Speakers Bureau

The Everyone Counts Speaker’s Bureau includes Lift Every Voice and Speak and Toastmasters.  Both platforms offer members opportunities to live, love, grow, and heal through telling their personal stories in a warm, engaging, and supportive environment.  The Bureau is a group of individuals, with diverse backgrounds, interests, talents, and aspirations, who have both lived experience of mental health challenges and perspectives on how to build and maintain wellness in their lives.  They work together to support each other’s individual efforts to develop confidence to share personal stories to educate, enlighten, and inspire themselves and community members about mental health.  Speaker’s bureau members believe that recovery from mental health challenges is real and quite possible to achieve with the support, understanding, and advocacy of family members, friends, health care providers, and the community.  

Members participate in monthly workshops where they build and share motivation to explore different ways of creating self-empowering messages and stories about personal and professional wellness.  Inspiration for their stories can be found in the arts, through overcoming difficulties, in day-to-day experiences, through current events, or through the life story of a peer living with mental illness.  

Members are featured in the community at learning institutions, hospitals, libraries, health fairs, expos, conventions, conferences, parades, and at faith-based organizations to deliver messages of hope, health, wellness, resiliency, and spirituality.  Speaker’s Bureau members are eager to share their real stories of the challenges and the opportunities to thrive for people living with mental illness.   

One in five Californians lives with a mental health issue and experiences unfair treatment.  Join the Everyone Counts Campaign to reduce negative treatment of and discriminatory practices against people with mental illness by hosting a presentation with the Lift Every Voice and Speak Speaker’s Bureau.

For more information on how to host a presentation at your workplace, school, organization, community, or faith-based event, please contact Gilbert Pizano at gpizano@peersnet.org or (510) 832-7337.


My name is Ernest Douglas. I am very passionate about mental health issues. I am a member of PEERS, Pool of Consumer Champions, Toastmasters and Lift Every Voice and Speak. I have experienced both physical and mental trauma. I am working to become a peer specialist and public speaker. I enjoy sharing my story so people know they’re not alone and it helps others, including myself.
Mr. Kenneth Davis is a Recovery Specialist. He helps mental health consumers achieve wellness by offering a wide range of programs and services ranging from spirituality and faith based practices to counseling, support and educational programs. He coaches youth and family members in relieving stress, depression and societal stigmas.
Lillian Turner, a mental health consumer, addresses her mental health issues through spirituality and public speaking. She is a member of the PEERS speakers bureau Lift Every Voice and Speak, Toastmasters and Pool of Consumer Champions. Lillian does advocacy in such areas as community health and wellness, education, housing, and unemployment. 
I am Mariah and I’m 20 years old.  In 2010, I experienced mental psychosis. For me, it was a divine phenomenon! But others tried to make it dirty, assuming I was crazy, fragile. The school board labeled me as Special Ed. The day I graduated from high school with honors I let go of external opinions and pursued greatness.  Like the African Proverb, “If there is no enemy within, the enemy outside can do us no harm”
My name is Pamela Miles. I have been living with mental health challenges since the age of 23. I am a divorcee with two loving Godchildren. Through Lift Every Voice and Speak and Toastmasters, I have been blessed to become more confident and empowered. As a member of the POCC’s Public Policy and Health Trauma Committees, I advocate for the rights of those with mental health challenges. Helping others makes me happy and grateful.
My name is Sederia Lewis. I have been part of the Speakers Bureau since it began at PEERS. The Speakers Bureau gave me a voice, freedom and the courage to speak up for myself and advocate for others with mental health challenges. I began advocating for myself when doctors tried to keep me medicated, which hindered me and kept me sleepy. Soon after, I shared my story with others. Recovery is definitely possible!
My name is Bernice Black. I am a 24 ½ -year recovering substance use and mental health consumer. My spirituality helped me overcome my addiction. I live a life of telling my personal story of hope and recovery to help others be freed, healed, and give them hope. I want to let everyone know that my Higher Power that has given me strength and power to practice leadership, wellness, recovery and advocacy.




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