Darien Wright, MBA/CPA
Nominated by NAMI Prince George’s County (MD)
Member, NAMI Prince George’s County (MD)
Listen to Darien's Candidate Speech
Specific Strengths and Attributes:
- Diversity of age, race, ethnicity, language, experience and national geography
- Experience with a variety of revenue models and financial oversight and management
Job Title or Position:
- Chief Operating Officer at Brookwood Hotels
Other Board Service:
- The Woods Academy, Board of Trustees (Vice Chair, 2020-2021; Treasurer, 2016-2020; Finance Committee, 2015-2020)
- McLean School of Maryland, Board of Trustees (Vice Chair, 2013-2014; Audit and Finance Committees, 2011-2014)
Relationship to Mental Health:
- Family member or direct/front-line support of someone with a mental health condition
Candidate Strengths Assessment
The candidate indicated they have experience in the following areas that will help NAMI achieve its mission and strategic goals:
- Business/Nonprofit Leadership, Financial Management/Accounting, Business/Nonprofit Administration
Estimated years of experience in the above areas:
- Over 25 years of corporate experience including 5 years in public accounting. Nearly 10 years serving as a trustee for two independent schools.
The candidate indicated they have connections and networks in the following areas:
- Information Technology, Entertainment/Film/Television/The Arts, Legal/Law, Philanthropy, Real Estate, Marketing/Public Relations
Additional information about the connections and networks:
- Strong ties to the hospitality sector. Lifetime member of INROADS and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Candidate Leadership Style
The candidate indicated the following descriptors represent their leadership style:
- Action-Oriented, Consensus Builder, Data Driven, Devil's Advocate, Outcome-Oriented, Process Thinker, Team Player
The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides advocacy, education, support, and public awareness to those affected by mental illness. After digesting the website, it is clear the current Board of Directors has strong and varied backgrounds. My corporate experience and success spans over 25 years with roles across public accounting, management consulting, corporate finance, and operations. I would bring to the Board strengths and expertise primarily in strategic planning and corporate finance as well as the ability to communicate across various stakeholders. I have had the opportunity to build and manage numerous teams in my career. Most recently, this involved leading over 20 associates located in 5 different states and three workforce generations. Therefore, it required dialing up my skill set in leading others who you often do not see in person and across multiple age groups towards one common mission. At the same time, it has taught me how to be a servant leader, become more curious but also add value alongside the team.
As a person of color, I would also bring ethnic diversity and my corporate toolbox includes how to work with diverse individuals and help make decisions among competing agendas all with the goal of helping an organization become more effective at advancing its mission or mandate. I am confident that I can do this as a member of the NAMI Board of Directors if fortunate enough to be elected. Further, the Board would add a member who participates and treats others as people first.
I have personally helped advance the NAMI mission in my community by increasing my own awareness of the alliance and communicating its strengths to others. My family had persons who lived with mental illness, and I saw how it impacted them and surrounding loved ones. The pandemic has made this a pivotal time for NAMI. Whether it is Mayim Bialik raising awareness and money on Jeopardy or Naomi Osaka putting her mental health a priority, NAMI needs Board members who will serve as ambassadors. Although I am new to the general membership, it starts with me educating myself.
I work well coordinating with other leaders to accomplish goals as evidenced by my nearly ten years of serving as a trustee for two independent schools. We engaged on topics such as debt repayment, setting financial policies, developing strategic plans, selecting a new head of school, capital campaigns, monitoring financial health, and COVID re-opening plans. I have led finance committees and served as Treasurer and Vice Chair during my terms. As a result, I have learned how to listen to differing views, serve in a fiduciary role and ask the tough strategic questions to advance a mission.