Our Leaders


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BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Andy Miller, MHSE, MCHES – Co-Founder & President

Andy MillerAndy is the Co-founder and Principal of Miller-Stephens & Associates, a strategic consulting practice for non-profit organizations. In 2013, together with his partner Brian, Andy also co-founded The Handsome Father to foster a community of support to connect, equip and inspire gay fathers and fathers-to-be. Previously, he has served as Executive Vice President of Operations for the LIVESTRONG Foundation. He has also held positions with Texas Medical Association and the University of Florida (UF). A graduate of Southwestern University, Andy also has a Master’s degree in Health Science Education from UF and is a Master Certified Heath Education Specialist. He is an award-winning non-profit professional, frequently requested speaker and serves on multiple national and local boards and committees committed to health and social causes, particularly those serving the LGBT community.  Andy and Brian reside in Austin, TX with their son, Clark.  Follow Andy @jamaustex.

Brian Stephens – Co-Founder & Vice President

Brian StephensWith gigs in an array of industries—big and small—and a multi-dimensional skill set, Brian enjoys all the stages of project development from dreaming about it to doing it.  As a 20-year, award-winning marketing and communications professional, Brian knows the power of storytelling and how to connect and engage diverse audiences.  Together with his partner Andy, he is co-founder and Principal of MillerStephens & Associates.  He is also Co-Founder of The Handsome Father.  With a degree from North Texas University, Brian has held professional and volunteer leadership positions with the Center for Public Policy Priorities, Austin Habitat for Humanity, Texas Pharmacy Association, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, The Care Communities, Texas Bar Association, and Lambda Legal of Dallas.   He has been honored for is marketing and communications work by the International Association of Business Communicators and Texas Pharmacy Association.

Jayson Dreckshage – Treasurer

Manny Velasquez-ParedesJayson Dreckshage joins The Handsome Father’s board as a father through surrogacy.  Jayson and his husband of 11 years, Jakob Franzen, are the proud parents of two beautiful girls.  Having gone through the surrogacy process twice, Jayson and Jakob have a passion for helping other men create a family.  A neonatal nurse practitioner, Jayson resides in Round Rock, TX with his family.

Chris Long – Secretary

Chris LongA 25-year resident of Austin, TX, Chris received an engineering degree from The University of Texas and excelled in high-tech sales and business development before launching his successful real estate career. An avid supporter of local community organizations, Chris participates in a variety of fundraisers and teaches English through the El Buen Samaritano adult ESL program. He is also an active triathlete/marathoner, fan of the outdoors and can be seen hiking, biking, or running near Town Lake, or swimming at Barton Springs with his seven year old son, Jack.

Steve Flores, DDS, MS

Steve FloresSteve Flores is a full time practicing periodontist in Austin, Texas. He is the solo owner of Periodontal Health Professionals which has been of service to Central Austin since the late 1980s. Steve attended Texas A& M University at Kingsville (formerly Texas A &I University) and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, and The University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. He is a member of good standing with the American Academy of Periodontology, American Dental Association, Texas Dental Association, Capital Area Dental Society and Southwest Society of Periodontists. Steve is a current board member of AIDS Services of Austin (ASA) and the Austin Tennis Club (ATC). Steve, and his partner of 20 years David Thibodeaux, are proud parents of a teenage daughter, Rebecca. He brings an interesting perspective and point of view to The Handsome Father as Rebecca came to them at an early age through an intrafamily adoption.

Garrett Higley

Garrett HigleyGarrett graduated from Texas A&M University with honors and went on to graduate from South Texas College of Law.  After passing the bar and becoming licensed to practice in the same year, Garrett began his career in the areas of toxic torts and white collar criminal defense.  After moving to Austin, he turned his focus exclusively to the practice of family law and opened what is now the Law Office of Garrett C. Higley, PLLC. He handles complex family law cases that involve substance abuse, children with special needs, those with mental or physical disabilities, sexual abuse, physical abuse, same sex and transgender issues, and complex marital property analysis. Garrett maintains several pro bono clients at any given time and has dedicated hundreds of hours over the past several years to Volunteer Legal Services of Central Texas, Lone Star Legal Aid, and the State Bar of Texas, earning him the Suzanne Covington Pro Bono Service Award, acceptance to the State Bar of Texas Pro Bono College, and an appointment to the State Bar of Texas Family Law Section Pro Bono Committee. Additionally, Garrett serves on several boards, including the Wright House Wellness Center and the Capital Area AIDS Legal Project, and annual participation in the Hill Country Ride for AIDS.

