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Meet our directors

David W. Downing

David W. Downing, MS, LMHC, CMHS joined YES as its Chief Operating Officer in 2006, and has been the Chief Executive Officer since May of 2020.

David is both a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Child Mental Health Specialist, with over 25 years of leadership in the non-profit sector. David holds a Certificate in Fundraising Management from the University of Washington, and a Master’s degree in Psychology from Seattle Pacific University. David serves on several boards including the Alliance of Eastside Agencies, and the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) Washington State. In addition, he has been nationally recognized by the Child Welfare League of America for his work and advocacy for youth in the child welfare system (Outstanding Direct Service Worker Award for the Western United States).

Over the years, David has been instrumental in the advancement of YES. In response to the changes in our community and the needs of children and youth, David led YES’ behavioral health services from a traditional supportive listening model to one grounded in evidence-based practices such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). He has had a keen focus on removing barriers to behavioral health by developing strong partnerships with school districts, specifically increasing YES behavioral health support integration onsite in our schools, as well as working with his team to launch Open Access to provide walk-in treatment on demand.

Additionally, in response to a significant rise in the acuity of the psychiatric needs of youth, he also oversaw the development and integration of psychiatric services adding psychiatric evaluations, medication management, and MD level guidance on treatment.

Most recently, due to the COVID-19 health crisis, David led the transition of YES services, to a TeleHealth virtual platform, helping to assure continued access and continuity of care.

Miguel Messina

Miguel Psy. D., LMHC, SUDP joined YES as its Chief Programs Officer (CPO), replacing David W. Downing who moved into the CEO role in Spring 2020.

Over the last 20 years, Miguel has served in the behavioral health field as a substance use and mental health therapist, educator, clinical program manager, administrator, director, and vice president. Miguel has worked many with different individuals and groups, working with culturally sensitive and disenfranchised groups, as well as offenders and victims in the criminal justice system. He is a bilingual professional, providing equal treatment and leadership to individuals whose native language is Spanish.

Migeul emphasizes the importance of a comprehensive approach to meeting an individual’s needs in treatment, promoting health and well-being, strengthening relationships, and assisting individuals with becoming productive citizens in their communities as essential components of the recovery process. His interests are in understanding the leadership’s role in preventing and mitigating organizational trauma, integrating healthcare systems, and influencing a learning culture in behavioral health systems.

Jackie Bui

Jackie is YES’ Director of Community Services and Inclusion. She holds a Master of Social Work from the University of Washington, where she concentrated in Children, Youth and Families. She is a certified Child Mental Health Specialist and Ethnic Minority Mental Health Specialist for Latino and Asian Pacific Islander populations. She speaks Vietnamese and has experience in school-based counseling as well as in community health center settings. Her therapeutic approaches are interactive, client-centered, strengths-based, and tailored to the individual client’s needs, using techniques of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), mindfulness, and Motivational Interviewing. She is certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and is qualified in crisis and suicide risk assessment and intervention.

Debbi Halela

Debbi is YES’ Director of Behavioral Health Services. Halela is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Child Mental Health Specialist with 25 years of experience. She has specialized in providing therapy for teen survivors of sexual abuse as well as clients who engage in self-injurious behavior. Halela is trained in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).

Lisa Hay

Lisa joined YES in 2020 as its Chief Advancement Officer. She has over 35 years of diverse business experience in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. She has worked as a development professional for over 10 years and is passionate about helping some of the most at-risk children, youth, and their families in our community. Beginning in 2009 she worked as the Director of Development for Seattle Children’s Home, and then the Director of Development and later Vice President of Development and Marketing at Navos. In the for-profit sector, Lisa was a real estate business owner, and worked at Nordstrom for over 20 years, working her way up the ranks in buying, merchandising, strategic planning, and global sourcing and manufacturing of private label brands. Lisa is a visionary and strategic executive, known for driving long-term, sustainable growth.

Kristie Neklason

Kristie Neklason

Kristie was a clinical supervisor at YES for many years before becoming YES’ Director of School-Based Behavioral Health. She earned her master’s degree in counseling from Seattle University and is a Certified Chemical Dependency Professional. She has worked in the behavioral health field for more than 25 years, with a special focus on substance use and co-occurring disorders, and has specialized training in evidence-based practices such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT).

Ray Nelson

Ray NelsonAs the Chief Finance Officer, Ray is the administrator of YES’ grant funds and oversees the organization’s fiscal strategies, financial reporting, insurance contracting, bookkeeping, and information systems. Ray has more than 25 years of professional experience. Prior to joining YES in 2010, Ray was Chief Financial Officer for the Hearing, Speech & Deaf Center in Seattle.


Marian Tillman

Marian TillmanMarian joined YES as its Chief Human Resources Officer in 2001. She has more than 25 years of human resource management experience in the nonprofit field.  Her areas of expertise include labor relations and negotiations; risk management compliance; workers’ compensation and safety; wage, salary, and benefits administration; and personnel law. She is a graduate of Hunter College in New York City. Prior to joining YES, Marian was the HR Director for Mentor Health Northwest (now Sound Mental Health).

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