My family has many brain-based challenges from autism to schizophrenia. When I was in college, my academic direction toward biology and medicine changed to a career in the art field, which enabled me to help my oldest son when he was a toddler, as he was diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder. As an artist, I could earn a living at home and work closely with therapeutic staff to aid in his progress.  Currently, one of my other sons and a granddaughter live with serious psychiatric disorders. 

I learned to become an advocate and utilized my professional skills through community involvement as payback for all the help given to my family.  In 2005, I founded NAMI Tri-Valley, a non-profit that provides support, education, resource information and advocacy skills to residents in the Livermore, Dublin and Pleasanton area.

In 2003, I was accepted on the Alameda County Mental Health Board representing District 1 and served 4-years, mostly chairing the Board.  Having a voice at the county table proved to be invaluable as I learned much about how a county behavioral health agency operated and had the opportunity to learn about the many different public policies.  In 2018, I again was appointed on the Mental Health Advisory Board, this time to lend a voice from East County.  As of 2021, I also serve on the NAMI Tri-Valley Board as Second Vice President and on the Board of Directors for the Alan Hu Foundation.