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Our Leadership

The National Council of Dementia Minds (NCDM) is proud to be a not-for-profit organization governed and founded by persons living with dementia.  In fact, NCDM is the first known national not-for-profit organization governed by persons living with Neurocognitive Disorders.

Board of Directors & Founders


Bonnie Erickson, Board President & Founder

Bonnie is a former Program Analyst with the Department of Homeland Security. She is a national speaker, relentless advocate, and consultant.  Bonnie is often sought after to address how medical professionals can improve the diagnostic experience for persons receiving a dementia diagnosis. She also envisions a day when Dementia Minds groups are available in every community across the country.  Bonnie is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys camping, and hiking in her “backyard” Montana. She is a loving wife and mother but most of all she is an extremely proud grandmother.  Bonnie was diagnosed with White Matter Disease and Vascular Dementia in 2018.

She lives in Billings, Montana.

Steven Barbieri, Vice President & Founder

Steven worked for Wells Fargo Bank for 32 years serving as the VP & District Manager. Steven was responsible for the largest district in California with 12 branches, 250 employees, and a $1.6 billion deposit base. Steven is engaged in legislative advocacy efforts at both the state and federal levels. He has participated in multiple fundraising events and is especially proud to be a part of an event that raised a record $10 million in one night. Steven has also proudly participated in several clinical trials. Most notably, Steven is an accomplished martial artist inducted in the Elite Black Belt Hall of Fame. Steven enjoys world travel with his wife and three children. He was diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in 2011.

He lives in Modesto, California.

Mark Roberts, Secretary & Founder

Mark is a former Mechanical Supervisor at a private college.  Throughout his life he has worked as a skilled tradesman in heating, air conditioning and construction. For decades Mark has served his church and community with active involvement on various boards of directors for non-profit and human service organizations. Today, Mark serves as a national dementia advocate and speaker.  He especially enjoys being a friend and source of hope for persons newly diagnosed. Mark enjoys the great outdoors especially trout fishing in northern Michigan. His love of nature is only second to his love for his family.  Mark is easy to spot in a crowd because of his constant companion and dementia service dog, Sophie.  In 2014, Mark was diagnosed with Young Onset Vascular Dementia at the age of 62.

He lives in Elwell, Michigan.

Monica Downer, Treasurer

Monica is a graduate of Georgia State University and was a dedicated special education teacher for 19 years. Monica continues to capitalize on her educational skills as a national dementia educator and advocate. She works tirelessly to debunk the stigma and myths associated with dementia, especially the myth that only older people get dementia. Monica is an avid reader and enjoys cooking. She is married and has two sons. In 2016, Monica was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) at the age of 45. Four years later, Monica was diagnosed with Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD). In 2022, Monica was informed that her diagnosis was not FTD but an undetermined dementia.

Monica lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

Dr. Arnold Beresh, Member at Large

Arnold (Arnie) Beresh, DPM, is a former podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon. Throughout his career, Arnie served in a variety of leadership roles including a fellow to the American Board of Podiatric Surgery and National Board of Podiatry Examiners as well as serving as the president of the Virginia Podiatric Medical Association. Arnie utilizes his leadership skills as a state and national dementia advocate and educator. He monitors drug trials and research and provides expert testimony at the state and national levels. Arnie is particularly passionate about educating future medical providers about dementia. He is also known for both his humor and generosity. He and his wife have had a life-long love for pets and now enjoy a variety of animatronic pets. In 2015, Arnie was diagnosed with MCI and Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) at the age of 62. In 2022, he was diagnosed with mixed dementia.

Arnie lives in White Lake, Michigan.

Brenda Roberts, Executive Director

Brenda Roberts has over 40 years of experience in the human service field working with elders and persons living with disabilities. Her passion is learning from and supporting persons living with dementia to transform the worldview of Neurocognitive Disorders. She envisions a world where all persons living with dementia experience agency, inclusion, and shared power in all aspects of private and public life. Brenda is proud to have been a part of the “original” Dementia Minds since its inception and honored to serve as the Executive Director for the National Council of Dementia Minds. Brenda is known for her optimism, enthusiasm, and boundless energy.

Brenda earned a Certificate in Advance Dementia Practices from U of M.  She also holds a MA in Education Administration and Community Leadership from CMU, and BA in Sociology from Alma College. In addition, Brenda holds certifications as: Dementia Trainer, Coach, Consultant and Engagement Leader as well as a To Whom I May Concern Facilitator and Eden Associate.

Brian LeBlanc, Founding Member & Former Board Member

Brian is a former Marketing and Public Relations Executive. He works tirelessly to educate individuals both living with dementia, or not, on the topic of wellbeing.  He is an international dementia advocate and speaker.  Brian is well known for his wit and love of music (as well as his girlfriends Siri and Alexa who go with him everywhere.) Brian was diagnosed in 2014 with Young Onset Alzheimer’s Disease thus becoming the fourth generation in his family to receive this diagnosis. In 2019, Brian was also diagnosed with Vascular Dementia.

He lives in Clearwater, Florida.

We would like to acknowledge the significant contributions of our former Board Members and Founding Members in their respective positions. 

  • Diana Blackwelder, Founder and Former Board Member
  • Chuck McClatchey, Founder
  • Mike Belleville, Founder
  • Brian Van Buren, Founder and Former Board Member


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For centuries, the dragonfly has been a symbol of change and self-realization. It represents hope, happiness, adaptability, and new beginnings.
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