Ritz Ellen D. Ritz, RN

Nominated by NAMI New York State
Member, NAMI Huntington (NY)
Listen to Ellen's Candidate Speech

Specific Strengths and Attributes:

  • Diversity of age, race, ethnicity, language, experience and national geography
  • Human capital management

NAMI Leadership Experience:

  • NAMI New York State Board of Directors (Member, 2017 - present; Vice President, 2020 - 2021)
  • NAMI Queens/Nassau Board of Directors (President, 2017 - 2019; Vice President, 2015 - 2016)

Additional NAMI Involvement:

  • NAMI Family-to-Family, NAMI Ending the Silence, NAMI Family Support Group, NAMI Advocacy, NAMIWalks
  • NAMI Huntington, Program Coordinator (2021 - present)
  • NAMI New York State NAMI Family Support Group, Trainer (certified 2021)
  • NAMI Family-to-Family, Teacher (2014 - present)
  • NAMI Family Support Group, Facilitator (2013 - present)

Other Board Service:

  • Hadassah (1990 - present)
  • Roslyn Hadassah Board (Treasurer, 2010-Present; Program Chair, 1990 - 2010)
  • Project H.E.L.P. Board (2020 - 2022)
  • East Williston/Roslyn Coalition for Drug Free Youth (2007 - 2010)
  • East Williston School Board (2004 - 2010)

Relationship to Mental Health:

  • Family member or direct/front-line support of someone with a mental health condition; Other Professional; Non-profit Advocate; Community Engagement/Employer

Candidate Strengths Assessment

The candidate indicated they have experience in the following areas that will help NAMI achieve its mission and strategic goals:

  • Adult Education, Advocacy, Business/Nonprofit Administration, Business/Nonprofit Leadership, Medicine, Mental Health Service/Support, Program Research/Evaluation


The candidate indicated they have connections and networks in the following areas:

  • Criminal Justice, Human Resources/Personnel, Lobbying, Marketing/Public Relations, Politics/Elected Officials

Additional information about the connections and networks:

  • Strength in non profit Bylaws and Policy & Procedures

Candidate Leadership Style

The candidate indicated the following descriptors represent their leadership style:

  • Action-oriented, Consensus Builder, Data Driven, Decisive, Devil's Advocate, Innovator, Linear Thinker, Outcome-oriented, Peacemaker, Process Thinker, Team Player

Candidate Narrative

I am committed to and relate to NAMI’s mission of building better lives through support, education and advocacy for those living with amental health condition and their families. The hope and connection NAMI brings is vital for recovery. Changing stigma is most important to get more people into treatment faster. I hope to support not only NAMI on the National level but have seen the great difference National can make supporting the State and Affiliate levels. Having been involved on the NAMI FaithNet national committee level I’ve seen the connection, support and shared knowledge that has made a difference. I will continue to chair the local NAMI FaithNet committee where we have been doing presentations with leaders from all faiths supporting their knowledge and comfort with mental health conditions. I will continue to engage with underserved communities and presenting at churches, schools, and community groups. Next week I will facilitate Community leaders in Queens NY “Addressing Mental Health/Substance Abuse & Community-Building in response to Hate Crimes.” I recently was the keynote speaker for women empowerment focusing on diverse communities. Youth is our hope for the future. I had been on my local School Board for 6 years. I am a school nurse. I have done school programs on Bullying – grade specific – throughout Nassau County. My focus is supporting mental health in students in primary schools and colleges where their wellbeing and identity is forming and self-acceptance is primary. I hope to bring my passion, energy, experience and caring to the National Board – especially for so many who may not have voices including the young and underserved communities.

I personally have helped advance the NAMI mission in my community by being a program leader - NAMI Family-to-Family classes, support groups as well as outreach into communities, schools and my Board service.

I work well in coordination with other leaders to accomplish goals as evidenced by my outreach and connection with other affiliates, relationships with schools, colleges, hospitals and the Boards I have been on.

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