Our Board of Directors

 Shane Coker Expert in Fatherhood Facilitator Training

Shane Coker

NFI Board Chairman

Vice President of Marketing 

 Maggie Spain Expert in Fatherhood Initiative Program

Maggie Spain

Board Member

Spearca Communications

 Andy Schoka Expert in Father Engagement Certificate Trainings

Andy Schoka

Board Member

Managing Director 


Sonia Velazquez

Board Member

Child Welfare and
Child Labor Consultant


Derrick David Bryant

Board Member

Special Projects Manager
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services

 Rob Siedlecki Expert in Tips for Being a Good Dad

Rob Siedlecki

Board Member

RMS Consulting Solutions


Debora Taylor

Board Member

Founder and CEO 
Taylormade International Institute

 Charles Scoma Expert in Father Engagement Certification

Charles Scoma

Board Member

International Trade Connection, Inc.

Our Staff

National Fatherhood Initiative® Core Values:

• Listen closely to our partners      • Delight our partners         • Keep it simple

• Focus on what matters most

• Develop and deliver the very best fatherhood resources, training, and technical assistance

 Christopher Brown Expert in Tips for Being a Good Dad

Christopher Brown



I was born in Rochester, New York. When I was 4 years old, we moved to Denton, Texas, just north of Dallas, where I grew up a huge Cowboys and Rangers fan.

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Why I work here

I want to leave a legacy of hope for fathers and children, that fathers can be great dads and that children will thrive because they have great dads. I want to create and disseminate the highest quality resources for dads and the organizations that serve dads.

My parents divorced when I was in high school. During the time they were together, my relationship with my father was a poor one. We rarely connected. His presence in our home served as a constant reminder that I wasn’t worth his time. Fortunately, we have a great relationship as adults, and my girls love their granddad (“grumps,” they call him), but I don’t want any child to experience that awful feeling of being unworthy because of an absent or uninvolved, but present, dad.

My proudest accomplishment at NFI

It’s difficult for me to point to one. Generally, I’m most proud when we receive an email or phone call from a father or an organization about the positive impact of our resources. When I hear these stories of impact, it warms my heart.

Something you don’t know about me

There’s nothing better than starting my day with an intense workout and then following it up by watching a couple of English Premier League or Bundesliga games. Go Borussia Dortmund! Go U.S. Soccer!


 Erik Vecere Expert in Fatherhood Initiative Program

Erik Vecere

Chief Partner Success Officer


I was born in Western Pennsylvania, moved to southern California during my grade school years, and then back to central Pennsylvania.

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I love to hear the ongoing stories from families and community partners on how NFI's resources have enriched the lives of so many people. I'm also reminded daily that I play an irreplaceable role in the life of my daughters.

My proudest accomplishment at NFI

Redirecting a 2-day Community Mobilization training “on the fly” after most of the community leaders were going to walk out before lunch on the first day. During the mid-morning break, I described a process called Compression Planning that I had just learned about in my Master’s program and asked if that would address their concerns. They said yes, completed the 2-day training, and that became the catalyst for what is now the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative.

Something you don’t know about me

I played in a few “hair bands” back in the ‘80s, complete with long hair, spandex, and high tops (and no, you can’t see any pictures)!


 Melissa Byers Expert in Marketing Fatherhood Programs

Melissa Byers

Chief Marketing


I'm an only child, born in Richmond, VA, grew up taking art classes, swimming, singing in the church choir, with a Pekingnese puppy as my "brother".

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I graduated George Mason University with a B.A. in Communication, and earned Graphic & Web Design Certificates from Montgomery College.

Why I work here

Tired of working for companies that spent millions of dollars on things that didn’t really “matter” in the world, I joined NFI to use my marketing and management skills for helping children have an involved, responsible, and committed father - just as I did. I’m thrilled to know that hundreds of children across the nation can have even better fathers as a result of going through one of NFI’s fatherhood programs offered in their community.

My proudest accomplishment at NFI

I made the case for, and have been managing, the consolidation and improved efficiencies of our marketing, communications, and database systems. It has been my goal to turn this big ship of clunky, outdated systems into a slim line speed boat that helps staff maneuver more efficiently in their roles and to more efficiently accomplish our mission.

Something you don’t know about me

I moved to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 2018 after growing up in the Northern VA/DC area my entire life! Talk about a change of pace. But I can’t complain, I’m one block from the ocean and spend my free time in the sunny outdoors!


 Auntaria Johnson Expert in NFI Program Training

Auntaria Johnson

Training Director


I am the oldest of three girls, all born in Miami, FL, and I’ve enjoyed sunny South Florida my entire life. I graduated from Regent University with an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership.

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Since I was a little girl, I knew I’d be a teacher, and I’ve worked in education and training for over 25 years.

