NAMI Mass Board of Directors Candidates 2020

As required by our Bylaws, at the Annual Meeting we will elect six new directors to three-year terms that will expire at the 2023 Annual Meeting. The Nominating Committee of the Board of Directors has selected, and the Board of Directors has nominated,  13 persons for election as directors each of whom the Nominating Committee has determined is qualified to serve as a director of NAMI Massachusetts. Information about each of the nominees, including a brief statement provided by each of them, is set forth below. In addition, a brief video presentation by each candidate is available on this page and will be played at the Annual Meeting on October 24.

A message from the NAMI Mass Board Nominating Committee

We are grateful for the interest from many in the NAMI Mass community in serving on the NAMI Mass Board of Directors. We were honored to get to review this year’s candidates for open board positions and are inspired by their passion and commitment to mental health advocacy. In speaking with current board members, staff, and NAMI Mass members, three focal points emerged in terms of perceived needs of the board in the upcoming year: increasing the diversity of the board in terms of background (including race and ethnicity), perspective, and beyond; interest in and experience with fundraising to help support the organization in these uncertain times; and experience in the use of social media to effectively reach diverse groups in spreading the word and message of NAMI Mass. We hope you will consider these points as you review the information about our many terrific candidates and cast your votes.

Heidi Alexander

Heidi Alexander currently serves as the first Director of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Standing Committee on Lawyer Well-Being where she works to help all Massachusetts lawyers attain greater success in achieving a healthy, positive, and productive balance of work, personal life, and health. She has a strong background in non-profit work both as a professional and as a volunteer. In April 2018, she completed a yearlong Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Boston University Questrom School of Business. Alexander previously served as Deputy Director of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers, a nonprofit organization with a $1.7 million dollar budget and mission to support lawyers experiencing impairment as a result of personal, mental health, addiction, medical, or practice-related problems. She has significant experience using and implementing technology as well as digital marketing tools to improve organizational operations and to strengthen marketing and outreach. She is currently on the Board of Trustees for Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, a local nonprofit with a multimillion-dollar budget.

Alexander has witnessed the impact of mental health conditions on individuals and families both personally and professionally, and thus has a deep understanding of and passion for NAMI Mass’ mission. Not only does she live with depression and anxiety, but she has been the caretaker for her younger brother who suffers from anxiety, depression, OCD, and substance use disorder.

Furthermore, she is a proud Minnesota native, former collegiate ice hockey goaltender for the Amherst College Women’s Ice Hockey Team, graduate of Rutgers School of Law, CrossFit coach, and mother of three young girls. Her personal mission statement is: “To channel my determination to address inequities, influence others, conquer challenges, and make a positive impact in the world, while always striving to improve myself and to maintain a healthy and happy life.”

Link to Heidi’s video

Sam Botsford

Sam Botsford would like to continue to serve on the board because he believes he has positively contributed, and can continue to contribute positively, to NAMI Mass. He is a professional mental health worker, working as a Certified Peer Specialist at the Boston Recovery Center, and is furthering his commitment to mental health by matriculating at the Boston University School of Social Work this fall. He plans to incorporate what he learns at Boston University into his role as a Board member. He graduated from Northeastern University School of Law and brings an understanding of policy issues to the role as a board member. In the past year, he has engaged in advocacy at a state level on several issues affecting mental health, such as mental health parity and increasing access to telehealth for people with mental health diagnoses.

If re-elected, he will continue to utilize his professional relationships and networking skills to situate NAMI Mass in a position where the organization can continue to effect change at both the local and state levels. Sam would also like to ensure that NAMI Mass increases its outreach to communities of color for both membership and leadership. He knows NAMI Mass can do more and will work to bring about the change needed. This issue is not just something he supports on a policy level: as the father of a mixed-race son who is genetically predisposed to have a mental health diagnosis, the issue is personal, just as it is to so many across our state.

