NAMI Virginia’s staff works hard to provide support, education, and advocacy to improve the lives of all those affected by mental illness.
Acting Executive Director: Sarah Wilson
Sarah Wilson, MSW, has worked for NAMI Virginia since 2009 after interning with the organization. Sarah has served in a variety of roles for the organization include Director of Adult and Family Programs, Director of Children & Youth Programs and Director of Events and Outreach. In these roles, she has had her hand in almost every aspect of the organization, and in recognition, took on the role of Assistant Director in 2018, and is now serving as the Acting Executive Director for the organization.
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 her Certificate in Volunteer Administration from 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
Accountant and 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.
Acting Director of Programs: Mary Beth Walsh
Mary Beth, MSW, is currently serving as our Acting Director of Programs. She oversees all NAMI signature and non-signature programs for youth, adults and families. Mary Beth joined the NAMI Virginia team in August of 2013.
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, policy, and education. Mary Beth received her Master’s in Social Work-Administration, Planning, and Policy Practice from Virginia Commonwealth University and is excited to be able to incorporate her social work passion with an issue that is close to her heart.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 206
Development Manager: Portia Chan
Portia Chan joined the NAMI Virginia team in July 2019 as the development manager. Portia has 11 years of experience in development, and she has worked at the VCU School of Social Work, St. Mary’s Catholic School, Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School Foundation, and the College of William and Mary. She is also the former chairwoman of the board of directors at Nurture.
As an advocate for maternal mental health and wellness, Portia has written about her experiences as a contributing writer for April Magazine. She holds a B.A. in art history from Wellesley College, a M.A. in teaching and educational psychology from Emmanuel College, and a certificate in psychology and counseling from UC Berkeley. She has studied prenatal, birth, and attachment psychology with Elsa Asher and Chanti Smith at the Prenatal, Birth, and Attachment Clinic in Berkeley, California.
Portia is a research assistant at the S.H.I.E.L.D. Lab at VCU, where she works on the Family Expression and Emotional Life Study (FEELS). Her research interests include health disparities that impact birthing parents in labor and delivery and overall perinatal mental health and support, as well as the role of racial and/or ethnic minority status in parenting practices, children’s identity development, and socialization. In addition, Portia has been trained as a peer recovery specialist.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 205
Nicole is the Virginia Family Network (VFN) Program Administrative Assistant and works under the direction of the Director of Children & Youth Programs. Nicole is responsible for supporting the social media presence of VFN, the VFN Advanced Parent Leadership Program coordinating training and alumni, and VFN resource development.
Nicole has gained experience through her personal and family lived experiences with mental illness. She is also a Family Support Partner with United Methodist Family Services. Her experience at UMFS has given her a strong desire to spread the movement of mental health advocacy and awareness.
Phone: (804) 991-8716
Program Assistant/Helpline Coordinator : Chloe Sanders
Chloe Sanders, the NAMI Virginia Program Assistant, excitedly joined the team in September of 2019. Under the direction of Adult and Family Programs, she is responsible for supporting the goals and activities for both the Adult and Family and Children and Youth Program Departments of NAMI Virginia. Among other support activities, she leads communication between affiliates and volunteers and NAMI Virginia as it relates to planning for, hosting and reporting on program logistics, coordinates volunteer and program data entry, and manages the HelpLine.
Receiving her first Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Virginia, she has further grown her passion for mental health support, education, advocacy, and eradicating the mental health stigma through her personal lived experiences and those of family, friends, and former students. Having previously been a Volunteer Coordinator in her hometown of Williamsburg, VA, and holding a second Bachelor of Arts in Film and Video Studies from George Mason University, she cares a lot about encouraging people to help others and the power and change that can come from sharing stories and diverse representation.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 209