Advisors and Volunteers

Patti Lowery

A2A Cofounder

Patti hails from Toronto, Canada, where she is a registered nurse, public school teacher, and parent to two children with OCD. Patti’s mission in life is to promote mental health awareness, identification, and education in the Canadian school system; as well as to support, encourage, and give hope to other parents of children suffering from mental illness.


Emile Bokaer

Emile Bokaer is a documentary filmmaker based in San Francisco.  He grew up working in a movie theater built by his family, and was encouraged to love cinema from a young age.  After studying pure mathematics at Oberlin College, Emile received an MFA in Documentary Film & Video from Stanford University, where he directed and produced several films that have screened across the United States and overseas, including ‘Son of Macista’, a tribute to his father for taking great care of him while he suffered a frightening psychotic break at age 20.  A partner and co-owner at Dogpatch Films, Emile is proud to contribute video services to the A2A project. 


Bennett Bibel

Bennett Bibel is the president and owner of Satori Associates, Inc., a consultancy in a number of fields related to insurance. Through his work with corporate accounts and their brokers he remains on the leading edge of insurance industry trends and developments. Bennett is an active Commercial and Instrument rated pilot, (Land and Sea) flying several hundred hours a year for both pleasure and business. He is a also an avid sailor, and has sailed in the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic seaboard, the Caribbean, and voyaged extensively in the Indian Ocean off the African East coast.


Leo Smith

Leo Smith received his journalism degree from San Francisco State University. His introduction into health writing came shortly after graduation, when he joined the Oakland Tribune and began writing a health column for which he received the Column of the Year award from the California Medical Association. Leo covered business, health and features for the Los Angeles Times before joining the Daily Breeze in Torrance, California, where he was named Lifestyle and Entertainment editor. He currently oversees health, features and entertainment coverage for the Daily Breeze, Los Angeles Daily News and the Long Beach Press-Telegram of the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.


Jim Lugannani

Jim Lugannani is a Financial Advisor at UBS Financial Services. He takes particular pride helping Special Needs families plan and manage their finances. Jim is deeply involved in community activities. In addition to his role with Adversity2Advocacy, he has leadership roles with organizations including the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and The Arc of San Francisco, and other Bay Area non-profits. In addition to his role at UBS, Jim has held a number of senior financial and operating roles at Fortune 50 companies.


Belinda Lyons-Newman

Belinda Lyons-Newman is a nonprofit management consultant and Principal at Lyons-Newman Consulting where she brings together her nonprofit management expertise, commitment to social justice and her business training to support nonprofits to deepen their impact. She has nearly two decades of experience in all aspects of nonprofit management, organizational planning, program development and fund development including nine years as Executive Director of the Mental Health Association of San Francisco. Belinda earned her MBA in Nonprofit Management at the U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business.


Toby Nady

Toby is currently working as C.O.O. of Nady Systems, a professional audio gear manufacturing company started by her husband, John, in 1976.  Prior to this, she was the executive director of California Concerts, a Bay Area based concert promotion company that showcased local, national, and international talent.  Toby also has a Masters degree in clinical psychology and an extensive background in professional writing/editing.  Over the years she has been actively involved in numerous fundraising events and charitable causes. For the past 6 years she has been on the Board of Directors of Bread & Roses, a Marin based non-profit organization that brings the healing power of live music to people living in institutions or are otherwise isolated from society.


Mary O’Hara

Mary O’Hara is a journalist and writer.  She grew up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She was educated at St. Louise’s Comprehensive, Falls Road, Belfast, and at Magdalene College Cambridge.  Mary has been the recipient of a number of educational scholarships including one at UC Berkeley, where she was an Alistair Cooke Fulbright Scholar. Mary was a staff writer for the Guardian and Observer from 2000-2010 before going freelance. Mary is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts in London and a trustee of the charity, Stand to Reason. She is also co-author of the feature film screenplay, Once We Were Old. 


Guy Ras

Guy Ras will be graduating with a major in Politics and minors in Legal Studies and Classical Studies in May of 2012. Guy has been a research assistant for the Politics department of USF and has offered to serve A2A on an ongoing basis.


Spencer Weisbroth

Spencer W. Weisbroth is a Peabody award-winning lawyer.  He opened his own law practice in 2009, and is presently also Of Counsel with the Stimmel, Stimmel & Smith, P.C. law firm in San Francisco.  Previously, Spencer was the Business Affairs Director for the Grammy Award-winning Kronos Quartet.  Spencer donates his time and energies to non-profit and public service organizations, and for many years, he has been the President of SoundVision Productions, Inc., a multiple award winning, Berkeley, CA based non-profit media production company, that produces multimedia projects that educate, enlighten, empower.  Since 2006, Spencer has been a pro bono volunteer attorney with the San Francisco based AIDS Legal Referral Panel, providing free legal services, primarily estate planning, to people with AIDS who are in financial need.


Laurie Williams

Laurie Williams is a non-profit consultant specializing in strategic planning and event production.  She is the Bay Area Director of NAMIWalk, the largest free mental health event in Northern California, Laurie joined NAMIWalk in 2006, working with seven county affiliates to raise awareness and funds to underwrite free mental health programming throughout the Bay Area.