JFYF Speaker Series

As part of the 6 week Summer Fellowship program, Jared’s Fund offers a twice weekly Speaker Series with professionals in the field of mental health and also people with lived experience. We have been fortunate to have the people listed below as our speakers in the past.


Carly Quisenberry is one of the 1000 women leaders in science who is part of the groundbreaking Homeward Bound program to address climate change. Moving to Hawaii at the age of 20, Carly faced many challenges as a young woman in the science world and also battled her own personal issues with marriage, divorce, and serious health related problems. She had four different jobs post graduating and is now on a path to happiness with hopes to work in the park system.  (www.homewardboundprojects.com)


January Fonseca-Sabune, owner of the only woman-owned barber shop in Montclair, shares her story of recovering from addiction and finding her passion in barbering.  As a teenager and young adult in her early 20’s, January experienced a downward spiral as a result of drug and alcohol addiction and mental illness which was also a part of her family’s history.  When she was 24 she went to rehab to get sober for herself and her oldest son. From there she found her passion in the male dominated world of barbering and has entered barbering competitions bringing home trophies! January’s story of carving out her place in the barbering world will inspire you to trust yourself and define your own success. (www.januarysbarbershop.com

Entrepreneur, William Michael Barbee is the owner of six businesses, has written two books, and –despite never having formally studied film or theater—wrote, directed and produced the movie, “Beyond the Silence'' which was screened at the Cannes Film Festival in May of 2019.  His path wasn’t exactly smooth.  Barbee, born and raised in Newark, NJ, overcame trauma, violence and profound depression to make his dreams come true. (www.williammichaelbarbee.com

Andrea Smith-Morgan is an English teacher at MHS.  She is also the founder of the nonprofit Mindful Awareness Academy for Children (MAAC). Andrea will address the topic, What is mindfulness and how can it support and foster resilience in our lives? She will demonstrate simple mindfulness practices that can help improve attention and decision-making skills. Mindfulness will teach you how to handle difficult emotions and help you to combat anxiety and depression. (www.themaac.org

John MacPhee is the Executive Director for the JED Foundation based in New York City.  JED is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. They partner with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems. JED is equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. They encourage community awareness, understanding and action for young adult mental health. (www.jedfoundation.org

Robert Davison is the Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Association of Essex, Morris, Sussex and Passaic. For nearly 70 years, this organization has steadfastly committed to the core tenets that mental illness is real and, more importantly, that recovery is possible.  

The Mental Health Association of Essex, Morris, Passaic and Sussex first and foremost… above all and beyond all… is a service provider that is committed to compassionate, dignified and empowering treatment as we guide our society’s most vulnerable citizens along their individual paths to Wellness and Recovery. (www.mhaessexmorris.org).

Mary Giliberti is the Executive Vice President of Policy at Mental Health America.  Mary focuses on federal policy to promote prevention, early intervention, integration, and recovery.

Prior to joining MHA in 2019, she was the Chief Executive Officer of The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). She also has worked in the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services and as disability counsel to the United States Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee.  After graduating from Yale Law School, she clerked for Judge Phyllis Kravitch on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and received a Skadden Fellowship to work at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. 

Mary lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband and three children.  Her career has been very influenced by Rick Warren’s book, A Purpose Driven Life, and she is so grateful to work at an organization with such a powerful and important purpose.

Caren Howard currently serves as the Advocacy Manager for Mental Health America under the Vice President of Mental Health Systems and Advocacy, and she has 10 years experience in political campaigns and advocacy. 

As Advocacy Manager, Howard builds the MHA Regional Policy Council’s four yearly conference meetings, compiles resources and advises strategy to influence federal and state elected officials on a wide range of health care, education, and criminal justice policy issues, and facilitates relationship-building between MHA affiliates and their state and local elected officials through the Back Home Campaign. You may read some of her blog posts about mental health here: how the ACA repeal would hurt peopleadditional attempts to repeal the ACAtips to talk to legislators, and a little bit about the 2018 budget request.

Howard earned a B.A. in Political Science at Spelman College, the nation’s top-ranked Historically Black College and University for ten years. Howard continues leadership in the community as Board Chair of the African American Women on the Hill Network and Founder and Director of the Oakland Mills High School Alumni Program in Columbia, Maryland. It is very important to her that mental health promotion becomes a core foundation of our nation's health and education policy and programs.

Katie Donohue grew a passion to give back to the mental health community. She attended the University of Central Florida where she studied psychology and creative writing and began working for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Greater Orlando. She volunteered as a mental health professional and teacher residing in the third world country of Sri Lanka where she was able to pour into the mental health community overseas working in special needs homes and psychiatric hospitals.

