National Director of Admissions.

Josh’s innovative and solution-focused nature propelled Bellwood’s admissions to new heights during his tenure which is still maintained to this day. Throughout his career he has developed various programs and strategies to increase accessibility for patients, increase capacity in treatment and engaging patients post treatment-ensuring long-term success in their recovery. Josh has continued his pursuit of education and received his MBA in Sustainable Commerce from the University of Guelph. As a father of three young children who has personally experienced the challenges of “coming of age”, Josh understands how critical the care and support is that is offered through Venture Academy. His pursuit forward will be to make Venture Academy a forerunner in Canada’s behavioural health services for youth and young adults.

With Josh’s extensive experience in both the public and private sector of mental health and addictions, he has begun to unlock Venture Academy’s full potential. Through networking and community collaborations, Josh’s vision is to increase accessibility, build capacity and expand Venture Academy’s services to those we help.

Jeff Brain, MA, CTS, CEP

Director of Admissions and Program Development

Jeff has been advising, advocating, guiding and mentoring parents and their children throughout his 26-year career. He has a master’s degree in clinical psychology and is a certified trauma specialist and a certified educational planner. Jeff has extensive clinical and administrative leadership experience in a variety of residential settings and has worked with both adolescents and adults with a variety of mental health, substance use, developmental and behavioral issues.

Read More

Jeff has served hundreds of families as an educational advisor, advocate, therapist, behavior specialist and trauma specialist. Jeff developed and co-founded an innovative, residential transition program for emerging adults with mental health challenges and served for nine years as a director of admissions for a nationally recognized, accredited, therapeutic boarding school. As an adjunct to this recent work as an admissions director and educational/therapeutic consultant, Jeff developed and copyrighted a therapeutic program/school checklist for parents to use to determine the quality and legitimacy of therapeutic schools and programs. In addition, he founded and still leads a therapeutic youth group for adolescents with social skill deficits and is an expert in anger management, having developed and copyrighted a successful and innovative anger management curriculum for adolescents and young adults.

Jeff speaks regularly at conferences and to parent groups and has an extensive network of professionals, schools, programs and treatment providers to serve as resources for families in need. Jeff has traveled extensively throughout the US and Canada, visiting schools and programs meeting the needs of children, adolescents and young adults. He is a regular attender at international conferences for therapeutic schools and treatment programs, treatment and education consultant conferences, and many treatment specific professional conferences to stay abreast of best practices in the industry and direct knowledge of the best programs available to families.

Jeff volunteers his time for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, serving as a trainer and senior camp counselor for MDA’s extraordinary summer camping program, as well as facilitator for MDA’s Young Adult Network.

On a personal note, Jeff has been married to his wife Debbie for 28 years and they have two beagles, Jack & Jake, who are certified therapy dogs. In his free time, Jeff enjoys running (and ran his first marathon recently), reading, hiking, kayaking, boating and any outdoor activity that gets him either in the woods or in/on the water.

Janelle Martens, BSW, RSW

Admissions Counsellor, Aftercare Support

Janelle obtained her Bachelor of Social work from the University of Calgary and is a Registered Social Worker. Since her graduation, she has dedicated her career to supporting adolescents and their families in navigating challenges of mental health, addiction, and family conflict.

Read More

Utilizing therapeutic modalities including CBT, DBT and Motivational Interviewing, Janelle facilitates therapeutic groups with a focus on understanding mental health and addiction, as well as developing life skills, building self-awareness, learning coping skills, and improving confidence.

Janelle has supported families at every stage of Venture Academy involvement from inquiry to transition home into aftercare. She engages with empathy and understanding when inquiring into the difficulties adolescent’s and their families are facing. Janelle empowers individuals to overcome these challenges and feel a sense of control over the emotions and decisions that affect their lives. (full bio)

Janelle’s experience includes working with families to develop greater cohesiveness, as well as supporting youth to develop better decision-making skills and attain personal goals.

Janelle thoroughly enjoys working collaboratively with youth and their families to facilitate positive change. Her positive energy, sense of humour and compassionate nature contribute to her ability to address difficult situations while maintaining positive working connections.

Outside of work Janelle has a passion for outdoor activities including paddleboarding, biking, hiking, and snowshoeing. She is now enjoying sharing these outdoor adventures with her observant and imaginative toddler and husband.

Gary Su, RSW

Clinical Coordinator, Registered Clinical Therapist

Gary is a Clinical Therapist and holds a master’s degree in Social Work with clinical focus from University of British Columbia. He works with youths and their families to better support, understand, and address mental health, behavioural, and relational concerns and help families work towards and maintain positive change.

