Meet Our Leadership

NAMI Brown County’s volunteer Board of Directors is comprised of a group of people who meet monthly giving of their time and talent. Each May, Directors are elected by NAMI members to provide strategic guidance in the fulfillment of NAMI’s three-point mission of advocacy, education and support.

Together and with input from members and volunteers, the Directors make policy to govern NAMI Brown County, set the budget, priorities and develop strategic plans to guide organizational development.

If you’re interested in participating on our Board or joining one of our many committees, we want to hear from you!

NAMI Brown County Leadership
NAMI Brown County Board of Directors, GALA 2018

NAMI Brown County Board of Directors 2021

Tracy Schiesser
May 2018 – Current
2015 – 2018 – Board Member
Pronouns: She/her/hers
  • I am a social worker and work for Family Services, NEW. I am a program manager of a CBRF that serves adults experiencing chronic mental illness challenges.
  • I began working with NAMI years ago and I am now the vice president. I enjoy meeting and working with so many wonderful people. I especially appreciate the enjoyment the CBRF residence get attending the picnic, walk, and the peer support groups.
  • I’m also in school obtaining my master’s degree! I have always had the desire and drive to help others.
  • I’m married and have two beautiful grandchildren. I love spending time with my family and friends.
Send Tracy an Email
Amy Helein
Vice President
May 2018 – Current
2013 – 2017 Joined the board and served as Vice President
Pronouns: She/her/hers
  • It is my goal that no one feels alone on this difficult journey which many of us or a loved one has experienced.
  • My adventure began when I started volunteering at NAMI Brown County as a way to help with the Crisis Intervention Team training in 2012. I began serving as the NAMI Brown County Board Vice President in approximately 2013.
  • As a counselor in our community, I work with individuals and families striving to improve their mental wellness
Send Amy an Email
Michelle Klika
February 2021 – Current Pronouns: She/her/hers
  • Mental health has always had a huge presence in my life. I have managed depression and anxiety since adolescence. In addition, I cope with ADHD and Tourettes. Altogether, that can be a wicked cocktail. There are days that I struggle and get tired of fighting and there are days that I feel like I could fight forever.
  • My dad was one of the strongest people I knew. For years and years, he fought his demons. On December 31st, 2019, my dad lost his fight and took his life. These days, as I remember my dad and make my way through this crazy thing called life, I try to remember to be kind to myself and others for even the strongest people need support.
  • After learning about the resources and support NAMI offers within our community, I didn’t think twice about joining the board. I may be new to NAMI, but I am passionate about our purpose. I want to make a difference and being a part of NAMI is the perfect way to do that. I want you (yes, you) to know that if you ever need anything – information, support, an ear to listen, or a shoulder to cry on – I am here. Please reach out. You are not alone.
Send Michelle an Email

Executive Committee

Mary Mason
1999 – Current
Pronouns: She/her/hers
  • I’m passionate about breaking stigma surrounding mental health! I taught Family to Family Classes for over 5 years.
  • I’m a nurse and have been a liaison at Bellin Behavioral Health while serving on the NAMI board.
  • I’ve enjoyed being a fundraiser for NAMI by partnering with other groups sponsoring softball tournaments and other community events. In addition, I’ve been a speaker at many community events including CIT classes.
Barb Gerarden
Co-Vice President
2006 – Current
Pronouns: She/her/hers
  • I’m retired from Green Bay Police Department where I served as the coordinator for our CCIT – Community Crisis Intervention Team and was a Behavioral Health Officer for the last 5 years. I remain the NAMI CCIT Liaison as we continue our work with local law enforcement to provide training in crisis response. NAMI’s pillars of education, support, and advocacy are the perfect platform to help make a difference and improve the quality of life for people living with mental illness. I love being part of this fun and passionate organization!
  • I’ve been a long time jail diversion advocate and worked hard towards decriminalizing people with serious mental illness while serving on the Brown County Mental Health Court Team.
  • Like one in four Americans, I have struggled with depression and anxiety since my youth, I am blessed to be a suicide survivor. I’m a strong advocate for wellness.

