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Board Elections


(April 2019 update) Five board members were elected to the NAMI Missouri Board at the Annual Membership Meeting on April 13, 2019: Anita Kiessling-Caver, James Owen, Eric Pahl, Christine Patterson, and Don Schniepp.

The NAMI Missouri 2019 Conference will begin with our Annual Membership Meeting, which includes board elections and bylaws updates. There are currently five open board member positions, and the candidates are listed below. Each candidate was asked to provide a brief (75-100 words) bio to be included in Annual Meeting/ Conference materials, as well as answer the following questions in 150 words or less: 1.) Why do you want to serve on the NAMI Missouri Board of Directors? 2.) What will you bring to the board that will help the NAMI Missouri achieve its goals?

James Owen
James Owen is currently on the Board of Directors as well as Treasurer for NAMI Missouri. He is an attorney but currently serves as Executive Director for Renew Missouri, a statewide energy policy group. He has been involved with NAMI since 2012, when he served on the Board for NAMI Southwest Missouri in Springfield. When James was a Associate Circuit Judge in 2014, he helped to develop a Mental Health Treatment Court in Webster County. James currently lives in Columbia with his wife, Claire, and their daughter, Cecile.

1.) Why do you want to serve on the NAMI Missouri Board of Directors?
I’ve been on the Board and feel my experience as an attorney has been helpful in matters of corporate governance as well as with helping the Executive Director with Human Resource issues. Beyond that pragmatic role, mental health policy is crucially important to me. Being from a rural part of the state, I’ve seen how stigma and a lack of resources has set back progress in mental health for decades. The most effective way of handling this in a big picture sort of way is to work with the Legislature and state agencies on realistic laws that will help people in their day-to-day lives. NAMI Missouri has a tremendous opportunity to make a difference in Jefferson City and I want to help sheperd that.

2.) What will you bring to the board that will help the NAMI Missouri achieve its goals?
I bring experience of not only serving on this Board but several others. Also, running a not-for-profit organization gives me a perspective that helps guide our decisions involving the Personnel Committee. Being a lawyer is also helpful in dealing with internal issues but also whenever external legal matters rear their heads. Moreover, as a lawyer, I focused on probate law and have worked on nearly a thousand Guardianship and Conservatorship matters around the state. I’ve gotten to know the face of those affected by this process. That professional experience, coupled with my personal experiences with mental health, make me empathetic to the work NAMI Missouri does.

Eric Pahl
Eric Pahl is a longtime friend of NAMI and has been a member for the past fourteen years serving on the NAMI Missouri Board of Directors from 2007 through 2018 in the following capacities: Board Member, Board Treasurer, 2nd Vice President, and Family to Family Certified Instructor 2007-present. Eric, wife Ellen and two kids Reece & Parker live in Mokane, Missouri. He volunteers as social media director at the Hams Prairie Christian Church. He is a Past President of the East Missouri District of Optimist International. He has worked as an Information Technology Director for the State of Missouri for the past 21 years. Most recently supporting the Missouri Department of Agriculture and the Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Professional Registration. His hobbies include all things Disney, vineyard management, social media vlogging, and riding his bike on the Katy Trail. Eric considers it an honor to be nominated to serve on the Missouri NAMI Board of Directors again and if elected he is willing to serve in any capacity needed on the board.

1.) Why do you want to serve on the NAMI Missouri Board of Directors?
During my previous experience on the NAMI Missouri Board, I have seen the organization in the poorly funded and comfortably funded years. I am a visionary that thinks ten plus years ahead when making decisions. I enjoy working with NAMI Missouri in reaching consumers and family members and providing them with free knowledge. In the world of mental wellness, I have learned that information is not always readily available. Building stronger partnerships with our providers and being there for our consumers and families makes a world of difference. I am proud to have served on the board previously and I look forward if elected to continue to serve and reach more Missourians. My goal is to continue spreading positive information about mental wellness and advocating for mental health issues with a strong desire to end negative stigma and fear about what we do not currently understand about the human brain.

2.) What will you bring to the board that will help the NAMI Missouri achieve its goals?
As always, I bring a lot of energy and positive excitement! I have a broad understanding of non-profit, business, finance, and information technology. I support NAMI’s goals 100% and am willing to serve in any capacity on the board to help the Executive Staff of NAMI to continue moving forward and reaching more of our target audience. I have board experience as treasurer and vice president and my close proximity to Jefferson City makes me easily accessible for Executive Staff to rely on.

Christine Patterson
Christine Patterson is the Executive Director of NAMI St. Louis.  Christine has her MA and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Missouri. She has almost 15 years of experience working in non-profits.  Prior to her position at NAMI St. Louis, Christine worked for the Missouri Coalition for Community Behavioral Healthcare where she coordinated the Community Mental Health Liaison initiative, the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) program, and the Zero Suicide initiative.  Christine has also worked for Missouri Office of State Courts Administrator as a research analyst. She lives in Lake St. Louis with her husband, Brad and her four dogs.

