NAMI Georgia Staff
Kim H. Jones
“As a person with a family member who has experienced issues in the area of mental health, I have a passion for the mission of NAMI Georgia to promote recovery and optimize the quality of life for Georgians affected by mental illness through support, education, advocacy, and research. The NAMI mission describes my life for the past two years, as I have worked to get my loved one the right doctors, medication, and therapy. I have personal experience and a passion for this job, in addition to experience and skills I believe will help the NAMI mission.” Read more about Kim.
Family Programs Coordinator
Jennifer Ayers-Moore is an alumni of Kent State University and National Louis University. She has a Bachelors degree in Behavioral Science. Ayers-Moore has many years of experience in teaching, counseling, program development, program management, and has taken the lead for many successful campaigns to support the homeless, hungry, children in foster care and continues to advocate for those who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, as well as their family’s. Her inspiration for being so active in this environment is her brother, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia while attending The Juilliard School of Music in New York. Jennifer has been introduced as a “Keynote” speaker for many events and has developed very valuable friendships from her travels that she cherishes. Ayers-Moore is an active blogger, continuing the discussion of mental illness and sharing her experiences, as a sibling and encouraging others to do the same.
Rachel Barber, MSSW
Rachel Barber joined NAMI Georgia in 2016 as the Walk Manager. Rachel supports NAMI Georgia in meeting its fundraising goals, including the management of NAMIWalks, grant proposal writing, corporate sponsorship as well communication/marketing activities. She has spent over a decade fundraising for a variety of non-profit organizations including Arlington Street People’s Assistance Network in Arlington, VA and Saint Louise House in Austin, TX. Originally from East Tennessee, Rachel received both her BA and MSSW from the University of Tennessee. She currently lives in Atlanta with her husband, Justin and daughter, Willa.
Children and Young Adult Programs Manager
Jennifer Cardenas joins the NAMI Georgia team as the Child and Young Adult Program Manager. She was born and raised in Atlanta, and is proud to call Georgia home. Jennifer holds a Master of Science in Conflict Management from Kennesaw State University and has spent over ten years as an advocate for children and young adults, and their families, to foster collaboration between home and school for individuals struggling with mental illness and learning differences. She has extensive experience working with schools, educational leadership, and State Legislators to promote awareness and support stakeholders by identifying programs dedicated to mental health and wellness. Jennifer is committed to eliminating the stigma surrounding mental illness, and she is excited to bring her experience and passion for collaborative advocacy, mental health, and education to NAMI Georgia.
Associate Director of Policy and Awareness
A native of Albany, Georgia, our new Associate Director of Policy and Awareness Elizabeth Fullerton, MPH, comes to NAMI Georgia with almost two decades of experience in public health, governmental affairs, communications and community development. An experienced team leader, she previously worked as a legislative analyst on healthcare and education initiatives with Nelson Mullins, LLP, promoted communications, advocacy and education with both the Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education and the Southeast AIDS Training and Education Center at Emory University and served as a Health Volunteer in Peace Corps Turkmenistan. In her role as Associate Director, she is responsible for initiatives and projects which will include organizing and engaging key stakeholders, including affiliates and civic leaders. She will also help create awareness and partnerships for NAMI Georgia to enhance the vision and mission of the organization, monitor and develop legislation and policy initiatives, work with volunteers and spearhead civic dinners across the state. When not advocating for better healthcare, Elizabeth loves to garden, paint and go explore with her dog, Kadi, and (occasionally) cat, Maxie. She also loves being an Auntie to her fraternal, three year old twin nieces and is a member of both the Kiwanis Club and the Junior League of Atlanta.
First Responder Program Coordinator
Office Manager and Volunteer Coordinator
Shamika Gooding, a native of Jacksonville, NC, graduated from Full Sail University with a B.S in Media Communications. She came to Atlanta in 2014 to master TV/Film/Audio Engineering at the University of Sound & Technology of Atlanta, graduating in 2017. Shamika joined NAMI Georgia in 2017 as the full-time Office Manager and Volunteer Coordinator. Shamika’s passion is to help children with a mental illness enhance their creativity and express themselves through music.
