Our staff is an amazing, hard-working and dedicated group who develop and implement programming to educate communities about teen depression, break the stigma that surrounds mental illness, and promote mental health in teens.
Executive Leadership ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Brandon M. Combs, MNA
Brandon joined Erika’s Lighthouse in June 2019. He brings with him over 20 years of nonprofit experience ranging from Executive Director, Board Member to volunteer for many passions and causes. He earned his Master’s in Nonprofit Administration in December 2009 from North Park University and his BA in Political Science from Indiana University in May 2004. Brandon wants to ensure that every child feels empowered, validated and important.
Kristina Kins, MSW
Director of Operations
Kristina came to Erika’s Lighthouse in 2016 as a graduate intern and joined the team full time in 2017 as Director of Outreach & Development. After spending many years in the business and financial services sectors, Kristina is excited to be working with an organization that promotes the importance of good mental health through education. She obtained her Master of Social Work (MSW), along with a certificate in Non-Profit Management and Philanthropy, from Loyola University Chicago. Kristina graduated from Miami University (Ohio) with a BA in sociology.
Education Team ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Peggy Kubert, LCSW
Senior Director of Education
Peggy is a licensed clinical social worker, addictions counselor, student assistance trainer and parent educator. She has a Masters Degree from the University of Chicago, and an undergraduate degree from Northwestern University. Peggy has been with Erika’s Lighthouse since 2006, developing our programming and working with schools to implement our programs. Peggy is passionate about providing consultation, support and training to students, educators, parents and health professionals to help young people lead healthy, happy and productive lives.
Ilana Sherman, MPH
Director of Education
Ilana joined Erika’s Lighthouse in September 2019 as Director of Education. She has a Masters Degree in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ilana brings with her over 15 years of non-profit health education programming experience ranging from Outreach Coordinator to Director of Education. Ilana is excited to be part of Erika’s Lighthouse to help further the mission and empower preteens, teens, their caregivers and educators to learn and talk openly about adolescent depression.
Katie Conklin, LPC, M.Ed.
Director of School Culture
Katie joined Erika’s Lighthouse in August 2021. She has a Masters degree in Human Services and Counseling from DePaul University. Katie has over 15 years experience working in behavioral health and nonprofit administration. Katie is passionate about mental health awareness in schools and is excited to be a part of the Erika’s Lighthouse team.
Shantal Saldaña, MA
Manager of School Outreach
Shantal joined Erika’s Lighthouse in August 2022. She brings over 10 years of experience in family and community relationships, non-profit, and education. Shantal has a Masters in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She is passionate about giving youth, their families, and their support systems the tools and education they need to take charge of their mental health. Her goal is to spread awareness and make mental health a safe and common topic for conversation.
Development Team ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Rachel joined Erika’s Lighthouse in February 2021. She brings with her over six years of nonprofit experience, as both a professional and volunteer. She obtained her BS in Communications and Organizational Leadership from Illinois State University in 2017. Rachel is motivated by our mission and will go above and beyond to ensure that no young person feels alone in their depression through her efforts in marketing, fundraising development, and volunteer and donor relationship management.
Donor Engagement Manager
Laura joined Erika’s Lighthouse in January 2022, bringing a decade of nonprofit fundraising experience as a professional and a volunteer. She is committed to working to further the Erika’s Lighthouse mission within our community and across the country. Her three children drive her dedication to promoting good mental health for all. Laura has a BS in Human Development from Colby College and a College Counseling Certificate from UCLA.
Meade Means, MLIS
Meade joined Erika’s Lighthouse in October 2019. She brings over eight years of nonprofit experience as both a professional and a volunteer. She is committed to helping nonprofits and is excited to be a part of an organization that is tirelessly working to improve mental health in young adults. Meade has a BA in Political Science from Kenyon College, and a Master of Library and Information Science from Kent State University.
Marketing & Operations Team //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Jamie DeCaria, MBA
Jamie joined Erika’s Lighthouse in January 2022. She brings nearly 20 years of marketing experience; in the consumer packaged goods industry, as an entrepreneur, and in nonprofit marketing. As a parent of three, she is happy to be making a difference in the lives of young people with Erika’s Lighthouse. Jamie earned her MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management and her BBA from the University of Michigan.
Anna joined Erika’s Lighthouse in December 2021. She brings over 6 years of experience in nonprofit administration. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from the University of Central Florida and is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling (CMHC) from Adler University (Chicago). Anna is passionate about creating authentic connections and making mental health and education accessible to all.
Social Media Coordinator
Nathalia joined Erika’s Lighthouse in July 2022. She has a BFA in Creative Writing from Stephens College and brings forth four years of experience managing social media across many platforms. Nathalia is passionate about increasing awareness of mental health and inciting change in the stigma surrounding it. She seeks to not only grow and make connections but to create those opportunities for others as well.
Board of Directors
Our Board of Directors oversees the mission and governance of Erika’s Lighthouse. These passionate volunteers are determined to Get Depression Out of the Dark.
Professional Advisory Board
Our Professional Advisory Board includes both educators and experts who provide us with their guidance on issues surrounding teen depression and mental health.