I was offered the privilege to serve as NAMI Rochester’s Executive Director in January 2019 and am proud to be leading this dynamic and critically important organization. My husband and I found NAMI several years ago when we were struggling to make sense of our son’s mental health condition. The support and education we received was invaluable to our family’s recovery.
At NAMI, we often refer to mental illness as an equal opportunity disease. 1 in 5 Americans, regardless of their age, race, religion, education or income, are living with a mental health condition. Often, the most challenging part of mental illness is how isolating it can be for individuals and their families. There is a stigma around brain illness that does not exist for illnesses that affect other organs in the body. Stigma can prevent individuals and those who care for them from seeking treatment.
Each time a person has the courage to speak up and share their story, the shame and silence around mental illness is diminished. I am honored to have been selected to lead NAMI Rochester’s efforts to end stigma and provide support and education to those who need it.
Interim program director & walk manager
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.
I discovered NAMI Rochester through my college when I was determining where I would intern at. I began to do my research to see what NAMI was all about before I committed to the internship. After my research I was very eager to be a part of NAMI considering that this organization does a lot for family members and individuals affected by mental illness. I knew NAMI was a much-needed organization in our world today. I began here 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. 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 since I’ve been here at NAMI Rochester. I’ve learned how to step back and self evaluate, this has really allowed me to better understand mental illness. I have a personal connection with NAMI Rochester considering family members like my siblings, who struggles everyday mentally. I am very grateful to be here and to help spread awareness on mental illness. I also want to help families as well as my own to find support and services. I want to help instill hope and light in the dark tunnel that negatively affects them.
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.