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NAMI Virginia Staff
Executive Director: Mira Signer
Mira joined NAMI Virginia as the Executive Director in July 2007. Along with public policy, grassroots advocacy, program development, and nonprofit expertise, Mira brings her personal experiences, challenges, and lessons learned of friends and loved ones' with mental illness, which is part of her motivation to reduce stigma of mental illness and improve Virginia's mental health system. In her role as Executive Director, Mira provides direction and leadership toward the achievement of NAMI Virginia's mission and philosophy. Mira received her Masters in Social Work-Administration, Planning, and Policy Practice from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from VCU. In 2011 Ms. Signer was recognized as one of Style Weekly's Top 40 Under 40. Mira received her undergraduate degree from James Madison University where she was a varsity student-athlete and active in JMU’s Community Service-Learning program. Mira is originally from Arlington, Virginia.
Click here for Mira's May 2014 publication in the UVa Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service NewsLetter, Virginia's Mental Health System: How It Has Evolved and What Remains to be Improved.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 x 200
Administrative Assistant: Danny Aldred
Danny Aldred has been the Administrative Assistant at NAMI Virginia since 1998. Danny serves as point of contact for general NAMI operations and is responsible for office administration, donor and member database and relations, as well as many other tasks necessary to maintain the flow of communication between the organization, affiliates, and community partners. Danny has received specialized training from Virginia Commonwealth University, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, and the Nonprofit Learning Point.
Danny is the point of contact for membership questions or updates, changes/uplates to affiliate leadership, updates to affiliate leader contact information, questions about dues, and general NAMI Virginia questions.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 x 201
Director of Adult and Family Programs: Sarah Steadman
Sarah Steadman, MSW joined NAMI Virginia in June of 2009 as the Program Coordinator. In this role she is responsible for promoting affiliate growth throughout the state, primarily through the implementation of NAMI signature programs. Before coming to NAMI, Sarah managed a Suicide and Crisis Hotline, worked as a phone case manager in the emergency services department of a Community Services Board, coordinated a visiting service for isolated seniors and worked as a community organizer for a personal care association. Sarah received her Master’s in Social Work-Administration, Planning, and Policy Practice from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from VCU's L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 x 203
Adult and Family Programs Coordinator: Mary Beth Walsh
Mary Beth is the Adult and Family Programs Coordinator for NAMI Virginia. She is responsible for overseeing and managing education and support program course offerings throughout the state, including logistical support, ensuring program integrity, and managing data collection.
Mary Beth also manages NAMI Virginia's HelpLine program. In this role she is responsible for responding to and triaging calls and emails.
Mary Beth graduated from James Madison University with a B.A. in Theater. After graduation, she spent 4 years acting in educational shows for children across the country. Although she loves theater, her other passion lies in community outreach and education. She is excited to be able to incorporate those interests with an issue that is close to her heart.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 204
Director of Development
Megan was first introducted to NAMI Virginia as a Family-to-Family program participant and from there has been a volunteer for NAMIVirginia Walks since 2011. In July of 2014 Megan joined us as the Director of Development and is responsible for ensuring that NAMI Virginia has the funding necessary to sustain its mission of support, education, and advocacy. Before coming to NAMI Virginia, Megan has worked with organizations such as the American Cancer Society and JDRF to support special events, fund development, communciations, and community outreach.
Megan received her B.A. in Sociology-Criminology, and Spanish with a minor in English from Lynchburg College in 2007. In 2014 she became a graduate of the Emerging Nonprofit Leadership Program through VCU and the Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence.
As a Family-to-Family participant Megan knows the value of NAMI programs and is dedicated to supporting and growing these programs through continued fund development. Megan is excited to share her passion for NAMI and to connect with other NAMI supporters.
Director of Events and Communications: Farleigh Fitzgerald
Farleigh was introduced to NAMI in 2007 when she participated in NAMIWalks Virginia- NAMI Virginia’s annual fundraiser and walk to raise awareness, educate people about mental illness, and celebrate hope and recovery. Farleigh discovered the Walk while she was trying to locate support and resources for her mom. Farleigh is now responsible for managing and coordinating NAMIWalks Virginia, NAMI Virginia's E-Newsletters, the annual convention, and other projects that arise throughout the year. Farleigh graduated from the University of Colorado-Boulder in 2001 with a bachelors in Psychology with an emphasis in neuroscience. After graduating, she worked at a non-profit residential treatment center for adolescent boys in Evergreen, CO where she helped oversee educational and recreational activities. Farleigh is dedicated to connecting with others whose lives have been impacted by mental illness, and helping them realize that there is hope and help available.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 202
Director of Children and Youth Policy and Programs: Stephany Melton Hardison
Stephany joined NAMI Virginia in 2011 after relocating from Massachusetts. Stephany directs all of our programs for children and youth with mental health needs and their families, including the Virginia Family Network, Virginia Youth Leadership Network, NAMI Basics, NAMI Ending the Silence, and NAMI Parents and Teachers as Allies. Our goal is to ensure that children, youth, and young adults with mental health needs and their families have a place where they can get the support and resources that they need, while also promoting family driven and youth guided care policy throughout the child serving systems.