Read More

Gary derived his knowledge base from neuroscience and behavioral research. He is trained in a wide variety of clinical modalities and treatment frameworks, some of them include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Acceptance Commitment Therapy, Trauma Informed Practice, Solution-Focused Therapy, Emotion Focused Therapy, and Gottman Method Couples Therapy.

In addition to working with youth and supporting families and the clinical agenda at the Venture Academy mental health treatment facilities, Gary had also worked at post secondary institutes, community outreach programs, and medical detox facilities.
Gary enjoys hiking, drawing, travelling, and spending quality time with friends and family.

Louise Beard

Executive Director, Ontario

Louise brings hope to the families and youth that she is privileged to serve at Venture Academy by providing empathic emotional support and counseling.  Since early 2009 Louise has worked closely with parents and youth passionately imparting her skills and knowledge in trauma and the effects on healthy attachment.  Louise’s passion and commitment to coaching and mentoring others to reach their full potential has been evident throughout her 25 plus years within the mental health sector and helping professions.

Read More

Louise has boundless energy with her strength-based client centered approach to facilitate each individual growing to their full potential.  Louise has extensive training and education in Trauma and Addictions, Attachment Theories and Development receiving certificates from the University of Alberta, Hincks Dellcrest Institute, Center for Addictions and Mental Health, Georgian College Life Skills Mentoring/Coaching programming.  Louise is a believer in continuing education and does so through Online Learning with leaders in the field of Trauma and addiction such as Dr. Gabor Mete and Dr. Peter Levine.

Throughout her career Louise has enjoyed working in diverse environments which include the Department of National Defense, and community programs serving at-risk youth.  Louise’s dedicated commitment to Venture Academy and demonstrated leadership skills promotes strong team cohesion, knowledge and application of theories, which provides excellence in care for the families and youth at Venture Academy.

Louise believes that balance is the key to fostering healthy lifestyle living.  Louise can be found in her spare time at the gym.  While Louise enthusiastically coaches athletes in the sport of competitive Powerlifting, having attained her coaching certifications, she also practices what she preaches and is an accomplished Powerlifter.  Louise has coached athletes to the Canadian National Powerlifting Competitions.  Louise’s helping nature is not reserved solely for struggling youth, she is a strong advocate for the care and adoption of dogs that need to be rescued.  Louise’s current adopted rescue is a husky/malamute, who brings much joy and entertainment to her life.  Louise is an avid reader and finds her rest, peace, and self-care in the great outdoors.  Family is at her center.

Louise is fully committed to all who subscribe to Venture Academy and looks forward to working with your family and struggling youth to restore the family to wellness.

Nancy Dyer, B.Sc.

Executive Director – Alberta Campus

Nancy obtained her Bachelors of Science in Psychology at Burman University. Nancy has many years of experience working with teens in both school and community based settings, assisting them to build life skills and make positive changes. Nancy focuses on client-orientated approaches allowing her to build therapeutic relationships with youth and families.

Read More

As Program Director, Nancy focuses on the coordination and implementation of the activities of the day-to-day program to ensure it is meeting the needs of the youth and families. With preceding years of frontline experience, working directly with teens, Nancy possesses the skills and knowledge required to lead the Alberta campus, providing guidance and supervision to the multi-disciplinary team.

Nancy is a naturally driven and passionate individual who is strongly committed to providing tools and support to others in order to help facilitate long-term changes and achieve overall wellness. Nancy is both passionate and dedicated about working collaboratively with families to help navigate any struggles, both emotional and behavioural, and assisting in the mending of family relationships.

When not at work, Nancy loves spending time with her husband and son – who is wildly curious and adventurous! She enjoys running, hiking and biking during the summer and is hoping to do a biking trip next summer. She and her husband love to travel – bucket list destination is Singapore!  She misses being involved in mission trips and hopes to have the opportunity to do this again.

Karen Stevenson

Office Manager

Delivering outstanding customer service has always been an essential part of the day’s work for Karen. As Venture Academy’s Office Manager, Karen is responsible for managing the administrative side of Venture Academy, supervising admin staff, managing data bases, and assisting our accounting department.

Read More

She states that she regularly finds herself drawing on her years of hotel management and administrative skills to navigate the many shifting priorities presented to her daily. Karen lives by the quote “if you are too big to do the little things, then you are too little to do the big things”. Karen believes that by supporting the staff with strong office administration it enables the frontline staff to focus on the youth and to assist them in making positive changes.

When not at work you will find Karen following her personal passion for dogs; Karen and her husband Rob breed German Rottweiler’s. They take great pride in advancing the breed and proving that Rottweiler’s make amazing family members.

Other Team Members:

The above listed staff are some of the core management team. Would you like to know who specifically would be working with your child? Please call us for a list of current clinical and frontline staff. 1-866-762-2211