Lauren B. Simonds, MSW - Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer
Lauren Simonds has a Master of Social Work degree in Organizational Administration and Planned Social Change from the University of Washington. She has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1991, and has worked in the fields of HIV/AIDS, reproductive rights, and Jewish communal service. Most recently she was the Executive Director of Rosehedge/Multifaith Works, an HIV/AIDS housing and support service organization. She has also served as the Executive Director for the state’s largest political reproductive rights organization, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington, and the Seattle Section of the National Council of Jewish Women. Ms. Simonds has a strong background in community building, legislative advocacy, fund development, strategic communications, and leadership development and training.
Lauren Hunter, MS, CFRE - Director of Philanthropy & Engagement
Lauren Hunter began her non-profit career as the Development Director for the World Health and Golf Association in Houston, Texas, and then served as the Corporate Membership Officer for the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL. Both of these experiences allowed her to hone her skills on corporate and foundation giving before she became the Executive Director of Special Funding for the United States Virgin Islands Department of Education. While with the Department of Education, Lauren secured over $65 million in 3 years in private funding and spearheaded many innovative ways to raise needed funds. A graduate from St. Thomas University and Rice University, Lauren holds a BS in Biology and a MS in Biological Sciences. When not at work she enjoys golfing, baking and playing Pokémon Go. Lauren is very passionate about NAMI’s mission and looks forward to being a part of the organization.
Director of Development - Open
Brad Forbes - Director of Advocacy & Public Policy
Brad brings over 10 years of experience working with health care policy at the state, local, and federal levels. Brad acted the lead on health care and human service issues for a United States Representative, helping people understand how government health care systems can benefit them. That role grew Brad's passion for effective mental health policy through his providing a helping hand to constituents in need of Social Security, health care, and homelessness services. Seeing first hand how government policies affect people gave him a deeper perspective on which types of services work and where systems need to be improved. Working at the local level, he developed and implemented strategies to pass legislation to protect vulnerable populations, the environment, and in support of the arts.
Michelle Strait - Program Manager
Michelle first began working with NAMI WA as a graduate student intern in 2016. Since then she has earned her Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health degrees with a focus on mental health prevention from Washington University in St. Louis. Since moving to the Pacific Northwest she has worked with both high school and middle school students to encourage their leadership skills and promote awareness of the dangers of substance use. Her background is in program development and evaluation.
Deanna Roy - Eastern WA Education Program Assistant
Deanna Roy is a longtime active member of her affililiate, NAMI Yakima. She has served as the NAMI Yakima Board Secretary for two and a half years. Deanna has more than 20 years residential management experience. She holds a BS in Business Accounting from the University of Phoenix.
Jenny Gruenberg - Youth Coordinator
Jenny earned a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Whitman College in 2016. Since graduating, she has worked with the Children's Resilience Initiative (CRI) to promote and assess the sustainable implementation of trauma-informed care practices throughout the state of Washington. She has worked with youth as an educator and case manager and is passionate about developing youth leaders and advocating on their behalf.