The nonprofit Mental Wellness Center is adding two new directors to its leadership team, CEO Annmarie Cameron has announced.
Liat Wasserman, director of development and communications; and Gabriela Dodson, director of wellness and recovery programs, round out a group of four directors led by Cameron, charting a course aimed at broadening awareness and programming for the organization in service to county residents.
Wasserman comes to Mental Wellness Center after a career in public relations, several years as a grant writer, and most recently, development and communications director at Unity Shoppe.
She brings strategic thinking, communications, event planning, and donor relations experience to her work with all groups, including clients, foundations, corporate and private donors, and other supporters.
Wasserman has served on committees and boards for local causes: education, cross-cultural communication, religious and ethnic diversity, and event branding.
“I’m honored to join this team, for so many reasons,” she said. “As we have for 75 years, Mental Wellness Center continues to provide well-regarded programs and services in support of people who live with mental health challenges, but now we’re also responding to our community’s heightened awareness of the pervasiveness of mental health-related issues and meeting their needs by expanding our offerings with even more support services, programming, and education.”
Dodson is positioned to build on her 25 years of professional experience, most recently at Family Service Agency, where she was responsible for developing holistic defense teams with the Public Defenders office, serving people experiencing homelessness and mental illness.
Prior to that, she served as director of clinical services for 12 years at Hospice of Santa Barbara.
“It’s exciting to be able to move the needle and grow programmatically by collaborating with such a strong foundation of community and volunteer support and the committed energy of our partner, NAMI [National Association on Mental Illness],” she said.
“I’m excited to lead the Community Wellness Program in its growth over the next year and offer more mental wellness and recovery programming and engaging educational opportunities to our entire community, notwithstanding their age, income, or cultural background,” Dodson said.
“I’m thrilled to welcome the talents and skills of Liat and Gabriela to Mental Wellness Center,” Cameron said. “At long last, as a community, we’re okay with giving voice to the profound mental, emotional, and social toll that’s being experienced by so many in our society.
“We want it known that we are a resource ready to build on the momentum created by our rich history and to evolve our service response to today’s clients who live in a fast-changing environment.”
Mental Wellness Center provides mental health education to local students; a residential services program that provides a home to 100-plus community members at seven residential sites, and serves individuals and families impacted by mental illness through support groups, and social connection programs like the Fellowship Club of Santa Barbara; an onsite social day club; and the Community Wellness Club offering resources for those working on their mental health and wellness.