Members at Large

Cheryl Passel
May 2022-Present
Pronouns; She/her/hers
  • I have worked as an Associate Professor in Nursing at Marian University for over 15 years. I teach undergraduate students mental health nursing in the classroom and in the clinical setting.
  • I graduated with a PhD in Leadership Studies from Marian University, a MSN in nursing education from Bellin College, and a BSN in nursing from Florida Atlantic University. I am a board certified, advanced holistic nurse (AHN-BC).
  • Mental health and wellness has always been my passion. I strive to bring awareness and education to the community/nursing students about mental illness to help fight the stigma. I have been involved with NAMI for over 12 years.
  • I am a certified yoga instructor (RYT 200) and integrate mind, body, spiritual, practices into my daily life.
Megan Kamps
February 2019 – Current
Pronouns: She/her/hers
  • I joined the NAMI board after going through a family tragedy. In April 2018 my brother lost a long/hard fight with mental illness and took his own life. During the grieving process I needed to do what I could to try and help others. I knew it would make my brother proud and also be very therapeutic for me.
  • I’ve enjoyed being part of the NAMI Walk with my team “Peace Love Be Hippy”. I received a great amount of support and that’s what inspired me to become part of NAMI. I have made it my goal to help remove some of the stigma that is associated with mental illness. Peace Love Be Hippy!
  • I’ve served as the raffle coordinator for several NAMI sponsored events.
Eric Arnesen
May 2019 – Current
Pronouns: He/him/his
  • I retired last year after almost 20 years in the mental health field in New Jersey. In NJ, I co-facilitated a weekly family support group and served on The Board for a newly formed NAMI affiliate.
  • Since moving to Green Bay, I’ve volunteered for NAMI of Brown County, for The Aging and Disability Resource Center in Green Bay, for the Brown County Coalition for Suicide Prevention, and for the Advocacy Coalition.
  • I’ve been happy to represent our local affiliate at several community meetings and coalitions and am an advocate for positive change.
Heather Burzynski
Oct 2020 – Current
Pronouns: She/her/hers
  • Heather is currently employed with Brown County HHS and is the first and only clinician in the area working with law enforcement. Heather responds out to crisis/mental health calls with Green Bay Police Department’s two Behavioral Health Officers and is able to provide immediate assistance. Heather is also is a volunteer clinician on the Brown County Coalition for Suicide Prevention’s LOSS team.
  • I wanted to join NAMI to help end the stigma that often comes along with mental health. I promote NAMI’s mission of advocacy, education, and support in every way I can and I am extremely passionate about mental health and giving a voice to those who do not feel like they have one.
  • Heather has her master’s degree in clinical social work and also a degree in substance abuse counseling. She has experience in corrections, working with individuals with PTSD, crisis, and has also worked in a group home with adolescent males.
  • In my free time, I like to hang out with my two dogs, spend time with family and friends, go hiking, read, and travel to as many places that I can!
Hanna Mertens
March 2022 – Current
Pronouns: She/her/hers
  • I was diagnosed with major depression and generalized anxiety in 2018 during my sophomore year of college I’ve continued to work on my recovery.
  • I graduated from UWGB with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. I was in the Psi Chi International Honor Society, Cheerleading, Kappa Beta Gamma Sorority, & Student Government.
  • I work with children on the Autism Spectrum.
  • I took a mental health first aid class which brought me to NAMI as a way to give back & connect with the community.
  • My platform for the Miss Wisconsin competition is on Mental Health. I’m proud to be Miss Green Bay this year and want to help others find wellness.
  • I manage our NAMI Twitter Account.
Kari Bassett
March 2022 – Current
Pronouns: She/her/hers
  • I am a passionate social worker and therapist. I currently work at Rawhide Outpatient Clinic in Green Bay, providing therapy to people of all ages.
  • I obtained my Master’s Degree in Social Work with an emphasis in Mental Health and Crisis Management from University of Wisconsin – Green Bay.
  • Mental health wellness and awareness has always been a passion for me. It’s important to me to give back to my community and help fight to end the stigma surrounding mental health.
Caryn Forrest
September 2022 – Current
Pronouns: She/her/hers
  • I am a Care Manager with Lakeland Care Inc. serving adults that have been diagnosed with a development disability, physical disability, or are frail elders. Several of my members have also been diagnosed with a mental illness. My lifelong goal has been to serve others, advocate for positive change, and ensure individuals have the services they need and are entitled to.
  • I have been involved with NAMI for 8 years as one of my adult children was diagnosed with a mental illness. My husband and I attend the monthly support group, I am a co-leader of that support group, and am on the NAMI State Public Policy and Advocacy Committee as well.
  • I am married and we have four adult children and four grandchildren. We love to spend time with our family, go motorcycling, and go camping.