Board of Directors

Keeping Our Organization Running and Well

Our board of directors has members from all walks of life and backgrounds. This team donates their time and energy into keeping the South Mississippi Mental Health Association active and involved in our community.

Dorothy Smith Tinser, long time Board Member and supporter, delivers a message to Mental Health Association’s Board Members, both past and present.  Her mother, Opal Smith helped form this organization.  Both wanted to help people who are struggling to find a place where they feel safe and respected.  We thrive to fulfill their wishes.  History and Value to MHA Board Members 

Kimberly Nastasi, certified Association professional and Institute of Organization Management graduate, presents information on Board Goverance.  She has given permisison for this to be shared with other Boards.  Board Governance

 

 

Board Executive Committee

Liz Hoop

Liz Hoop

President, Hoop Cares, LLC.

Liz Hoop, International Best selling author, is a tenured hospice community liaison where she spends her days educating communities , doctors and facilities on the benefits of hospice care.  She calls this job her calling and finds it very fulfilling. She attends The Springs church where she is a member of the choir, co-leads a single women’s  life group and is the  leader of the women’s ministry team.   She serves on the board of directors for the Mental Health Association of South Mississippi, Special Needs Organization of South MS , Anchored Hearts Community Resources, Adopt A Grandparent Day and Teen Challenge for Women in MS. She selflessly gives of her time in volunteer efforts that help others.  She enjoys spending time with her family and friends.  

Daniel Caridad

Vice President, Back Bay Mission

Daniel is employed by Back Bay Mission leading the Micah Center, a day center for people experiencing homelessness. Prior to that he was with former Gulf Coast Mental Health. Daniel has a Bachelors of Science in Psychology from The University of Southern Mississippi, specializing in cognitive theory, the psychology of marketing, and behavioral modification. He is a lifetime member of both Psi Chi and Sigma Tau Delta, international honor societies in Psychology and English Literature, respectively. Daniel is also a proud member of the National Alliance for Mental Illness. He resides as far south as you can go without getting your shoes wet. The original tiny traveler, Daniel had two passports in his name before his first steps. Daniel plays guitar, drums, a little piano, and is working toward being the Gulf Coast’s preeminent blues ukulele practitioner. One day, Daniel hopes to earn his PsyD/Ph.D. in counseling psychology.

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Cliff Hermes

Secretary, Oceans Behavioral Hospital

Cliff has over 20 years of experience in the field of Healthcare that has included work in Radiology, Intensive Care, Emergency Care and Behavioral Healthcare. As an RN, Cliff cared for critically ill and emergent patients and became the Director of Emergency Services at Biloxi Regional Medical center in 2008. During his time as the Director, he obtained advanced degrees in Public Health and Business Administration. In 2013, Cliff made the move to Behavioral Healthcare. He became the Administrator of Psychiatric Services in January of 2013 for Gulf Oaks Hospital and remained the Administrator of the facility when it transitioned to Oceans of Biloxi in 2019. Cliff’s has worked with the Mental Health Association of South Mississippi since 2014 to promote their mission of championing positive mental health and wellness.

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Christy Ireland

Treasurer, The Peoples Bank

Christy has been in the banking industry over 20 years, with the majority of her career devoted to The Peoples Bank. Her love of banking originally began in Hattiesburg while attending the University of Southern Mississippi. While at USM, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, majoring in Banking/Finance. She is also a graduate of Ole Miss School of Banking and Leadership Gulf Coast. She is currently a Senior VP and Chief Risk Officer at The Peoples Bank. Christy was born and raised here on the MS Gulf Coast. She attended St. Martin, which is where her children have also attended. She is happily married with three children. She enjoys kickboxing, pottery, and spending time with family and friends. She is also a member of Mosaic Church. She recognizes the importance of mental health and wellness and looks forward to being a part of this organization.

CeCe Shabazz

Cecelia Shabazz

Executive Member, Memorial Hospital at Gulfport

Cece Shabazz is an award-winning Creative Director with over 20 years in the advertising industry. Passionate about the Advertising community and an Industry advocate, she’s the recipient of the American Advertising Federation’s Silver Medalist Award for her contributions to the industry on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Cece knows that the right marketing strategy for her clients can be an economic game changer. Her superpower lies in her ability to effectively identify a client’s pain points and provide custom creative solutions that will actually drive their results. Recognizing that businesses thrive through the power of impactful branding, she works to enhance their marketing, equity, loyalty, customer satisfaction, and potential. Cece has helped lead talented creative teams to numerous ADDY awards with consecutive “Art Director of the Year” and “Creative Director of the Year” recognitions. Cece is also a public speaker well known for her energetic presentations and industry insight

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors provides overall leadership and is responsible for defining MHASM’s mission and strategic direction. They set policy and actively ensure that the organization has adequate resources to carry out its mission. MHASM’s Board of Directors is passionate about helping people with steps of prevention, support and treatment of mental health challenges. They know that people should not feel ashamed or fearful of mental illness as it is a medical illness just like heart disease or cancer.

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Bridget Beck

Board Member, Coldwell Banker Alfonso Realty

Bridget Beck was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. She studied Communications at the University of Southern Alabama. This is where she met her husband of 18 years, Michael Beck, an Electrical Engineer at Mississippi Power Company. They relocated to Biloxi in 1993 where they raised their children, Christopher, 2023 graduate of University of Mississippi and Brianna, 2024 graduate of Biloxi High School. With her husband they successfully buy property, renovate, rent and sell property along the Gulf Coast. As a full time licensed professional realtor, she specializes in residential properties.  She has 15 years’ experience in real estate where she stives to provide quality service to build and maintain relations by communicating effectively. Bridget has been part of the PTO at Biloxi Schools since 2019. She is a member of Port Side Fitness and part of the Mardi’s Gras group Cavaliers. Bridget selflessly gives her time to volunteer in many community events and participates in fundraisers that help aid and assist in the community.

