Judy Gardner, Executive Director of NAMI Washtenaw CountyJudy Gardner
Executive Director

Judy Gardner grew up in Detroit, Michigan and graduated from the University of Michigan – Dearborn with a Bachelor’s degree in Education, with a specialized certificate in Training Design and Development. After spending seven years working in the Washington D.C. area her passion for nonprofit work was ignited; which has led to her over 25 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Previous to becoming the Executive Director of NAMI Washtenaw County, Judy served as Secretary on the board of Community Action Network working to build a community center and foster youth empowerment initiatives as a part of the Bryant Community Network outreach. Inspired by her own experience as a caregiver for a loved one with a serious mental health condition, she prides herself on championing inclusivity by building environments where differences are celebrated. 

Under her tenure at NAMI Washtenaw County, Judy has continued her work on inclusivity by spearheading community initiatives that improve mental health care for those facing increased barriers to access. Most recently, her work with NAMI has contributed to a Congressional Commendation adopted by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell recognizing NAMI Washtenaw County’s continued dedication and championing of mental health causes.


Penny Acosta
Family Education Coordinator

Penney has been a contributing member of NAMI for the past 12 years and remains active as the main contact person for Family to Family programming since 2008.She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and has previously retired from General Motors. Her passions include all things art, traveling and the great outdoors. She serves in support of her son who lives with Bipolar Disorder.

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Maria Alfonso
Program Manager

As our newest member of staff, Maria brings her work experience in nonprofit tech startup and a B.A. in International Affairs from Vesalius College (Brussels, Belgium). She works to reduce the stigma associated with mental health condition by crafting the NAMI Washtenaw branding. Under her responsibilities is the new website, public outreach and grant writing.

barb staff pic editBarb Higman
Office Manager

Having lived with mental health challenges since she was 8 years old, Barb has a Master’s degree in Speech and Language Pathology and is committed to the NAMI mission to improve the lives of people affected by a mental health condition through support, education and advocacy. Her years of service with NAMI have made her into an expert on the history of our organization in Washtenaw County. If you call the NAMI Washtenaw office (734-994-6611) you will most likely speak with Barb.


Alayna Manzanares
Peer-to-Peer Resource Coordinator

Alayna has been the Peer-to-peer Resource Coordinator since March 2015. She procures and transports supplies and food, along with set up and clean up for the P2P classes. She also records information for P2P program coordinators. She enjoys working for NAMI not only because of the responsibilities, but also supporting the P2P program to provide knowledge, support and advocacy for those who take our classes.

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Pat Doyle
Volunteer Coordinator

Patricia Doyle and her husband Jim live in support of a loved one with a brain disorder. She is a retired dental hygienist  who became involved with NAMI after she and her husband took the 12 week Family to Family education class. She is presently volunteer coordinator and facilitates and is a state trainer for Family to Family. She enjoys traveling, entertaining family and friends , reading and gardening.