1.) Why do you want to serve on the NAMI Missouri Board of Directors?
I want to serve on the NAMI Missouri board because I want to improve the lives of people living with mental health conditions and their family members.  Too often, the mental health system is difficult to navigate.  The more we work to improve the system, reduce stigma and let people know that recovery is possible, the better off everyone will be.  It is also important for NAMI St. Louis, the largest affiliate in the state and NAMI MO to work collaboratively to expand the services of NAMI across the state of Missouri.

2.) What will you bring to the board that will help the NAMI Missouri achieve its goals?
I have experience working in mental health at both the state and local level which helps me to understand the perspective of both rural and urban areas of the state.  I have grant writing experience for county contracts, state grants, as well as federal grants.  I have fundraising experience coordinating walks, galas, and annual appeals as well organizing conferences. I currently serve on the Behavioral Health Network Executive Committee and Board and have experience working collaboratively on several statewide councils such as MO CIT, DHSS Advisory Council, Juvenile Justice Advisory Board, etc.

Don Schniepp
Don Schniepp is running for a second term on NAMI Missouri Board of Directors. He has raised a child with a diagnosis of Bipolar, as well as a granddaughter with the initial diagnosis of Bipolar, but now with a character disorder. He lost his daughter to domestic violence and has been through numerous court trials. He has been with NAMI for 8-9 years. He has taught numerous Basic and Family to Family classes. He is a state trainer for Family to Family people who want to teach the course themselves. He has been on the NAMI Walk and currently is First Vice President on the State Board.

1.) Why do you want to serve on the NAMI Missouri Board of Directors?
I have already served 3 years and have been involved in numerous committees during that time.  I want to continue serving because of the sense of need I see for this great worthwhile cause.  My heart has always been with the caretakers of the people with a brain disorder diagnosis.  I know the difficulty and the great need for information and education for these caretakers.  They are searching for any help they can find.  It is my belief that we need to get the word out on our educational aspects and I want to help do that.  I also want to help our Executive Director achieve her goals to help the work of NAMI Missouri go on and be effective.   There is much work to be done.  The oversight of the state organization is crucial to seeing that the work goes on.

2.) What will you bring to the board that will help the NAMI Missouri achieve its goals?
I have served 3 years already and have gotten my “feet wet” in various aspects and activities of the NAMI State Board already.  I bring experience having been on another Board of a non-profit as well as bringing managerial experience from having been in upper management in the business community. My educational credentials include an MBA and also a Bachelors in Criminal Justice.  I have worked in the residential treatment arena in another state.  My family background and experiences has given me a lot of empathy for those dealing with a mental disorder and those individuals who take care of them, especially their families.  It is my firm belief you cannot do an effective job without that personal experience of dealing with a family member with a disease of the mind.  I also have a great deal of empathy for the organization that our executive director has oversight of.  It is my intent to do all that I can to see it flourish.

Anita Kiessling-Caver
Anita Kiessling-Caver is running for a first term on the NAMI Missouri Board of Directors. Dr. Anita Kiessling-Caver has been a practicing social worker for over 20 years. She has worked as a Clinical Administrator for agencies in Mid-Missouri developing unique programming for both adolescents and adults with a variety of mental health needs, including severe trauma, and personality
disorders. Dr. Kiessling-Caver currently teaches graduate classes and has a private practice in Columbia, Mo. Her clinical specialty areas include personality disorders, anxiety disorders and bipolar disorder. She also continues to research in the area of early attachment security. She lives in Columbia with her husband of many years. She has two grown children and 2 grandchildren.

1.) Why do you want to serve on the NAMI Missouri Board of Directors?
Having been a clinician and administrator in the world of mental health and social services for many years, I feel as though I have 2 unique perspectives on how mentally ill indivduals are served and what gaps there continue to be in those services. From a clinical standpoint, I believe there needs to be more awareness, including cultural awareness, and training for clinicians and other direct service providers on best practices for those dealing with mental illness. I think even professionals often make assumptions about what treatments or interventions are best for a diagnosis, without understanding and taking into account the uniqueness and personality of the individual. My hope would be, as a NAMI board member I may be able to have some influence on how information is managed and perhaps even put into practice, education to the professional community.

2.) What will you bring to the board that will help the NAMI Missouri achieve its goals?
As I have stated, I have a great deal of experience in clinical practice as well as program development. With that experience comes an understanding of systems as well as the strengths and gaps in quality and availability of services. I believe I have a unique perspective given my varied experiences that would be helpful in advocacy work and moving forward new ideas that would benefit those individuals and their families managing mental illness.

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