Daniel H. Gillison, Jr.
Chief Executive Officer
Senior Leadership Team
Recognized as a Change Agent in Lifestyle magazine and a Leader in the NonProfit Times 2022 Power & Influence Top 50 List, Dan Gillison provides strategic leadership to NAMI with more than 30 years of professional experience and a deep passion for mental health advocacy fueled by personal lived experiences with mental illness and its ripple effects on families. He also currently serves on the National Institute of Health (NIH)’s Advisory Mental Health Council, the Lululemon Global Wellbeing Advisory Board, the National Health Council Board of Directors, and the Austen Riggs Center Board of Trustees.
Dan has received numerous awards for his work advancing mental health equity, including the 2022 Hope in Action Award from Hope Center Harlem, the Honor of Distinction Award from the Bowman Foundation Annual Global Impact Awards, the American Mental Health Counselors Association 2022 President’s Award and more. Since joining NAMI in 2020, he has appeared in a variety of panels, keynote presentations, op-eds and programs around the country to raise awareness and educate the public about the most pressing mental health issues of our time. He has authored more than 20 blogs for NAMI’s website, started and serves as host for NAMI national’s first podcast in its 40+ year history, and spearheaded the creation of the CEO Alliance for Mental Health, which brings leaders across the mental health field together to meet the needs of diverse populations affected by disparities in the mental health care system.
Under Dan’s leadership, NAMI has expanded its national HelpLine’s reach through texting services, produced its first nationally bestselling book, and formed its first-ever youth advisory group, NAMI Next Gen. The direction he has provided to NAMI during the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed the organization to not only adapt but actually grow through the unprecedented challenges of the past several years.
Before coming to NAMI, Dan led the American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APAF), where he was responsible for strategic planning, personnel management, board communications, oversight of APAF’s public education programs and outreach, and formulating strategic alliances and partnerships to further APAF’s mission.
Prior to APAF, Dan led County Solutions and Innovation for the National Association of Counties (NACo), where he was instrumental in repositioning the organization’s programs to provide expertise in health and human services, justice and public safety. He also has previously held leadership positions at Xerox, Nextel and Sprint.
Dan holds B.A. degrees from Southern University and A&M College and has completed executive education through the University of Richmond and Harvard University. A native of Washington, D.C., he lives with his wife and two children in Virginia, where he enjoys playing golf and tennis in his free time.
Get to Know Dan
- “My wife and I met in Baton Rouge and have been married for more than 40 years.”
- “My first job out of college was actually as a television host.”
Words of Wisdom
- “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
- “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Personal Role Models
- Arthur Ashe – “I actually played tennis in college and always saw Arthur Ashe as a huge inspiration; he taught me so much not only about physical tenacity but about life.”
- My Parents – “My dad taught me my work ethic, and my mom was always my greatest advocate. They will always be my first and greatest role models.”
Dan and his family at the Welcome CEO Reception hosted by NAMI’s board at the French Embassy in Washington, DC