Our Board

Our Board

Mercy Quiroga, President

Serving her community is her life-long passion. Now retired and living in Gainesville, Mercy was also very active with the Mental Health Clubhouse in Miami. She has seen first hand how Clubhouse programs like ours can make people’s lives better. Mercy was President of Miami-Dade College and Broward College.

Shoab Rana, Vice President

My main reason for associating with GOC was my son’s health issues. As I became more familiar with the mission of GOC and the way it helps its members cope with their health challenges, I would characterize this organization as no less than amazing. I joined the board so that I could contribute to this noble cause. Over the last few years, I have seen it grow tremendously and all the people working there are passionate and dedicated which is the main reason for its success. I am really happy to be a part of it.

Jennifer Elder, Secretary

I have a PhD in Nursing and Developmental Psychology. I worked as an RN in psychiatry. I started Arbor House and Mom’s Place with my husband, Steve Elder, to help mothers needing assistance. My interest in the Gainesville Opportunity Center stems from my belief that GOC’s mission and values are consistent with mine. I have been particularly impressed with the success of one member with whom my husband and I helped for many years.

Joanne Edde, Treasurer

I’m originally from on Long Island, NY. I have two children, 6 grandchildren, two hens and one mean rooster. I enjoy gardening and canning, blues music festivals, and traveling. I started my banking career as a teller and today work as a community banker with over 20 years experience. I love to help people!

Michael Conlon

Dr. Conlon is an experienced administrator, biostatistician, informatician, IT expert, and emeritus faculty member of the University of Florida. Dr. Conlon joined the GOC board in 2018.

Alexis Henderson

Alexis Henderson is a peer specialist who is a founding member of the Gainesville Opportunity Center. Her belief in how effective the Clubhouse model is comes from personal lived experience. The GOC is a place where people are respected. Both Members and staff create an atmosphere of wellness and recovery where people are met where they are at without judgment. Primary focus is on strengths and giving people encouragement and credit for every step of their recovery journey.  The Gainesville Opportunity Center is not only a beautiful concept, but it is effective in addressing needs and implementing real change in individuals’ lives.

Leza Mueller

Leza Mueller is a local business owner, cabi Fashion Stylist and Editor of Gainesville City Lifestyle. A Double Gator, Leza has lived in Gainesville for over 38 years and has raised 3 amazing daughters and served on numerous Boards, including currently serving on the Rotary Club Foundation Board, Boy Scouts District Committee and the Advisory Board of the Ronald McDonald House. A Rotarian, Chamber Diplomat and Community Advocate, Leza is skilled in marketing, development, social media, fundraising, budgeting, advertising, magazine design and business development. Leza’s husband suffered from Bipolar Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder and passed away in 2015.

Manny Quiroga

Manny is a UF graduate who is happy to be back in Gainesville for his retirement. Manny taught autistic high school children in the Miami-Dade public school system. Manny has been very active on our Board and has played a major role in planning several GOC events.

Reid Schreiber

I joined the board in 2018. I have an Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Florida. I am a Certified Recovery Peer Specialist. I love the sense of community at the GOC. I have seen my own life transformed by participation in the GOC’s program. Serving on the board provides opportunities for me to increase advocacy for individuals living with mental illness.

Bill Stephenson

Bill Stephenson chairs the Department of Humanities and Foreign Languages at Santa Fe College, where, in his 25 years at the institution, he has also served as Professor of English and English Department Chair. He has taught courses in Humanities, composition, and British and World Literature at Santa Fe. Bill earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration at the University of Florida in 2022. Bill’s work in the community includes nearly 20 years mentoring middle school and high school students through Florida’s
Take Stock in Children scholarship program. He and his colleagues at SF are currently developing Free to Learn, a program to support Santa Fe students with past history of incarceration.