The Realize Foundation,

a 501(c)(3) organization,

was formed to create awareness

around mental health...

through personal stories,

conversations and community.

After we lose someone to suicide, we ask...


What did I miss?

What could I have done?

What if... we ask those questions NOW and talk to our friends & family?

What if... one conversation will save a life and keep you from having to ask

the questions I started with?

Would that be worth the stigma?


Reduce the number of humans who

struggle with suicidal ideation by creating

a world where having the conversation

becomes commonplace.


We envision a world where suicide statistics diminish instead of grow each year.

Where mental health conversations are an everyday thing, and every human can get the support they deserve.


Our Founder, a suicide survivor

that was silent for 23 years,

wants others to have

a different experience.


Lisa Rogers


In 7th grade, Lisa took a chance and shared her family secrets with a school counselor. It didn’t end well. When the system failed to protect her, she left home. She had no clue what horrors awaited a 12-year-old girl on the streets, homeless and alone. She had become trapped in a predatory world of trauma and addiction where tragedy became so commonplace that she never thought she’d live to grow up, yet she survived. 

She tried to hide her past and pain behind a facade of normalcy and was married with two kids and a mortgage by age 21. Suffering from PTSD, she cycled through years of dysfunctional relationships ruled by anxiety, depression, and addiction. 

In 2001 she found a path of trauma and addiction recovery that would change everything. As she healed, she learned to empower others and founded The Center for Emotional Freedom.

As a Certified EFT practitioner, transformational coach, and speaker, she has taught thousands of people how to move beyond survival using trauma-informed proven strategies. Science meets spirituality in a framework grounded in neuroscience, supported by the kind of empathy and compassion that come from lived experience. Lisa’s Empowering SHIFTS process is a practical guide to navigating real life and creating rapid, powerful, and lasting changes.

Dan Walkovitz


Dan is a serial entrepreneur with over 45 years of solid business experience. His passion is helping entrepreneurs strengthen their companies by complementing their knowledge with his insights. 

Dan brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this space and a high-level view of companies as well as non-profits. He has held many C-level positions. 

Dan has founded eight companies, has been a founding member of three others, and has taken over 20 products from inception to market. His wide range of exposure and experience adds another level of expertise to the product and market knowledge of his clients.

James Boomhower

1st Responder Representative

James Boomhower, BS, FP-C, NR-P, C- NPT, CCISM has been involved in EMS for over 15 years in a variety of health systems throughout New England.

He currently functions in the role of Critical Care Transport Specialist-Paramedic/ Lead Peer Support Director with Boston Medflight of Bedford, Massachusetts and Crisis and Peer supporter for the ECHO FAST team and the state of RI CISM team.

James is most recently evolving his crisis counseling to individuals in and out of the first responder and healthcare community through volunteering as a crisis counselor with the “Crisis Text Line”.

His desire to bring mental health awareness to the EMS arena has spurred him to create the Stay Fit for Duty platform as well as work to implement a peer support program in his workplace.

James is working to realize his goal of promoting recognition, management and acceptance of acute stress in EMS providers throughout the world. Most recently James is further advancing his passion for mental health and wellness as he works to obtain a Masters degree in psychology, eventually becoming a counselor for first responders and healthcare providers.

Anita Griego


Anita Griego is a mother of four children and lots of bonus ones

that call her Mom (lol), Nana, and Great Grandma.

She loves God, her family, reading and cooking.

She has had numerous roles in the business and finance

world for over twenty-five years ; including Branch Supervisor of
FirstBank, Account Administrator for KW Construction, and Bookkeeper for her
church and other organizations.

Formerly, Anita worked as an Emergency Dispatcher for Lake County

Sheriff’s Office for three years.

Throughout her life, Anita has suffered from anxiety, depression, guilt, insecurity,
shame and alcohol addiction. After coming through one of the hardest seasons in
her life, she wants to help others tell their story and rise out of the pain
that holds them captive.

In her spare time, she volunteers for her local church with
the Care and Share Program; is pursuing a faith based 12-step program

for her addiction, and enjoys finding treasures at any thrift store.

She also enjoys being a Nana.

For self care, she enjoys sitting outside with a hot cup of coffee,

reading her Bible or just basking in the warmth of the sun.

Deb Weilnau

Deborah S. Weilnau is a Quality Manager who also enjoys her role as an Adjunct Professor in her spare time. She specializes in teaching Supply Chain Management, Materials Management, and Quality Management. Deb grew up in a family-owned business, she was able to witness firsthand the successful operations of a company through fluctuating economies.

Growing up in a business environment has made her an authentic individual that desires to help businesses communicate effectively. With more than 30 years of business experience in different industries.  Deb received her Bachelors of Science degree in Business administration and her MBA from Heidelberg University.

She continues to search for the right program as to obtain her PhD so she can help to develop a consulting business that will help develop businesses. Unfortunate crucible moments that have occurred during her career have enabled her to gain immense perspective on business operations.

Adopting fear and change as a motivator, her aggressive, tenacious, altruistic, and transparent management style drives the necessary movements for organizational development.

Her personal agenda is to become the best version of herself, she empowers and promotes others in a fashion that increases morale and fosters an environment based upon learning.  If one sentence was used to define her it would be

“Any day that I think I am better than I am, is the day that my higher power reminds me I still have much to learn.” 

Deana Mitchell

Founder & Executive Director

In 2020, Deana founded the Realize Foundation which is dedicated to reducing the statistics of suicide by normalizing the conversation.

As a suicide survivor herself, she stayed silent for 23 years because of the shame and stigma. Her personal experience yielded the mission of using conversation, community and personal story in order for humans to not feel alone and for connection to save lives. The first time Deana met another suicide survivor, she no longer felt alone. 

Deana Mitchell is an entrepreneur, mental health advocate and best-selling author. She started her entrepreneurial journey at the age of 14. 

Deana holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Louisiana State University

and has enjoyed a three-decade career in the

hospitality/event industry. 

Currently, as the President of Genius & Sanity, her mission is to help

entrepreneurs and leaders to reach their potential

and thrive personally as well as professionally.

The focus is to find the balance in career success

and whole self-health.

©2020 - 2023 The Realize Foundation