Simonds-240.jpgLauren B. Simonds

NAMI Washington Executive Director
Member, NAMI Seattle
Nominated by Sue Abderholden, Executive Director of NAMI Minnesota and seconded by Brenda Scott, Executive Director of Mt San Jacinto
Listen to Lauren's Candidate Speech

Job Title or Position:

  • Executive Director/CEO

NAMI Leadership Experience:

  • I have served as the first elected rep from the EDC to the NAMI Board of Directors, 2021-present
  • NAMI Washington, Executive Director/CEO, 9.5 years

NAMI Program Leader Experience:

  • NAMI Provider

Additional NAMI Involvement:

  • Since 2014, I have participated in monthly EDC calls, and attended the EDC Executive Committee for the past 3 years. I helped plan and lead EDLE for 5+ years. As the elected rep, I also have helped both NAs and NSOs navigate organizational issues.

Board Experience:

  • American Association of University Women - WA - Public Policy Chair 2014; Kol Haneshamah, Treasurer 2012-2013; The Babes Network 1996-1998

Public Services:

  • Abused Deaf Women Advocacy Services 1991-1995; Pierce County AIDS Foundation, Volunteer Director 1993-95; Cedar River Clinics, Clinic Manager 1995-1998; Planned Parenthood of Greater NW, Clinic Manager 1998-1999; Temple B'nai Torah, Program Director 1999-2003; National Council of Jewish Women Seattle, Executive Director 2003-2009; Congregation Tikvah Chadashah, Administrator 2003-2005; NARARL Pro-Choice WA, Executive Director 2009-2011; StandWithUs, Org Dev Consultant 2012-2013; Third Sector Company, Licensed Interim Executive Director & Succession Planning Specialist 2014-present; Rosehedge/Multifaith Works, Executive Director 2013-2014

Relationship to Mental Health:

  • Individual with first-person experience of mental illness, Family member or direct support of someone with mental illness, Provider/mental health professional/employee in the field, Non-profit advocate

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, Banking/Trusts/Investments, Business/Nonprofit Administration, Business/Nonprofit Leadership , Financial Management/Accounting, Mental Health Service/Support, Philanthropy/Donor Cultivation

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

  • Corporate Responsibility, Lobbying, Philanthropy, Politics/Elected Officials

Candidate Leadership Style

The candidate indicated the following descriptors represent their leadership style:

  • Action-oriented, Decisive, Linear Thinker, Outcome-oriented, Risk Taker, Team Player

Candidate Narrative

The candidate indicated specific skill areas identified as high priority for the 2024-2025 Board where they excel and additional skill areas that would be an asset to the NAMI Board: 

Diversity: I am an out and proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as a member of a minority faith community. I have knowledge and experience with philanthropy and broad based philanthropy plans; I have experience with other federated models - NCJW, NARAL; as a nonprofit executive director for over 20 years I have extensive experience in all aspects of Philanthropy, as well as financial oversight for the organizations; I bring experience in HR management - hiring, supervision, and managing. I also bring my personal experience as both a Peer and a Family member/caregiver.

I bring to this position my 30+ years as a nonprofit professional, and the experience of being on the board for my first term of 3 years. NAMI is continuing implementation of NAMI10X, and if elected again I would bring continuity to the ongoing work being done.

I personally have helped advance the NAMI mission on the council by...
Since 2014, I have participated in monthly EDC calls, and attended the EDC Executive Committee for the past 3 years; assisting with agenda and meeting planning; and as the first elected EDC board representative, have represented the perspectives of the field from the professional nonprofit executive perspective. I helped plan and lead EDLE for 5+ years, and facilitated a broad range of sessions, all focused on growing our movement and capacity building. As the elected rep, I also have helped both NAs and NSOs navigate organizational issues within our federated model. Most personally, I bring my passion for our work.

I work well in coordination with other leaders to accomplish goals as evidenced by...
During the past 9 years, NAMI Washington has been invited by NAMI to participate in several national pilots, including the NAMI Alignment Project which explored how all 3 entities of our federated model could collaborate more effectively in the areas of direct mail, shared hotline platform and infrastructure, and NSO public policy support via Quorum. I have worked to build a collaborative NAMI Alliance in Washington with our 20 NAs. An example of collaboration is our 6 year grant, of $837,112 to expand NAMI Ending the Silence (ETS) with eight NAs. This funding allowed all NAs to hire ETS staff.

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