Gena Terlizzi, new executive director for Missouri National Alliance on Mental Illness, has come full circle in her passion for working on mental health issues.
Terlizzi said her interest in mental health issues stems from her time working as a volunteer in the nonprofit world aas a young person.
"NAMI is an important resource for people living with mental illnesses, not only for those living in Central Missouri, but those living across the state," Terlizzi said. "Our overall mission is to reduce the stigma for those living with mental illnesses, and we're constantly working to achieve that goal."
Terlizzi comes to NAMI from the State Auditor's Office, where she served as director of communications.
She has also held leadership positions for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and Missouri Department of Natural Resources.
She replaces Cindi Keele, who led the chapter for more than two decades.
NAMI board President Les Joselyn said in a news release they wanted individuals with mental illness and their loved ones to know they selected a strong candidate.
"Her professionalism, compassion and optimism, plus a proven track record of successful organizing and management experiences will serve our organization well as we continue to focus on providing service in this sensitive and high-need area," Joselyn said.
Terlizzi said her first priority in her new role is to increase communication outreach to the people NAMI serves across the state.