"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 before any diagnosis was reached, and two more because she was trying to protect her newborn son (postpartum psychosis) and her unborn daughter – 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 has become 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.

Anne Marie Ames, Co-Founder & Board Chairwoman

Anne Marie has held a variety of PR and strategic communications positions throughout her career, but hasn’t enjoyed any job more than she has creating and producing This Is My Brave. She believes she has found her passion and her mission – to help others share their stories. Anne Marie and her husband Steve live outside Washington, DC with their three boys and pups Harley and Scottie.

photo credit: tami Wagoner photography

photo credit: tami Wagoner photography

 
 
 
 
Photo by: Heather Chesky

Photo by: Heather Chesky

Hillary Marotta, Grantwriting & Program Management

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.

Stephanie Joseph, Accountant

Stephanie Joseph grew up in Flemington, New Jersey before moving to Maryland at the age of twelve. She received her Bachelor of Accountancy in 1986 from The George Washington University as the Valedictorian. She earned a Graduate Certificate in Medical Services Management at Johns Hopkins University in 2011. Stephanie began her career in public accounting. She currently works as the Accountant for Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN), an Environmental nonprofit in Takoma Park, MD.

Prior to that, she worked at NAMI Montgomery County, where she was the Finance Director. promoted from the Office Administrator/Helpline Coordinator. There, Stephanie’s experience as an individual living with bipolar disorder complemented her personal passion for helping others living with mental illness. Stephanie is particularly passionate about suicide prevention, after losing her father to suicide in 2011. She is certified through the ASIST training program and through Mental Health First Aid. She is excited about working for This is My Brave because mental health is integral in everything Stephanie does. 

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.

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.

Rae Pickett, Strategic Communications

RaeAnn serves as the Senior Director of Communications and Public Affairs in the DC office of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. RaeAnn brings expertise in both corporate and non-profit strategic communications, most recently as a Senior Associate at SKDKnickerbocker, one of the preeminent public affairs firms in the country. Prior to that, Rae served as Senior National Communications Manager for Young Invincibles, where she created and implemented all communications strategies and tactics. She lives with her husband, step-daughter and 2 sons in Northern Virginia.

 

Julie McCarter, LCSW

As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Julie has worked in the mental health field for over fifteen years. She currently has a private practice in Landsdowne, Va. where she works with teens and adults. Julie also leads workshops and therapeutic groups on the topic of expressive photography, utilizing photography as a tool for wellness and balanced living. Topics such as mindfulness, self-compassion and resilience are central to her work. Julie is also a professional photographer, who was honored to photograph the inaugural This Is My Brave performance in Arlington, Va. Julie has a deep appreciation for the core message of This Is My Brave and is committed to the goal of ending the stigma surrounding mental illness, one story at a time.


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.