National Advisors

The National Advisory Caucus is a diverse group of nationally recognized leaders from across the country who guide the STAR Center's efforts on youth leadership and developing sustainability for peer and family run organizations.

Johanna  Bergan

Johanna Bergan is an advocate for youth with lived experience in the mental health system who is working in the field of youth engagement to promote and encourage the inclusion of youth voice in policy change. As Youth M.O.V.E. National’s Executive Director, Johanna assists chapters of the Youth M.O.V.E. network in creating youth-driven organizations working to unite the voices and causes of youth at the local, state and national level. Johanna has eight years of experience advocating for system change and has found a deep sense of purpose in helping youth live a well life. Her voice has been present on national platforms providing technical assistance and advising on the value of youth voice. 

A Favorite Quote:

"Feels like some kind of ride but it's turning out just to be life going absolutely perfectly" - Brian Andreas, StoryPeople

Viviana Bonilla Lopez

Viviana is a Puerto Rico native committed to mental health and disability justice.

In 2014, she graduated from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, earning a BA in journalism with a minor in entrepreneurship. As an undergraduate, Viviana worked in the mental health system as a volunteer, intern, and research assistant. In 2011, she co-founded Rethink: Psychiatric Illness, a student organization aimed at raising awareness about mental illnesses and increasing help-seeking behaviors among students. In this role, she spearheaded the creation of the university’s first-ever mental health advocacy training, which has attracted over 680 students. In March 2015, Viviana presented Rethink’s work at the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics’ Symposium.

In the journalism field, she has experience as a writer, photographer, videographer, researcher, translator, and editor. Her storytelling focused on health issues and the experiences of people with disabilities.

A Favorite Quote:

“If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us struggle together.” ~Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s

Stephanie Orlando

Stephanie Orlando is a founder and the Executive Director of YOUTH POWER!, a statewide network comprised of young people who have disabilities and experiences in multiple state child-serving systems.  Building upon her personal experience of having received children’s mental health, special education, and residential services, Ms. Orlando began her work with youth peer advocacy in 1998 in Buffalo New York.  She is dedicated to promoting positive change within child-serving systems, increasing the availability of peer support for young people and teaching youth how to advocate for their own needs and rights on all levels of service. 

Ms. Orlando is a nationally recognized advocate for youth with disabilities.  She has received numerous awards for her work, including the Diana Vietz Award in 2008 from the National Council on Independent Living and mpower Award in 2006 from the National Mental Health Association. In 2012, Ms. Orlando was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the US Senate to the National Council on Disability for a term, which expired in November 2014.  

A Favorite Quote:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead

David McClung

David McClung is the youth engagement specialist at Texas System of Care where he helps to lead ACCEPT, a cross-system group of youth and young adults ages 13-25 from across the state who work together for system transformation by supporting partnerships between, youth, young adults, and organizations. David graduated from Wayland Baptist University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Baylor University with a Masters in Social Work and Master of Divinity. He is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Social Work at Baylor University and hopes to graduate in 2018. His research interests include natural support systems, the role of congregations in mental health, and youth participatory action research. In his free time, David enjoys spending time with his family, keeping up with current events, reading, and watching movies.

A Favorite Quote:

“The key to creating or transforming community, then, is to see the power in the small but important elements of being with others. The shift we seek needs to be embodied in each invitation we make, each relationship we encounter, and each meeting we attend. For at the most operational and practical level, after all the thinking about policy, strategy, mission, and milestones, it gets down to this: How are we going to be when we gather together?” - Peter Block, Community: The Structure of Belonging

Xautle Alba-Pizana

Xautle Alba-Pizana is a Disabled Queer/TGNC Mexican entity, who rejects single issue fights and seeks to transform advocacy into one that addresses all crossroads of human experience.