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Arlington, VA — The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is excited to welcome Sherman Gillums, Jr. to the organization in the newly created position of Chief Strategy and Operations Officer. In this role, Gillums will provide strategic leadership and vision for the organization as NAMI advances the goals of the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan. His experience and expertise in strategy and leadership, as well as his past efforts on advocacy for veteran suicide prevention, expanded access to health care, and underserved veteran populations, will be an asset in his new role at NAMI.
Given NAMI’s efforts over the last 40 years fighting and advocating for vulnerable individuals, families and communities marginalized by a complicated and under-resourced mental health system, Gillum’s role of providing strategic and operational leadership will help advance NAMI’s mission. His work on mental health issues brings an advantage to NAMI and will aid in our mission of building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
“We are excited for Sherman Gillums, Jr. to join the NAMI family,” said Daniel H. Gillison, Jr., NAMI CEO. “He brings a depth of knowledge and understanding to many core NAMI issues, including improving access to care, reducing stigma and suicide prevention. His previous experience positions him well as an asset for implementing NAMI’s strategic goals. We look forward to working with Sherman to advance our mission and help people with mental illness and their families build better lives.”
Sherman Gillums, Jr. served in the U.S. Marines for 12 years and received an honorable discharge at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer-2 after a career-ending injury while preparing to deploy to Operation Enduring Freedom with 1st Marine Division. In 2004, Gillums began his career in veteran advocacy as an accredited representative for veterans, dependents, and survivors. He later worked as an appellate representative at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals in Washington, D.C.
Shortly after, he joined Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) as Associate Executive Director of Veterans Benefits. He later went on to serve as the organization’s first post-9/11-era Executive Director. After a successful period of improving health care and quality of life for catastrophically injured veterans, Gillums joined American Veterans (AMVETS), where he served as the organization’s Chief Strategy and Advocacy Officer.
Gillums has testified before Congress as an expert witness and presently serves on several high-profile committees, such as the Federal Advisory Committee for Veterans’ Family, Caregiver and Survivor as vice chairman alongside chairperson Elizabeth Dole. He was appointed by Governor Ralph Northam to serve on the Fair Housing Board for the Commonwealth of Virginia for a second term. He also sits on advisory boards for Operation Gratitude’s BRIDGE Council and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. His record of success includes the conceptualization and launch of two highly regarded programs. AMVETS’s HEAL Program received the Academy of United States Veterans VETTY award for leadership in veteran mental health in 2020. The HEAL program was recognized by the current Administration for innovation and leadership in addressing the ongoing tragedy of veteran suicide.
Gillums is a graduate of the University of San Diego School of Business Administration and completed his executive education at Harvard Business School.