OUR TEAM

Our collective commitment powers our work.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

DONNA LURIE (she/her)

President
Donna is an attorney and proprietor of Lurie Workplace Solutions. She serves as an independent mediator, arbitrator, trainer and facilitator for companies, agencies and non-profit organizations. While her specialty is in the area of labor and employment law, she helps organizations with communications, problem-solving, team cohesiveness, and human resource issues.

Donna received her B.A. at Pennsylvania State University and her law degree at the University of Wisconsin. Donna has personal connections with those suffering from mental health conditions through family members and through working with individuals in employment settings.

ETHAN SERACKA (he/him)

Vice President
Ethan is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist employed at Sound as the Director of Whole Health and Innovation. Ethan works to ensure the most vulnerable populations coping with behavioral health needs are able to readily access the treatment resources they need including integrating primary health care into the available services. With 13 plus years of experience in Community Behavioral Health, Ethan has had the opportunity to support those with behavioral health needs in: co-occurring disorder treatment, individual, couple and family therapy, reintegration into the community post institutionalization and crisis services.

Ethan graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Family and Human Development and East Carolina University with a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.

MARGARET ANDERSEN (she/her)

Secretary
Margaret earned a B.A. in American Ethnic Studies from the University of Washington. She’s held a diverse range of jobs from volunteer coordinator, human resources, librarian, office manager and school registrar. She spent many years volunteering as an art docent in elementary schools and at Providence Hospital Hospice.

Growing up with family members who dealt with mental illness in silence, Margaret saw how harmful this can be. She realized that staying silent about mental illness perpetuates the stigma and believes that mental health education is vital for everyone’s well-being. Margaret is determined to make a difference and is excited to be a part of NAMI-Eastside and all that it accomplishes.
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MATT BERNSTEIN

Treasurer
Matt is a Finance leader at Amazon, driving healthy growth and profitability using a data-driven approach. He thrives at breaking down complex problems into approachable solutions and giving the business valuable insights to improve strategic decision making.

Matt received his BS at University of Maryland and his MBA at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. He feels strongly about the importance of mental health for everyone, as this is a journey unique to every individual.

ANNE FITCH (she/her)

Board Member
Anne Fitch graduated from the University of the Pacific with a Bachelors in Liberal Studies Biology and a minor in English. She has spent the majority of her career in the healthcare arena beginning in R&D and moving into sales leadership and consulting. Most recently, she was a Wellbeing and Engagement Consultant at Gallagher, helping employers provide programs and resources to their employees across the full spectrum – not just physical wellness, but social, emotional, financial and even community wellbeing.

Anne is known for being a strategic thinker, a strong communicator and an excellent connector.
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RICHARD TAYLOR, JR. (he/him)

Board Member
Richard has created an impact over the past decade as a leader and mental health advocate for people around the world. His story of overcoming morbid obesity, depression, multiple suicide attempts, failing in college, and domestic abuse rings a strikes a chord for students and professionals alike. Richard is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a B.A. in Corporate and Organizational Communication and the Founder of TaylorMade Empowerment.

An author of 7 books and podcast host, his message breaks cultural boundaries and challenges biased social norms. Richard’s goal is to create safe spaces for difficult conversations, encourage empathy in a society that is clouded with apathy, and foster transformation to mental wellness.

PAUL CHARBONNEAU (he/him)

Board Member
Paul graduated in 2020 with a B.A. from Occidental College. Paul is a suicide-survivor and started with NAMI as a volunteer. Paul has over a hundred presentations under his belt, notably speaking at NAMI National’s #Vote4Mental event.

As a former college football player and current volunteer wrestling coach, Paul is passionate about the intersection of masculinity and mental health. Paul is one of Washington’s Ending the Silence state trainers and helps facilitate Eastside’s young-adult support group. Paul is passoinate about mental health advocacy and sits on the NAMI Washington Public Policy Committee.
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GIRISH JOSHI (he/him)

Board Member
Girish is currently a technology leader at Microsoft Corporation. He along with his team, defines the strategy and develops programs to drive the technical capacity/capability and profitability for the strategic advisory and consulting partners. In his 20 years of corporate experience, he has delivered deep client value through complex IT environments to achieve Business success.

Girish is passionate about mental health and believes no one should have to face a difficult mental health condition alone and that we must not leave anyone behind from where we found them, especially teenagers. Girish's personal interest in researching practical, innovative and effective ways to transform mental health has led him through multiple breakthroughs, that he now uses to help many with.

In his weekly leisure time, Girish loves to climb mountains of Pacific Northwest to explore the elements and practice mind/body oneness.

OFFICE STAFF

BARBIE COLLINS YOUNG (she/her)

Executive Director
Barbie Collins Young comes to NAMI Eastside with a deep passion for mental health along with many years of serving the community in non-profits. She served as the Executive Director for the Kirkland Downtown Association for five years and has 27 years of experience leading people and organizations. She is a trainer for Youth Mental Health First Aid, and served as a Trustee on the Lake Washington School Foundation.

