"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller
PHOTO CREDIT: Dorie howell photography

PHOTO CREDIT: Dorie howell photography

Jennifer Marshall, Co-Founder & Executive Director

Jenn was diagnosed with Type 1 Bipolar Disorder in 2006 at the age of 26. She's had four hospitalizations within five years – two in 2005 before any diagnosis was reached, and two more because she was trying to protect her newborn son (postpartum psychosis) in 2008 and her unborn daughter in 2010 – and all were because she was unmedicated at the time. Writing her way through life with a mental illness became her way of healing, and her award-winning blog BipolarMomLife became an inspiration to many.

Jenn created This Is My Brave because she learned first hand how powerful and therapeutic it was to live openly and not hide her diagnosis. She wanted to give brave individuals from the community a platform through which to creatively share their stories of living with mental illness to educate and inspire others. She lives outside Washington, DC with her husband and two children.

photo Credit: shoot photo inc.

photo Credit: shoot photo inc.

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{in memory} Anne Marie Ames, Co-Founder

Anne Marie held a variety of PR and strategic communications positions throughout her career, but her favorite job was creating and producing This Is My Brave. She found her passion and her mission – to help others share their stories - and made tremendous contributions to the organization from launching the initial concept to strategizing on growth and expansion over the four years of her tenure. Anne Marie's sudden passing on August 23rd, 2017 was a shock to the many who loved her and she is deeply missed. 

 

Kate Mallow, Program Manager

Kate Mallow is the new Program Manager for This Is My Brave. Prior to joining the Brave Team, Kate worked on crisis and suicide prevention lines. She also worked with NAMI for over four years as HelpLine Manager where she trained volunteers and staff on how to answer questions and offer resources to individuals living with mental health conditions and their family members. In addition to working with This Is My Brave she is currently Group Support Community Manager on peer support website, 7 Cups. Kate graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from George Mason University in 2012. 

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photo credit: tami Wagoner photography

photo credit: tami Wagoner photography

 
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Laura Roudabush, Marketing Consultant

Laura Roudabush is a Virginia-based marketing and management consultant with a special passion for the arts. Since 2002, she has worked in marketing, fundraising, and management for a variety of organizations, predominantly in the non-profit performing arts sector. Before starting her own consulting firm, Laura spent seven years as the Director of Marketing for Barrington Stage Company, the award-winning regional theater in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, where she oversaw all aspects of marketing for the $4 million organization. Laura received her Master of Arts Management from Carnegie Mellon University where she was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi national honor society and graduated with highest distinction. She received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing from the University of Richmond, Virginia. She and her husband, Jeff, live in Leesburg, Virginia, with their two small children.

Andrew Shafer, Fundraising 

Andrew Shafer originally hails from Greenville, SC but has since spent time in Knoxville, TN, West Lafayette, IN, and now Nashville. Starting his career with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Shafer then moved into work in higher education. His positions have been at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Purdue University, and most recently as Vice President for Advancement at Aquinas College in Nashville. In January 2016 he transitioned into the role of Chief Advancement Officer for the Paulist Fathers. Shafer also serves as Adjunct Faculty with Indiana University/Purdue University, Indianapolis, New York University and North Park University, Chicago. In addition, he serves as a consultant to a variety of nonprofit organizations around the country with a predominant focus on sustainable fundraising. He earned both his Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He and his wife, Jessica, have four beautiful children, Barnes and Frances, 4, Shepherd, 2, and Ellis, 1.

Traci Medlock, Graphic Designer

Traci J. Medlock graduated from American University Summa Cum Laude in December 2009 with her Bachelor’s in Journalism and a minor in Theater. While at AU, she explored her growing interest design, and continued taking courses at NVCC in communication design after graduation. She is the primary photography and designer of Traci J. Brooks Studios, an award-winning company specializing in weddings, portraits and live theatre and music photography.

Board of Directors

Hillary Marotta, Programming Chair

Hillary, a mother of two young girls and a professional development specialist for adult English as a Second Language teachers, has also worked in the nonprofit and community health fields. It seemed like the perfect fit for Hillary to assist in finding funding for This Is My Brave given her experience with depression and anxiety. Through counseling and medication, Hillary has successfully navigated a life with mental health issues that surface from time to time. She is open about her struggles and hopes to help end the stigma surrounding mental illness by sharing her story, sharing the mission of This Is My Brave, and helping to grow the organization.

Ryan Eppehimer, Strategic Financial Planning

Ryan Eppehimer is Vice President, Finance with The Glover Park Group (GPG), a leading strategic communications and government affairs firm. In this role, he leads financial planning and analysis, including all budgeting and financial projections. Ryan joined GPG after three years at Interstate Hotels & Resorts, a multi-national hotel management company. As a Senior Manager of Financial Reporting at Interstate, he managed both the external (SEC) and internal financial reporting processes. Ryan started his career at Ernst & Young, as a Senior Auditor in their assurance practice. He graduated from James Madison University with a degree in Accounting and earned his MBA from The George Washington University in 2012. Ryan is also a CPA. He currently lives in Southern California with his wife and daughter.

