Welcome to Maren Peterson, who joined NAMI Fox Valley in late April as the new Executive Director.
Maren returned to Appleton, her hometown, in 2014 after spending the past 15 years as a law student and attorney in New York City. She says she is thrilled to have the opportunity to use her advocacy and management background to build on NAMI Fox Valley’s success and work toward increasing the agency’s impact and sustainability.
Maren has addressed mental health issues as a consumer, caregiver, and volunteer throughout her life and is a long-time NAMI supporter. She is passionately devoted to eliminating stigma and to empowering those whose lives are affected by mental illness.
“I’m so proud to be part of NAMI Fox Valley and look forward to building upon its legacy of transforming lives, changing attitudes, and advocating for improved access to quality mental health care in our community,” Maren said.
Key to her approach, she added, will be a systematic and thoughtful plan both to develop new community relationships and collaborations and to carefully steward current supporters and friends.
Maren is particularly excited to partner with other nonprofits in the community to find synergies that will enhance NAMI Fox Valley’s and other agencies’ abilities to drive forward complementary missions. She is a firm believer in the power of collaboration and has already hit the ground running on several community initiatives in which the agency is involved.
Maren has been busy working collaboratively with Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley, Catalpa Health, Family Services of Northeast Wisconsin and the Hortonville Area School district to bring the groundbreaking “E3” (Engage, Education, Empower) Mental Health and Wellness Program to the Hortonville area schools this year. NAMI Fox Valley will be offering its “Ending the Silence” mental health education program students in the district, as well as offering a teen support group and parent sharing group.
Maren has also been enjoying working on the Mental Health Ministries Initiative with Samaritan Counseling, and the community’s Children’s Mental Health Initiative, which is being led by N.E.W. Mental Health Connection.
In the few months since Maren stepped into her position, she has been grateful for the opportunity to meet numerous friends and supporters of NAMI Fox Valley.
“I’ve really enjoyed meeting the agency’s many volunteers, instructors and supporters,” she said. “I am eager to personally talk with as many of our friends and supporters as possible.”
For those who would like to meet Maren, she encourages those who live in the area to attend any of the agency’s open houses and other gatherings that will be held throughout the year – or, even better, to call her to arrange a coffee date.
When not working or volunteering, Maren enjoys relaxing with friends and family, listening to music of all types (but admittedly with a special bent toward folk), and being a bookworm. You’ll often run into Maren somewhere in downtown Appleton lost in the pages of her latest library find.