Board of directors
Collyn Florendo, president: Collyn is the President of Bank of Colorado, a position he has held since December 2012. He has worked for Pinnacle Bancorp, the holding company of Bank of Colorado, since 1981. Collyn has a B.S. in Business Administration from Augustana College. He served as Board Chairman of the Crete (Nebraska) Area Medical Center from 1999-2012 and is currently an Advisory Board Member for the Downtown YMCA.
Leon Kelly, vice president: Leon Kelly, M.D., is a board-certified forensic pathologist and the coroner and chief medical examiner of El Paso County. His statewide work as a medical expert has included service on the Child Fatality Prevention System State Review Team, and he co-founded the county’s Child Fatality Review Team to help lead local suicide prevention efforts. Dr. Kelly also teaches at UCCS.
Jill Whitley, treasurer: Jill is a partner with Gould, Whitley & Marshall, and has practiced law in Colorado Springs since 1985. She has a BSW from the University of Kansas and earned her J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis. She is former Program Chair and Section Chair of the El Paso County Bar Association Probate Section and a former Ecumenical Social Ministries board member.
Mary Ellen Benson, secretary: Mary Ellen is the vice president of healthcare innovation for AspenPointe. She has worked in the healthcare industry for the past 20 years in roles ranging from physical therapist to hospital CEO. Her passion for behavioral health and serving individuals with mental illness and their families drives her to find positive health outcomes resulting in wellness for all in our community.
Kathy Brandt: Kathy Brandt holds a B.A. in English, M.A. in education, and taught writing at the University of Colorado. She is the author with her son, Max Maddox, of the award-winning memoir, Walks on the Margins, in which they narrate their battle with mental illness after Max was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1999. She is a vocal advocate for those with mental illness and their families.
John Hammond: John is a deputy sheriff with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. Currently assigned to Patrol, John also serves on the office’s Crisis Negotiations Unit. He has completed Crisis Intervention Training and an FBI Hostage Negotiations Course, and is a Mental Health First Aid instructor. John has a B.A. in sociology and an M.A. in forensic psychology.
Julie Papa: Julie is a mother of three and an attorney with Gardner Law, P.C. where she concentrates her practice on estate planning, estate administration and business. She holds BSFS and JD degrees from Georgetown University and has served as parliamentarian of the board of the National Charity League Colorado Springs Chapter. Julie has also volunteered with Care and Share Food Bank, Junior Achievement and other local nonprofits.
Billie Ratliff: Billie is the director of behavioral health at UCHealth Memorial Hospital. A licensed clinical social worker, Billie has worked in the behavioral health realm for 37 years. In 2010, Billie helped restructure Memorial’s model for delivery of best-practice care to behavioral health patients in an acute medical setting. She is active on numerous committees related to helping people with behavioral health disorders.
Tyra Sandoval: Tyra has lived in Colorado Springs since 1986. She’s the mother of four and a licensed real estate broker with RE/Max Properties, Inc. Prior to her real estate career, she was a fundraiser with Pikes Peak Hospice and The Alzheimer’s Association. Tyra’s been involved with local nonprofits including Newborn Hope, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Early Childhood Connections, the Children’s Literacy Center, Habitat for Humanity, the Cheyenne Mountain School District 12 PTO Board, and the Junior League of Colorado Springs.
Laura Teachout: Laura recently returned to Colorado, where she had attended law school in the 1990s. She has lived with depression for nearly 25 years. A member of the Governor's Behavioral Health Task Force, she also serves as a Connections Support Group facilitator and In Our Own Voice presenter. Laura is passionate about destigmatizing mental illness and giving voice to those facing its challenges.
Susan Wheelan: Susan Wheelan, M.B.A., is director of El Paso County Public Health. In 3½ years as the agency’s deputy director, Susan oversaw Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, securing funding to implement youth suicide and youth substance use prevention efforts. A graduate of the Colorado Springs Leadership Institute, she has worked in public health for nearly 20 years.