Peer Leadership Council

Peer Leadership Council

The NAMI Wisconsin Peer Leadership Council was created in 2003 with the support of the NAMI Wisconsin Board of Directors and the staff of NAMI Wisconsin. The NAMI Wisconsin Peer Leadership Council is a committee of the NAMI Wisconsin Board of Directors, providing meaningful input to the NAMI Wisconsin community.

The members of the NAMI Wisconsin Peer Leadership Council are dedicated to the mission and goals that have been developed since its inception.

One goal of the NAMI Wisconsin Peer Leadership Council is leadership development. As the Peer Leadership Council begins to create a vision for itself, and implement plans of action, members of the Council learn how to exercise supportive leadership and consensus-building techniques.

The NAMI Wisconsin Peer Leadership Council enhances NAMI Wisconsin's efforts toward supporting Recovery and creating meaningful participation for all NAMI Wisconsin consumers.

We ask all members of NAMI Wisconsin to support the ongoing efforts of the NAMI Wisconsin Peer Leadership Council.

With Special Thanks to Our

NAMI Wisconsin Peer Leadership Council Members

Chris Keenan, Chair
Chrissy Barnard, Co-chair
Adam Malueg
Amy Mattson
Brian Koszala
Carin O'Rourke
Chrisanna Manders
Christopher Finnell
Sandy Shields

*We are currently recruiting council members. Please contact us to learn more!

Jean DeDie
I discovered NAMI when I began to get my life back. NAMI played an extremely important role in my recovery. The Peer Leadership Council was a way to not only give back to NAMI but also to make sure that our voices, as consumers, are heard!
— Jean DeDie

NAMI WISCONSIN Peer Leadership Council Members

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Chris Keenan has been active with NAMI Wisconsin and his local affiliate, NAMI Dane, since 2014. He fills several roles including a person with lived experience, family member of persons with lived experience, board member of NAMI Wisconsin, chair of the NAMI Wisconsin Peer Leadership Council, and co-chair of the Program Review and Quality Enhancement Committee of the Recovery Implementation Task Force. Chris also works as a full-time data analyst and program evaluation specialist for Wisconsin’s public mental healthcare system. When he’s not in the office or volunteering, he enjoys rock climbing and downhill skiing.

Chris appreciates NAMI because of its family support group that was crucial to keeping his head above water during difficult times with his and his family members' mental health conditions. In addition, NAMI has provided him with many opportunities advocate for the best care possible for people living with brain disorders, and tell his family’s story so that others my feel empowered by their own. 


Are you interested in making a difference in the lives of mental health consumers? We currently have NWPLC vacancies available! Please contact NAMI Wisconsin for more information.

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My name is Chrissy, and I was first introduced to NAMI about 9 years ago when I attended some Peer Support Group meetings prior to my road to recovery. My recovery was a long and challenging process with somewhere around 33 hospitalizations including a stay at Winnebago from January to May in 2008. During that stay, I lost my pets, friends, control of my finances and health care decisions, my home, eventually my job and my sense of self. However, it was during that stay that I received some assessments and diagnosis of bipolar, PTSD, anxiety, and borderline personality. Eventually, I moved back to my home area in Superior, Wisconsin and started DBT. DBT gave me the skills I needed to take my life back.

I was on the steering committee to start NAMI Douglas County Wisconsin, and I am currently on the Board of Directors. I also work full-time, and purchased my first house, have a cat and a dog named Roxy, I teach 3 community education classes a month, led the NAMI Douglas County Peer Support Groups, go to church regularly, am a member of the Recovery Implementation Task Force committee, attended Peer Specialist Training in August 2018,  am an active member of the NAMI Wisconsin Peer Leadership Council, and most of all I am happily enjoying life. 



Hi, everyone! My name is Chrisanna Manders, and I am the Associate Director at NAMI Wisconsin. In this role I provide consultation, support, and technical assistance to our local affiliates and Crisis Intervention Teams around the state.

Regarding my familiarity with mental illness, I have an in-depth family history and personal understanding that drives me to be part of the Peer Leadership Council and work alongside the mission of NAMI Wisconsin. More than anything, I want those who feels lost in their journey with mental illness - whether personally and/or alongside a loved one - to find comfort and empowerment knowing they have NAMI and the Peer Leadership Council for them to find a home within. All health begins with mental health, and we are all in this together to bring dawn to the darkness that is at times mental illness.