Link to Sam’s video

Mary Crockroft

Mary Cockroft is a current member of NAMI Central Mass and member of the Board of Directors of NAMI MetroWest.  She is a compassionate and dedicated advocate with a passion for promoting positive mental health. She believes volunteer work is at the heart of helping others. Over the years she has participated in many volunteer opportunities including school/community organizations, church activities, and professional entities. She also held important leadership roles to ensure the work was sustainable and effective for all. For example, she was responsible for overseeing 12 Girl Scout troops girls as the Service Unit Manager for her town for over 16 years. She is passionate about giving back to her community through volunteer efforts and hopes to continue this work by being elected to the NAMI Mass Board of Directors.  In May of 2019, she graduated from Boston College with a master’s degree in Leadership and Administration. Her degree has enhanced her skills on both a personal and professional level specifically regarding managing individuals, understanding customer needs, and problem solving. Cockroft’s educational background and skill set demonstrate her ability to advocate for NAMI Mass’ vision in a leadership capacity.  NAMI has touched my life personally. Last May, her son was diagnosed with Schizoid Affective Disorder. She has to be a strong advocate for his needs and in trying to understand a very complex system. NAMI has been a great resource to our family. As a board member, her goal would be to give both patients and parents a voice to advocate for more services, housing, training to help individuals lead better and more productive lives.

Link to Mary’s video

Kimberly Fall

Kimberly Fall is running to be elected to her first term on the NAMI Mass Board. What she loves about being a part of NAMI Mass is that they share lived experiences with peers. Another thing is the wonderful training opportunities they have, and after each, they have great volunteer opportunities with stipend pay. Plus, they have different events. NAMI Mass has a great opportunity with the NAMIWalks Mass campaign. Fall has been to three Walks and she likes how people love to participate in the them. She loves how NAMI Mass has COMPASS — the resources and information helpline; that’s a great resource for advocating. She thinks NAMI Mass is great for advocating and how they support with a vocation. She learned how to use her voice from NAMI Mass. Another great thing about the organization is the staff. They have been supportive when she lost a family member and have helped connect her with wonderful opportunities. Thank you, NAMI Mass, for being one of the best organizations.

Link to Kimberly’s video

Monica Luke

Monica Luke is seeking re-election to the NAMI Mass Board. Six months into her first term, Luke assumed the leadership position of Chair of the Advocacy Committee. In that role, she has combined her design thinking, change agent and technology skills to enable NAMI Mass to expand their advocacy reach.  She developed multiple partnerships with other mental health advocacy organizations, providing additional opportunities to elevate NAMI Mass’ advocacy priorities. By adopting a new technology, NAMI Mass is now able to provide single click action alerts to our members for contacting their legislators in support of those priorities. Luke represents NAMI Mass as co-chair of the Mental Health Coalition. In addition to serving on the Advocacy committee, she serves on the Finance and By-Laws committees.

She lives in Somerville and founded The Living Assistance Fund (LAF) in 2013. LAF focuses on providing access to mental health care for individuals who cannot afford their care. She understands the journey to get care firsthand; her son was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2001. In 2017, LAF established an Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) at McLean Hospital that is incorporating patient-centered care and Open Dialogue principles. This program became a permanent program of the hospital in 2018.  This year, she was honored to join the steering committee for CHNA 17, a community health network focused on racial equity and mental health. Monica is an active member of NAMI Greater Boston, including managing the affiliate’s budget process. In addition, Luke has attended the National NAMI conference every year since 2016.

Link to Monica’s video

Susan Noonan

Susan Noonan is interested in becoming a Board member of NAMI Mass and believes her work and experience is in alignment with our organization. In fact, it’s her second year running for the Board. She brings a unique perspective as a physician with many years’ experience treating, counseling, educating and advocating for individuals, including those who live with mental illness, while having long-term personal experience living with depression. In addition, she is a Certified Peer Support Specialist; author of four books on managing mood disorders published by the Johns Hopkins University Press with a website and blog; and a physician-consultant.  Noonan strives to increase awareness and improve understanding of mood disorders through her writing, presentations, radio interviews, peer counseling, and groups. As an advocate in the Cancer Resource Room of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) for 11 years, she has counseled patients and assisted them in a search of their cancer diagnoses and treatments, and for her work received the MGH Volunteer Service Award in 2006. Currently, she serves on the Stakeholder Board and am Co-Chair of the Advocacy Committee for the MGH Cancer and Mental Health Collaborative (Engage Initiative), where we strive to bring cancer care to those who have serious mental illness. She is also working with national DBSA (Depression and Bipolar Alliance) to revise their Peer Support Specialist training course and customize it for healthcare workers who are struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. It would be her honor to serve on the NAMI Board, and continue her work in advocacy and decreasing stigma.

