Jenna Mehnert, MSW, has been hired as executive director of the Maine Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the statewide advocacy organization for people affected by mental illness. Mehnert brings a diverse background as an advocate, policymaker, administrator, service provider and network builder to the position.
Mehnert previously served as the executive director of the New England Institute of Addiction Studies and spent six years leading the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. She was named the NASW Chapter Executive Director of the Year in 2011. Mehnert has extensive policy and operational experience, including her service as executive policy specialist with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell. She also has 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.
Mehnert began her career in 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 Studies professor at the University of Maine and as an elected school board member.