Meet the adults


Susan Gordon Bird


"I saw the suffering of several family members and young friends who at a time in their lives when everything should have been possible, just sat on the sidelines with depression."

Susan Gordon Bird, Co-Founder

Susan has more than 20 years of experience as a worldwide sales and marketing executive in the software industry at companies including Macromedia and Frame Technology. She has helped take three companies from under $10 million in revenue to more than $150 million in revenue. In an executive capacity, she has also overseen sales, operations, technical support, and customer service and help lead three companies through the IPO process. Susan has served on several boards. Most recently she was a board member of a non-profit youth anti-sex trafficking organization. She was involved in opening the first Safehouse in Costa Rica for youth that had been trafficked.

Her and her siblings have suffered from different forms of anxiety. Susan's parents never hesitated to get them the help they needed or talk to them about it. Susan and her siblings were the lucky ones. Now that Susan is a mother, she witnesses so many other youth suffer silently, not knowing who to talk to and where to get help. Unfortunately, many of her daughter’s peers and Susan's own peers growing up never received treatment, which led to severe implications and sometimes even suicide. Susan wanted to do something that would help young people become mentally healthy adults. Hence SafeSpace was created.


Liesl Pike Moldow


“I experienced depression as a 15-year-old so I know what it’s like to feel that sadness that doesn’t go away —the dark emptiness that something is wrong.”

Liesl Pike Moldow, Co-Founder

Liesl Moldow is a graduate of Stanford '87 and Harvard Business School '93. Liesl spent 4 years in sales for MCI Telecommunications. In 1993, Liesl joined US West Telecommunications in their multimedia group in the US and London. Liesl joined TCI Cable as a part of their Interactive Ventures group. She then worked for in new business development.

Liesl is a mother of 4 and experienced anxiety and depression as a 15-year-old. She is determined to help other young adults develop tools and coping mechanisms to manage their own difficulties.


Annie Kim

Executive Director

"Your present circumstances don't determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start."
Nido Qubein

Annie Kim, Managing Director

Annie Kim moved to the Bay Area in late 2009 from Los Angeles to be a part of an innovative mental health program within Alameda County. She was promoted to Program Director in early 2012 and has facilitated over a hundred workshops at local, state and national conferences, summit meetings, and county committees advocating for mental health wellness for all. She has been known to cultivate community alliances to strengthen the voice of families, caregivers and consumers who are all impacted by mental health challenges. Over the past ten years, she took a once known as: "a county contracted pilot program" into a well respected community based organization nominated for the National Association of Counties Achievement Awards in 2018; she received the Family Advocate Award from Dartmouth in 2015; and Transitional Age Youth (TAY) Program Award in 2014. She has extensive background in building nonprofit programs from an operational standpoint, along with expansion and contract procurement.

Kim attended New York University and graduated from UCLA. She looks forward to continuing to empower the youth and their initiatives while cultivating community partners in this mission to bring awareness to teen mental health. "You're not alone."

Aris Payan

Aris Payan

Youth Programs Manager

“Mental Health is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going."

- Noam Shpancer, PhD

Aris Payan, Youth Engagement Specialist

Aris Payan was born and raised in San Mateo and comes from a Dominican family. She graduated from Aragon High School, attended the College of San Mateo and earned her degree in Organizational Communication from California State University Channel Islands. Aris joined the SafeSpace team in the Fall of 2021 as the Youth Engagement Specialist and comes with several years of experience in community non-profit work. She has been working with Youth in different capacities over the last 8 years and she is very passionate about elevating youth voice, building up the leaders of our future, and advocating for the most vulnerable communities. Ms. Payan has extensive skills in public speaking, interpersonal communication, leadership, and she is fluent in Spanish. Through her lived experience, she looks forward to contributing to the work of the SafeSpace Youth Action Board and moving the needle.


Samantha Gerber

Strategic Advisor

You are not alone. You are seen. I am with you. You are not alone.”

-Shonda Rhimes

Samantha Gerber was born in Los Angeles and grew up in Menlo Park. She attended Castilleja School and studied Economics and Strategy in the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. Samantha joined the SafeSpace team in the fall of 2022. She has extensive experience working with youth. While she was in high school and college, she was a teaching assistant at her temple, a tutor at Mathnasium, a mentor for MoneyThink, and a volunteer at the Juvenile Detention Center in St. Louis. Samantha identifies as a peer who has faced mental health challenges. She believes in empowering youth, reducing the mental health stigma, and encouraging conversations surrounding mental health.

Board of Directors


Reza Mafi

Alumni Board Member, SafeSpace Youth Action Board

“Something I’ve learned over the years is that change is okay. I often find myself worrying about the future and what the path forward might look like. I find myself saying goodbye to the good, positive things, when in fact, I should be saying goodbye to the pain and suffering. Instead, I look at the fresh start associated with the new chapter, and I celebrate it. Change, whether big or small, can be a scary thing, but it’s important to remember that there will always be those good things waiting for you every step of the way.”

