When asked, Natalie will be the first person to tell you that her life experiences and her ability to overcome hardship has shaped her. With her personal experience growing up in public housing, coping with a loved one’s mental health challenges, and buying her own home as a single mother, Natalie can identify with many members of our community who are struggling right now.
Natalie has also demonstrated, through grit and determination, how someone can overcome these obstacles to arrive at where she is today -- a woman of color with a graduate degree, a licensed marriage and family therapist with her own private practice, a County of Sonoma employee, a wife and a mother. It is this persistence, this ability to look challenges head-on and solve them, that Natalie hopes to contribute to Santa Rosa City Council.
Natalie was raised by a maintenance worker mother and a unionized operating engineer step-father living in public housing in Marin County. When Natalie was 15 years old, her 13 year-old step-sister committed suicide. This event, as well as how her family dealt with the collective trauma, was a pivotal moment in Natalie’s life. After graduating high school, she decided to pursue a degree in psychology. She balanced her academics with full-time work as a bank teller. She also became politically active, serving as the Black Student Union Treasurer, Northern Chair for the California Black Caucus and the Student Trustee Elect. She graduated from Sonoma State University with a Bachelor’s in Psychology.
Natalie and her family temporarily relocated to Texas and she soon found work using her degree. She became a case manager for Meals on Wheels and a service coordinator for the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County. After three years, her family returned to California and settled in Santa Rosa. Natalie worked at Buckelew Housing in Marin and R House, a group home in Santa Rosa.
When her first marriage ended, Natalie put her head down, worked three jobs and eventually purchased her own home in Santa Rosa, where she lives today. She also went back to school at Argosy University and earned her Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2012.
Natalie now runs her own private practice as a licensed marriage and family therapist, and works part time as a therapist for the County of Sonoma. She is also involved in her children’s school and her professional union, ESC Local 20, representing them during contract bargaining sessions.
In her spare time, Natalie enjoys spending time with her family. She married Aundray, an Army veteran, in 2017. Between them, they share eight children, five of whom are of school age, participate in Girl Scouts and play high school football.