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Meet The Board


Board Chair

Joneen Mackenzie

Joneen is the president / founder of the Center for Relationship Education which houses the Healthy Marriage Project in Denver, Colorado. She is also the lead author of the nationally-used REAL Essentials curriculum. Joneen is also a popular national speaker and trainer. 


Board Member

Julie Baumgardner

For more than twenty years, Julie has equipped people with the tools they need to grow healthy, thriving relationships in every season of life.  She impacts hundreds of thousands of people each week through her Chattanooga Times Free Press family column and as host of JulieB TV, a talk show that focuses on all things relational.

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Board Member

Dennis Stoica

Dennis Stoica is one of the most versatile leaders in the Relationship and Marriage Education (RME) field, having been trained in 15 different RME programs,  founded or co-founded four organizations (Orange County Marriage Resource Center, Healthy Relationships California, NARME and the Community Marriage Initiatives Fund), and played each of the following roles multiple times:  RME Program Facilitator, Trainer of Trainers, Federal HMI Grant Project Director, Division Manager, President, Board Member, and Philanthropist.  His current area of interest is Community Marriage Initiatives as a vehicle to drive down county-wide divorce rates.  He has an MBA from Harvard Business School and stepped away from the corporate world in 2002 to pursue his passion of changing the world through empowering healthy relationships.

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Board Member

Carra Gilson

Carra Gilson has a background in public health, with an MPH from Ohio State University, and a passion for empowering others to reach their fullest potential.  In her current position as the Data Manager at MotherWise, a Denver-based non-profit that provides healthy relationship education to moms during pregnancy and after a new baby is born, she maintains data systems that allow the program to most effectively serve participants in a data driven, evidence based manner. Additionally, Carra serves as the Project Coordinator at the Center for Marital and Family Students at the University of Denver, where she coordinates a variety of healthy relationship programs across the country.


Vice Chairman

Richard Albertson

Richard Albertson is the Founding President and CEO of Live the Life, a statewide organization in Florida with offices in Lakeland and Tallahassee. Live the Life was founded in 1998 with a mission to strengthen marriages. Since then, the divorce rate in Leon County has dropped 44% and is now at its lowest level in 20 years.


Board Member

Patty Howell

Patty Howell, Ed.M., A.G.C. President, Healthy Relationships California. Patty has been with Healthy Relationships California (HRC) since its founding in 2005. With graduate degrees from Boston University and Washington University in St. Louis, Patty has taught relationship skills, health promotion, and other psychosocial education programs in 15 countries around the world. 


Board Member

Lisa May

Lisa May serves as Executive Director of Live the Life South Florida with a mission of strengthening marriages and families through healthy relationship education beginning in middle school through senior adults. She has been involved in the non-profit communities since 1996. Her background has been fund development  with an emphasis on marriage and family, foster care, and pregnancy centers but her life for the past 18 years, as a widow and single parent, has increased her passion for emotionally healthy, intact families with both Mom and Dad in the home.

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Board Member

Washington Jackson III

Washington Jackson III, is the dynamic Chief Administrator of Support Programs & Partnerships for AVANCE Houston, Inc. where he humbly leads the efforts to render services of the Adult Education, FRAMEWorks, and Building Futures Program across the greater Houston area and beyond. He is also the co-writer of both current federally awarded grant projects: FRAMEWorks and READY4Life. He has also co-written and been awarded several smaller grants for AVANCE Houston, Inc. as well. He has an extensive work history with several local agencies and faith - based institutions, inspiring both adults and youth to simply be the best version of themselves. Beyond his many duties, Mr. Jackson loves family and loves to facilitate on special occasions.  Mr. Jackson is the co-founder of a spiritual Man Camp for men in Cedar Hill, Texas each year. The Man Camp is an annual event and currently in its 8th year. In 2019, Mr. Jackson was the Race Director for the inaugural 5K/1K Mental Health Awareness Walk/Run to encourage and support family members who have loved ones living with mental health illnesses. Mr. Jackson also served as a high-spirited little league and select baseball coach, and faithful board member for Missouri City Little League. Mr. Jackson worked diligently with Harris County Juvenile Probation Department for ten years, before joining AVANCE-Houston. He holds a Masters of Divinity Degree from Houston Graduate School of Theology and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Administration of Justice, with a minor in Family and Child Development from Texas Southern University. One of Mr. Jackson’s favorite quotes to live by is to “focus on the mission, not the position”. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Building Futures Youth Program, serving youth in high schools across the greater Houston area.

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Alan Hawkins

Alan J. Hawkins is a Professor and current Director of the School of Family Life at Brigham University in Provo, Utah. He earned a Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies at The Pennsylvania State University in 1990. Professor Hawkins has taught and conducted research and outreach at Brigham Young University since 1990.

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Board Member

Carl Caton

Carl Caton is the President of the San Antonio Marriage Initiative. He is passionate about strengthening families through partnership with the local church. Carl advocates for "upstream" efforts with a focus on marriage, parenting, and fatherhood.


Board Member

Jacqui Thomas

Jacqui Thomas is a Team Lead at an Air Force Airman & Family Readiness Center and a co-founder of R.E.L.A.T.E. Ministries, a community relationship education organization.  A Certified Family Life Educator, with more than thirty years being an educator and advocate for relationship education, she has provided family education and coaching using a variety of resources to hundreds of families.

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Board Member

Ron and Catherine Tijerina

Ron and Catherine Tijerina are the founds and executive directors of The RIDGE Project, Inc. Together, they have created the award-winning TYRO suite of curriculum which attacks the culture of the entitlement mentality, cycles of incarceration, and cycles of generational poverty that fragment families and destroy legacies. Their work in Ohio and across the nation has strengthened tens of
thousands of children and families, reached hundreds of thousands who have been impacted by incarceration, and garnered international attention. Currently Ron and Catherine speak and provide training in venues across the United States and abroad to spread their vision of permanent transformation for families using the TYRO
evidenced based programming that champions social and emotional stabile, resiliency, healthy marriage, effective reentry, involved fatherhood, workforce empowerment, and intentional leadership. They have been blessed with three
children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren.



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