I joined SafeSpace when I was a freshman in high school. I had been looking into being a part of other organizations, but the statement "youth-led," which was central on the SafeSpace website, intrigued me. Up until that point, almost every one of those organizations also claimed to be youth-led in some capacity. So, I decided to interview with all of them. I ended up interviewing with SafeSpace last, and it was then that I first noticed a difference. My interview was conducted solely by other teens, and they created the questions, too. Even though it was just an interview, I already felt a sense of warmth and community from and between them. Needless to say, when I got offered a spot on the YAB, I enthusiastically accepted. Around my third week being a part of the organizations, it became clear to me what youth-led truly looked like. Often, I found myself being told what to do, how to do it, and worst of all, what part(s) of my story to share. At SafeSpace, I'd share a homecooked meal at the beloved Menlo Park house with teens who, thanks to SafeSpace, would soon become my lifelong friends, sharing unbaked initiatives I wanted to see implemented in my community. SafeSpace taught me to be brave, go easy on myself, and feel supported through every setback during my mental health journey. Being youth-led is one of SafeSpace's most important titles, but it's not the only one. Having had 4+ years of experience as a Core Member and Committee Lead (both in person and virtually), I've seen how SafeSpace changes teens. Some join because they want to be a part of the impact SafeSpace is having in their community, some join because they've struggled in the past, and some, like myself, join when they're struggling. Regardless of where they are in their journey, I've seen firsthand how life-changing it's been for them. The formal time commitment always surprises kids because they want to get more involved soon after they join. SafeSpace is youth-led, one-of-a-kind, my family, and what saved me from giving up on everything in what seems like a lifetime ago. I am forever indebted to the YAB and every adult who played a role in making SafeSpace home.

Stephanie Brown, PhD

Board Member, Mental Health Addiction

"Stephanie Brown, Ph.D. is a pioneering theorist, clinician, researcher, author, teacher and consultant in the addiction field. As a psychologist, she directs the Addictions Institute, Menlo Park, California, an outpatient psychotherapy clinic."

Stephanie Brown PhD, Board Member, Mental Health Addiction


Stephanie Brown, Ph.D. is a pioneering theorist, clinician, researcher, author, teacher and consultant in the addiction field. As a psychologist, she directs the Addictions Institute, Menlo Park, California, an outpatient psychotherapy clinic, where she also maintains a private practice. The author of 11 academic and popular books, plus training videos and a video on the stages of family recovery, Stephanie is an internationally recognized expert on the trauma and treatment of alcoholics, all addicts and their families. Especially well known for her theories and treatment of adult children of alcoholics, she lectures worldwide.

She received the Bronze Key Award (1983) and the Humanitarian Award (1984) from the National Council on Alcoholism and the Community Service Award from the California Society for the Treatment of Alcoholism and other Drug Dependencies in 1986. In 1991 she received an Academic Specialist Award from the U.S.I.A. to teach in Poland. More recently, she received the Norman Zinberg Memorial Award from Harvard University (2000), the Clark Vincent Award from the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (2001), and the Janet Geringer Woititz award from Health Communications, Inc. (2005).


Brad Robertson

Director of Finance

“I have family experience with drug addiction, suicide and other mental health issues such as bi-polar disorder.”

Brad Robertson, Director of Finance

Brad has over 25 years of experience as a financial professional. Having graduated from UCLA and USC Business School, he is an alumnus of Price Waterhouse Coopers. While living in Los Angeles, Brad served as Business Manager in the Entertainment Industry. Returning to his native San Francisco Bay Area, he was Corporate Controller / CFO for several start-ups before starting his own company as a business and tax consultant.

Brad has family experience with drug addiction, suicide, and other mental health issues including bipolar disorder. Regarding mental health, he believes there should be no person suffering in silence and that early intervention is the key to a successful and productive life. One of his goals is to expose the many positive aspects of psychotherapy to help reduce the associated public stigma.

Dr. Navneet Singh

Dr. Navneet Singh

Board Member

"As a pediatrician, I see patients every day who have mental health issues.  I believe that they and their parents need support."

Dr. Navneet Singh, Board Member.

Navneet completed his undergraduate training at Stanford, where he did an interdisciplinary major in biology and psychology, focusing on childhood development. He then attended medical school at Baylor College of Medicine and completed a Pediatrics Residency at Stanford University. He has been working as a General Pediatrician for over 20 years and is currently practicing in San Jose for the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. He is married and has two daughters and a fluffy furry pet dog named Rolo. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with family, cooking, hiking, traveling, and cracking Dad jokes.


