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: Kathy Harkey
Kathy Harkey is the Executive Director at NAMI Virginia where she works to ensure people get the care and services they need and deserve. Kathy embraces the World Health Organization principle, “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being… The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.”
Kathy joined NAMI in 2006 after her family was personally affected by mental illness. She is passionate about creating stigma free communities, NAMI programs, and advocacy for solutions that create positive change.
Prior to joining NAMI Virginia, Kathy was the Executive Director at the Substance Abuse Addiction Recovery Alliance (SAARA). Kathy has served as a board director for NAMI Virginia, board President of NAMI Central Virginia, and board President of Hanover Community Support Services. Kathy brings effective leadership, advocacy, visionary, and strategic thinking skills to NAMI Virginia. She is a trainer of numerous programs including: Family-to-Family Education, Advocacy, Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT), Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST), and Mental Health First Aid Youth. Kathy holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy and undergraduate degrees’ in Psychology and Multidisciplinary Studies with business management and education cognates. Kathy has a certificate in non-profit management from Duke University and she completed an extensive internship in biogenetic research at Virginia Commonwealth University. Kathy is the recipient of several awards including the CIT International advocate award.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 200
Assistant Director: Sarah Wilson
Sarah Wilson, MSW CVA, has worked for NAMI Virginia since 2009. Sarah has served in a variety of roles for the organization include Director of Adult and Family Programs, Director of Children and Youth Programs and Director of Events and Outreach. In these roles, she has had her hand in almost every aspect of the organization, and its mission work. In 2018, Sarah assumed the role of Assistant Director where she provides strategic direction for NAMI Virginia’s programs and presence in the state through coalitions, workgroups, partners and 14 statewide local NAMI chapters.
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, a Certificate in Volunteer Administration from the Council for Certification in Volunteer Administration and completed the Emerging Nonprofit Leadership Program through VCU and the Partnership for Nonprofit Excellence. Prior to joining NAMI, Sarah has experience in suicide prevention and crisis intervention work, community organizing, and older adult mental health.
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 NAMI Virginia in July 2019 as the Development Manager. She supervises the development program, writes grants, and edits the annual report. Prior to coming to NAMI Virginia, she 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 was also a columnist for April Magazine, an online publication for Asian women around the world.
Portia holds a B.A. in art history from Wellesley College, a M.A. in secondary education and social sciences (educational psychology) from Emmanuel College, and a certificate in psychology and counseling from UC Berkeley. An advocate for maternal mental health and wellness, Portia has studied prenatal, birth, and attachment psychology with Elsa Asher and Chanti Smith at the Prenatal, Birth, and Attachment Clinic in Berkeley, California. Portia received her peer recovery specialist training from Jim Kolchany at NAMI Central Virginia.
Portia is a research assistant in Dr. Fantasy Lozada’s SHIELD Lab at VCU. A member of the Asian American Psychological Association, Portia is a copy editor and columnist for their newsletter, Asian American Psychologist. She is also a member of the American Psychological Association and the Society for Research on Child Development.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 205
VFN Program Administrative Assistant: Nicole Anjum
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.
Since 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
Events and Communications Coordinator: Sara Schmatz
Sara Schmatz joined NAMI Virginia in July 2020 as the Events and Communications Coordinator. She holds a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and is currently pursuing her MS in Strategic Fund Development and Philanthropy from Bay Path University. Her academic research focuses on developing sustainable funding models for substance abuse treatment programs within the nonprofit sector. Her own lived experience with co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness has deeply impacted her personal and professional life, and she feels so lucky to be able to give back to the community via her work at NAMI Virginia. When not working or studying, Sara can be found kayaking on the James River, snuggling her sweet tabby cat (Claude), doing yoga, and gardening.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 211
Youth and Young Adult Programs Coordinator: Sophie Fontaine, MSW
Sophie Fontaine has lived in Virginia her entire life. After graduating high school in Fairfax, Sophie attended Virginia Commonwealth University and received her B.S. in Psychology and Sociology in 2018. She then returned to VCU to get her Masters in Social Work, Administration, Programs, and Policy Practice and graduated in May 2020. Sophie was the MSW intern at NAMI Virginia during the 2019-2020 school year and began her role as the youth and young adult programs coordinator in June of 2020. As a young adult with lived mental health experience, she looks forward to continuing to work with NAMI Virginia and to serve youth and young adults. Her other passions include advocacy and policy and hanging out with her corgi.
Phone: (804) 285-8264 ext. 204