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Serving On the NAMI National Board of Directors

The NAMI National board is a “working board” whose members play active and important roles in the success of the national organization.

Members are expected, as part of their role, to:

  • Attend and participate fully in all board meetings, annual conventions, Leadership Institutes, and other organizational functions. [between 6 – 10 hours/week NAMI Board service, including service on 3 – 4 standing committees, frequent conference calls, other work groups as may be needed, in addition to Board and other meeting travel.]
  • Understand and protect the fiduciary health of the organization.
  • Understand and adhere to the democratic process of a non-profit board.
  • Understand and support NAMI’s programs and public policies.
  • Be NAMI members in good standing.
  • Make what feels to the individual to be a significant financial contribution to NAMI National, on an annual basis.

A Message from the NAMI Board of Directors

Earlier this year, current NAMI board members reflected on their respective skills and assets. The board noted the following important considerations in ensuring that NAMI has a strong, diverse, and effective board of directors:

  • While among us we have a great deal of experience with the law and legal matters as they relate to issues of concern to NAMI, we have only one lawyer.
  • While among our most important roles as a governing board is fiscal management, we have very few members with specific training in this area.
  • While fundraising is critically important as a board function—and an expectation of us all as board members—we have relatively few members who really relish this role.
  • While NAMI represents mental illness across the lifespan, we have only one member with younger children who live with mental illness now, and just a few whose adult children became ill when very young.
  • While NAMI seeks to represent the communities in which we live all across the country, our board still lacks substantial diversity (three African Americans, one Asian American, and no Hispanic members; one gay/bisexual member; just two combat veterans; only three current members under 50; and a general lack of geographic distribution).

Although we think we’ve made great progress in our diversity in recent years, we know we need to do more!

This year, five board members’ terms will expire, and their seats will come up for general election; two have served ably and with great dedication for two terms and cannot seek re-election; three have served a single term and are permitted to seek re-election. Among the assets we will miss when these valued members depart the board are lived experience as consumers and / or family members of someone with a serious mental illness, ethnic diversity, representation of gay / lesbian / bisexual / transgender members, public policy expertise, and professional expertise in psychiatry.

We urge you to consider the importance of these experiences and expertise as you consider the candidates before you.

Meet the Candidates

Sixteen candidates have been nominated for the five board seats that are open in this election year. Voting delegates must cast votes for five candidates. The candidates with the highest number of votes will become the new NAMI National board members.

Candidates are listed in the order in which their nominations were received at the National office. All candidate statements are unedited, presented exactly as submitted.

Candidates were asked to respond to five questions, in a total of 300 words. The candidates address the following questions:

1. Please describe your previous board experience and what you regard as your greatest contribution to that organization’s work through your service on its board.

2. How can you contribute to NAMI’s evolution as “a dynamic, well-run organization that seeks and engages a diverse and growing membership,” as called for in the NAMI strategic plan?

3. What fundraising, financial oversight, and legal expertise do you have to offer to the NAMI organization?

4. What advocacy and organizational priority areas do you believe NAMI should be pursuing in the next three years?

5. What brought you to NAMI—and what is most valuable to you about your participation in the NAMI movement?

Candidates also provided a personal statement identifying their lived experience with severe and persistent mental illness. The NAMI National bylaws require that a minimum of 75 percent of the board be comprised of persons who have or have had mental illness, or who are parents or relatives of persons who have or have had mental illness.  All the candidates this year self-identify as having lived experience with mental illness, as either consumer or family member. Only two current Board members do not.

Candidate’s letters of nomination are available on their individual profiles.

Candidate Speeches and State Caucuses at Convention

Candidates will speak to the entire convention following the opening plenary, on Tuesday, July 7, beginning at 3:45 p.m. Candidates will each have five minutes to address convention attendees.

State caucuses will also be held later that evening when candidates may visit state delegations. A full list of state caucus times and locations will be included in the Convention program.

New! Hear the Candidates on the Web!

Historically, nearly half of all NAMI votes are cast by absentee ballot, which means that many NAMI groups cast their vote without ever hearing the candidates speak. To give members more opportunity to know the candidates, we have arranged to record a five-minute speech by each candidate.  Listen to these speeches on each candidate’s profile page.

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