In the life of every vibrant organization there are always special milestones that secure a new level of stability and opportunity. NAMI Austin is currently celebrating one such milestone by naming its first Executive Director.  By a vote of the 2014 Board of Directors on February 19, Karen Ranus has been named Executive Director of NAMI Austin. Ms. Ranus transitioned to the ED role immediately from her previous position as NAMI Austin Program Manager.

“We are delighted to be taking this step in organizational maturity with Karen at the helm. In her eight months as Program Manager, Karen demonstrated stellar leadership and organizational expertise. She has become well-known among Austin-area mental health agencies and the nonprofit community. We are delighted to welcome her in this new role as ED,” said Barbara Vinson, president of NAMI Austin’s 2014 Board of Directors.

Ms. Ranus is also well-known and well-respected by NAMI leaders at the state and the national levels of the organization. As Program Manager, she launched more NAMI trainings, signature classes and support groups as well as more community presentations in her eight-month tenure with NAMI Austin than had ever happened before in the history of the organization in any other right-month period.

She also holds the distinction of being the first NAMI-trained and certified coordinator in Texas for “Ending the Silence,” the premier NAMI presentation program that takes the message of mental health information, help and hope directly to middle and high school students. During her tenure as Program Manager, Ms. Ranus also became NAMI-trained and certified as a teacher and a presenter in other important signature programs.

As the 2013 NAMI Affiliate of the Year (from among 1200 other affiliates across the country) and the 2013 NAMI Texas Affiliate of the Year (among 27 other Texas affiliates), NAMI Austin is showing the strong legacy of its dedicated volunteers and leaders across its nearly 30 years of grassroots growth. It has added part time and full time staff very slowly and strategically in the past few years to facilitate volunteer activity and to improve its ability to train volunteers in delivering NAMI signature programs.

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