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Board Leadership

NAMI-Charlotte Leadership

Our group works to be a wealth of information to consumers, family members, and friends and relatives of those dealing with the day-to-day issues of living with a mental health condition.

2017-2018 Board of Directors:

Vice President: Donald Tyson
* NAMI member since 2011
* Active on the board since 2014
* Currently vice president ( 2017)
* Enrolled in and completed the family to family course 2012
* Completed the teacher training and certified to lead the Family to Family course 2013
* Have led over 100 people in 5 Family to Family class rooms over 3 years (150 hrs.)
* Created a special monthly support group for those people who have successfully completed the family to family course.
* Active in creating and organizing fund raisers and community events that bring NAMI into the greater community of Charlotte: i.e. our annual picnic and our Community Art exhibition fund raiser.
* Active in promoting NAMI-Charlotte and enrolling people in membership.
* Dedicated to helping those with mental illness and their family members in becoming educated about mental illness and receiving the help they so deserve – without stigma.
* Currently retired after being self employed for 40 years in remodeling, renovations, and real estate investment.
* Has a wife of 41 years and two sons, one of whom has bipolar illness.
* Now lives on a horse farm in west Mecklenburg.

Treasurer: Larry Clark
Larry Clark has extensive experience in corporate Accounting and Tax, including over 10 years as owner of his accounting firm Larry A. Clark, CPA, PLLC. He has deep skills in budgeting, cash management, internal controls, fixed assets, job costing, intercompany accounting and taxes. His strengths include leadership, communication, teamwork, organization, analysis and problem solving, especially in turnaround and startup situations.

He is the owner of Larry A. Clark CPA, where he and his wife, Patti, also a CPA, provide individuals and small to medium sized businesses in the greater Charlotte area with accounting and income tax solutions.

Mr. Clark is also currently Director and CFO for CBI Fire & Security; as well a principal in Optima Turnaround Partners. He has held other CFO and Controller level positions with companies such as LVA Technologies, Sharon Luggage and Gifts, HMSHost, SafeGuard Security, and Southern Engineering. He started his professional career performing Internal Audits with Belk Stores Services and then moved into Belk’s IT Division as Systems Development Manager. Mr. Clark graduated from UNC Chapel Hill and is a certified public accountant in North Carolina. He is a member of both the American Institute of CPAs and the North Carolina Association of CPAs.

Not-for-Profits are a particular passion with Mr. Clark, who has volunteered as board member, treasurer, finance committee member and other capacities. Some of the current organizations with which Larry works include the Charlotte Chapter of NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness), Youth Meditation, In the Spirit of Ujima and the Family Afterward Foundation. Others have included Crisis Assistance Ministry, Matthews Playhouse, religious and civic organizations, homeowner associations, and organizations specifically targeting homelessness, women’s and children’s issues, as well as addictions and other mental illnesses. His company sponsors the annual Charlotte Run for Peace.

Secretary: Carolyn Robinson
With ten years of teaching experience in the primary grades, Carolyn brings expertise in assisting children with their educational, developmental, and organizational skills. She served as president of the Riverton, NJ Teachers Association for two years.

Carolyn also has 35 years of business experience as secretary and administrative assistant. Notable is Carolyn’s position as secretary for the HR department at Carolinas HealthCare System. The HR staff honored her, for having the “Best Commitment to HR.” Since retiring, Carolyn continues to volunteer at her church and with NAMI.

Carolyn first became acquainted with AMI (Alliance for Mental Illness} in 1989, while living in Cleveland, Ohio. She sought help in dealing with family circumstances and learned about AMI’s support groups and education programs for families dealing with the challenges of mental health conditions.

Carolyn located an affiliate in Charlotte after moving there in 1991. The affiliate became known as NAMI-Charlotte in 2007 (National Alliance on Mental Illness). She was elected to the NAMI-Charlotte Board of Directors in 1992 and has been a Board member since that time.

She served as co-president in 1993-1994 and as president from 1995-1997. Since 2000 she has served as Secretary of the NAMI-Charlotte affiliate and has enjoyed being a part of NAMI’s program, “Providence Place,” where mental health consumers and their family and friends can gather together for a time of socialization and cultural enrichment.

Board Member: Matthew Rossi
Certified through both NAMI Connections and InnerVision as a Peer Coach Specialist, Matt has been active in the NAMI Community for over 10 years. Notable is his involvement as Director of the newly formulated Consumer Council and facilitator of the Food, Fun, and Fellowship program at St. John’s. As an advocate and consumer, Matt brings a unique perspective to the Board as the voice of the consumer.

