board of directors

board of directors

Discover more about the people who help guide our organization and bring our mission to life!

board members

Jim Ayres
Lori Balow
Christy Buck
Michael Burdo
Terri DeBoer
Cheri DeVos
Sydney Devos-Reames
Jeff Elhart
Katie Ferris
Nancy French
Brad Gill
Larry Hines
Andy Hotaling
John Kotwick
Yvonne Kupfermann
Eric Laug
Carrie Mull
Beverly Ryskamp
Kristen Sinke

Jim Ayres

Jim Ayres

Managing Director

Amway North America

Jim Ayres oversees all business operations for the North American affiliate of Amway. He is accountable for revenue and profitability, as well as strategic plan development and execution for sustainable growth.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology/Biological Sciences from Grand Valley State University and his MBA from Davenport University. His interests and areas of expertise include cross-cultural international business, coaching and mentoring, change leadership, strategic planning and project management.

Jim is a board member of Mental Health Foundation, Literacy Center, US Dream Academy, and Kinzler Foundation.

Lori Balow

Lori Balow

CEO

Atonne Group

Lori Balow is the CEO of the Atonne Group, the parent organization managing a diverse group of family-owned businesses. A 1986 graduate of Central Michigan University, Lori began her career in the residential real estate industry. Upon earning her Michigan real estate broker license in 2005, Lori shifted her focus to commercial real estate sales, property development and property management. Lori accepted her current position as CEO of the Atonne Group in 2010, serving as chairperson of both the Atonne Operating Companies and Family Board of Directors. Lori works closely with other board members to provide assistance and solutions that satisfy the unique demands found within a highly diverse group of companies, while ensuring their corporate cultures and performance match the overall vision and mission of the family. In addition to her responsibilities with Atonne, Lori spearheaded the creation of the Jack and Aletha Goodale Family Charitable Foundation, and currently serves as chairperson.

Lori has been an active supporter of the Mental Health Foundation for many years, having served on various subcommittees prior to joining the Board of Directors in 2018. Lori maintains a strong belief that mental health affects not only our personal lives but also our professional lives, each and every day. Her position with Atonne affords her a unique perspective in support of this belief, and drives her passionate faith in the mission of the Mental Health Foundation. Lori is married and she and her husband Craig enjoy traveling, riding motorcycles, and visiting their three children who are busy creating wonderful lives of their own.

Christy Buck

Christy Buck

Executive Director, Founder of be nice.

Christy Buck is the Executive Director of the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan. With more than 33 years of experience in the mental health field, Buck’s passion for transforming and saving lives through mental health education led her to develop two classroom programs, ‘Live, Laugh, Love’ for middle and high school students, and ‘be nice.’ Since 2006, she and her staff have passionately presented to over 200,000 people in West Michigan on mental health awareness, bullying and suicide prevention. Buck regularly delivers speaking engagements to community and business groups on mental health awareness. She is certified in Question Persuade and Refer and Mental Health First Aid, which she has been recognized as one of the top 100 in the country.

Christy serves on the Grandville School Board and is involved with numerous community organizations and coalitions. Most recent honors include 2017 American Red Cross Hometown, 2017 Athena Finalist, 2017 Art Van Charity of Hope Award, 2018 50 Most Influential Women In West Michigan, 2019 Daughters of the American Revolution Women In History and most recently finalist for Brilliance Award Woman of the Year.

Christy enjoys spending time with her family - hubby Tim, and kids - Demetrios, Katerina, Isabella and granddog, Riggins and the community of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church! She is a proud graduate of Michigan State University.

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Michael Burdo

Michael Burdo

Assistant Vice President

Aon

Michael Burdo is an Assistant Vice President for the Michigan office of Aon. He is accountable for client management and strategic direction. He also serves in an advisory role regarding Government Compliance.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts from The Ohio State University.

He is passionate about supporting the Mental Health Foundation and the work that has been done and continues to break down barriers to care and encouraging others to seek the help they need. He has watched family, friends, and coworkers deal with mental health issues and suicide. He is extremely proud of the work the Foundation does as we continue to save lives.

Terri DeBoer

Terri DeBoer

Meteorologist

WOOD TV 8

Terri DeBoer has been a passionate supporter of the Mental Health Foundation for more than 20 years. She began as a volunteer at some of the biggest fundraising events, and joined the Board of Directors in 2008. Terri has served on the Executive team, including 2-terms as Board Chairperson. She was a part of the team that helped create the be nice. Action plan.

Professionally, “changing seasons” would be a great way to describe Terri DeBoer’s career in West Michigan, as the Daybreak meteorologist at WOOD-TV8. She has been bringing viewers their “wake up” and “bus stop” morning weather for nearly three decades.

