Zima Creason, MBA

Zima Creason is the President & CEO of Mental Health America of California (MHAC). She has over 15 years of experience in a variety of roles to improve access to behavioral health services for all Californians. Zima has worked on significant public policy initiatives including the Yes on Proposition 63 Campaign, California’s Mental Health Services Act. She led a 3-year $3 million project which created a program to educate managers in the workplace to promote the mental health of their staff to increase wellness and productivity. The program was evaluated by RAND and showed very promising results.

Zima is committed to working for policies that improve services and supports for underserved populations. Today Zima is a leader inspiring young people to get involved in shaping the policies and programs that impact their lives.

Zima’s passion for behavioral health, social justice, and youth stems from her lived experiences including her own behavioral health challenges and her family’s behavioral health challenges. She is committed to defeating stigma and discrimination as well as access issues that prohibit Californians from receiving the services and support that they need when they need it so that they are able to live full and productive lives.

Curtis Paullins

Curtis Paullins is the Executive Administrator for Mental Health America of California (MHAC). Originally from Marion, Iowa, Curtis has excelled at various positions throughout his career.  His path has included positions such as VP of Customer Management, Accountant and Systems Administrator.  He has also worked internationally on Grand Cayman Island and on Providenciales (Turks & Caicos). In 1994 Curtis began working for the California Bankers Association, holding several roles including Systems Administrator, Events Manager and Vice President, Customer Management. With 20 years of association management experience he brings a strong skillset to MHAC.

Curtis is committed to cause driven work and volunteerism.  He is an avid cyclist, participating in the annual AIDS/LifeCycle (ALC) ride to end AIDS, a 7 day, 545 mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. He has completed the ride 4 times and to date has raised over $20,000 for the cause. He also volunteers as a training ride leader for ALC, helping plan rides and prepare riders to complete the ride.  He is very active politically, advocating for progressive causes and participating in legislative engagement.  Curtis also serves as a board member for his homeowners association.

Curtis and his husband Mooney have six spunky Miniature Pinschers that provide endless entertainment.

Kathleen Casela

Kathleen Casela is MHAC’s Association Manager and Program Director of the California Youth Empowerment Network (CAYEN). She has been an advocate for at-risk and homeless transitional age youth (TAY) for over fifteen years. Kathleen’s knowledge, expertise and personal lived experience as an emancipated foster youth has allowed her to utilize her voice in her commitment to making a positive change within the public systems. Kathleen also has experience in project management, coordination, facilitation, policy, advocacy and curriculum development. She has been a member local and statewide committees, including: Honoring Emancipate Youth, Transitional Youth Task Force, Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission subcommittees and the California Mental Health Planning Council.