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Meet the Team

Meet The Staff

Mark W. Merrill

President

Mark is the founder and president of Family First. His MarkMerrill.com blog, the Family Minute Radio Program, and the Family First Podcast deliver marriage and parenting advice to thousands of people every day. He’s the author of All Pro Dad—Seven Essentials to Be a Hero to Your Kids, and will release Lists to Love By for Busy Wives: Simple Steps to the Marriage You Want, and Lists to Love By for Busy Husbands: Simple Steps to the Marriage You Want, both co-authored with his wife, Susan, in 2017. He speaks on family issues all across the country, and has appeared on Fox and Friends, The Today show, and CBS, and ABC television stations. Mark and Susan have five children, one son-in-law, and two dogs. In the 25 years since he and Susan started Family First, Mark has dedicated himself to doing his best to love his family well, and encouraging others to love their families well too.

Robb Bennett

Chief Operating Officer

Robb’s oversight of daily operations enables Family First to fulfill its mission to provide parenting, marriage and relational truth that helps people love their families well, and gives them hope for the future. Robb and his wife have one daughter.

Susan Merrill

Director of Content Distribution

Susan is Family First’s director of content distribution. She co-founded Family First with her husband, Mark Merrill, 25 years ago and is the co-host of the Family First Podcast, and the author of The Passionate Mom. She and Mark will release two new marriage books, Lists to Love By for Busy Wives: Simple Steps to the Marriage You Want, and Lists to Love By for Busy Husbands: Simple Steps to the Marriage You Want, in 2017. Susan spends her days creating content that will help families love well. She and Mark have five children, one son-in-law, and two dogs.

George Woods

Director of Partner Services

George is Family First’s key point person for its partnerships with sports teams, including the NFL; governments, and corporations. He innovates and administers these outreaches to help families stay connected through Family First events and partner initiatives. George joined Family First in 2003. He and his wife, Jennifer, have four children.

Darrin Gray

Director of Sales, Contact for Sponsorships

Darrin energetically cultivates Family First’s partnerships with companies including FedEx, Chick-Fil-A, and the NFL. He also works with NFL players and coaches in their role as All Pro Dad spokesmen. Darrin has been with Family First for 10 years. He and his wife have three children.

Michael Springer

Director of Development

Michael builds and strengthens relationships with Family First's generous giving partners, all in an effort to transform and encourage the families we serve. Michael and his wife, Joleen, have two children.

Angel Bishop

Director of Operations

As Family First’s Director of Operations, Angel oversees business operations to ensure that systems and staff have what they need to operate at peak performance. Her dedication to Family First has enabled it to reach millions of families with a message of hope and encouragement. Angel and her husband, Brad, have one daughter.

BJ Foster

Director of Content Creation

BJ and his wife, Elizabeth, have two young children. He oversees content for AllProDad.com, iMOM.com, The Family Minute, and the Mark Merrill and Susan Merrill blogs. He is especially dedicated to helping fathers, and is the premier writer for AllProDad.com. BJ’s experience in the corporate world, politics, and his work with adolescents gives him insight into the needs of today’s family.

Marlene A. Nikolich

Executive Assistant to the President

Marlene’s time with Family First have included duties ranging from event planning to intern management. She currently maintains the calendar and speaking schedule for Family First president, Mark Merrill, and she serves as an ambassador to donors and board members. Marlene is married to her husband, Mike and has two sons and four grandchildren.

Barbara Hall

Accounting and Office Manager

Family First employee, Barbara oversees day-to-day office operations and provides financial reporting for the organization. Barbara and her husband, Ron, have two children and four grandchildren.

Jonathan Morgan

Marketing Manager

Jonathan uses his marketing skills, project management savvy, and creativity to bolster the success of Family First’s corporate and government partnerships. He and his wife have one daughter.

Vicki Grimes

All Pro Dad’s Day Support Manager

Vicki, a Family First team member, gives All Pro Dad’s Day leaders the in-office support they need to run successful and meaningful father and kids breakfasts at schools nationwide.

Jen Cordeau

Brand Manager

Jen’s media background and marketing expertise enable her to manage the development and production of the Mark Merrill blog, the Family First podcast, and the Family Minute radio feature. Jen and her husband are parents to two daughters.

Kaleigh Bowman

Donor Relations Manager

Kaleigh’s enthusiasm, and her donor relations skills enable Family First to reach millions of families. Kaleigh and her husband are the parents of a newborn son.

Cassandra Soars

iMOM Content Manager

Cassandra is an internationally trained, and internationally educated, writer. She supplements that knowledge with a strong desire to help mothers love their children well, and find joy in their parenting journey. She and her husband, Steve, lived in Mozambique, Africa, for many years.

Jeremy Donovan

Marketing Automation Manager

Jeremy oversees and strategizes Family First’s social media presence. His job includes cultivating and meeting the informational needs of Family First’s online audience. Jeremy is married to his wife Melanie.

Jordan Rothwell

Social Media Manager

Jordan implements social media initiatives to expand Family First’s online outreach. She shares the Family First message of loving well via tweets, posts, videos, and pins.

Brian Burridge

Senior Web Developer

Brian builds and improves Family First’s websites and software systems. His expertise in design and development allows Family First to reach people online, every day. Brian is the father of one son and one daughter.

Lisa Adkins

Email Specialist

Lisa, a Family First team member, prepares and monitors the distribution of emails for All Pro Dad, iMOM, and the Family Minute. She and her husband, Tom, have two sons, and one daughter-in-law.

Alison McPherson

Events Specialist

An extensive background in high-level event planning enables Alison to expertly plan and orchestrate Family First’s events — from father and kids gatherings, to innovative donor events.

Patrick Stevens

Events Assistant

Patrick provides organizational support for Dads and Kids events and infuses them with energy and inspiration for the families that attend.

Brenda Billing

Operations Specialist

Brenda manages all data for Family First partners, All Pro Dad’s Days, the Family Minute affiliates, and event attendees and email subscribers. She is the mother of one daughter.

Keith Vickery

All Pro Dad’s Day Development Specialist

Keith focuses his relational efforts on increasing the number of productive All Pro Dad’s Day chapters nationwide. Keith is married and has one daughter.

Hayley Mizell

Communications Assistant

Hayley utilizes her eye for detail and highly tuned organizational skills to manage incoming content for All Pro Dad, iMOM, and the Mark Merrill blog. She also communicates with all Family First writers.

Reed Richardson

Graphic Designer

Reed is the visionary behind Family First’s online design elements. She has created hundreds of printables and eye-catching images for the organization’s websites and emails.

Lauren Shealy

Web Content Specialist

Lauren’s web site technical know-how, and search engine optimization knowledge help Family First maximize its online presence. Lauren is a newlywed.

Jazmin Hayes

Content Production Assistant

Jazmin applies the same discipline and work ethic she exhibited as a collegiate athlete to manage operational details for Family First’s Content Team, and multi-department projects.

Nancy Jergins

iMOM Content Writer

Nancy has worked as a writer and communications consultant with Family First for almost 20 years. She and her husband have two children.

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