She is a founding member of Balance in Mind, powered by the LWSF, working with students and parents on mental health support. She is holds a degree from CWU in Psychology, with a minor in Sociology.

Barbie's personal experiences with trying to find help and resources for loved ones who were experiencing a mental health crisis, compiled with the loss of several dear friends to suicide, prompted her to move into a career focused on mental health. She is driven by making a difference in the community and is very excited to be part of an incredible organization doing great work in this arena. She believes that to truly help our community, we need to listen to the individuals and empower their voices to solve the mental health crisis.

MARC OOMMEN (he/him)

Deputy Director
Marc graduated from Western Washington University with a BA in Law, Diversity, and Justice. After graduating, he worked for several years in marketing and program management for an organization dedicated to advancing the public purpose of higher education through student civic engagement. Marc has also worked and volunteered in politics, and is passionate about advocating for policies that help people access resources.

Marc comes to NAMI Eastside after working for the state government where he helped folks navigate unemployment insurance during the pandemic. He is excited to join the NAMI team and to be a part of an organization on the frontlines of destigmatizing mental illness and providing important resources to the community.

MELANIE NESS (she/her)

Finance
Melanie holds a BS in accounting and Finance. She worked for a CPA doing taxes and write up work for 10 years. She then took the next 15 years raising her 2 children. During this time, she became involved with anything that needed a volunteer. After returning to the for-profit workforce she soon decided she wanted to make more of a difference. She then started a small consulting business helping employers engage their employees in a “day of giving” which is a special curated event that feeds the passion of the employees and makes a difference in their community. She is looking forward to working with the NAMI Eastside team as it moves forward.
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Chelsea Abraham (she/her)

Youth Program Coordinator
Chelsea is a transplant from South Florida who earned a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Washington. Through her experience working with various nonprofits, she has supported organizational initiatives through community engagement, program development, and research & evaluation. She is passionate about promoting positive outcomes for youth and connecting them with resources to support their growth. Chelsea is a staunch advocate for mental health as she has faced personal struggles with mental illness that have motivated her to push this work forward.

LENA BERNAL (she/her)

Volunteer Coordinator
Lena Bernal is a single mother of five children who drove from Texas to Washington to restart her life. She has since received her Office Assistant/ Receptionist Certificate from Renton Technical College. Lena spent ten years in customer service in the restaurant industry. She excelled in a fast-paced front desk position at a popular hotel and later served as the lead receptionist at a local windows and doors company. Lena provides office and volunteer coordination for NAMI Eastside. She is excited to work for such an amazing non-profit organization that helps so many in need.
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JELIEL PEÑA DE FIRST (she/her)

Especialista en Participación Comunitaria (Community Engagement Specialist)
Jeliel is originally from Caracas, Venezuela where she studied medicine and practiced for several years as a doctor with a focus on underserved communities, women’s health, and pediatrics. She immigrated to Madison, Wisconsin to join her husband. In Madison she was active in community service focusing on the growing Latino community. She culturally adapted material for University of Wisconsin’s Cancer Health Disparities Initiative, volunteered and led Spanish language support groups at Catholic Multicultural Center, served on the boards of Dane Dances and UNIDOS Against Domestic Violence, and worked as a community relations specialist at St. Vincent de Paul.

Jeliel is a passionate advocate for mental health. She understands by her own experience how hard it is to break the cultural stigmas about mental illness. She is very excited to be part of the NAMI Eastside team, where she is hoping that her experience in community outreach and engagement will help to grow the community that NAMI Eastside serves and provide culturally aware Spanish language resources.
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JASON CUNNINGHAM (he/him)

Operations and Events
Jason comes to NAMI Eastside with an immense amount of empathy for people suffering from mental health conditions. He has nearly a decade of experience working in nonprofit spaces, from political campaigning, to fundraising for nonprofit organizations.

Jason provides operational and Event Management for NAMI Eastside. He brings an all-around ‘do what it takes’ mentality to his work, which is appreciated. He is excited to help bring awareness and equity to people with mental health conditions.

ALEC NORTHRUP (he/him)

Marketing and Communications Specialist
Alec comes to NAMI with a background in government and a passion for public (and personal) relations. After two years in the Washington State Legislature, he took a communications role that required a diverse set of skills and honed his ability to communicate from all angles.

His business formed during the pandemic trained him in the ways of media marketing, and his interest in the continual improvement of the health sector drives him to push our shared vision and line of work forward.
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ALEXANDRA ARIAS (she/her)

Community Outreach Coordinator
Alex is originally from California and went to school for music therapy. She has a passion for working with people and has worked in social services for about 9 years. Growing up, Alex experienced the stigma that exists around mental health. After moving to Washington in 2018, Alex began working in social work at shelters, kids’ programs, and non-profit organizations. Alex has lived experience with mental health and has been on her own journey where she was able to find community and support. Alex is excited to support others on their journey to mental health.