Affiliate Relations Manager
A native of Atlanta, Bonnie has returned to her hometown after fifteen years working in PR around the country. She spent most of the last decade in Nashville, where she left marketing to join NAMI Tennessee as Advocacy and Communications Manager. In that role, she shaped and promoted legislative priorities, and she launched the Tennessee Parity Project (TPP) with Sita Diehl, former NAMI Director of Policy & State Outreach. TPP is a coalition of behavioral health stakeholders from across the state which advocates for parity legislation and participates in parity education. The education module has now been adopted into the NAMI Smarts curriculum. She was also sponsorship coordinator for NAMI Tennessee’s Annual Conference and staff director of the annual Vision of Hope Awards Gala. In the wider behavioral health landscape, she also served on the Tennessee Pre-Arrest Diversion Coalition and on the Steering Committee of the Tennessee Coalition for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
Yvonne Newman joined NAMI Georgia in 2018 as the Finance Manager. She supports NAMI Georgia in meeting its financial goals, including the management of cash flow, general ledger, and annual budget as well as payroll and personnel maintenance. She has worked in many industries and has settled in the non-profit venue previously providing support for Angelwood, Inc and Presbyterian Social Ministries in Jacksonville, Florida. Originally from Marietta, Georgia, Yvonne received her BA in Business from Georgia Southern University.
Peer Programs Coordinator
Kenya Phillips, a native of Atlanta, GA; by way of Greenville, MS. She graduated Clark Atlanta University with a B.A. in Business Management, concentration in Marketing. She continued her studies at the Interdenominational Theological Center, Gammon Seminary, where she pursued a Dual Masters in Divinity and Christian Education. However, she is indeed a scholar; who is currently working on her Educational Doctorate in Pastoral Community Counseling at Argosy University. Although, she is a woman of many hats; her foundational block includes being a wife, mother, and poet who carries a smile of enthusiasm to those whom she considers close and dear to her heart. Many people who know her say that she never meets a stranger; for, out of her narrative is her passion, zeal, testament, and ability to advocate and assist other individuals who strive for recovery and wellness in the daily journey called life.
Maria Ramos, a native of Brewton, AL, graduated from the University of Montevallo with a B.A. in Psychology. After graduating, Maria committed to a year of national service through the AmeriCorps program. After AmeriCorps, Maria worked with Impact America, a nonprofit focusing on mitigating various disparities in low-income communities throughout the southeast. Currently, Maria serves as Program Manager with NAMI Georgia, and is passionate about providing much-needed mental health education, advocacy, support, and services while continuing her love for nonprofit work.
Children and Young Adult Programs Coordinator
Molly, a native of Douglasville, GA, graduated from the University of West Georgia with a B.A. in Psychology. After spending many years working in customer service, Molly joined the NAMI Georgia team in September of 2018 as the Children and Young Adult Coordinator. Molly incorporates her service experience, passion for helping others, and knowledge of psychology into her work as she helps to spread awareness about the importance of promoting education and advocacy for mental health.
Yuniko, a native of St. Thomas US Virgin Islands, and is a graduate of Wake Forest University in North Carolina. She got her start in higher education and was a coordinator for the Journal of Abnormal Psychology. Yuniko started at NAMI Georgia in August of 2017 and is no stranger to non profit work. Her work in non profits started at Westcare GA working with minority women with substance abuse and mental health conditions. In her free time, Yuniko enjoys spending time with her nephews, and is a master of all things food.
Kathleen Varda, MSW
Kathleen is not new to our organization as she previously worked with our team, authoring a 3- year Mental Health Awareness Training grant awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Prior to starting her own consulting firm in 2015, Kathleen Varda spent 9 years in community behavioral health at three of Georgia’s Community Service Boards. Over the past 12 years, Kathleen has worked with teams to bring in more than $65 million dollars in grants and contracts to provide programming, services and resources for persons with mental health, substance use disorders and intellectual/developmental disabilities, their families and their communities. Her skill set also includes strategic planning, board development, policy writing, advocacy, and program and community development.
Kristen Zychinski, PhD
Kristen began her career in Chicago as a sixth grade reading and language arts teacher before going on to start graduate school in clinical child psychology. During her time in Chicago, she worked in a variety of clinical settings and schools, providing mental health services and participating in research projects. She completed her doctoral program with a clinical internship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, working with children and families, and wrote her dissertation on the association between academic achievement and depression in Latino youth. Kristen lives in Marietta with her husband, two kids, and cat Hugo.