Meet the NAMI Illinois Board of Directors Candidates

NAMI Illinois is pleased to announce the three candidates for the 2019 – 2020 NAMI Illinois Board of Directors election! Members will vote in the candidates during the Annual Meeting on Saturday, October 19 at the Annual Conference.

Lisa Guardiola 

An interview with Lisa Guardiola, Vice President of NAMI South Suburbs of Chicago, about her personal experience in the mental health industry, her time with NAMI, and how NAMI helped save her life.

What do you hope to contribute to NAMI Illinois during your term as a board member?

I want my work and time on the board to help strengthen our outreach to those in Illinois who do not know that NAMI Illinois exists. As Co-chair of the NAMI Illinois Communication Committee I plan to grow our social media presence and increase awareness about advocacy, support, and educational programs that our organization provides to the community.

What experience do you have with the mental health industry?

I have been actively working in the mental health industry for the past seven years in various positions. As a person with lived experience of living with Schizophrenia I have seen both sides of the industry. First as a consumer and then as a peer support specialist providing assistance to others in their mental health recovery process. For the past five years I have worked for a mental health provider in the south suburbs of Chicago named Sertoma Centre. I started as a case manager and transferred to my current position three years ago into the Community Development and Education department as an Outreach Trainor were, I facilitate trainings in Adult and Youth Mental Health First Aid. I am very passionate about mental health literacy and breaking the stigma that is associated with mental illness.

Why is serving on NAMI Illinois’s board of directors important to you?

Serving on the NAMI Illinois’s board of directors is very important to me because it allows me to give back to the very organization that provided advocacy, education, and support to me and my family when I was in crisis. I am where I am today because NAMI helped to save my life and gave me hope that recovery from Mental Illness in possible.

Do you have personal aspirations about serving on the board of directors?

One personal aspiration I have about serving on the board is to see the creation of a junior board and consumer board as well. As a consumer myself I would like to see and hear more perspectives from those with lived experience and their recovery process and how their stories can help strengthen our organization.

John Schladweiler

An interview with John Schladweiler, President and CEO of Schladweiler Associates, Inc., about running for an additional term on the board, the state of NAMI Illinois and his vision for the future.

What do you hope to contribute to NAMI Illinois during your term as a board member?

NAMI Illinois is rebuilding its capacity to support the State of Illinois and Illinois Affiliates, following a period in which State funding was canceled as part of an across-the-board reduction in human services funding.  Our State funding has been restored and I hope to provide experience, mentoring, and a helping hand to enable our highly qualified staff to get fully up to speed as fast as possible.

Briefly describe why you would like to join our Board of Directors:

I am running for an additional term on the Board, with the goal of completing my mission of getting NAMI Illinois operating again to its full potential.

What makes NAMI Illinois’s mission meaningful for you?

I have family members with serious mental illness, and I have seen first-hand the difficulty the illness can provide to both the person living with a mental illness and their family and support network.   NAMI is essential.

What experience do you have with the mental health field?

I spent my career in technology and business strategy, so I don’t have any professional experience to bear.  However, my wife Joyce has a Masters in Social Work, and is a Family-to-Family trainer/teacher/coordinator, and through her I have been exposed to mental health issues throughout our long marriage.  And I mentioned I have family members with a mental illness, and have learned the difficult way through lived experience.

What do you believe are the two most significant issues or problems facing NAMI Illinois?

NAMI Illinois is the recognized organization supporting families with mental illness.  For years NAMI was a best kept secret, but in recent years it has been recognized for the key resource it is.  It has a tremendous potential to make a difference.   NAMI Illinois can provide leadership by teaming with NAMI affiliates throughout the State, creating Statewide Programs, maintaining a strong relationship with State Government to ensure the needs of families are addressed.  But this can only be accomplished with adequate staff and funding.  And the funding needs to be consistent over a period of years.

Current needs:

  1. A higher level of funding committed over a period of years.
  2. Proving through our work that we have fully recovered from the disruption caused by the funding cut a few years back.

Do you have personal aspirations about serving on the board of directors?

I hope over the next few years to see the Staff and Board assume roles I have performed so that I can move into an emeritus role, still connected, but performing some task that would be helpful.

What skills, connections, resources, and expertise do you have to offer and are willing to use on the behalf of the organization?

I mentioned my business career in technology and business strategy.  This background was needed during the crisis when funding was cut, and will hopefully be helpful in the rebuilding process.  And all my friends know I will try to bring them into our organization when their skills fit a need.

Carrie Worthington

An interview with Carrie Worthington, Customer Service Manager at Byram Healthcare, about her personal connection to mental illness, her experience within NAMI and being a published author.

What do you hope to contribute to NAMI Illinois during your term as a board member?

I would like to be a part of growing the strength of NAMI Illinois by assisting with my 42 years of experience in business and serving where I am needed. I would like to bring my experience as President of NAMI Will-Grundy as well as my passion for mental health education and the support of those who need to know they are not alone.

Briefly describe why you would like to join our Board of Directors.

I was President of NAMI Will-Grundy for many years and assisted in establishing them in the community.  I feel like this would be my next step in serving NAMI and their continued support for mental health awareness, education, and support.

What experience do you have with the mental health field? 

As an individual living with mental illness, I was a caregiver of my husband and son who were diagnosed with bipolar disorder, so I have always been an advocate of awareness.  I served on the Board of NAMI Will-Grundy, first as secretary and then as President.  As President, I was presented with several awards for the programs that were started for our community.  I am a published author – Living with Mental Illness.

What skills, connections, resources, and expertise do you have to offer and are willing to use on the behalf of the organization? 

I have 42 years of business experience, including Operations, Management, Marketing, Customer Service, Sales, and Accounting.  I have done many years of fundraising, process and procedure review and development, and organizing events and benefits for various non-profit organizations.