Phil Hills

Photo of Phil HillsPhil Hills serves as Senior Consultant & Principal at Marts & Lundy – a national fundraising and development consulting firm. Phil has over 25 years of experience in leading fundraising programs including serving as Executive Vice President for Development at LIVESTRONG and as Vice President for Health Sciences Development at Emory University where he led the planning and implementation of a $1.6 billion campaign. He also served in fundraising roles at the University of Florida, George Washington University and the University of Tampa.

Mark Maxwell, PhD

photo of Mark MaxwellMark Maxwell is an educator, author, real estate broker and advocate. He and his partner, of over two decades, are parents to four adopted boys. As a researcher, Mark is interested in issues that impact LGBTQ parents and children adopted from foster care. Mark worked for 12 years as a television anchor/reporter and for 13 years as a North Carolina Realtor. Mark’s family’s story has been told by the Grio, McClatchy News Papers and the Advocate. His family’s marriage equality and adoption story is told in the YouTube video, A Tale of Two Dads. He holds a PhD in Public Policy and Administration from Walden University. He also holds a Masters in Strategic Leadership and a Bachelors in Social Sciences.

Duke Nelson

Photo of Duke NelsonDuke Nelson is the Principal and Founder of AWN Learning Solutions, LLC, a boutique consulting firm specializing in training and organizational development products. Before branching out on his own, Duke worked with several global organizations such as Gap and Apple, by both leading and supporting learning, diversity and human resource teams. Over the past two decades, Duke has volunteered with the AIDS Lifecycle California, the Dallas Museum of Art and The Art Center Waco. Duke is also a feature writer for The Handsome Father Blog. He attended Baylor University in the early 1990’s when he met his partner, Steve.  The two have been together for 22 years and were just recently married in St. Helena, CA.  Family and children have always been a priority for the couple, as well as service to the community.  Duke and Steve fostered their three children through Dallas CPS for eighteen months prior to adopting.  Sean, Luc and Willow have created experiences for Duke and Steve they had never thought possible. The Nelsons live in Dallas with their dog, Jack.

Manny Velasquez-Paredes

Manny Velasquez-Paredes

Manny Velasquez-Paredes (MVP) is a multicultural & diversity marketing professional focusing on the Hispanic and LGBT communities. MVP is the Editor In Chief for Connextions Magazine, the Travel & Lifestyle Magazine for the LGBT Traveler. He is a self-proclaimed social media junkie and avid traveler, and has lived and studied in three different continents. Overall, he has visited five continents. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that MVP loves to travel. In 2003, he met the man who would later become his life partner, Jose. They enjoy traveling and creating memories. Jose is a history buff, and MVP loves architecture and photography, therefore, their travels often revolve around these topics of interest, which has led them to experience some beautiful and off the path places. They became Domestic Partners in May 2011, a few months before New York approved marriage equality. In July 2011, MVP and Jose welcomed their two foster kids and they lived happily ever after roaming the world as a family. He also serves as a featured writer for The Handsome Father Blog.

Strategic Advisors

Abbie Goldberg, PhD

Abbie GoldbergAbbie holds a BA in psychology from Wesleyan University, MA in psychology and PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is currently an associate professor of clinical psychology at Clark University, with visiting scholar appointments at both the Williams Institute at UCLA and the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. Dr. Goldberg is interested in how a variety of social locations (e.g., gender, sexual orientation, social class) and contexts (e.g., work, family, community) shape processes of development and mental health. Her research focuses on parenthood, relationship quality, and well-being in diverse families (e.g., adoptive parent families, lesbian/gay parent families) in an effort to increase our understanding of family diversity. Specifically, she is currently exploring the transition to adoptive parenthood in a diverse group of couples. She teaches courses on gender and families, diversity in contemporary families, research methods with diverse families, human sexuality, and ethics in clinical psychology.

Megan Carroll

Megan CarrollMegan Carroll is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at the University of Southern California. She holds an MA in Sociology from the University of Southern California and a BA in Sociology from the University of North Texas, where she served as an officer for the Gay and Lesbian Association of Denton (GLAD). Her research interests include gender, sexuality, and family, and her dissertation examines the process of community formation among gay fathers. Megan enjoys serving as a volunteer for gay parenting organizations like The Pop Luck Club, Raise a Child, and The Handsome Father while completing her PhD.

Contributors

Alex Davidson

photo of Alex DavidsonAlex Davidson is a full-time father and freelance writer. He is profiling gay fathers and their families all across the U.S. for The Handsome Father. He most recently contributed to The Advocate’s online parenting channel, writing about the unique challenges LGBT parents face raising kids both in the United States and abroad.
Previously, Alex was a full-time journalist and communications strategist. His written work appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Forbes.com, The Advocate, Change.org and Foxnews.com. Alex worked at The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco for four years, where he launched the Bank’s first foray into social media and worked to establish clear and concise communications with the public. Alex lives in San Francisco with his husband and daughter.