Welcoming 2024: Growth and Opportunity

Message from Erin R. Ryan

During the first meetings of this new year, we have mapped out plans to expand our efforts and reflected on how our affiliate has grown leaps and bounds. Our commitment to serve the needs of our community has meant expanding our efforts over the last few years—and 2023 was a growth-spurt year for us! To accommodate the needs of community members impacted by mental health conditions, we have grown our team and expanded our offerings. I am proud of our team members for showing up every day, whether it’s answering warm line phones, facilitating support groups, speaking to students, teaching classes, connecting with community members at local events, or helping to plan and run community events.

As our affiliate has grown and evolved, we have recognized that supporting our community means more than maintaining our commitment and this has led us to work behind the scenes on ensuring our growth and stability. After careful consideration and strategic planning, our board has decided to embrace a change that reflects our organization’s growth, vision, and commitment to excellence and they have appointed me as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NAMI WLA. This change in title reflects our collective efforts to elevate our organization to new heights and reinforces our dedication to leadership. I want to express my gratitude to the board for this commitment; our shared journey continues, and I am excited about the possibilities that lie ahead for NAMI WLA.

As CEO, I am committed to fostering a culture of collaboration, innovation, and inclusivity—and I have a renewed commitment to our mission and values. To meet the growing needs of our community, we must continue to innovate and expand with a clear vision and resolve. As I step into this expanded role, I am reflecting on those who have provided me with inspiration. Our collaborations and partnerships with fellow leaders at the local, state, and national levels motivate and inspire me every day. This last year provided us with more opportunities to work closely with NAMI California and fellow affiliates, as well as local elected leaders and NAMI National.

Leadership at all levels is necessary for us to thrive and I am proud of our efforts to foster leadership within our growing organization. Our team members continue to rise to the challenge of supporting our community. See below for news of our programs, including our expanded internship program.

While we have our eyes on the future, we also look back to honor our past and learn from the leaders who came before us. While doing some research into our affiliate’s history, we discovered that local trailblazers planted the seed to form our affiliate in 1978 as the Advocates for Mentally Ill and then officially as NAMI LA in 1984—which means that this year will mark 40 years of helping our community! More on this in the coming months, as we will be marking this milestone with you. Together, we will continue to build on our accomplishments and reach new milestones.