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.

BOB KRULISH (he/him)

Treasurer
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 Bob 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 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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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.
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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.

PRIYA NAGAR (she/her)

Board Member
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 (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.

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 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.

Barbie's personal experiences with trying to find help and resources for loved ones who were experiencing mental health crisises, 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.
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MARC OOMMEN (he/him)

Program Manager
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.

BRENDA FREEMAN (she/her)

Resource Specialist
Brenda is from Louisiana where her family still resides. 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. She is a single mother of five lovely children. Brenda can understand and empathize with those who are struggling to access mental health and other social services due to her own life. She is a walking testimony of grace and mercy. Brenda conducts NAMI Eastside outreach with homeless populations, maintains our resource page, manages our information hotline, maintains our Unite US platform, and helps represent us on FaithNet initiatives.
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MAYRA MERAZ (she/ella)

Community Engagement 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.
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Jason Cunningham (he/him)

Operations and IT
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 is pursuing a B.S. in Economics at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. He provides operational and IT assistance 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. In this chapter of his life, Jason relocated to Washington as is committed to being on the frontlines of educating our community and executing events for those who want to destigmatize the conversation surrounding mental illness. Having family and friends who suffers from and have been lost to mental illness, Jason is proud to have become a part of something bigger looks forward to expanding NAMI Eastside’s outreach in the future. He is looking forward to exploring the Pacific Northwest and looking for input about what to do and see in this chapter in his life.
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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.

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.