Board of Directors

Our board is comprised of a passionate group of mental health advocates, representing voices from our community and within the mental health center. This allows for each individual’s strengths, perspectives and experiences to come together with the rest of the group to create collective impact. Learn more about each of our board members below.

A group of board members sitting at a table smiling at the camera.

Tim DeWeese

Susan Rome

Sherrie Balmer

Susie Gurley

Rodney K. Longhofer

Tony Medina

Katherine Melton

Steve Wise

Steve Wise

Joni Van Horn

Anne Timmons

Cathleen Panowicz

We all have a role to play in improving mental health.

Our board members are examples of dedicated advocates, but there’s a role for everyone in this work. How will you use your gifts, talents and time to improve the mental wellness of our community? Connect with us to learn more or explore ways you can support our efforts.

Tim is the Director of Johnson County Mental Health Center. The Mental Health Center is a department of Johnson County (KS) Government and employs more than 360 staff who provide behavioral health services to nearly 12,000 county residents annually.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Missouri Southern State University and a Master of Social Work Administration degree from the University of Kansas. He is a Licensed Mental Health Professional in Kansas and has over 30 years of experience in community mental health, where he has worked in various capacities.

He possesses extensive knowledge and experience in the public mental health delivery system, client-centered leadership, and program design/development. Tim also served more than 10 years as a commissioned officer in the Army Reserve and National Guard.

Susan is the Deputy Director at Johnson County Mental Health Center, where she has worked for over 25 years. She spent many years in emergency services, focusing on collaboration with emergency responders. Susan is an advocate for persons with mental illness and works to reduce stigma, while emphasizing community needs for behavioral health treatment. She has a special interest in self-care and reducing secondary trauma for those in the helping professions. She graduated with a BA in Psychology from Wichita State University and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Kansas. In addition to her work with Johnson County, she serves at her church taking communion and visiting members who are homebound. She has served on the Teri Mathis Zenner Foundation Board for 10 years.

In Susan’s words:

“I believe in helping others and giving back to our community in ways big and small. I believe everyone is affected by or knows someone who is affected by mental health challenges so the prevention and treatment we provide is truly and essential service. I am very proud of the growth of Friends over the last few years and I’m grateful to be a part of the work of this board. Friends is able to help with individual needs as well as be an arm for larger initiatives such as #ZRW that create opportunities for furthering the work of the mental health center in ways we could not achieve on our own.”

Sherrie Balmer is the Director of Business Development for Russell’s Kansas City Office. Sherrie is responsible for developing effective models and strategies for potential growth within the Kansas City market. Sherrie is also responsible for educating new clients and trade partners about Russell, maintaining strong working relationships, and creating new partnerships.

Sherrie has over 30 years of experience in the Kansas City market. She has worked in both commercial and residential construction, interior residential design, marketing, public relations, communications, behavioral health, and the commercial furniture industry

Sherrie has been a volunteer within Kansas City for over 25 years. In addition to serving on the Friends board, she is currently a certified Sources of Strength Trainer, and a task force member for the MO/KAN Suicide Prevention Group.

Susie has spent the past 25 years raising three children with her husband of 30 years, Dan, and serving as a community volunteer. She launched the Just A Mom podcast in September 2022.

In the podcast, Susie talks with moms and dads who have parented a child with mental health issues so other parents know that they are not alone and there is hope. Susie also interviews mental health experts and resources to help parents know what help is available.

Susie is also the Executive Director of the You Matter Festival, a music festival raising awareness about teen mental health and suicide prevention founded by her son.

In addition to her work with the You Matter Festival, Susie is on the Board of Directors at the Hope Center in Kansas City. She served as the Board Chair of Johnson County Fellowship of Christian Athletes for 8 years and was Co-President of the Blue Valley High School Touchdown Club in 2014-15. She has also served in a variety of roles at Christ Community Church.

Rodney is involved with Friends of Johnson County Mental Health because he wants to unmask the stigma associated with mental illness. The work of Friends is important to him because he knows they will do whatever they can to provide the citizens of Johnson County with the necessities, skills, education and opportunities needed to live a healthy and meaningful life.

