Vonnie Woodrick


“i understand is proud of our small but powerful women run organization. Each staff member works hard to move our mission forward by believing in our work to offer compassion, change and understanding to something so difficult to understand. You each have a heart of gold and we are so fortunate to have you on our team!”

Doug Meijer

Board President, Meijer Corporation

“The impact that i understand is having in our community and beyond is profound. Real change is happening. People are talking about mental health and suicide. Lives are being saved. We can all make simple changes that could result in big changes. I changed; so can you. Change can be beautiful. Change is beautiful.”

Todd Chassee

Board Member, Clinical Services at Emergency Care Specialists

As an Emergency Physician, I have witnessed the impact of mental health, substance use disorder, and suicide on countless patients and their loved ones. I have a particular passion for these issues among our youth. Despite all of these “work” experiences, I was most impacted by the loss of my grandfather to suicide.

“I am excited by the opportunity to partner with an organization that is tackling these issues head on.”

Andrea Forsyth

Board Member, Plunkett Clooney

Andrea is a partner in Plunkett Cooney’s Grand Rapids office. She focuses her practice in the areas of transportation law and general liability defense.

“I joined the board at i understand after losing her mother to suicide after she battled depression and addiction issues for many years. I believe in the importance of sharing one’s story, as this starts a dialogue about mental illness and helps remove the stigma that surrounds it.”

Alec Green

Board Member, Sanford Behavioral Health

Alec is the Managing Director of Sanford Behavioral Health, a residential and outpatient treatment center located in West Michigan.

“I am on the board of i understand because in order to fully integrate physical and mental health services we must reduce the stigma associated with mental health disorders.”

Kara Massa

Board Member, Spectrum Health

Kara is the Advisor to the Chief Human Resources Officer of Spectrum Health, a nationally recognized health system employing 31,000 individuals in Southwest and West Michigan.

“I am so grateful to be involved in the work i understand is championing, as far too many people are suffering in plain sight – silently battling a health crisis due to mental illness.”

Chris Farnham

Board Member, Dematic

Joe is Senior Director of Advanced Analytics, Priority Health
“I serve on the i understand board to honor the memory of dear friends who were claimed by suicide/self harm – they gave so much to me, and have passed beyond my ability to return their love and care. My service is a tribute and gesture of gratitude to them.”

Whitney Rottiers

Creative Director

“After losing my dad to depression, I didn’t understand. This organization gave me an ability to talk about something I didn’t and couldn’t talk about. I am proud to be part of a team that is allowing others to live their truth and the loved ones of those who passed a chance to talk about their loved ones for how they lived, not how they died.”