Mental health supporters take the stage

Local experts at Voices of Leadership event will highlight community resources

Mount Mary’s Voices of Leadership event on Wednesday, Nov., 2, will highlight the global impact of mental health advocate Diana Chao, and shine a spotlight on the in-depth, actionable work done by local experts within our community.

A panel discussion will include Chao and six local mental health professionals, including:

  • Moderator Amy Herbst, MSSW, APSW, vice president for mental and behavioral health at Children’s Wisconsin, who has led the largest child welfare and foster care programs in the state, producing nationally recognized child permanence and placement stability outcomes.
  • Samantha Bartlett, MS, LPC-IT, NCC, a licensed professional counselor in training (LPC-IT) in Wisconsin who works as an outpatient therapist for Rawhide Youth Services in Milwaukee. Bartlett graduated from Mount Mary with an M.S. in clinical mental health counseling in 2021.
  • Martina Gollin-Graves, president and CEO of Mental Health America of Wisconsin (MHA) who has been with the organization for 16 years. Gollin-Graves is committed to advocacy efforts that support expanded access to community-based mental health services for our most vulnerable community members. Her work is driven by MHA’s commitment to promoting mental health as a critical part of overall wellness.
  • Sara Kohlbeck, director of Suicide Prevention at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Kohlbeck works with collaborators around the state to research, develop, implement and evaluate strategies for suicide prevention, particularly among veterans, farmers and marginalized populations, including Black and Latinx individuals living in urban areas.
  • Bonneka Seals, MS, LPC, CSAC, ICS, CCTP, PS-IT, NCC, is the founder and CEO of A New Breath(e) of Life Counseling & Consulting, LLC, an independent outpatient mental health private practice providing psychotherapy, consulting, advocacy, mediation and education. Seals earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Mount Mary and is enrolled in the Ph.D. program in the university’s clinical mental health counseling. She teaches as an adjunct faculty member in Mount Mary’s psychology and counseling departments.
  • Nichole Stangel, MA, MS, LPC, NCC, CT, is the bereavement coordinator/CISM coordinator at Children’s Wisconsin. Stangel is certified in Thanatology by the Association of Death Education and Counseling and is chair of the Southeast Wisconsin Grief Network, a leader and educator for Traumatic Incident Resource (TIR), LCC, a non-profit, whose purpose is to respond to critical incident stress events with education, intervention, and care for emergency response personnel. Stangel graduated from Mount Mary with an M.S. in counseling in 2015.

“The Women's Leadership Institute is excited to bring together a group of local mental and behavioral health experts who are moving the needle forward in ensuring access to quality mental health resources for all within our region,” said Executive Director Keri Schroeder.

Voices of Leadership is an annual keynote event for Mount Mary, providing the opportunity to engage in conversations with women leaders who have broken ground in entrepreneurship, innovation, social change and leadership.  These women share their experiences, stories and best practices to help participants see and pursue their own leadership potential.

In her presentation, Chao will share her perspective on minority mental health as a first-generation Asian-American who grew up below the poverty line. Diagnosed with a bipolar disorder at the age of 13, Chao founded Letters to Strangers (L2S) as a high school sophomore. A decade later, L2S has become a global youth-for-youth mental health nonprofit affecting over 35,000 people on six continents each year.

The event will be held from 7:30 to 10 a.m. in the Alumnae Dining Room in Bergstrom Hall with a community resource fair to follow. Tickets to the event are $45. Click here to order tickets.



Diana Chao’s appearance arranged by Gotham Artists.