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Laquita Brown

Board Member, Vision Business Solutions, LLC

LaQuita Brown was born and raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Growing up, she was often drawn to helping others and over time she has continued in this calling by offering her help in any way she can. She is the owner of Vision Business Solutions, LLC which specializes in assisting mental health business owners set up his or her private practice and develop foundational principles for that business. She is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi where she earned a Bachelor Degree in Child and Family Studies.  She has many years of experience as it relates to Mental Health and Private Mental Health Practices. She is a board member with Mental Heath Association of South Mississippi (MHASM) and an active board member for Mississippi Conference on Social Welfare (MCSW). She is an active church and community member here on the MS Gulf Coast. Her life is guided by Jeremiah 29:11 and helping bring ones vision to life.

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Sheila Farr

Board Member, Gulf Coast Training & Education Services, LLC

Sheila Farr is an eternal optimist and the owner of Gulf Coast Training & Education Services, LLC,  where she helps small businesses and entrepreneurs develop business plans and strategies that work.  Sheila is a best-selling author, an educator, and a business strategist. A graduate of both the University of Georgia and Liberty University, she has a master’s degrees in education and health & wellness counseling.  In 2020, she founded Biloxi Reads!; an initiative designed to get books into the hands of underserved populations. She also serves her community as a literacy coach with the “Biloxi Reads!” program, providing job training as the Workforce Readiness Director for the Gulf Coast Human Resource Association,  bringing awareness to help stop Veteran suicides as an Ambassador for Mission 22, and advocating for mental wellness as a Board member for the Mental Health Association of South Mississippi. Sheila enjoys gardening, target shooting, yoga, UGA football, and writing her inspirational blog entitled, “Thankful and Blessed 365.”

Jocelyn Gavin-Lane

Jocelyn Gavin-Lane

Board Member, Premier Professional Counseling Services, LLC

Jocelyn Gavin-Lane has worked in the social service field as a licensed social worker for more than 20 years. She is the owner and Clinical Director of Premier Professional Counseling Services, LLC. Jocelyn has a Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work from Jackson State University and a Master’s in Public Health- Healthcare Administration from the University of Southern Mississippi. She is the CEO & founder of The Pink Lotus Project a national nonprofit focused on empowering women and mentoring girls. Pink Lotus hosts the Gulf Coast Youth Leadership Symposium which empowers over 150 students in leadership and service. Jocelyn has received several awards, is an arthor and graduate of leadership programs. She previously served as a board member of the MS Chapter of National Association of Social Workers, member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Gulf Coast (MS) Chapter of The Links, Inc., MS Gulf Coast Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc. 

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Megan Lockley

Board Member, Gulf Coast Family Counseling

Megan Lockley, LCSW has been providing mental health therapy for individuals, couples and families for the last ten years.  She graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Masters in Social Work in 2010 following her Bachelors in Psychology in 2008. She worked as a therapist on the inpatient adolescent unit at Merit Health Gulf Oaks (now Oceans Behavioral Health) from 2014-2016 with previous experience in individual and family outpatient therapy at the Gulf Coast Mental Health Center. She began practicing at Gulf Coast Family Counseling, a United Way Agency in Ocean Springs in 2016. She is passionate about mental health and wellness and advocating for social justice and equality in both professional and personal respects as a member of the Human Rights Campaign and volunteering with community organizations like the South Mississippi AIDS Task Force, Special Olympics, and, since 2015, as a board member for the Mental Health Association of South Mississippi.

Greg McCarthy

Greg McCarthy

Board Member, Scarlet Pearl Casino Resort

Greg has lived on the Mississippi Gulf coast the majority of his life. He attended Biloxi High School and University of Southern Mississippi. Greg had various jobs growing up, like most people, but landed his first computer related job with the City of Biloxi back in 1990. When casino’s came to the coast in 1992 he made the move to the President Casino and helped to open that property. Several casinos and jobs later, he is now the Vice President of Information Technology at the Scarlet Pearl Casino in D’Iberville, MS. Greg was married for quite some time, but has been divorced since 2006. He has two children, both grown, and two grandchildren. He enjoys boating, either fishing or just sitting at the islands enjoying the beautiful scenery. Also camping, golf and spending time with all of the people I care the most about. Greg says, “I have been offered several financially beneficial chances to move away from the coast, but have never truly considered doing so. The Gulf Coast is my home and I am not truly happy, for very long, anywhere else.”

Tillie McCoy

Tillie McCoy

Board Member, Singing River Health System

Tillie has lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast her entire life.  She graduated from Vancleave High School and achieved her Associates Degree from Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.  She has been a Certified Professional Coder since 2011 and an active member of the American Academy of Professional Coders.  Tillie has worked in the healthcare field since 2000.  Most of her career has been with Singing River Health System, where she is currently the Practice Administrator for Behavioral Health Services. Tillie has been married for over 20 years and has three children.  She enjoys helping out in the community and meeting new people.

Michael Mong

Michael Mong

Board Member, The University of Southern MS

Dr. Michael Mong is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Southern Mississippi and a board certified, licensed behavior analyst and licensed school psychologist who specializes in behavioral therapy as well as academic and behavioral assessments. He enjoys working with a wide variety of clients and also works within schools offering therapy, psychoeducational assessments, staff training, and educator resources. Dr. Mong is a graduate of both Louisiana State University and Mississippi State University and has previously served as a trainer for the Mississippi Department of Education, an Associate Dean of the College of Education & Psychology at USM, and as the Director of the USM Autism Project. In his free time, Dr. Mong enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, fishing, and watching LSU and Saints football games.