Today she is a public speaker for NAMI Greater Orlando and has spoken on the local, statewide, and national level over the last three years speaking at events, conferences, CIT Trainings for police officers and first responders, as well as elementary, middle, high school, and college students about mental health, mental illness, suicide awareness, warning signs, and coping skills.

Katie continues to pursue her passion for mental health through her work as a behavioral health technician at a substance abuse and eating disorder hospital and current program study of a Master of Science degree in Mental Health Counseling from Palm Beach Atlantic University Orlando Campus. 

Sandra E. Timmons joined the Steve Fund as its Interim Executive Director in March 2020. The Steve Fund is the nation’s only organization focused on supporting the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color. The Steve Fund works with colleges and universities, nonprofits, researchers, mental health experts, families and young people to promote programs and strategies that build understanding and assistance for the mental and emotional health of the nation’s young people of color.
Sandra’s experience and interests are closely aligned with the Steve Fund’s mission and values. She has spent most of her career helping young people, many in underserved communities, gain access to opportunities that increase their educational achievement and success.   

Gwen Orlowski is the Executive Director for Disability Rights of New Jersey.
Ms. Orlowski was born and raised in New Jersey and graduated from Georgetown University with a BA in Government and from Rutgers School of Law with a JD. A recognized expert on Medicaid, Ms. Orlowski is an attorney who has extensive disability experience in front line individual advocacy as well as policy work and advocacy for systemic change. She has previously held positions as New Jersey’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman and Senior Staff Attorney with Justice in Aging. Her most recent position was as the Senior Staff Attorney for Central Jersey Legal Services where she represented clients in disability and health law matters. Ms. Orlowski is aware of the complicated, and sometimes overwhelming, challenges people face, especially when navigating the legal system. It is her mission to promote and defend the human, civil, and legal rights of people with disabilities."


Ken Zimmerman besides having the most important titles of Jackie’s “Husband” and “Father” to Jared, Brianna, and Gabe, Ken has had a long career (and continues to do so!) devoted to justice, equality, and fairness issues. He currently holds the position of Distinguished Fellow at The NYU Furman Center which is one of the preeminent research centers on housing, neighborhoods, and urban policy and also recently has been named as a Visiting Distinguished Fellow for the Jed Foundation.

Ken began his career litigating for the homeless and defending civil rights issues.  Whether it  was a trial attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice or the Founding Executive Director for the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice or Chief Counsel to  the then Governor of New Jersey, Jon Corzine, or part of the 9-person HUD agency transition team for President-Elect Obama, Ken has always been involved in many different kinds of public interest projects including civil rights lawsuits, assistance for urban high school graduates to enter the trades, affordable housing, racial and immigrant justice, and criminal justice reform to name a few.

Ken’s current position at the Jed Foundation as a Visiting Fellow will allow him to build an initiative to strengthen the multiple strands of efforts to transform our mental health system. Recognizing the fact that critical progressive objectives like criminal justice reform and the remaking of policy are so important during this time that we are living in, Ken hopes to build on his many years of experience of helping others and to emphasize that the remaking of our mental health system is intertwined with so many critical issues, including dismantling mass incarceration and redefining the role of the police.


Dr. Kenneth Rosenberg MD is an Addiction Psychiatry Specialist in New York, NY and has over 38 years of experience in the medical field. As part of our Speaker Series, the 2020 Fellows watched “Bedlam”, a documentary produced, directed, and written by Kenneth Paul Rosenberg, MD and then had a discussion following the film. The film masterfully weaves together the stories of patients and providers struggling in America’s strained mental health care system. Though much of the film takes place in Los Angeles, a city Dr Rosenberg considers the “canary in the coal mine,” Bedlam also follows mental health challenges in Dr Rosenberg’s family in Philadelphia.


Dr Elyn Saks, JD. PhD, is a legal scholar and mental health-policy advocate whose work and life story are expanding the options for those suffering from severe mental illness. Trained at Oxford in philosophy, at Yale in jurisprudence, and the New Center for Psychoanalysis in psychoanalytic science, Saks is recognized by mental health professionals and legal scholars alike as an important contributor to national debates on mental health policy.

She has played a major role in discussions of mental health law, patients’ rights, and multiple-personality disorder, including such issues as involuntary commitment, competency to be executed, proxy consent, and the right to refuse treatment. Her contributions and commitment to mental health law took on a personal dimension with the publication of her 2007 memoir, “The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness”, in which she made public for the first time her lifelong struggle with schizophrenia, including severe episodes of psychosis as well as experiences with misguided or harmful treatments. She has won numerous honors, including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship in 2009. As part of our Speaker Series, the 2020 Fellows read Dr. Saks’ book and then had a discussion with her after.