Our Leadership

We are grateful to dedicated professionals who serve on our Board of Directors and as Chairpersons of our Committees. Their leadership and generosity makes our work in Illinois possible. Their dedication inspires us.

Alyssa R at Volunteer Gathering - Mar 2014

Alyssa Relyea, Board Member, Chairperson of the Women's Outreach Committee, and Volunteer Coordinator

Alyssa has been involved with the AFSP since the Overnight Chicagoland Walk in 2005.  As a volunteer, Alyssa serves as the Chairperson for the Women’s Outreach Committee, a Survivor Outreach volunteer, a Chicagoland Walk Team Captain, Volunteer Intake Coordinator, and Survivor Group Facilitator. Alyssa’s passion for suicide prevention began in 1997, when she lost her twin brother, Andrew, to suicide.  Having lost a classmate and uncle since then has strengthened her dedication to the cause. Twitter

Anne G at Volunteer Gathering March 2014

Anne Gulotta, Board Member & Co-chairperson of the High School and Middle School Outreach Committee

Anne Gulotta is Senior Vice President at Northern Trust Securities, Inc in Chicago.  Her two passions in life are suicide prevention and organ donation.  Anne began volunteering for AFSP-IL in 2006 when she attended her first overnight walk in Chicago. Anne continues to participate in the Chicago Community walks, and is Co-Chair of the High School Outreach Committee. Anne resides in Barrington, IL, and  lost her husband to suicide in 2002.  She is a board member of  HERE in Barrington Coalition dedicated to providing help, encouragement, resources, and education to promote mental health and reduce the occurrence of suicide and other harmful behaviors. Twitter

Annette Hernandez Volunteer Gathering March 2014

Annette Hernandez, Chairperson of the Hispanic American Outreach Committee

Annette Hernandez is a new addition to our chapter leadership after having volunteered for a year. She serves as Chairperson of the Hispanic American Outreach Committee and is spearheading the effort to increase outreach and participation by the Hispanic American Community in AFSP activities. Twitter

Carla Craig, LCSW, MSW, President of Board of Directors, Co-Chairperson of the

Carla C Volunteer Gathering March 2014

Int'l Survivor of Suicide Day Planning Committee, & Chairperson of the Senior Outreach Committee

Carla has been working as a clinical social worker for many years. Working in mental health in out patient and inpatient settings has developed a strong commitment to join AFSP in effort to raise awareness about the importance of mental health treatment, suicide prevention and associated outreach activities. Carla proudly supports our fund raising to support critical research, and provide all community activities provided freely. Carla serves as President of the Illinois Chapter Board, Chair of the Senior Outreach Committee, and a member of the Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Community Walk Committee and is Team Captain of team NCH Thrive! that will be walking in the Chicagoland Walk. Twitter

Chuck R Volunteer Gathering March 2014

Chuck Roper, Board Member, Chairperson, College & Interactive Screening Program (ISP) Committee, & Chairperson of the Out of the Darkness Bloomington Normal Community Walk

Chuck Roper became involved with AFSP in 2011, when he participated in his first Out of the Darkness Walk.  In 2012, he participated in his second Walk.  Also in 2012, he became the Chairperson for the Out of the Darkness Bloomington/Normal Community Walk and was a volunteer at the 2012 Chicagoland Walk.  He serves as the Co-chairperson of the College & ISP Outreach Committee and serves on several other committee’s as well.  Since losing his youngest daughter, Wendi, to suicide in 2010, he has been passionate about suicide prevention and raising awareness. Twitter

Elaine Larsen, Co-Chairperson of High School Outreach Committee & Chairperson of the Out of the Darkness North Western Illinois Community Walk

Elaine Larsen Volunteer Gathering March 2014

Elaine service as Co-chair of the High School Outreach Committee and Chairperson of the Out of the Darkness North Western Illinois Community Walk in Freeport. Elaine wanted to become involved with the AFSP after she lost her only child to suicide in 2011. Elaine said, "There was nothing I could do to make it better for us, but maybe I could do something to help others."

