AUGUSTA, Maine — National Alliance on Mental Illness Maine has hired Jenna Mehnert as its new executive director. She will begin her new duties on Aug. 19.
Mehnert, MSW, most recently served as the executive director of the New England Institute of Addiction Studies (NEIAS) where she was hired to lead the agency through a time of transition. Her leadership resulted in the overhaul of NEIAS’ signature events and updates to critical infrastructure.
Prior to returning home to Orono, Mehnert spent six years leading the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, a statewide membership organization, where she was instrumental in securing passage on many pieces of mental health and social services legislation. A committed advocate and collaborator, she traveled throughout Pennsylvania and worked to ensure that NASW-PA’s voice was present in the Pennsylvania legislature and on numerous statewide committees including the Welfare Coalition, the Protect Our Children Committee, and the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) work group. In recognition of her leadership, she received the NASW Chapter Executive Director of the Year in 2011.
Mehnert brings extensive legislative policy and operational experience to the position with NAMI Maine, including her service as executive policy specialist with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. Prior to her time in Pennsylvania, she worked for the offices of the mayor in both New York City and Washington, D.C., as director of program management and development in the New York City Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator, and as chief of staff for the Washington, D.C., Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice. She has also worked in a variety of direct service settings, including as a child welfare worker in Lewiston/Auburn and rape crisis hotline supervisor in Portland.
For the past 10 years, Mehnert has taught graduate and undergraduate social policy, juvenile justice and women’s studies courses. She currently serves as an adjunct Gender’s Studies professor at the University of Maine. In addition to mentoring future professionals, Jenna serves her community as an elected school board member.
Mehnert holds a certificate in executive leadership from Bryn Mawr College. She earned her Master’s degree in social work from the University of Pennsylvania and holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Southern Maine where she was the 1993 Outstanding Senior Woman.