The Thomas M. Wernert Center is pleased to announce the election of Deborah Riley-Jackson as president of its Board of Trustees, effective June 1, 2022. Riley-Jackson replaces Lisa Urrutia who has served as board president since January 2021 and has been a board member since 2015. She will remain on the board as past president through the end of her term in December 2022.
The Wernert Center is a peer-support mental health agency that provides advocacy, education, and resources to adults in Lucas County who live with severe and persistent mental illness. The non-clinical agency provides members with activities that range from informal socialization to support groups, outings, and classes that teach daily living skills, communication, decision-making, wellness, and other topics.
"I am happy to be a part of the Wernert Center," says Riley-Jackson. "We have a strong group of leaders serving on the board who are committed to the mission, and we have a terrific staff who are dedicated to bringing hope to members through the mutual sharing of lived experience," she adds.
Riley-Jackson is currently employed as a housing specialist with the Fair Housing Center of Toledo where she focuses on research and investigation of allegations of housing discrimination. She also serves as a trustee on the pension board for the Toledo Council of Newspaper Unions. Formerly with The Blade, Riley-Jackson has more than 20 years of leadership experience with the Guild Newspaper Union.
Joining Riley-Jackson as vice-president of the board of trustees is Amanda Denniss, a long-time member of TMWC. Denniss was elected to the board by her peers and has served three consecutive two-year terms. She has been a dedicated volunteer at many of the Wernert Center member events and activities.
"Amanda's passion for TMWC and its mission has been exemplary," says Riley-Jackson. "I'm excited to work with her and the rest of the board to enhance the remarkable job TMWC is already doing in our community," says Riley-Jackson. “We are excited to get started.”
The Wernert Center is overseen by a volunteer board that is comprised of TMWC members and community members. Officers of the Board of Trustees also include George Monger as treasurer and Evamae LaVoy as secretary.
TMWC is funded by the Mental Health & Recovery Services Board of Lucas County.