Our board of directors team is a "working board", as each member is actively engaged with our signature programs. Besides our time, we each financially contribute to NAMI Jacksonville.
Tara Wildes - President
Tara Wildes worked for over 30 years throughout the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, primarily in the correctional environment. She retired in 2016 with the appointed rank of Director of the Department of Corrections, managing three correctional facilities and the Jacksonville Reentry Center, with over 3400 incarcerated persons, 800 employees and a budget of over 90 million dollars. She is certified by the state of Florida in both corrections and law enforcement, and as an instructor by the Criminal Justice Standards and Training Commission of Florida. Tara is currently employed as a consultant on corrections issues with Wildes Investigations, LLC and as an adjunct instructor with Florida State College at Jacksonville. She also serves on the boards of Disability Rights Florida and StopTB USA, representing the rights of the incarcerated population and is an advocate for criminal justice and mental health reform.
Tory Wilcox - Vice President
Tory Wilcox, LMHC, MBA joined the Board in early 2017 and is the Assistant Director of Behavioral Health at Sulzbacher Center’s FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center), where she has worked for over 9 years. She previously gained 20 years of progressive management experience in financial services, ending as a Senior Vice President at Bank of America. Tory became involved with NAMI in 2014, and has hosted the Peer to Peer class several times. Tory has a passion for helping others improve their quality of life through her counseling work, and outside of work enjoys her two sons, golden doodle, and the outdoors.
Ming Chan - Treasurer
Ming is retired as laboratory director from the Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Public Health Laboratories in Jacksonville. He joined NAMI membership in 2008 and has served in the NAMI board since 2012.
Ebony Benjamin - Secretary
Ebony is a Graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelors and Masters degree in Social Work. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with 20 years of experience working in the mental health field, and is currently the Program Coordinator for the Jacksonville Mental Health Intensive Case Management program of the North Florida South Georgia Veteran’s Health System. Ebony is also a past-President of NAMI Jacksonville.
Norma has been a member of NAMI Jacksonville for 11 years and served as Education/Program Chairman for five years. She has worked toward implementing and maintaining additional programs for education and support that we now offer to the community, has taught the Family to Family course for 10 years, and created a manual for our Helpline Team. In 2015, Norma and her husband, Hayes, accepted Mental Health America’s Agency of the Year Award on behalf of the NAMI Jacksonville membership.
John is from St. Louis, Missouri. He practiced real estate and land use law in Jacksonville for 32 years before joining the Hutson Companies as vice president of real estate operations in 2013. He and his wife Joyce have three sons and two granddaughters. They joined NAMI in 2012 after taking the Family to Family course.
Dr. Colleen Bell
Dr. Colleen Bell, a Board Certified Psychiatrist, has dedicated her career to working with the underserved. She completed a fellowship for Community Psychiatry in at the Center for Public Service Psychiatry in Pittsburgh, PA. She is the Medical Director of Behavioral Health at the IM Sulzbacher Center in Jacksonville, where she manages a diverse staff in terms of licensure, is engaged in homeless outreach as well as clinic visits, and administrative functions that includes growth and development of psychiatric programs and services.
Phil Pitts is a passionate advocate for those diagnosed with a mental health condition. He works extensively with our mental health community by helping others through recovery by sharing lived experiences. His current focus is in two areas - helping to establish a Peer Recovery Center in Jacksonville and lobbying for mental health reform. His vision is a Peer Respite Home once the Peer Recovery Center is operational and proves to be effective. Phil has an MBA from Florida State University and has lived in Jacksonville for over 25 years with his wife and four children.
Toni is currently the Physician & Provider Relations Director of the Mental Health Division for Memorial Hospital of Jacksonville. She earned her Bachelor of Science at Voorhees College, and her M.Ed. at the University of Phoenix.
Jerry Weedon has practiced law with Marks Gray since 1976. He is a member of the Jacksonville Bar Association, The Florida Bar, the American Bar Association, and the Florida Defense Lawyers Association, where he served as a member of its Board of Directors from 1995-2002 and as President of the organization from 2000-2001. Mr. Weedon was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Board of Trustees of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in 2007 and reappointed by Governor Charlie Crist in 2009. He has served on numerous Boards of Directors to include the Ronald McDonald House. Mr. Weedon has been named a Best Lawyer by U.S. News & World Report and one of Florida magazine’s Super Lawyers® consecutively since 2006. He attended the University of Florida where he received his J.D., with honors in 1976. Mr. Weedon is a Distinguished Naval Graduate from the Naval O.C.S. He served as a U.S. Navy Aviation Intelligence Officer from 1971 to 1974 and as an active reservist in the U.S. Navy Reserve until 1996.
Theresa Larsen graduated from Florida State University with a degree in elementary education and a minor in psychology. She taught school in England, Wales, and the United States for over twelve years. She is a trained presenter and coordinator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness’s “Ending the Silence”-a mental health awareness program for youth. She is also a writer and her writing credits include a Welsh children's book, an educational article published in the Cardiff Advisory Service for Education, parenting and mental health articles published on Yahoo, PsychCentral, The Mighty, The Stigma Fighters Anthology Volume 2, and her award-winning memoir, Cutting the Soul: A Journey Into The Mental Illness Of A Teenager Through The Eyes Of His Mother.