Our collective commitment powers our work.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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 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 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, she 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.
Bob holds a national certification from the Copeland Center to teach the Wellness Recovery Action Plan Course. He teaches the In Our Own Voice program for new presenters. Bob is also certified through Dr. Xavier Amador’s LEAP Institute to teach their programs. Once Bob received the proper diagnosis of Bipolar 1 Disorder, he was able to slowly put his life back together and soon found the strength to share his struggles with others. Now, he coaches families on how to better manage their ill loved one’s mental health struggles. Bob is the author of When Screams Become Whispers. Through his work, he continues to build his platform and speak at national conferences about hope and recovery.
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.
David graduated from the University of Oregon in 1983 with a B.S. in Computer Science and Business. He worked in the computer industry for over 25 years before retiring. He has personal experience with mental illness and the impact it has had on him and his family. In his role as a board member he is able to provide the perspective of a person with mental illness. He facilitated 2 weekly NAMI peer support groups for 6 years and advocates for public policy affecting the mental health community. He also teaches mental health first aid classes.
Priya Nagar brings to NAMI-Eastside a diverse set of academic pursuits and professional experiences. With an undergraduate foundation in Education and History, she went on to pursue an MA in Counseling (Santa Clara Univ.) and an MA in Organizational Psychology (Antioch). Her work experience spans areas including hospitality, education, counseling, healthcare, and non-profit administration and development. Her areas of strength include cultural competency, interpersonal, human skills and strategic communication. Priya is a dedicated volunteer at a few Seattle-area non-profits and is always trying to find creative ways to connect with people to raise awareness and help with fund raising at these organizations.
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.
BARBIE COLLINS YOUNG
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 serves 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 currently finishing a degree with a major in psychology and a minor in sociology from Central Washington University. Her 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.
Director of Development
Jennifer is a graduate of Wesleyan University (CT) and the Yale School of Management, where she earned her MBA. She has worked for General Electric Corporation, Levi Strauss & Company, and Microsoft Corporation. She has also been responsible for administration of a rape crisis service and a community health center, where she developed her experience in nonprofit administration. While in Connecticut, she partnered with other community organizations to pass legislation funding battered women’s shelters statewide. She brings a passion for advocacy and management to her engagement here at NAMI Eastside.
Melissa Shirts comes to NAMI Eastside with a BSBM degree and 10+ years working in the tech industry, 5 of those years in Program Management. She has volunteered for over 5 years with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, including multiple walks raising thousands of dollars and public policy for Washington State. Her personal experience with Mental Health has hit close to home having lost a mother, her husband and brother to mental health conditions. It is her mission to make a difference in mental health focusing on education in schools, providing better health care options for those struggling, and access to better resources. She is enrolled in a Master’s degree program focusing in Counseling Clinical Mental Health and hopes to use it with NAMI Eastside in the future.
Development & Communications Coordinator
Helena graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in Organizational Studies and Sociology and a minor in Community Action and Social Change. Her passion for social justice led her educational path and brings her to NAMI Eastside. Helena’s work with NAMI Washtenaw in Michigan solidified her desire to support those affected by mental illness. As an intern with NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, she developed her interest and skills in fundraising for missions for which she is passionate. Having focused on community engagement through school and working with several different nonprofits, Helena is excited to combine her passions with her work to help NAMI Eastside reach more people.
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.
Community Outreach Coordinator
Mayra grew up in Tri-Cities WA and earned a B.S. in Political Science with minors in History and Latino & Latin American Studies at Central Washington University. As an intern in the WA State House of Representatives in Olympia, she gained interest in public service and education that helped her succeed in organizing and representing Airport Passenger Service workers and Janitors at SEIU 6 Property Services NW. Mayra has a passion for protecting immigrant’s rights, the labor movement, and mental health since she’s lost loved ones to mental health conditions. She loves to play with the kids she nannies, paint, roller skate, and spend time with her dog. She hopes to spend her time with NAMI Eastside helping destigmatize mental health in her community.
Brenda is from Monroe, Louisiana where her family still resides with an exception of two aunts and an uncle here in Washington. She is a single mother of five lovely children and cares for her great nephew who moved up here to have a wider variety of choices in life. Brenda started studying healthcare with EMT Training in high school. She is a Certified Administrative Medical Assistant, Certified Nurse Assistant, and has done some college work towards a Registered Nurse and Home Care Aide. Brenda can understand, sympathize, and empathize due to her own life. She is a walking testimony of grace and mercy. She also walks with strength and will with little to no worries. She has lived in Washington for a little over two years. Her hobbies used to be reading and writing poems and short stories. Now, she enjoys raising her children and loving and appreciating them.
Resource & Support Intern
Lena Bernal is a single mother of 5 children who drove from Texas to Washington to restart her life. Surprised to find out she was pregnant with twins, she knew she had a lot of work ahead of her. She has since received her Office Assistant/ Receptionist Certificate from Renton Technical College. Upon graduation, she immediately joined the hospitality industry. After 10 years of customer service in the restaurant industry, she was able to excel in a fast paced front desk position. With 2 and a half years working at a popular hotel, she was offered a position as the lead receptionist at a local windows and doors company. Attempting to work through the pandemic, she inevitably decided to stay home with her family. Grateful for the resources offered to herself and loved ones in this new beginning, she is excited to work for such an amazing non-profit organization that helps so many in need.