Link to Susan’s video

Steve Panella

Steven Panella is a person with lived experience and has been pretty much symptom free for the last five years and feels he finally learned how to manage his mental health condition. He has been presenting for the In Our Own Voice (IOOV) NAMI program since June 2019 and is passionate about this work. He would like to do more. Panella has brought IOOV into his own company a few months ago and was key to bringing in mental health awareness to the company he worked for prior to this. His plan is to eventually get involved with some type of volunteer peer counseling (He is looking into the Trevor Project right now). His goal is to become a certified peer counselor at some point (something he might do more of when he retires from his work in technology). Bottom line, Panella wants to be more involved in mental health education, awareness and de-stigmatization. In addition to computer skills/technology, he would add fundraising (walks & biker rides), corporate access (via jobs he has worked at and network from that), education (did volunteer work teaching ESOL and literacy training),  and experience navigating the mental health system (for his own history with depression/anxiety).  This would be Panella’s first term, if he is elected.

Link to Steve’s video

Jennifer Paster

Jennifer Paster is a 44-year-old resident of Brookline, a wife, a mother of four and a Lieutenant with the Brookline Police Department. Starting next month, she will add “Graduate student” to her list of titles, as she begins pursuing her MSW from Boston College. Her life feels hectic at times, but more than anything she feels fortunate to have an amazing family, work that she loves, and causes that she feels passionate about. Mental Health education, advocacy, and support are at the top of Jennifer’s list of causes, and it is for that reason she is hoping to be considered for a position on the Board of Directors at NAMI Massachusetts.

Mental Health is something she’s always been interested in, from undergraduate days at Union College in Schenectady, NY through her work in the Police Department. In addition to her work with the statewide mental health training for police officers, she is a proud member of our regional Critical Incident Stress Management Team, which is designed to help counter some of the effects of trauma and stress on the lives of first responders. Paster hopes that an MSW degree will allow her to continue the work she feels so passionately about.

She is honored to be considered for a board position and is appreciative of and impressed by the work NAMI Mass has done statewide, particularly regarding the COMPASS helpline, CIT training for law enforcement, and general advocacy efforts.

Link to Jennifer’s video

Tonisha Pinckney

Tonisha Pinckney is ending her first term on the Board. She is enthusiastic about bringing awareness and tearing down stigma. Doing this work is not a resume booster or “giving back” effort. This work is her life.  She is the single parent of two sons coping with mental illness (one with schizophrenia and another with social anxiety disorder and depression). As a peer, she copes with mixed bipolar I, PTSD, anxiety, and major depressive disorder. As an African American (Black), she copes with the mental health impacts that racial injustice, bias, prejudice, and racism have on her, her family, and the many communities in which she engages. As a woman, she copes with the various forms of sexism and ageism. All these experiences lend themselves to her passionate fight for parity, justice, and awareness.  With a second term, she hopes to have the opportunity to advance NAMI Mass toward being more inclusive, foster a sense of belonging, and create a more racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse organization.  She hopes to educate law enforcement and court systems on the proper ways to handle emergency calls, suspect apprehension, victim support, and mental health crises.  She has expertise as a criminologist, accountant, fraud examiner, forensic financial analyst, divorce mediator, professor, grant writer and reviewer, non-profit leadership, and more. Most importantly, she is a humanitarian. If allowed, she can be an asset to NAMI Mass by facilitating trainings, forming, and nurturing partnerships, and advancing advocacy efforts. Further, she can educate communities of color about the services offered by NAMI Mass. If allowed, she can add more perspectives to the difficult conversations and decisions facing NAMI Mass and our pandemic laden communities. She has a burning desire to help people and organizations be more, achieve more, and impact more.  She does not take lightly this try for re-election. There is a lot of work to do. NAMI Mass needs to address the pressing issues related to mental health parity and social injustices. She hopes to contribute in a positive way, facilitating a NAMI Mass that is open, inclusive, and welcoming to all!

Link to Tonisha’s video

Paulo Salgueiro, Jr.

Paulo Salgueiro, Jr. has a sincere interest in becoming a member of the NAMI Mass Board.  He has a master’s degree in Criminal Justice with two certificates. One in forensic accounting and fraud examination and the other in Mental Illness Crime and Justice. During my college career I learned a great deal of how mental illness is represented in our criminal justice system and in society. I have done research regarding the need to reform within our correctional systems as it pertains to handling individuals with a mental illness.  There still exists a stigma about mental health. Most recently there was a sports analyst who claimed NFL quarterback Dak Prescott should not be speaking out about his battle with depression as a leader. This mentality needs to change. I’d love to be a part of making such strides. There is still much reform to be made and with the work NAMI Mass participates in, he believes he can bring a unique perspective to such discussions.

