DBSA Leadership Transition

For Immediate Release

Contact: Aimee Thompson
(312) 988-1178 or AThompson@DBSAlliance.org

Allen Doederlein and Cynthia Specht Appointed Interim Co-Executive Directors of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

(CHICAGO, April 13, 2010) – Allen Doederlein, as Executive Director of External Affairs, and Cynthia Specht, as Executive Director of Operations, will assume collaborative leadership of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), the nation’s largest consumer-led mental health organization focusing on mood disorders. Their appointment is on an interim basis, effective immediately.

DBSA’s board of directors is launching a national search for a permanent DBSA leader.

As Executive Director of External Affairs, Doederlein will focus on DBSA’s strategic alliances and partnerships, serve as organizational spokesperson, and oversee generation of both contributed and earned revenues. Doederlein was previously DBSA’s Vice President of Development. He has worked for numerous nonprofits in key leadership roles, most recently for Tony Award-winning Victory Gardens Theater, where he facilitated contributions to the annual fund and $11.8-million capital campaign to renovate the historic Biograph Theater.

As Executive Director of Operations, Specht will direct all public programming, including DBSA’s upcoming National Conference (April 29-May 2, 2010 in Itasca, Illinois) and educational initiatives nationwide. Specht will also facilitate creation and continuation of DBSA informational materials, including the websites DBSAlliance.org, DBSAlianza.org, and FacingUs.org; printed brochures; and other publications. Specht has been with DBSA for four years, previously as DBSA’s Vice President of Products and Programs. Specht brings to her role a diverse professional background of program development, marketing, and communications. Prior to DBSA, Specht served as managing partner of a marketing and communications agency, and she served as director of marketing for a major national contract furniture dealership with $60 million in annual revenues.

DBSA Board Chair Christy Beckmann said of the new leadership team, “The board of directors is thrilled that Allen and Cynthia have accepted our invitation to act as interim leaders for DBSA. In his role as Vice President of Development, Allen has proven adept at navigating numerous important relationships with DBSA’s key stakeholders, and his personal, lived experience with a mood disorder fuels both a passion for and keen understanding of DBSA’s mission to improve the lives of people with mood disorders. Cynthia, as DBSA’s Vice President of Products and Programs, has been vital to developing initiatives such as the annual National Conference and the wellness-focused website FacingUs.org, in addition to public education programs and events throughout the country. Her deep knowledge of DBSA’s work and diverse background make her ideal for facilitating operations and ensuring strategic achievement of DBSA’s important mission.”

Doederlein and Specht assume direction of DBSA upon the departure of Peter Ashenden, who served for two years as DBSA’s staff leader. Ashenden has accepted a senior management position at United Healthcare.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2010, DBSA reaches nearly 5,000,000 people each year with current, consumer-friendly information about depression and bipolar disorder, as well as empowering tools focused on an integrated approach to wellness and recovery. Through over 1,000 support groups and 450 national chapters, DBSA fosters a consumer-directed understanding about the impact and management of these life-threatening illnesses. For more information, please visit DBSAlliance.org or call (800) 826-3632.