For the past 10 years, Terri has also been co-host of eightWest, which is a show that keeps viewers informed and entertained.

“The best part of my career as a Storm Team 8 meteorologist is tracking the constant changes in the weather,” Terri said. “Expanding my role to include co-hosting eightWest every weekday has allowed me to tell the great stories about the periods of storminess and sunshine that are a part of everyday life!”

Terri has journeyed through the stages in life, from being pregnant on the air to the marriages of her two oldest children. During the summer of 2018, she became a grandmother. She loves sharing her journey through life by connecting with other moms and grandmothers across West Michigan.

Terri is adjusting to a quieter life as an empty nester after all the juggling that came from raising children, balancing a career and impacting the community.

“I love the challenge of tracking West Michigan’s ever-changing weather, while also enjoying the energetic and informative platform of eightWest.” Terri said. “I am thrilled to be part of a multi-media station that brings viewers essential information… and a little bit of fun!”

Jeff Elhart

Jeff Elhart

Playground Director II

Elhart Automotive

My personal mission is to use my God-given talents to provide for a loving family unit, operate an exceptional automobile dealership, mentor others, serve others in like interests and to passionately promote mental illness awareness and suicide prevention education throughout communities including K-12 schools, colleges, businesses, churches, veterans, retirement communities and other special interest groups.

Born and raised in Holland, Michigan I met my junior high school sweetheart in 7th grade and have been married to her, my wife Cherie, for 39 years. Graduating from General Motors Institute prepared me for my career. My family provided me the opportunity to follow their hard work and stewardship to the community by following their footsteps in owning and operating our family automobile dealership, Elhart Automotive Campus in Holland, Michigan. After battling depression for a relatively short period of time, my brother and business partner Wayne succumbed to depression by suicide on March 27, 2015. My brother’s written message found 16 months after his death read, “Family and friends, this depression has gotten the best of me. Please don’t blame yourself as it was me. Please help others overcome this illness of depression. God, please use me to help others. Signed Wayne.” It was this event and Wayne’s wishes that formed my life mission today.

Katie Ferris

Katie Ferris

Office Managing Partner – Tax Services

BDO USA, LLP

Katie Ferris is tax office managing partner for BDO West Michigan (Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo). In that role, Katie is responsible for setting and executing strategic direction for the tax practice. She serves clients in multiple industries, including manufacturing, distribution, technology, telecommunications, and construction. Her primary focus has been on federal, state, and international tax planning, consulting, and compliance for closely-held businesses and their owners.

Katie has significant experience with organizational structuring and planning to enhance tax efficiencies. She also assists clients with estate planning, accounting methods, mergers and acquisitions, and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tax examination services.

I am passionate about supporting the mission of the MHF because it is so wide-reaching and affects each and everyone one of us in different ways. It’s so important to reduce the stigma and be comfortable having open dialogue about mental health – and encouraging others to get help when they need it. It will save lives and I’m incredibly proud to support such an amazing organization.

Nancy French

Nancy French

Sr. Director of Communications, University Development

Grand Valley State University

Nancy offers the organization more than 35 years of marketing, communications, and board governance experience. She also is a member of the board's marketing committee.

"I believe that mental health is the fundamental issue of our day. My personal experiences with battling depression and anxiety, both myself and in my family, have taught me that education is vital to creating mentally healthy communities.

D. Bradley Gill, III

D. Bradley Gill, III

Wealth Advisor

SkyOak Wealth

Brad graduated from Grand Valley State University where he earned his Bachelor of Business Degree in 2014. Brad lives in Kalamazoo, and when he’s not volunteering with the MHF or coaching clients in his career as a Wealth Advisor, he loves spending time with his wife, Erica, and his dog, Torch. As an avid water sports and snow sports enthusiast, Brad takes every opportunity he gets to spend time on the water, or on the snow, with his family and friends. Brad has always had a passion for mental health awareness and education, especially after his father died by suicide in early 2015. Shortly after his father’s passing, Brad became committed to helping erase the stigma surrounding mental health challenges, and to making sure those who need help know where to find it. On his quest to give back, Brad was introduced to the MHF and is honored to now be a part of its board of directors.

Larry Hines

Larry Hines

President

Hines Corporation

Larry Hines, President of Hines Corporation, a holding company located in Spring Lake, Michigan, was born and raised in lowa and holds a BS in Business Administration from Drake University. Larry coordinates all activities at Hines Corporation, focusing on operational issues and acquisition strategies and sets the company's long-term strategic focus.

Larry began his career with White Consolidated Industries in several finance positions and has held executive positions with divisions of McGraw Edison Company, including Speed Queen, Bussmann and President of Clarke Floor Machine.

