Jen McGowan-Tomke, MPH

Headshot of Jen McGowan-TomkeJen McGowan-Tomke is the Chief Operating Officer at NAMI Chicago. Jen leads NAMI Chicago’s operations, legislative advocacy and provides key support for the NAMI Chicago’s state grant programs. Jen’s policy expertise includes the relationship between mental health and insurance coverage, as well as the impact of individual mental health within the criminal court, juvenile justice, and forensic systems. Jen earned a Bachelor of Political Science and Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Master of Health Policy and Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.


Ben Frank, MSW

Headshot of Ben FrankBen Frank joined the NAMI Chicago team in August 2018, transitioning into his role of Sr. Director of Wellness in September 2020. He oversees wellness strategy for NAMI Chicago, ensuring that the organization builds an internal culture that promotes mental wellness in our team in a way that is consistent with the how we teach mental wellness to the community. Ben also oversees the Helpline and Recovery departments, and provides clinical advisement and expertise for all departments. Ben started his career in mental health over 20 years ago, as a direct care worker in a group home for adolescent boys. He also served as a hospital Director of Residential Services and has worked with the outpatient programs extensively. Ben earned a Bachelor of Science in English from Iowa State University and went on to earn a Master of Social Work from the University of Chicago. Ben lives out NAMI Chicago’s mission providing healing to our community and never giving up on those who come to us for support.


Kari Carter-Cherelus, RDH, DA

Headshot of Kari Carter-CherelusKari Carter-Cherelus has been passionately advocating for others personally and professionally for more than 24 years. As a clinician, speaker, author, consultant, writer, CPR instructor, and a coach, she helps to empower individuals and organizations through her relatable content. She inspires her colleagues by discussing how she overcame burnout and overwhelm in the dental industry. Kari knows firsthand how working in a hostile work environment can contribute to the feeling of burnout, negatively effecting one’s overall health and confidence. She authored the book The Ultimate Guide for Dental Hygienist Burnout to serve as a guide to help dental hygienists in all stages of their career. Kari is a consultant to several companies, including Arm & Hammer Oral Care, RDH Connect, Lumadent, BioGaia, and Pulpdent. She is the founder of KMC Strategic Solutions, a consulting media platform that educates and empowers colleagues. KMC Strategic Solutions helps to improve the work culture in teams and organizations, as well as to coach individuals. As an international speaker and mental health advocate, Kari is well known as an industry leader and change maker. She motivates and empowers others through her dynamic presentations to persevere and conquer all of life challenges with resilience and fortitude.


Adriana Forino, CRDH

Headshot of Adriana Forino
Adriana “Adri” Forino, CRDH, has been practicing as a dental hygienist since 2017. She currently serves as a Regional Hygiene Mentor of Operations for Heartland Dental and as a steering committee member for a Women in Dentistry Employee Led Community.

Beyond her passion for helping patients perfect their oral hygiene and supporting the hygienists in her region, Adri finds joy in spending time with her husband and their six-year-old fur baby, Munich.