Stephany’s experience as a daughter of a mother with a mental illness has motivated her to dedicate her career to support families living with mental illness and advocate for an improved quality of life for all individuals affected by mental illness. Most recently, Stephany was at the Parent/Professional Advocacy League (PAL), the Massachusetts state chapter of the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health. At PAL, Stephany managed the training, technical assistance, public education, and communication efforts, including devel oping numerous trainings. She also served as the project director for the Statewide Family Network grant in Massachusetts, providing monthly training and ongoing technical assistance and support to the family support specialists and family partners in the state.
Prior to PAL, Stephany worked for NAMI Massachusetts managing numerous projects including NAMI Walks and serving as the Director of Affiliate Development. Stephany holds a Master’s of Social Work degree with a concentration in Community Organizing, Policy, Planning, and Administration from Boston College.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 206
Youth Coordinator: Amanda Long
Joining our team in February 2013, Amanda's passion for mental health has stemmed from both personal and community based experiences. She holds a Masters in Social Work Administration, Planning, and Policy Practice and a Bachelors of Social Work with a minor in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. Prior to joining the NAMI team, Amanda worked as a Special Events Assistant at United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg, and as a Classroom Behavioral Counselor at UMFS. She brings a wealth of knowledge in working with individuals who have both cognitive and physical disabilities, through her experience as a personal care attendant and volunteer at Max’s Positive Vibe Cafe. Over the past 4 years Amanda has also participated in outreach efforts for residents of low-income housing and remains a staunch advocate for this and other vulnerable populations throughout the region.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 211
Family & Youth Programs Assistant: Hayden Myer
Hayden Myer, QMHP graduated with honors from Virginia Commonwealth University in December of 2014 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology. Prior to officially joining our team as the Family and Youth Programs Assistant this year, Hayden has been involved with NAMI Virginia in a variety of ways. Hayden serves on NAMI National’s Young Adult Advisory Board and is an active member of Youth M.O.V.E. Virginia. Hayden also works as a community-based Mental Health Counselor for a counseling agency in the south side of Richmond. Before becoming a Mental Health Counselor, he was a Residential Specialist at Focused Outreach Richmond, a residential treatment facility for males with serious mental illnesses transitioning out of the justice system. Hayden has personal experience with mental health conditions which drive his passion for systems change and reducing the stigma that surrounds mental health conditions. Hayden also believes wholeheartedly in the therapeutic value of one person helping another, whether it be through direct service work or through other avenues.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 207
Accountant, Director of Finance: Deborah Michael
Deborah Michael has worked for NAMI Virginia as Director of Finance since 2006. In this capacity she is responsible for conducting invoice activities, paying vendors, assisting with budget preparations, managing payroll, and various related tasks related to the financial health of NAMI Virginia. Prior to that she served on the Board of NAMI Virginia as Treasurer. She has also held the offices of President and Treasurer of the affiliate, NAMI Central Virginia. Her volunteer work includes many years with the Historic Richmond Foundation, presidency of the William Byrd Community House Junior Board and tutoring at George Mason elementary school. Deborah received a B.A. in math from Sweet Briar College and a Certificate in Accounting from VCU.
MSW Program and Policy Intern: Valerie Murphy
Valerie Murphy is joining the NAMI Virginia team this year as an MSW Program and Policy intern. Valerie graduated from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC, in mid-May, and moved to Richmond the following week to enroll in VCU’s Master of Social Work program with a concentration in Administration, Planning and Policy Practice.
With previous field experience in rural Western North Carolina, Valerie is excited to work in a large urban area. She has worked with community-centered organizations aimed at helping those experiencing homelessness, low-income community organizing, substance abuse and addiction recovery, older adults, and food insecurity. Valerie is looking forward to further developing advocacy skills on the individual, family, local and state levels through combinations of education, outreach, support and legislation.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 209