Board of Directors

We wouldn’t be where we are without our amazing board members!!


2018 Century Club Award

L-R: Ryan Ayers (Area Director), Alex Byrd, Andre Sillas, Sarah Benedict, Lezlie Young (Area Director)

2018 Sacramento Out of the Darkness Walk

L-R: Lezlie Young (Area Director), Lindsay Swanberg, Adam Swanberg, Brittany Linder, Tom Torlakson (Superintendent of Public Instruction), Sarah Benedict, Rashell Choo, Alex Byrd, Andre Sillas


Sarah Benedict – Chair

Sarah became involved with the AFSP after losing her brother to suicide in 2012. He struggled with mental illness since he was a teen, specifically depression and anxiety. She started a team and joined her first walk in 2013. In 2016 she became involved with the Sacramento Out of the Darkness Walk committee. In 2017 she became co-chair of the Sacramento Walk and became a board member.  She also participated in her first State Advocacy Day and the National Advocacy Forum in 2017.  Sarah began her role as board chair in 2018.   Her passion lies in advocacy and fundraising for research and/or programs for mental health. Sarah is located in the Sacramento area.

Brittany Linder – Treasurer & Social Media Ambassador

 In 2009 Brittany  lost a friend and teammate to suicide and has been an advocate for suicide prevention since. In July 2016 she got involved with AFSP through the walk committee, helping with donations and raffle prizes.  Seeing how much positive energy can come from one walk made her want to get more involved with AFSP, which led to her joining the board. Brittany is passionate about outreach and currently holds the position of Social Media Ambassador with the board. Brittany is located in the Sacramento area.

Lindsay Swanberg – Secretary


Claire Rankin

Claire came to the Out of the Darkness walks through her work with the mental health outreach program UMatter at Chico State. Since graduating with her MBA she has remained involved planning the Chico Walk, and joined the Sacramento board in 2018. Claire’s passion for this work stems from her lifelong struggles with mental health, specifically Bipolar disorder and being on the autism spectrum. She has come to find that treating mental health as importantly as physical health is critical to a balanced life. Claire grew up in the Sacramento area and now resides in Chico.

Alexandria Byrd

Alex became involved in suicide prevention after successfully stopping an attempt of a loved one. She has been active in the Sac State Campus walk for several years and joined the board in 2018. Alex is passionate about advocacy and attended the National Advocacy Forum in 2018. Alex works for the student health center on the Sac State campus while working towards her Master’s Degree. Alex is located in the Sacramento area.

Alicia Cretaro

Working in the mental health community, Alicia saw a huge unmet need for more awareness around suicide prevention in her local community. She wanted to figure out a way to do her part and help create an event that promoted awareness, education and resources to the Redding area so she created Running Brave- The Race to end Suicide. Her organization of that event ultimately led her to complete the circle and become a part of the Greater Sacramento AFSP board where she can not only help provide one event, but multiple activities throughout the year to increase the education, awareness and voice around suicide prevention in the north state. Alicia is located in the Redding area.

Andre Sillas

Andre became involved with the AFSP through his work with the Students Against Suicide group at UC Davis. As a sub chapter of the AFSP, the Students Against Suicide group hosts an Out of the Darkness Campus walk in the spring. Andre served as the liaison between the Students Against Suicide group and the Greater Sacramento Area Chapter board, which led to him becoming an official board member in 2018. Andre is passionate about helping students, especially during transitional periods such as beginning college.

Stephanie Linn

Laine Rugen

Laine attended her first Out of the Darkness walk in 2010 following the loss of a friend. In 2017 she joined the walk committee, focusing on collecting in-kind and raffle donations. Due to an interest in getting more involved with AFSP research support, outreach and federal advocacy, she joined the board in October 2018. Laine currently assists with social media outreach and sponsorships. She is also working with the board to establish a Healing Conversations program in Sacramento.

Adam Swanberg