Elizabeth Mare, Co-Chairperson of the Jewish

Liz Mare

Outreach Committee

Elizabeth Mare has volunteer for the AFSP since 2006. She has volunteered in many capcities incluing Co-chairperson of the Chicagoland Community Walk and Jewish Outreach Committee. Elizabeth said, "I do this for myself and for others out there to let them know they are not alone."

Erica Marks, Board Member, Chairperson of the Jewish Outreach Committee, & Chairperson of the Out of the Darkness Sauk Valley Community Walk

Erica M Volunteer Gathering March 2014

Erica, a former technology auditor for Deloitte and Northern Trust Bank turned stay-at-home mom of 2 young children, became involved with AFSP in 2010. She participated in her first Out of the Darkness Walk three months after the loss of her sister. The effect of attending the walk was profound on Erica. She made the decision that day that she would do whatever she could to raise awareness for Suicide Prevention, especially for those experiencing a sibling loss. She is Co-Chairperson of the International Survivors of Suicide Day – Chicagoland and also Chairperson of the Sauk Valley Out of the Darkness Walk. Twitter

Erika Barber, MAT, Board Member & Co-Chairperson of the Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Community Walk

Erika Barber Volunteer Gathering March 2014

Erika Barber became involved with AFSP in 2005, when she participated in her first Out of the Darkness Overnight. She has since served as a Co-Chairperson of the Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Community Walk for the past several years. Following her sister Andrea’s suicide in 1983, Erika has strived to have a positive and supportive influence on survivors struggling with the effects of sibling death. Her publication,Letters from a Friend: a Sibling’s Guide for Coping and Grief,has been utilized in many therapeutic settings and grief support programs nationwide. Erika is a certified Child Life Specialist and holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from National Louis University. She remains committed to suicide prevention and awareness opportunities and is a dedicated advocate of AFSP’s mission. Twitter

Hua Mao Volunteer Gathering March 2014

Hua Mao, Chairperson of the Media Watchers & Journalism Committee

Hua Mao has volunteer for AFSP Illinois for three years including at the Chicagoland Community Walk. Hua currently serves as Chairperson of the Media Watchers & Journalism Committee. Hua said she volunteers to, "Reach out to increase the recognition of the depression and suicide, to create awareness of available resources, education and support."

Judson Ely, MBA, Treasurer of the Board of Directors

Jud Ely Volunteer Gathering March 2014

Jud is Chief Financial Officer of POS Remarketing Group that is based in Wauconda, IL. He also serves as AFSP – IL Chapter Board Treasurer and has been involved with the AFSP as a volunteer since 2011. As a volunteer, Jud is on the Chicagoland Community Walk Planning Committee and serves as walk registration coordinator. Having lost a friend to suicide in 2004, he has a passion for raising awareness about suicide prevention and money for the Chicagoland walk. Twitter

Laura Nash, MEd, Co-Chairperson of the Lesbian

Laura Nash Volunteer Gathering March 2014

Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Outreach Committee

Laura Nash has volunteered for the AFSP for several years. She has been involved in various outreach programs and committees including serving as Co-Chairperson of the LGBT Committee for three years and formally serving on the Illinois Chapter Board of Directors.

Megan Graf, Board Member and Chairperson of the Community Outreach and Education Committee

Meg Graf Volunteer Gathering March 2014

Megan Graf is the Chairperson of the Community Outreach & Education Committee in addition to serving on other Committees and Walking in the Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Community Walk. Megan led the efforts to organize the Depression & Bipolar Awareness Day Event as well as the upcoming Research Town Hall. Megan is an active Board Member of the Illinois Chapter of AFSP. Twitter

Nancy Perlson, LCSW, Survivor Outreach Program Coordinator

Nancy Perlson at Chi Walk 2013

As a licensed clinical social worker, Nancy Perlson has extensive experience working in the field of grief and loss in private practice and with groups. Nancy’s yoga bereavement support program, which began in January 2010, Connecting through Yoga, integrates the beautiful practice of yoga and its teachings along with therapeutic interventions to provide grieving individuals with additional tools and resources to use while moving through the complicated process of grieving the death of a loved one. Nancy has been involved with AFSP since 1998 and has served on the Board, been an Outreach Speaker at a number of events and is currently the Coordinator the Survivor Outreach Program (SOP) for Illinois.

