Sean Mayberry is a former diplomat and social marketer who believes there are simple and cost-effective interventions that can improve an area often overlooked when addressing development: mental health. While living and working in Africa for nearly a decade implementing HIV/AIDS and malaria programs, he saw firsthand the struggles and lack of access for those suffering from mental illness, and was inspired to find a solution. In 2013, he discovered the findings of a randomized controlled trial from 2002 in which group talk therapy was used successfully in Uganda to treat depression — and the idea for StrongMinds was born. Sean left his position as the CEO of a global antipoverty organization and used his family’s savings to found StrongMinds. For the first two years, he volunteered full time, choosing to divert the team’s limited donor funds into the Uganda program and ultimately proving that the group talk therapy model can work at any scale.
Previously, Sean was the Chief Operating Officer at VisionSpring, where he helped lead the the nonprofit’s partnership with BRAC, and a country director for Population Services International in the Democratic Republic of Congo and India. He holds a BS degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute and an MBA from Emory Univeristy. Sean is also a Rainer Arnhold Fellow.
Kim Valente has worked with diverse businesses of varying sizes for more than 20 years, holding positions in banking, insurance and private equity. Kim launched and ran her own strategy consulting business, and worked for an accounting firm handling bankruptcy, financial advisory and business-valuation engagements. Throughout her career, she has taught business-related courses for institutions ranging from nonprofits to private colleges for at-risk young adults.
Kim joined JVS Chicago in 2010 to manage its Small Business Development Center as her first staff position in nonprofit. In addition to her duties managing the center, she provided technical assistance in business planning, marketing and financial planning; taught workshops; and spoke at events regarding small business issues. She also worked to build entrepreneurship programs for at-risk youth, young adults with disabilities and the long-term unemployed. Kim earned an MBA with distinction from the University of Connecticut and a BS in Finance from Providence College, cum laude.
StrongMinds Uganda Team: Our dedicated Mental Health Facilitators work to improve the lives of their community members facing depression. Team members identify depressed women, and then treat their illness through group interpersonal therapy IPT-G). For as little as $30 per patient, StrongMinds helps these women learn the skills necessary to manage and reduce their depressive symptoms so they can resume productive lives.
Susan Ryan provides administrative and executive management support to StrongMinds staff, and is the point of contact for human resource requirements.
Cecilia Uche works with StrongMinds to provide program and administrative support to our operations in the United States and Uganda. Cecilia is a student at Columbia University, where she is working toward her degree in Neuroscience and Behavior.
Manny Batalla brings financial management support to StrongMinds, where he assists with cash flow and management and fundraising. Manny graduated from Portland State University in Oregon.