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Meet The Board

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Joneen Mackenzie

Denver, CO

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

Mt. Berry, GA

For more than thirty years, Julie has equipped people with the tools they need to grow healthy, thriving relationships in every season of life. She is currently the Senior Director of WinShape Marriage working with a team of people who seek to create experiences that transform marriages. Prior to working at WinShape, she was the President and CEO of First Things First, a non-profit focused on helping people thrive in relationships. Julie is a writer, speaker and teacher focused on all things relational.

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Board Member

Dennis Stoica

Panama City, FL

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

Denver, CO

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.

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Board Member

Alma Golden


Dr. Alma Golden is a pediatrician who retired full-time to her home in Colorado in 2021 after years of working in Texas and Washington, DC. Her most recent assignment was in Washington, DC leading the Bureau for Global Health in the United States Agency for International Development as the White House Appointed, Senate-confirmed Assistant Administrator. Previously (2002-2006) she served under President George W. Bush in Health and Human Services leading the Office of Population Affairs. Her career has included private pediatrics, indigent health services, academic medicine (University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, and Texas A&M University), healthcare administration, adolescent health, and national and international public health policy. Dr. Golden is currently working with the Institute for Women’s Health to assist governments and organizations to strengthen parent-child connectedness through improved policy, programs, and training. She began her professional career as a 7th grade Life Science teacher before entering medicine. Alma is delighted to be the grandmother of 13 wonderful children and young adults.


Board Chair

Richard Albertson

Tallahassee, FL

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

John Van Epp, Ph.D.

San Clemente, CA

John Van Epp, Ph.D., formerly a therapist in private practice for 25 years, adjunct professor in Marriage and Family studies, and relationship trainer and Subject Matter Expert (SME) for over two decades with the military, is currently the President and Founder of Love Thinks, LCC, where he has developed evidenced-based relationship courses that have been taught by more than 36,000 certified instructors to over a million participants internationally.


Board Member

Lisa May

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

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

Houston, TX

Washington Jackson III, is the founder and CEO of My Chance – Houston. He is dynamic, yet humble in sharing his many gifts and passion across the greater Houston area through program services. From Federal HMRF Project Director, Facilitator, Board member, multiple federal award-winning grant writer, to servant leadership, he continues to serve others. He has an extensive work history with several local agencies, schools, and faith - based institutions, inspiring both adults and youth to simply be the best version of themselves. Several of his federal projects have been awarded for making a true impact in Relationship Education. Beyond his many duties, Mr. Jackson loves his family and loves to inspire others. He’s participated in organizing man camps, directing 5K/1K Mental Health Awareness Walk/Run, coaching little league and select baseball. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Houston Graduate School of Theology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Administration of Justice, with a minor in Family and Child Development from Texas Southern University. His motto is “Always give your best.”

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Vice Chairman

Alan Hawkins, Ph.D.

Provo, UT

Alan J. Hawkins is a Professor 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. He will retire from BYU July 1, 2023, when he will begin working as the Manager of the Utah Marriage Commission.

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Board Member

Carl Caton

San Antonio, TX

Carl Caton is the President of The 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.

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Board Member

Jerry Regier

Ashburn, VA

Online Adjunct Faculty / Liberty University Contributing Faculty / Walden University Senior Fellow of Geneva Institute for Leadership & Public Policy Formerly a Director at Public Strategies, Inc. Dr. Regier has a distinguished career in public service having formerly served as Secretary in the Cabinet of two state Governors, and as a policy leader for three U.S. Presidents. He recently retired from Public Strategies where he oversaw federal contracts with the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) as project director for Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRAE) performance measures that served all national SRAE grantees; and was co-lead for the SRAE National Evaluation. Previous appointments in state government include Secretary of the Florida Department of Children & Families under Governor Jeb Bush where he led a department of 25,000 employees, and Secretary of Health & Human Services in the state of Oklahoma under Governor Frank Keating. Appointments in the federal government at HHS were as Assistant Secretary for Policy, and as Associate Commissioner of Children, Youth & Families; and in the Department of Justice as Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. He has several academic appointments: Contributing faculty of the School of Public Health and Public Policy at Walden University where he serves on doctoral dissertation committees; and online faculty of the Helms School of Government at Liberty University where he teaches social policy and serves on doctoral dissertation committees. Earlier in his career he was the founder of the Family Research Council, a public policy research and educational organization in Washington, DC, and served as its first President for 5 years. Prior to that he served with Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU) for 13 years, at the University of Texas and at the Christian Embassy in DC. Dr. Regier graduated from Grace University in Omaha, NE, and from Michigan State University with a B.A. degree in history. He has a post-graduate Master of Public Administration from Harvard University, a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies from The King’s University, and a Ph.D. in Public Policy & Public Administration from Walden University. He lives with his wife Sharyn in the Washington, DC Metro (Ashburn, Virginia). They have four grown children and 14 grandchildren.

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Board Member

Ron and Catherine Tijerina

McClure, OH

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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