Lay-240.jpg Ray Charles Lay
Nominated by NAMI Indiana

Member, NAMI Greater Indianapolis (IN)
Listen to Ray's Candidate Speech

Job Title or Position:

  • CEO SMI Enterprises LLC Indiana Certified Peer Support Professional

NAMI Leadership Experience:

  • NAMI National Board of Directors, 2021-2024
  • NAMI Indiana Board, 2015-current

NAMI Program Leader Experience:

  • NAMI In Our Own Voice, NAMI Sharing Your Story with Law Enforcement

Additional NAMI Involvement:

  • I am involved with Overlooked. Sharing my story.

Board Experience

  • Indiana Balance of State; Continuum of Care 2013-2020, Marion County Continuum of Care, 2017-2023, Corporation for Supportive Housing, 2024-current

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

Candidate Strengths Assessment

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

  • Advocacy, Business/Nonprofit Leadership, Criminal Justice, Mental Health Service/Support, Program Research/Evaluation, Research/Academia

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

  • Criminal Justice, Military/Veterans

Candidate Leadership Style

The candidate indicated the following descriptors represent their leadership style:

  • Action-oriented, Data Driven, Decisive, Innovator, Outcome-oriented, Peacemaker, Process Thinker, 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: 

The skill area I excel at is I am a person of color that has lived with schizophrenia spectrum disorder for over 60 years. I come from a state that is 86% Caucasian. I have an abundant amount of experience with the criminal justice system and now train police and correctional officers on mental health issues, despite serving 7 years in prison.

I spent over ten (10) years homeless, but I am now a home and business owner and a member of the Board of Directors with the Corporation for Supportive Housing, a national nonprofit helping train nonprofits to house others. I am open with the particulars of my journey in hopes that others will seek treatment and go after any and all resources to help to live a better life; despite a mental health condition.

I personally have helped advance the NAMI mission in my community by...
I personally have helped by sharing my story and helping others seek and get the treatment needed to improve their own life. By sharing my story with law enforcement officers, many have told me that they now believe that a person can learn how to live well with a mental health condition.

I work well in coordination with other leaders to accomplish goals as evidenced by...
I must work well with others as I am a thirteen (13) year Peer Support Specialist and trainer and I have trained police and correctional officers on mental health issues for over ten (10) years. I have and do work with the VA, NIH, NIMH and others on mental health issues.

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