 

Daniel Sullivan has been a member of NAMI Mass since retiring from the United States Postal Service in 2013.  He became a facilitator for NAMI Connection recovery support groups, a presenter for In Our Own Voice, and a mentor for NAMI Peer-to-Peer. He is also a trained facilitator for DBSA (Depressive Bipolar Support Alliance) and a Staff Writer for the Cole Resource Center.  Sullivan is also a Certified Peer Specialist.  He has an extensive network of people in these organizations and would use this network to help coordinate resources for the betterment of in-patient and out-patient support. My first priority would be to make more available NAMI’s programs to the people in state hospitals. What I would bring to the table is my 50 years of lived experience. I have seen first-hand the evolution of the mental health system from the dark ages of the early 70’s witnessed its slow but steady progress through the early 90’s ( when I finally accepted treatment ) to what it is today – an excellent system but still one with room for improvement

Link to Paulo’s video

Daniel Sullivan

Daniel Sullivan has been a member of NAMI Mass since retiring from the United States Postal Service in 2013.  He became a facilitator for NAMI Connection recovery support groups, a presenter for In Our Own Voice, and a mentor for NAMI Peer-to-Peer. He is also a trained facilitator for DBSA (Depressive Bipolar Support Alliance) and a Staff Writer for the Cole Resource Center.  Sullivan is also a Certified Peer Specialist.  He has an extensive network of people in these organizations and would use this network to help coordinate resources for the betterment of in-patient and out-patient support. My first priority would be to make more available NAMI’s programs to the people in state hospitals. What I would bring to the table is my 50 years of lived experience. I have seen first-hand the evolution of the mental health system from the dark ages of the early 70’s witnessed its slow but steady progress through the early 90’s ( when I finally accepted treatment ) to what it is today – an excellent system but still one with room for improvement

Link to Daniel’s video

Margaret Van Wyk

Margaret Van Wyk is a healthcare professional with a MSW degree, motivated to increase patient access, promote quality of care, and provide psychoeducation to other healthcare professionals.  She currently works at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) as a Quality Improvement Project Manager.  As an MSW, she first worked as a community mental health case manager, where she conducted crisis intervention, met with clients in their homes or on the street, and helped them confront systemic barriers to care. After two years, Van Wyk transitioned to serve as a clinical social worker in teaching hospitals. She developed a program that coordinated with community mental health clinicians to help prepare hospital emergency departments and inpatient psychiatry units for a psychiatric admission before a patient even arrived. Data showed that in less than a year, patients who were “fast tracked” experienced a significantly lower length of stay in the ED than those who did not use the program. Motivated by this program’s efficacy, she decided to pursue an MBA in healthcare management, hoping to contribute to systemic change in healthcare.  As a project manager at BIDMC, she is adept at focusing on ways to make small changes that will eventually meet a larger goal, and she is comfortable wading through day-to-day details with the big picture driving her projects forward. BIDMC and her community experience has provided a strong foundation for navigating healthcare systems and promoting change, which will allow her to contribute to NAMI Mass’ mission and goals

Link to Margaret’s video

Keith E. Wortzman

Keith E. Wortzman was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and anxiety while in Elementary School and was given an Individualized Education Program (IEP). He learned how to advocate for himself while in school and this gave him the drive to be a passionate learner.  He was able to learn more about himself and what ‘worked’ in the classroom and what did not.  Upon graduating Randolph High, he went to the University of Massachusetts Boston. He was a student in the College of Public and Community Services (CPCS) and continued his passion for Special Education and completed a Capstone on:  How to Effectively Work with Students Who Learn Differently.

He accomplished a dream, by opening and running, a small business that specializes in Advocacy around Special Education.  Wortzman has the distinct pleasure to advocate for individuals and assist families understand their legal rights around Special Education.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, he became more aware of his own mental health as an adult. He began having severe panic attacks and was placed under the care of his medical doctor and mental health professionals. The attacks made him more aware that one can experience mental health issues at any age. Having had anxiety since childhood, has made him realize that there are days in which he has to put his mental health first and focus on that, before he can focus on his professional work.

In closing, he has been involved with town government for over twenty-three years and served as a two-term member on the Randolph School Committee. He currently serves as the chairperson, for the Randolph Commission on Disabilities.  He does not let his ADD, or anxiety stop him from being successful and lead a full and productive life.

Link to Keith’s video