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Board Leadership

Board of Directors

Collyn Florendo, President: Collyn is the President of Bank of Colorado, a position he has held since December 2012. He has worked for Pinnacle Bancorp, the holding company of Bank of Colorado, since 1981. Collyn has a BS in Business Administration from Augustana College. He served as Board Chairman of the Crete (Nebraska) Area Medical Center from 1999-2012 and is currently an Advisory Board Member for the Downtown YMCA.
Leon Kelly, M.D. Leon Kelly, Vice President: Leon Kelly, M.D., is a board-certified forensic pathologist and the coroner and chief medical examiner of El Paso County. His statewide work as a medical expert has included service on the Child Fatality Prevention System State Review Team, and he co-founded the county’s Child Fatality Review Team to help lead local suicide prevention efforts. Dr. Kelly also teaches at UCCS.
Mary Ellen Benson, Secretary: Mary Ellen is the Vice President of Healthcare Innovation for AspenPointe. She has worked in the healthcare industry for the past 20 years in roles ranging from physical therapist to hospital CEO. Her passion for behavioral health and serving individuals with mental illness and their families drives her to find positive health outcomes resulting in wellness for all in our community.
Jill-Whitley-photo Jill Whitley, Treasurer: Jill is a partner with Gould, Whitley & Marshall, and has practiced law in Colorado Springs since 1985. She has a BSW from the University of Kansas and earned her JD from Washington University in St. Louis. She is former Program Chair and Section Chair of the El Paso County Bar Association Probate Section and a former Ecumenical Social Ministries board member.
Kathy Brandt: Kathy Brandt holds a BA in English, MA in Education, and taught writing at the University of Colorado. She is the author with her son, Max Maddox, of the award-winning memoir, Walks on the Margins, in which they narrate their battle with mental illness after Max was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1999. She is a vocal advocate for those with mental illness and their families.
John Hammond John Hammond: John is a deputy sheriff with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. Currently assigned to Patrol, John also serves on the office’s Crisis Negotiations Unit. He has completed Crisis Intervention Training and an FBI Hostage Negotiations Course, and is a Mental Health First Aid instructor. John has a BA in sociology and an MA in forensic psychology.
Julie Papa: Julie is a mother of three and an attorney with Gardner Law, P.C. where she concentrates her practice on estate planning, estate administration and business. She holds BSFS and JD degrees from Georgetown University and has served as parliamentarian of the board of the National Charity League Colorado Springs Chapter. Julie has also volunteered with Care and Share Food Bank, Junior Achievement and other local nonprofits.
Billie Ratliff: Billie is the director of behavioral health at Memorial Hospital UCH. A licensed clinical social worker, Billie has worked in the behavioral health realm for 37 years. In 2010, Billie helped restructure Memorial’s model for delivery of best-practice care to behavioral health patients in an acute medical setting. She is active on numerous committees related to helping people with behavioral health disorders.
Tyra Sandoval: Tyra’s lived in Colorado Springs since 1986. She’s the mother of four and a licensed real estate broker with RE/Max Properties, Inc. Prior to her real estate career, she was a fundraiser with Pikes Peak Hospice and The Alzheimer’s Association. Tyra’s been involved with many local non-profits, including New Born Hope, CS Fine Art Center, Early Childhood Connections, Children’s Literacy Center, Habitat for Humanity, District 12 PTO Board, and Junior League.
Laura Teachout: Laura recently returned to Colorado, where she had attended law school in the 1990s. Despite having lived with depression for nearly 25 years, she only learned about NAMI during the past two years. Now a Connections Support Group facilitator and In Our Own Voice presenter, Laura is passionate about destigmatizing mental illness and giving voice to those facing its challenges.
Susan Wheelan: Susan Wheelan, MBA, was appointed interim director of El Paso County Public Health in August 2018. In 3½ years as the agency’s deputy director, Susan oversaw Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, securing funding to implement youth suicide and youth substance use prevention efforts. A graduate of the Colorado Springs Leadership Institute, she has worked in public health for 18 years.
Dan Zarecky: Dan is the Chief Executive Officer at Peak View Behavioral Health. Dan has 24 years of experience in the residential treatment, corrections and behavioral health fields and has managed behavioral health facilities and served on numerous nonprofit and government boards. Dan holds a criminal justice degree from Gannon University and completed graduate counseling coursework at Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania.

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