My proudest accomplishment

The inception of The Dennis Project - a celebration of my family’s legacy of dedicated teachers and community advocates. For over ten years, we’ve inspired thousands of underserved youths and their families through STEM outreach programs, teen development summits, and family-strengthening workshops.

Something you don’t know about me

My mother was a huge fan of Star Trek – The Original Series, and my name (Auntaria) was derived from a spacecraft on the show – True story!


 Jacqueline Evans Expert in Faterhood Organization Programs

Jacqueline Evans

Resource Center Director


I was born in Landstuhl, Germany and recently moved from Falling Waters, WV to Waynesboro, PA.

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Why I work here

I work here because I really believe in the NFI mission. I have seen the difference a father can make in the life and future of a child. Anything that I can do to support this effort warms my heart both for the child and for the father.

My proudest accomplishment at NFI

Becoming the FatherSource Manager! I have been with NFI since December 2013, and enjoy serving clients every day. I love learning about their fatherhood initiatives and helping them find the best resources for their needs.

Something you don’t know about me

Outside of NFI I am a Hair/Makeup Artist. I work with athletes, television/movie personalities, politicians, and corporate executives; I participate in a variety of editorial, commercial, video/TV, and corporate projects. My work has been published in many well-known magazines such as Essence, O Magazine, People, Good Housekeeping, Elle, and Vanity Fair.


 Sean Coleman Expert in Graphic Design for NFI

Sean Coleman

Graphic Design
and IT Manager


I was born in Iowa, raised in West Virginia, lived in suburban Washington DC for about 27 years. I'm now back in the Northern Panhandle of WV, a short drive to my other favorite city, Pittsburgh, PA.

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I graduated from Wheeling University in WV with a B.A. in Psychology and later studied Advertising Design, Computer Graphics and Desktop Publishing at Montgomery College in Rockville, MD.

Why I work here

My first career after college was in the mental health field working with children and adolescents. Although I ultimately made a career change in the late 1990’s to Graphic Design the impact of my work with children and the importance of that work has stuck with me throughout my life. It is an honor and a privilege to be part of this team where I get to do the creative work I love and also help create a world in which every child has a 24/7 Dad!

My proudest accomplishment at NFI

I take a great deal of satisfaction in designing new resources for NFI. Notable projects include the Out of The Ashes DVD with Discussion Guide, converting our Father Facts™ publication to a digital format, branding for Fathering in 15™, and most recently our 24/7 Dad® Key Behaviors Workshop. In general, I love the variety of work I do at NFI and am most proud when I am pushed out of my “comfort zone” and can rise to the challenge with a great product or solution.

Something you don’t know about me

When I’m not working on design and publishing projects I am usually spending time cruising around in my “Happy Place”, a 2007 Mustang convertible. I also spend time nurturing a collection of about 15 bonsai trees. I picked up the bonsai hobby in 1993 and it has been a kind of religion for me ever since.


 Ave Mulhern Expert Program Consultant

Ave Marie Mulhern

Program Implementation


Ardsley, Pennsylvania is where I am from and I come from a large family of eight children. I am number six, but the first girl, followed by two more sisters.

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I met my husband when I was 15, married at 18 and still happily married with 2 grown children, 7 grandchildren-so far! I had lived in that area all my life… Until 2013 when we moved to Lower, Slower, Milton, Delaware.

Why I work here

I came to NFI in 2006 from the corporate world where what matters most, of course, is the bottom line. Before working here, I never realized the depth of negative impact father absence has on our society. Nor did I realize how much positive impact an involved father can have on the life of his child. NFI shows that fathers play a key role in the family and supports the fact that fathers are irreplaceable in the life of their child. My new bottom line? To do all in my power to help individuals and organizations support families and equip fathers so that “every child grows up in a home with an involved, responsible and committed father.” There is just no turning back.

My proudest accomplishment at NFI

Working on the Capacity Building Initiative and seeing grassroots organizations that we worked with develop, grow, and sustain their fatherhood programs beyond their own (and even my) expectations. Many of these 120 organizations that, in a sense, didn’t know where to begin, have garnered continued funding and support. Ten of them were part of the federal funding directed for Pathways to Responsible Fatherhood in 2011 and overall the project represented over $35 million + dollars in additional or sustained funding for these organizations!

Something you don’t know about me

My family and I have been on numerous mission trips to various cities in the U.S. and even other countries. Mixing and pouring cement, painting and repair, working with medical teams, even getting in the middle of a coup d'état! It has been a great opportunity to grow together, build faith, recognize and appreciate our many blessings, and mostly to appreciate this great, great nation!


FAQs | Frequently Asked Questions

Tips for Being a Good Dad and Statistics on Fatherhood

What does National Fatherhood Initiative® do?

Do you offer classes for dads? Tips for being a good dad?

How are you funded?

See FAQs >