MHEP Staff

Amy Colesante, Chief Executive Officer:

Greetings! My name is Amy Colesante and first and foremost, I am the mother of two beautiful young boys: Matthew and Daniel. There was a time when my tendencies toward perfection defined my work, but now, I have tossed my work perfections aside to pursue my quest for mommy greatness! Before my boys were born, I defined my life through my work, through the system, even through peer support. Either my life was filled with no boundaries, or the walls were too high to break down. I had a life, but felt like I had no reason to live. Today, I am defined by my passion to see the world through Matt & Danny’s eyes. Love, literally, saved my life.

I am also a former user of mental health services and a trauma survivor with a long history working as a systems change agent, both inside and outside the system. My passion is to introduce people to community organizing strategies that help them to find their voice, connect to their personal power and help them to move into their rightful place as equal citizens.

I became the Executive Director of Mental Health Empowerment Project, (MHEP) Inc. in 2005 where I lead an amazing team of people to achieve the agency’s mission of developing, nurturing and sustaining self-help related activities throughout the United States. I also bring lived experience into the mental health system by participating on many boards and committees and organizing/inspiring others to do the same. Prior to my position at MHEP, I am proud to have supported transformation efforts from inside the mental health system as the Deputy Director of the Office of Mental Health’s Office of Consumer Affairs.

So, here I am: the Executive Director of MHEP! Life without love is like a tree without fruit, and I think of MHEP as another piece of fruit on my tree. I love this agency and all that it stands for. I come to work every day and do what I love to do … help people find their passion and connect to their personal power. What more could a girl ask for?

Pam Maxim, Director of Administrative Services:

A woman of many interests (and little talent), I’ve dabbled in cake decorating, card and paper crafting, crocheting and quilting, among other things. (I’m known to family and friends as the queen of unfinished projects.) I view myself as a country girl at heart and enjoy activities that keep me connected with nature: gardening, biking and walking. Reading has been a joy to me since childhood and it’s rare to find me without a stack of books at my side.

Cleaning house is my de-stressor; so, it’s no surpise that my greatest sense of satisfaction comes from bringing the organizational and administrative skills gained from my work history to MHEP.

Bill Gamble, Director of Training:

Zach Garafalo, Director of Advocacy:

Em Wasserman (They/Them/Theirs): Director of Peer Services for Albany and Rensselaer Counties:

Victor Clark, Director of the R.I.S.E. Center