Kristina Cullinane

Board Member

“We all have mental health, and the more we talk to each other about it, the more we learn about our own. Mental health does not have one answer or vaccine that will cure-all. It's an ongoing battle, but it's one that we can fight and overcome together. ”

Kristina Cullinane, Board Member.

My name is Kristina. I'm a Bay Area native, born and raised in San Mateo where I attended St. Matthews Catholic, Saint Ignatius College Preparatory and then went on to The University of Arizona where I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Communication and Psychology. Shortly after, I went on to work in NYC to work in real estate. A few months into the "real world," my life came to a screeching halt on October 30th, 2016. My sister, Aliya Rose Cullinane, took her life.

It was truly the worst day of my entire life, waking up to a call from my dad confirming the news that my baby sister was gone. Even writing this now is difficult, hard to believe, something I never wanted to accept. I miss her every day and will forever live with the grief in my heart, but through the communities like Safe Space, I understood better the silent battle my sister fought. I want so badly to bring her back, but since I can't go back in time and changed what happened, I will continue to share her story, her light, and remind everyone that they are loved. I hope I can do by reliving the most painful day of my life to rewrite someone else’s story by sharing my sister’s because I wouldn’t wish this pain, loss, or grief on anyone.

I moved back home shortly after as I could not grieve alone across the country away from my family. I needed them. I needed a community like Safe Space, and there are so many things that came into my life after my sister left that I needed to feel close to her again. Currently, I am working as a Real Estate Agent alongside my dad, who is forever my superhero. I am continuing on my 4th year as a Raiderette, following in the footsteps of my beautiful mother ( Raiderette circa 1980), my role model! I also teach some fitness classes, but since quarantine, I have taken it virtually! All of this has helped immensely with my mental health recovering from the loss of my beautiful baby sister, whom I know is watching over us all.

Now more every day, mental health is so essential to our world. In a year of isolation and social distancing, it's worn heavy on many, and I’m here to remind everyone that you don't have to go through it alone. We all have mental health, and the more we talk to each other about it, the more we learn about our own. Mental health does not have one answer or vaccine that will cure-all. It's an ongoing battle, but it's one that we can fight and overcome together.

I'm honored to be a part of Safe Space. Since I've gotten more involved with the community, I've learned so much about my mental health through the youth board. They have gifted me a new perspective on the grief and loss of my sister. I am so proud of each of the young adults I've seen growing so much throughout my past three years with Safe Space. Truly incredible!


Remi Sobomehin

Board Member

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

–Barack Obama

Remi Sobomehin, Board Member.

Born and raised in Portland, OR, Remi migrated to the Bay Area to attend Stanford University, where he studied African American studies and Psychology. His professional journey began in the heart of East Palo Alto, where he led at East Palo Alto Academy High School. He then transitioned to nonprofit leadership at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Peninsula, where he worked in direct service and org leadership. Today, as the founder of Ambition Angels, a tech-based youth development organization, Remi leverages the power of a mobile app to provide underserved teens nationwide with the skills, support, resources, and opportunities needed to thrive. Remi lives in East Palo Alto with his wife Kendra and their two young children.


Lesley Martin

Former Board Member and Managing Director


Chris Tanti

Founding Advisor


Dina Jackson

Former Director of Technology


John Bautista

Former Board Member, Legal


Our Partners

Thoughtful coordination of services is critical.

At SafeSpace, we believe that youth benefit greatly from a cohesive continuum of care that spans from early intervention and prevention to acute inpatient services. While more than $120 billion is spent annually on mental health disorders, much of this care is disjointed and not focused on early intervention and prevention or just not accessible. For this reason, we are teaming up with partners to assist us in providing quality clinical care.

We believe these alliances will ensure that any clients who walk through our door will have access to the appropriate level of care.


Want to become a partner?

SafeSpace chooses its clinical partners and non-clinical partners carefully. We require that they both have a focus on youth between the ages of 12 to 26 and the ability to provide programs for all socio-economic backgrounds, and offer hours of operation that are convenient for the community they serve. Here are some other specific requirements:

If you’re interested in becoming a SafeSpace partner, reach out to our Executive Director, Annie Kim,

Non-Clinical Partners

  • A minimum of three years of experience working with teens and young adults
  • Will offer best practices in its category, and several communication options to meet the needs of the age group it serves. i.e. (text, email, phone, a bi-lingual option)

Clinical Partners

  • A sliding scale payment option and variety of insurance options.
  • Provide evidence-based therapy, and option of off-site therapy, and emergency service option
  • Mandates continual education programs for its employees to keep them up to date on scientific advances.
  • Works with SafeSpace to ensure the clinical environment is warm and friendly·    Offers therapeutic programs that are suitable for the community it serves.
  • Offers a bilingual option based on the needs of the community.
  • Has a long-term vision to work with SafeSpace to service multiple communities throughout the U.S., and expand services beyond the current moderate continuum of care.