Kathy Forward, Executive Director, is a family member with several family members who have been diagnosed with mental illness. In 1997, she was fortunate to be in the first Family to Family, the Keys to Understanding, class for families in Santa Clara County dealing with mental illness. Since that time Kathy has been one of the principal leaders at NAMI Santa Clara County as a volunteer teacher, trainer and eventually Education Director. In 2010 she became Board President and served for two years to begin building our staff infrastructure. Kathy has worked closely with numerous mental health organizations over the years, always with the goal of helping those organizations understand that family and peer support are critical elements for a person struggling with mental illness. Kathy also has an extensive business background as an owner of a travel agency.
Stacy Badgis, Administrative Manager, grew up in the Bay Area and graduated from San Diego State University. She has more than 15 years of experience in marketing including, branding, advertising, promotions, media relations, strategic planning, event production, and team leadership. Stacy was the Marketing Director for Westfield Valley Fair and The Director of Sale and Marketing for Hotel De Anza where she did extensive work with non-profits to raise money and awareness. It was also where she developed her passion and enthusiasm to dedicate her time and interest in working at NAMI Santa Clara County. Stacy’s interests include spending time with her family, traveling and volunteering for Furry Friends with her service dog, Jersey.
Dyane stepped into the role of Manager for NAMIWalks Silicon Valley in 2016. She believes that NAMI Santa Clara plays an important role in helping to create a strong community. With a degree in Journalism from San Jose State, she was reporter for several years before becoming a non profit fundraising and marketing professional. She continues to write freelance articles for various Peninsula publications, loves baking, ballet and baseball. Dyane is a dancing angel for the largest living nativity in California, Bethlehem A.D. in Redwood City.
Rita Girman was inspired to volunteer for the NAMI Warmline Help Desk after taking the amazing Family-to-Family course. Now, as the NAMI Warmline Helpdesk Manager, her responsibilities include supporting Warmline volunteers and working to make Warmline even more beneficial to people seeking support and information. She previously worked for Santa Clara County Mental Health and IT departments, and has volunteered as a child advocate and grief support worker. Rita loves that her work allows her to give back to others, and to use her personal, work and volunteer experiences to better assist individuals and families coping with mental illness. In her free time, she enjoys yoga, hiking, skiing and travelling with her husband.
Indra is the Family to Family Education Course, Basics Course, and Volunteer Coordinator. She is dedicated to supporting the Family to Family and Basics programs to educate family members dealing with loved ones diagnosed with mental illness. She also recruits, assigns and supports NAMI volunteers. Indra has passion and shares hope to help family members through education to promote wellness and recovery for themselves and their loved ones. Her hobbies are spending quality time with her family and her first grandchild. She also enjoys traveling and a healthy lifestyle.
Verna graduated from San Jose State University with a BS in Journalism and a minor in Women’s Studies. She is currently in the Master of Social Work Program at San Jose State University. She was born and raised in San Jose. She started volunteering with NAMI in 2014 and has completed the Family-to-Family, Peer-to-Peer, and Provider Education courses, and has also been a Peer PAL and a mentor with the Mentors On Discharge program. She became the Volunteer Project Assistant in June 2015, and is now the Volunteer Coordinator. Additionally, she has done Peer PALS, Mentors on the Unit, and In Our Own Voice presentations. Verna is proud to be working with NAMI because mental health and well-being are very important in her life. She feels that mental illness should not be something to be feared, but instead something that can be lived with in a healthy way. Verna enjoys photography, cycling, reading, spending time with family, friends, and chosen family, being outdoors, and walking with her pound puppy Zero.
Barbara has a BA in Psychology from the University of California at Santa Barbara. In her role as Peer-to-Peer Coordinator, she and her team are responsible for organizing, supervising and mentoring the Peer-to-Peer Recovery Education classes. She also makes community presentations for NAMI’s In Our Own Voice Program. Additionally, Barbara participates in the NAMI Consumer Advisory Council, a group that hosts conversations with community leaders on topics relevant to individuals with mental health challenges. She also participates in our NAMIWalk regional steering committee and is captain of a NAMIWalk team. Barbara strives to provide people with mental health challenges access to services and empowers them to manage their illnesses.
Greg grew up in Santa Clara County. He worked at several high tech companies including IBM and Intel Corporation in technical customer marketing. Greg was first hospitalized at the age of thirty-five when he had his first psychotic break and was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 1. He was married with three wonderful children and now has five grandchildren. Greg first attended a NAMI support group in 2000 in Walnut Creek. After moving to San Jose, Greg joined the NAMI Santa Clara County organization where he has been the Provider Course Coordinator (and part of the teaching team) for the past six years.
Marc works with NAMI Santa Clara County supporting the In Our Own Voice, Ending The Silence, and Parents And Teachers As Allies programs. Prior to joining NAMI in a formal role, he was a volunteer supporter of NAMI’s work, contributing time and service to NAMI’s annual NAMIWalk San Francisco Bay Area and other events. Marc is a proud “Aggie” and holds an MBA from Utah State University. His career includes entrepreneurial, executive management and business consulting experience in network software, manufacturing, retail and fulfillment. Marc is also an award-winning landscape photographer whose images have been displayed at local galleries, as well as a home handyman who enjoys checking tasks off a never-ending list of home improvement projects.
David has a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from San Jose State University and holds an MBA from Golden Gate University. After many years in an accounting career, David has found his best direction and passion in employment in the Mental Health field, because of his first-hand lived experience with the illness. David has always enjoyed a positive relationship with NAMI Santa Clara County and now happily oversees the Peer PALS Program where significant favorable impact is being achieved on the lives of all those who are paired up. In these connections, individuals find strength and support by sharing their lives and activities together as fellow peers in the Mental Health community. David finds that NAMI and the people he works with are like family and that it is a great place to belong.
Cindy loves to hike, bike and camp in the many extraordinarily beautiful places in northern California. She and her husband Scott are also avid gardeners who enjoy unusual plants like nettles, blueberry tomatoes and Chilean guavas. Being outdoors plays a significant role in Cindy’s ongoing recovery from anorexia, as does her work as the NAMI Peer PAL Advisor and FaithNet Coordinator. Passionate about confronting mental illness stigma and stereotypes, Cindy is currently completing a memoir about her experience with adult-onset anorexia. She holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Divinity from Duke University.