Board Member: Linda Vigen Phillips
Author Linda Vigen Phillips is passionate about poetry and better mental health, culminating in her YA verse novel, Crazy (Eerdmans/2014), a semi-autobiographical account of growing up with a mother with bipolar disorder. It was named a notable Social Studies Trade Book, listed as one of the NY Public Library’s Best Books for teens, and one of Bank Street College of Education’s best children’s books of the year, among other accolades. Linda offers a practical opportunity to deal with mental health issues through “Writing from the Heart” workshops that employ bibliotherapy, using fictional books, writing and open dialogue in a therapeutic way. Linda has used her book and speaking skills to address better mental health at many schools, churches, writing conferences, and civic organizations across the United States over the past three years.

Most recently she has co-facilitated a drop-in center at Providence United Methodist Church, where mental health consumers and their family members have an opportunity to gather once a month for a meal, social interaction, and cultural enrichment.

In addition to her writing career, Linda is a retired teacher, having taught middle school students in the public schools as well as those with learning disabilities at both the John Crosland School and the Fletcher School in Charlotte. She has taught writing courses at Queens College and online, and works as a mentor to writers through SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.)

Board Member: Gisela Kluge
Gisela Kluge has been dedicated to mental health advocacy since 1966 when her ten-year- old son, Carl, was diagnosed with mental illness. At that time, the family lived in New Jersey and there were limited support programs.

After she and her family moved to Sarasota, FL Gisela became involved with AMI, the precursor to NAMI, serving on the board from 1984-1994. During that time, she received an award for outstanding service as “Membership Committee
Chairwoman.”

When the family moved to Matthews, NC Gisela helped found St. Luke’s Drop-in Center for the mentally ill, and she served as a team leader for twelve years, from 1994-2006.

In 1995, Gisela was elected to the NAMI-Charlotte board where she served as treasurer for seven years. She continues to answer the Help Line, through which she offers support and provides information about NAMI programs and mental health resources.

Gisela has been a strategic volunteer at NAMI-Charlotte’s newest program, “Providence Place,” a monthly drop-in center that provides consumers and their families with a meal, social interaction and cultural enrichment. Notably Gisela and her husband, Walter, have worked tirelessly side-by- side to further the cause of better mental health for fifty-one years.

Board Member: Zachary Harris
Zachary Harris is a proud native Charlottean and a UNC Charlotte Alumni. He makes his living in Real Estate, but devotes much of his free time to serving the Charlotte community through nonprofit work. He volunteers his time and talents to nonprofit organizations that serve persons who are truly in need or crisis. He is the caretaker of a grandparent who has lived with mental health challenges for over 50 years. He knows how important engaged family members are during and after a mental health crisis. Unfortunately many consumers lack such family support. NAMI is an organization that tries to fill in this gap through ardent advocacy for persons living with mental health challenges. There is no organization better than NAMI-Charlotte to invest both time and resources. We have no paid staff and little expenses thus much of what we do goes directly to those living with mental health challenges. Zachary’s goal is for NAMI-Charlotte’s advocacy to become more salient in the Charlotte community so that more consumers know that they are not alone.

Board Member: Dr. Robert L. Cox
Dr. Cox is married to Beatrice A. Cox, a retired educator and they are the parents of two adult daughters, Melanie Pratt of Charlotte and Vera Moore of Fort Washington, Maryland.

Dr. Cox joined NAMI-Charlotte after retiring as a public school administrator and teacher of 46 years. His educational career spans three states: Virginia, Washington, and North Carolina. His life has been rich with opportunities for serving others in paid and volunteer positions. His knowledge of and interactions with the public schools of Charlotte led him to assume the position as Coordinator of the Parents and Teachers as Allies program of NAMI-Charlotte. The Parents and Teachers as Allies program, one of NAMI’s signature programs, is designed to provide educational personnel with knowledge and the tools to facilitate the formation of an alliance with parents to help address mental health challenges in school-age children. His passion for working with youth outside of his job as an educator led him to serve on the Board of Directors of the Central Area Youth Association in Seattle, Washington for 18 years prior to his moving to North Carolina. That organization provided tutoring, social, and athletic outlets for children in Seattle’s Central District.. Dr. Cox also serves as Vice President of the Board of Directors of the North Carolina High Schools for Accelerated Learning (NCHSAL). NCHSAL sponsors two high school programs, Commonwealth High School and Stewart Creek High School, for students who have dropped out of high school or are in danger of not graduating with their cohorts.

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