CEO, Founder and President
Experienced entrepreneurial professional with over 30 years in corporate and nonprofit recruiting, investment properties and marketing development. Nancy set out to make a difference in the teenage mental health crisis when she walked the journey with family members a few years ago. Understanding the complexities of the mental health industry, she was committed to forming an organization with integrity, compassion, and professionalism, surrounding herself with experts in the medical, mental health, and animal therapy fields. She has named the nonprofit in honor of her brother, Chris, who unexpectedly passed away at the age of 55 and has been her inspiration for this endeavor. Nancy is a Board Member at University High School of Indiana.
Liz Coit, Vice President and Treasurer- Nonprofit organizer and experienced leader of innovation, change, and growth. Liz has over 30 years of experience in the nonprofit, education, and financial services sectors, and currently serves as the founding Executive Director of the Walker Center for Applied Ethics at Marian University. She is the former Executive Director of Morning Dove Therapeutic Riding, Inc., and the former founding executive director of a financial and research organization at Indiana State University. Liz has devoted most of her career and personal life to serving others, either as an organizational change agent and growth focused leader, or through her volunteerism. She currently serves as President of the board of the Greater Swiss Mountain Club of America and as a director on the board of ILADD (Independent Living for Adults with Developmental Disabilities). Liz is also an experienced therapy dog trainer and is an AKC CGC (American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen) evaluator.
Joanna Kahl, phd
Joanna is a passionate lifelong animal advocate and a former volunteer with Indiana Bulldog Rescue. Through her own experience as a loving pet owner and with over a decade of happy tail rescue stories, she became an enthusiast for the joy that animals bring to humans. Joanna holds a PhD in Biochemistry and she has dedicated over two decades to improving patients’ lives with her work at Roche Diagnostics. During her time at Roche, she has held various global leadership roles from operations to clinical research and most recently in real-world data. Joanna is an ally and an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion. She inspires high-performing teams by creating safe environments where authenticity and empowerment are core values.
Jessica Neidlinger, ms,lmhc
Jessica Neidlinger, MS, LMHC- Psychotherapist, Clinical Director, and Owner of The Palms, Counseling Center. Jessica is a licensed mental health counselor, currently in private practice in the Indianapolis area. She has a broad range of clinical experience working with adolescents and adults dealing with anxiety disorders, depression, addiction, trauma and PTSD, bipolar disorder, and family and relationship issues. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings, including an inpatient dual diagnosis mental health facility as a clinical director, hospital psychiatric unit, and private practice. She is a lifelong lover of all animals and believes in promoting the human-animal interaction to assist in therapeutic healing and development.
Vice President and Secretary
Kay Pashos- Attorney with over 20 years of experience in the areas of energy and utilities law. As a partner at Ice Miller LLP, Kay advises and represents utility companies before state and federal regulatory agencies in a variety of cases. She has served as both an in-house lawyer (for Cinergy, PSI Energy, and Alliant Energy) and an outside lawyer, including serving as General Counsel for Cinergy's Regulated Businesses, and serving as Deputy General Counsel for Alliant Energy. She is actively involved in and supports several community organizations including the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Make-A-Wish (Indiana chapter), United Way of Central Indiana, Damar Services, Young Voices of Indianapolis, and DePauw University.
AnneMarie Suarez-Davis - Lead Advocate, Koa Fund. The Koa Fund equips youth to be valiant by providing grants to non-profit agencies and programs in the areas of identity acceptance, creative arts and social justice. AnneMarie is a marketing executive with over 20 years experience in consumer products marketing, including 19 years at the Kellogg Company. During her time at Kellogg, AnneMarie held multiple marketing executive roles of increasing responsibility, both in the US as well as in global marketing. AnneMarie believes in leading through inspiring teams to make a difference, and while at Kellogg she was repeatedly selected to mentor high performing talent across the organization. AnneMarie earned a Bachelor’s Degree from Northwestern University, where she currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Alumni Association Board. She earned her MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. AnneMarie serves on the Board of Directors for The Chris Center and is also a member of the Board of Trustees of University High School of Indiana.
Diane lorant, md
Diane Lorant, MD- Neonatologist at Riley Hospital for Children and Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at IU School of Medicine. Dr. Lorant has an interest in medical education and serves as the Director of the Clinical Guidelines Committee. Dr. Lorant is also the proud owner of Stone Farm and the amazing alpacas that are part of The Chris Center’s programs.
Chief Strategy Officer
Sandra Moreira, md, mba
Sandra Moreira, MD, MBA Chief Strategy Officer - Founding Team Member and Inaugural Board Member, Board-certified pediatrician, innovative nonprofit strategist, and passionate child advocate. Dr. Moreira is a Duke-trained pediatrician with 18 years of clinical experience in pediatric urgent and emergent care. Throughout her career as a pediatrician and her personal journey as a parent, she has committed herself to advocating for the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of children. Dr. Moreira recently went back to school to earn her MBA at the IU Kelley School of Business, and she is using the combination of her business skills and clinical expertise in her new role as Chief Strategy Officer at The Chris Center. She is honored and excited to be involved in the development of The Chris Center’s unique teen wellness programs. Dr. Moreira serves on the Board of Directors for Indiana Family to Family and is also a member of the Board of Trustees at University of High School of Indiana.
Julie Paavola, LMHC
Julie Paavola is thrilled to lend her expertise to the Chris Center in the areas of creative learning, personal fulfillment and mindfulness practice to foster health and well-being.
Born in Alaska, she moved to Northern California when she was 18, where she joined a religious community to practice meditation. She subsequently earned a BA in International studies before moving to Indiana in 2012. She is a life-long learner of language and culture, and has lived in Europe and traveled in Central and South America. She speaks several languages, the most recent being Alpaca, which consists mostly of gentle gestures and frequent eye contact.
She holds a masters in Religion in Society, which explores the relationship between the challenges of the modern world and the individual's call to purpose and meaning. She has extensive training in guiding retreats and providing pastoral care to diverse communities. After moving to Indiana, she earned a Masters in Art Therapy and has a license in mental health counseling, LMHC. She currently works at The Cabin in Westfield, where she assists individuals and families in attaining their goals through the creative process and a variety of interventions. She loves the dynamic of one-to-one sessions to foster personal and spiritual growth. In group settings, she is amazed by the wisdom that arises out of mutual sharing of experience.
Julie lives in Carmel Indiana with her husband and her dog, Nani, and enjoys hanging out with her college-age sons during the summer months. She loves the outdoors, hiking, skiing and backcountry camping.
Leslie Oleck, pmHCNS
Leslie Oleck has been a psychiatric nurse for 40 years. Leslie graduated from Indiana University with a master’s in nursing as a psychiatric/mental health clinical nurse specialist (PMHCNS), and later returned to complete a post-master’s degree as a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP). She has had a solo practice of psychotherapy with specific interest in trauma survivors, conducted consultation/liaison psychiatric nursing in hospital settings, and has been a medication manager and psychotherapist in university and community facilities.
Leslie has enjoyed teaching undergraduate and graduate nursing students, and currently mentors RNs and Advanced Practice RNs as they strive to dignify the lives of their patient's while contributing to nursing and mental healthcare. As a nurse leader, Leslie has advocated for recognition for psychiatric nurses on state and national levels and has influenced change in organizations and political systems. Leslie is currently serving as the President of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. She celebrates the over 15,000 psychiatric nurses of APNA who prevent suicide and support wellness daily! Leslie has been active in the community on the board of the Christamore Guild, on the ISO North Group Board, and in the Actor’s Theater Guild. She looks forward to working with the Chris Center!