Ryan strongly believes in the mission of This Is My Brave as he has experienced the power of its storytelling to build up and inspire others. He hopes his business expertise can help the organization to expand and continue to reach people in order to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness.

Alicia Henry, Program Development

Alicia Henry is a dedicated public servant and change agent. With over 15 years of experience, Alicia has created numerous leadership and mentorship opportunities that inspire young women to tap into their own potential and thrive. She has a special passion for women of color and recognizes the importance of creating seats at the table to amplify the voices of women. This passion has created numerous volunteer opportunities for Alicia to leverage her skills as a leader with community organizations such as the Women’s Information Network, H.E.R. Story, Brown Girls Lead, College Summit, and the NAACP's ACT-SO Program.

Early in her career Alicia worked at a residential treatment facility for clients in the foster and probation system. She transitioned into politics and worked on Capitol Hill for five years in the office of retired Senator Barbara Boxer of California. She currently serves as the Scheduler and Executive Assistant for the Chairman of DC Council, Phil Mendelson. A native of Southern California, Alicia attended the University of California, Davis where she studied African-American studies and Spanish.

Alicia is a proud alum of the DC cast of This is My Brave. This experience gave her the opportunity to share her personal story of watching her grandmother live with schizophrenia. Alicia is excited to support the work, mission and charge of This is My Brave.

Heather Sajeski, Research Strategy

Heather Sajeski is a Vice President with Penn Schoen Berland (PSB), a market research and communications consulting firm based in Washington, DC.  She’s been with the company since 2001 and has supervised hundreds of international and domestic research studies.  She has consulted for clients from a range of industries including Microsoft, McDonald’s, Fannie Mae, Citibank, and P&G.  In addition to her corporate work, Heather has consulted on communications and research strategy for a variety of non-profits such as the Special Olympics, the World Wildlife Fund and the Capital Area Food Bank. Heather graduated from The George Washington University, with a BA in International Affairs and Economics.  She’s excited to bring her consulting experience to help This is My Brave continue to grow and spread its important message.


Honorary Board

photo credit: nbcwashington.com

photo credit: nbcwashington.com

 
 
 
 
Photo credit: komradmd.com

Photo credit: komradmd.com

Doreen Gentzler, News4 Evening Anchor

Doreen Gentzler anchors News4 at 6 and News4 at 11. She also serves as the station’s medical reporter, filing cutting-edge health reports for all of the station’s newscasts. For more than 25 years, Gentzler has anchored with Jim Vance, making them one of the longest-tenured anchor teams in the country. Gentzler is the spokesperson for the station's health-related community outreach activities such as the annual NBC4 Health and Fitness Expo, and NBC4's continuing initiative to shine a light on mental health issues. Gentzler has won three local Emmy awards for reporting and anchoring as well as three other Emmy awards for news writing and reporting while in Cleveland. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Georgia. She and her family live in Chevy Chase, MD.


Robert M. Post, M.D., Head of the Bipolar Collaborative Network

Dr. Post worked at the NIMH for 35 years studying and treating patients with refractory unipolar and bipolar mood disorders. He formed an international Bipolar Collaborative Network with 4 sites in the US and 3 in Europe. Dr. Post pioneered the use of the anticonvulsant carbamazepine for lithium-resistant bipolar patients, and studied repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) for treatment of depression. He and his group have won multiple national and international awards, and published more than 1,000 scientific manuscripts and a book entitled “Treatment of Bipolar Illness: A Casebook for Clinicians and Patients”. He publishes a free newsletter for physicians and patients available at www.bipolarnews.org. At this address, one can click on “Child Network” for parents of children 2 -12 to rate their child’s mood and behavior on a weekly basis on a secure website. The goal of the study is to foster collective knowledge about childhood bipolar and other disorders by acquiring data about children who have or may be vulnerable to childhood-onset mood and bipolar disorders and associated conditions.

Mark S. Komrad, MD, Sheppard Pratt Hospital and Johns Hopkins Hospital

Recipient of NAMI National’s “Exemplary Psychiatrist” award, and named by NAMI Baltimore as “Mental Health Professional of the Year,”  Dr. Komrad is a psychiatrist on the teaching faculty of Sheppard Pratt Hospital,  Johns Hopkins Hospital and the University of Maryland. For 25 years he has treated patients and advised people in the community on how to convince an emotionally or behaviorally troubled loved-one to accept psychiatric evaluation and treatment. He has worked in both outpatient and inpatient settings. Formerly the host of a national radio talkshow about psychiatry, Dr. Komrad continues to appear widely on TV and radio to discuss psychiatry. He is currently the regular mental-health contributor to “Mid-Day with Dan Rodricks,” a daily talkshow on NPR affilate  88.1FM Baltimore (WYPR). Dr. Komrad has also consulted on major Hollywood films to help develop more accurate portrayls of people with mental illness, and those who treat them. He maintains a private practice in psychiatry in Towson, MD. He’s the author of the best-selling book “You Need Help! A Step-by-Step Plan to Convince a Loved One to Get Counseling” which is available on Amazon.