Meet the SWHPN Staff


Jessica Strong, Executive Director
Jessica Strong is SWHPN’s Executive Director as of March 2020 after seven years of progressing with the organization from conference planner to membership manager to Strategic Director. Jessica received her Master's Degree in Nonprofit Management from the Heinz School at Carnegie Mellon University. She has spent the past fifteen years in various administrative and management positions for mental health and human services-related nonprofits, including founding her own nonprofit consultancy 2011. She is an advisor to a startup that is addressing childcare issues for working parents and volunteers with a local mutual aid nonprofit.
She has three kids, two dogs, one husband, and lives in New Mexico.

Judy Santay, Membership Manager

Judy joined SWHPN June 2021 after a career in Admissions & Marketing in private K-12 education. She attended the University of Washington and loves to travel with her family. She is passionate about supporting local non-profits in her spare time. Judy has been the race director for a local 5k for many years and most recently helped deliver meals to elderly home-bound residents through the 504 Project.
She and her husband live in Virginia with their two kids and dog.

Hersh Patel-Hernandez, Director of Education
Hersh Patel-Hernandez is a Palliative Care Social Worker at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and an Adjunct Professor at various universities/colleges. She has past experience in hospice, general medicine, community social work, and research/academia. She graduated with my doctorate degree from Capella University and her master's degree from the University of Southern California.

Hersh currently lives in Chicago with her husband and two cats. They are huge foodies who never eat at the same restaurant twice.

Alysia Maxwell, Technical Operations Manager

Alysia has an BA in anthropology from The Ohio State University, and has 7+ years of experience in advocacy and advising in higher education. Prior to her work with college students, she worked with Ohioans with disabilities, both administratively and providing direct service. Her passion is providing resources and guidance for meaningful opportunities to persons from historically underrepresented and systemically excluded groups.

Alysia lives in Columbus, OH with her partner, her youngest son, her two dogs and a cat. She enjoys crochet and other fiber arts, linguistics and cataloging mostly useless, but interesting, historical facts.