Executive Director for NAMI Rochester
I joined NAMI in the spring of 1990 when my daughter was a senior in high school. I was seeking information, support and resources and I found it through this network of family members who understood what I was feeling and what I needed.
Currently, I am the Executive Director and oversee this powerful organization composed of a small staff and over 70 dedicated volunteers who deliver our numerous support and education programs in the community. I work for NAMI in order to give back and help others who are starting the journey I have been on for over 25 years. It is very rewarding to be able to offer resources, support, coping skills and hope to others. Since its beginning in 1981, the organization has seen tremendous growth in the areas of members, volunteers, programs, resources and recognition in the community.
When I am not busy at NAMI, I enjoy time with family and friends, including my now 46-year-old daughter who is living and coping with her diagnosis of schizophrenia. She has never given up on her hopes and dreams and I admire her courage and strength.
I have been married for 49 years and have two grown daughters and two teenage grandchildren who I enjoy spending time with when I’m not involved with NAMI. I find great satisfaction and inspiration working with the thousands of individuals and family members who have benefitted from NAMI of the last 20 years.
Community Education, Outreach, & Training coordinator
I am so happy to be a member of the NAMI Rochester team! I started in April 2018 as the Education, Outreach, and Training Coordinator, but I have been a volunteer for NAMI Rochester for 12 years.
I came to NAMI support groups after my last hospitalization in 2000, and met so many caring, supportive people who were also in recovery. I then became a presenter for NAMI’s In Our Own Voice program, giving many talks about my “dark days” and subsequent recovery. I received so much more support from the listeners of those presentations than I gave! I then went on to become trained as a Connection facilitator. Recently, I became trained as a Peer-To-Peer teacher as well.
Giving back to this organization has played a big role in my recovery. I have always tried to make a positive difference in the world; now I use what I previously thought was a curse – my experience living with a mental illness – to help others who are on their own recovery journeys.
I also credit my loving family for my recovery. Their unwavering support and unconditional love mean everything to me. I always say, my parents gave me life, and then saved my life. I hope to pass on the compassion and support that my family gave me to other people living with a mental illness and their loved ones. Thanks to NAMI Rochester, I have the opportunity to do that every day.
When not at NAMI Rochester, I like to take long walks in area parks, watch goofy movies (“Raising Arizona” and “Best in Show” are classics to me!) and enjoy spending time with my loving partner, Cordell, and our silly cat, Squeakie.
I began here at NAMI as a student intern in January 2018 during my undergraduate studies at The College at Brockport State University of New York. I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Public Health Education in May 2018 and hired in the same month to be NAMI Rochester’s new program coordinator. I found out about NAMI through my college; I began to do my research to see what NAMI was all about. After my research I was very eager to be a part of NAMI. I knew NAMI was a much-needed organization in our world today. Everyone here at NAMI is very welcoming, genuinely caring and happy to help individuals and families who are affected by mental illness. I have learned so much over the past eight months here. I am very grateful to be here and to help spread awareness on mental illness and continue to provide resources and support for those in need. I would like to be someone who contributes to individuals’ quality of life, whatever it may be.
In my free time, I love date nights with my lovely girlfriend Taylor. I also love to play games, listen to R&B/Soul music and spend time with my beautiful godson True.
Speical Event coordinator
I'm the special event coordinator for the agency, including the NAMIWalks Rochester, The Jessica Henderson Memorial Event, and other smaller fundraising events. Additionally, I'm an Ending the Silence educator and In Our Own Voice presenter. I came to work for NAMI a couple years ago during the first year of my recovery of bipolar disorder. I'd volunteered for the agency for years prior with the walk, and when the opportunity to run the walk came up, I was thrilled at the opportunity! Working for NAMI is my opportunity to spread the word of the incredible work done there, in addition to raising funds to support it. Being trained to lead Ending the Silence and work with the young people has been a life-changing experience for me, and an honor to help them understand mental health, suicide prevention and how to get help.
When I'm not talking mental health, I love being a doggie mama, foodie, writer, athlete and explorer. My family and friends are integral to my life, and I love spending time with them as much as possible.