Dr. Richard B. Kirchhoff, DDS, Co-Chairperson of the Board of Directors

Rick Kirchhoff Volunteer Gathering March 2014

Dr. Kirchhoff works as a Pediatric Dentist.  He has an extensive military background and is a retired Army Aviation Officer. He is the Co-Chairperson of the Illinois Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Rick continues to earn top walker awards at the Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Community Walk. He also serves on the National Chapter Leadership Council and Chair the National Public Policy Council. Twitter

Simon Chavez, Co-Chairperson of the Lesbian Gay

Simon Chavez Volunteer Gathering March 2014

Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Outreach Committee

Simon Chavez is a nonprofit advocate committed to building the capacity of nonprofit organizations by connecting various communities under the umbrella of a common cause. He especially enjoys and prides himself on working with LGBT groups. Simon has served as Co-Chairperson of the LGBT Outreach Committee for three years. Twitter

Steve Moore, Esq, Secretary of the Board of Directors, Chairperson of the Advocacy and Policy Committee, and Captain of the Race AFSP Team

Steve Moore Volunteer Gathering March 2014

Steve Moore, who’s 19 year old son died by suicide in 2006, joined the board of the Illinois chapter in 2008.  Steve is the chapter’s Secretary, a member of its Executive Committee, Chair of its Legislative Committee, its representative on the Illinois Suicide Prevention Alliance and captain of the Race Team.  He is on AFSP’s national Public Policy Council and a participant in AFSP's Field Advocate program.  He is also a facilitator for survivor support groups in a program run by Chicago Catholic Charities. Twitter

Tommy John, Board Member & Chicagoland Walker

Tommy John Chicagoland Walk Sept 2013

Baseball legend Tommy John is a former left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball whose 288 career victories rank as the seventh highest total among left-handers in major league history. This includes 17 seasons with 10 or more victories. He also had 46 career shutouts; a remarkable feat. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is honored that he will be speaking at the Out of the Darkness Chicagoland Chicagoland Walk. Last year, Tommy John's Walk Team, Team Taylor, walked in memory of Taylor John. This year Team Taylor's fundraising page shares: "On March 9, 2010, Taylor passed away. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has given us the opportunity to create some hope out of our immense loss and sadness. Taylor used to wear a red bracelet that read, "Never Give Up." The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is grateful to Tommy John and all of Team Taylor for their generous support. Twitter

Whitney Robinson, Chairperson of the African American Outreach Committee

Whitney Robinson Volunteer Gathering March 2014

Whitney Robinson was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. Graduated from Jackson State University with a B.S. Broadcast Production and currently enrolled and studying to be a Certified Bible Instructor. She is currently State titleholder as Miss Illinois Plus America and enjoys going to the movie theatre with her 5 year old son Jett. Whitney is the founding Chairperson of the African American Outreach Committee where she's served for three years.

Dr. Zane F Muhl, DDS, MS, PhD, Co-Chairperson of the Board of Directors and Co-Chairperson of the Int'l Survivor of Suicide Day Planning Committee

Zane Muhl Volunteer Gathering March 2014

Dr. Muhl’s professional career consisted primarily of teaching and research on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry.  He joined the Board of the Illinois Chapter of AFSP after taking part in the Out of the Darkness Overnight in 2005, the first time it was held in Chicago.  This event was so meaningful in his journey of healing from the suicides of his mother and sister that he is now devotes himself to giving something back to the cause of suicide prevention.  He finds great satisfaction in serving alongside the dedicated and resourceful board members and volunteers of the Illinois Chapter, where he currently serves as Co-Chairperson. Dr. Muhl also is a member of the  Chapter Executive and Nominating Committees. Twitter