NAMI Virginia’s staff works hard to provide support, education, and advocacy to improve the lives of all those affected by mental illness.
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 Master’s 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.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 200
Associate Director: Stephany Melton Hardison
Stephany joined NAMI Virginia in 2011 after relocating from Massachusetts. Stephany became the Associate Director of NAMI Virginia in February 2017. In that role she provides support and assistance to NAMI Virginia’s community-based affiliates, policy and advocacy expertise, and management and oversight for the organization. Prior to serving as the Acting Director, Stephany was the Director of Children and Youth Policy and Programs. In that role she directed NAMI Virginia’s programs for children and youth with mental health needs and their families, including the Virginia Family Network, Youth MOVE Virginia, NAMI Basics, NAMI Ending the Silence, and NAMI Parents and Teachers as Allies.
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 developing 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 NAMIWalks 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
Director of Development: Megan Hodges Mann
Megan was first introduced to NAMI Virginia as a Family-to-Family program participant and from there has been a volunteer for NAMI Virginia 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, communications, 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.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 210
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.
Director of Adult and Family Program: Mary Beth Walsh
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 Children and Youth Programs: Sarah Wilson
Sarah Wilson, MSW, joined NAMI Virginia in June of 2009 after interning with the organization. Her initial role with NAMI Virginia centered around program development. She served as the Director of Adult and Family Programs until 2016 helping to expand NAMI’s signature programs in partnership with NAMI’s network of local affiliates. In 2016, Sarah moved into the role of Events and Outreach where she oversaw NAMI’s outreach to the community, including the HelpLine and major events such as NAMIWalks, Advocacy Day and the State Convention. Sarah took on a new venture with NAMI Virginia as the Director of Children and Youth Programs in February 2017. 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. She has a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from VCU’s L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and has a Certificate in Volunteer Administration by the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration. Sarah completed the Emerging Nonprofit Leadership Program through VCU and the Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence in 2012.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 203
Youth and Young Adult Programs 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 degree in Social Work Administration, Planning, and Policy Practice and a Bachelor’s 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. Through her experience as a personal care attendant and volunteer at numerous community organizations throughout the city, she also brings a wealth of knowledge in working with individuals who have a wide range of strengths and abilities. Amanda’s greatest passion lies within community outreach and education. Based on both personal and family experience, she is dedicated to improving the lives of young people affected by mental illness throughout the state.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 211
Development Associate: Jessica Anderson
Jessica joined the NAMI Virginia team in March 2017. Her position supports the fundraising, development and community engagement activities of NAMI Virginia, including serving as the NAMIWalks Manager. Prior to joining NAMI Virginia, Jessica has worked as a legal secretary for the public defender’s office, a diversion case manager for individuals/families facing homelessness, and as a part-time mental health residential counselor for her local community services board. The former shed light on some of the gaps in community mental health systems, while the latter challenged her existing views on mental illness and raised her awareness about the challenges and stigma that individuals and families face with a mental health diagnosis.
In addition to her role in fundraising and development, Jessica will serve as the point person for office volunteers, will manage our donor database, and respond to NAMI dues and membership questions. After taking a hiatus from higher education, Jessica plans to continue pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Sociology in the fall. Jessica is also passionate about getting more conversations started on mental health in minority communities.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 209
Program Assistant: Melissa Hammack
Melissa is the Program Assistant for Children and Youth Programs and Adult and Family Programs. She also oversees the NAMI Virginia Helpline. She joined NAMI Virginia in March 2017 but has a long history of involvement with NAMI Virginia, including serving on the Virginia Family Network’s Parent Advisory Board and serving as co-facilitator for a NAMI Central Virginia Family Support Group for parents.
Melissa has previously served as a Family Navigator, helping parents find support and resources for their children with mental health needs. She is also a certified Family Support Partner. Her work is informed not only by her personal and family experience with mental illness, but also by her deep passion for mental health advocacy and awareness. She is driven by her belief in the importance of early intervention and the desire to erase the stigma attached to mental health conditions.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 205
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, 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.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 201
MSW Program and Policy Intern: Megan Sharkey
Megan is joining the NAMI Virginia team this summer as the Program and Policy Intern, and will continue interning with the organization through May 2017. Megan graduated with her Bachelor of Social Work from Millersville University in 2013. She has recently been accepted and enrolled into VCU’s Master of Social Work program, with a concentration in Administration, Planning, and Policy Practice. During her 3 year hiatus from higher education, Megan spent time waiting tables in her hometown of Beach Haven, New Jersey and working as an au-pair in Dijon, France. Megan has a personal interest in advocacy, community outreach and policy work. She feels that substantial and lasting changes must emerge from grassroots efforts – in which community members are an organization’s greatest asset.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 202