Larry is a visionary who is a charismatic, committed, focused and involved leader. He has always made it clear that being a successful company means giving back to the communities where we conduct business. Larry sets the example by supporting civic, cultural and professional institutions. He has served on the boards of the Muskegon Museum of Art, the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, West Michigan Symphony, and the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan. In recognition of Larry's outstanding service to these organizations and our community, he was awarded the 2017 Governor's Service Award, the "Lifetime Humanitarian Award."

Larry states, "I am proud to be a Mental Health Foundation Board member. T have seen first-hand the impact mental health issues have on families, friends, employees and the community. I'm determined to do what I can to help promote the organization's mission. I feel we all need to do our part to help those who struggle with these issues by generating a greater level of awareness, communication and acceptance."

John Kotwick

John Kotwick

Product Manager

Zimmer Biomet

John Kotwick joined the Mental Health Foundation Board in 2018 and strives to live the 'be nice' action plan every day.

John grew up in East Grand Rapids and graduated from The University of Michigan with a degree in mechanical engineering. He moved back home to Grand Rapids after five years working as an engineer in Saudi Arabia and has since returned to East Grand Rapids High School to coach the lacrosse and football teams. Professionally, John works in the medical device industry as a product manager.

Awareness, education, and support of mental health related causes became a very real part of John's life through the diagnosis, ups, downs, and eventual loss of his mother, Marnie Kotwick, to bipolar disorder and suicide in 2017. John cites his mom's compassion and spirit as his primary motivation in supporting the MHF in every way he can.

In addition to his work with the MHF, John is also active with the Movember Foundation (movember.com), a worldwide non-profit focused on men's health issues including mental health and suicide prevention. John captains a network of teams under the banner 'Mo Mental Help' each November, or 'Movember', raising awareness and funds for the foundation's projects and research.

In his free time, John enjoys road trips, trail running, and the outdoors.

Yvonne Kupfermann

Yvonne Kupfermann

Immigration Attorney

Varnum Attorneys at Law

Yvonne Kupfermann is an immigration attorney at Varnum LLP. She focuses her practice primarily on employment and family-based immigration in addition to general corporate and healthcare matters. She assists clients with employment and family-based permanent residence petitions, including the labor certification process, visas for extraordinary ability, and multinational managers and executives petitions. Yvonne graduated from the University of Michigan with a double major in Psychology and Political Science. She spent her four years of undergraduate studies conducting clinical research related to suicide ideation and prevention. She presented her research at numerous international conferences and is the co-author of several publications. She has always been passionate about decreasing the stigma around mental health and pursuing a career that allows her to help others. Her work with the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan supports her passions and allows her to further her interests in this field.

Beverly Ryskamp

Beverly Ryskamp

Chief Operating Officer

Network180

Beverly Ryskamp is the Chief Operating Officer at Network180, the Community Mental Health Authority for Kent County. Ms. Ryskamp joined Network180 in 2011 as the Systems Development Supervisor, becoming Director of Innovation and Development in 2016. During Beverly’s time with Network180, she’s led many practice improvement initiatives including the Network180 Crisis Center project, and Kent County's Behavioral Health Home pilot and system-wide roll out. She has directed the administration of multiple state, federal and private grants in conjunction with system innovations. Prior to joining Network180, Beverly supervised a home-based crisis intervention program and practiced law. Beverly is a licensed clinical social worker and an attorney. She is a graduate of Calvin College, the University of Michigan School of Social Work, and the University of Michigan Law School.

Kristin Sinke, MSN, RN, PCCN

Kristin Sinke, MSN, RN, PCCN

Manager and Value Analysis

Spectrum Health

Kristen has partnered with MHF since 2018, joining the Board in 2019. Both mental health awareness and suicide prevention are personal passions for Kristen; a desire to end the stigma that can often surround these topics is what led her to work with MHF. As a Registered Nurse, Kristen is committed to promoting holistic health and wellness. As a daughter, sister, mother, spouse, and friend, Kristen works to bring light to the need for mental health awareness and support programs in West Michigan as well as to promote the anti-bullying be nice. program.

Kristen has partnered with MHF since 2018, serving on the Board in 2019. Kristen is a Registered Nurse at Spectrum Health, leading the system’s Value Analysis program. As an RN, Kristen is committed to promoting holistic health and wellness. Both mental health awareness and suicide prevention are personal passions for Kristen; a desire to end the stigma that can often surround these topics is what led her to work with MHF.

Contact the Mental Health Foundation of West Michigan

349 Division Ave S Grand Rapids, MI 49503


info@benice.org | 616.389.8601

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