After a 21-year career at Johnson and Johnson, Rodney brings to the board a strong marketing, finance and non- profit involvement background. With personal and professional experiences in mental health, Rodney passionately believes that no one should be held back from personal success because of a physical or mental illness.

Rodney graduated from Emporia (KS) State University. He and his wife Molly have been married for 28 years and have two children, Jackson and Neva. They reside in Overland Park, Kansas.

Tony Medina is a community advocate, working to improve awareness and prevention of suicide. He is the current chair of the Johnson County Suicide Prevention Coalition Leadership Team, and volunteers as both a fundraiser and a public policy advocate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Tony also serves as the Kansas City Pride Community Alliance (KCPCA) Board Secretary and the Chair of the Marketing Committee.

In Tony’s words:

“I am a suicide loss-survivor and continue to work through the grief experienced from losing a sister. Part of this process has included the realization that I am not alone and the wide range of feelings I have had are not only normal, but they are okay. The self-discovery I have had has motivated me to become involved in suicide awareness and prevention efforts. Becoming vulnerable in discussing my experience and sharing with others the warning signs and available prevention resources is how I can make a difference while also remembering my sister through this work.”

Katherine has more than 10 years of experience working in both public health and community mental health. She worked with Johnson County Mental Health Center for four years as a Community Prevention Coordinator. In addition, she started and led a local mental health nonprofit.

Through her professional roles, she has worked closely with Olathe Communities That Care Coalition doing prevention work and previously worked with Johnson County school professionals and students around the areas of mental health promotion, substance use/misuse, and suicide prevention. Personally, Katherine work through the nonprofit to improve and assist with access to care, provide support to those who have lost a loved one to suicide or overdose, and support to those in recovery and their loved ones.

In addition to the Friends Board, she also serves as a board director for NAMI Johnson County.

In Katherine’s words:

“[The work of] Johnson County Mental Health Center matters to me because no one deserves to be on their journey alone. Whether it is someone with lived experience or an individual supporting a loved one, support, empathy, and a safe and nonjudgmental environment to process through their journey is important to their healing. Being a part of an organization that helps provide this support and space is humbling. I serve on the Friends Board as a way to give back to the Johnson County Mental Health Center community, whether that be the clients or staff. I’m proud to be part of an organization that strives to make a lasting impact on those that they work with and the community-at-large.”

Steve is a licensed architect, practicing commercial architecture with a focus on client relationships, project management, mentorship and business development for over 32 years, primarily in the Johnson County area. Steve graduated from K State University and married Chris, his wife of 29 years several years after graduating. They have 2 wonderful adult children, Megan living in KCMO and Ryan in Austin TX. Steve and Chris recently moved to Olathe, KS and enjoy the new house.

Chris has been involved with the In Place, offering social engagement opportunities for adults with mental illness, for more than 22 years. Steve stepped in to take over as the assistant for the In Place more than 5 years ago and continues to enjoy engaging with the clients on a variety of activities 2 times a month. Steve became involved in community activities with Shawnee Tomorrow Leadership many years ago and continues to volunteer in the community. He is excited to engage on the Board, working with the team to explore opportunities to provide sufficient community resources for those struggling with mental illness.

No, thank you. I do not want.
100% secure your website.

Joni is involved with Friends of Johnson County Mental Health because she is passionate about helping others experience mental and physical wellbeing. Her wellness journey started over 20 years ago as she earned her fitness, yoga and nutrition certifications. She believes mental and physical balance need to be a daily priority as it’s not a destination, but instead a journey that can be very unpredictable. Removing the stigma of mental illness and raising awareness of the resources available are priorities for Joni.

Joni is a Kansas State University alum. She resides in Overland Park with her daughter, Ashlyn.

Anne Timmons is a community advocate for suicide prevention, mental health awareness and mental wellness promotion. She currently serves on the Johnson County Mental Health Advisory Board, Overland Park Mental Health Task Force and is a Congregational Care Minister for the recovery community.

Anne is passionate about helping people get access to the right services at the right time by identifying gaps in care and eliminating barriers to receiving services. She is dedicated to making Johnson County a suicide-safer community. Anne hopes that through education and advocating for change, we can increase access to care for mental health disorders/ substance use disorder. She challenges all organizations and individuals in our community to have honest communication about our mental health.

Skip to content