Susan Millender, executive director (2021-present)
Families for HoPE recently welcomed Susan Millender as Executive Director. Millender is the first person to fill the role for the Indianapolis-based nonprofit organization in its 16-year history. Millender will work in close partnership with the Board of Directors to set Families for HoPE’s strategic direction and programming in support of children diagnosed with holoprosencephaly and related brain malformations.
Millender enters the role with a long-standing reputation for health advocacy work, specifically among children and families struggling to gain and maintain well-being and resilience. She is a member of the National Federation of Families. Previously, Millender led Seattle-King County Washington’s Guided Pathways nonprofit family support organization as Executive Director and served as Program Director for the American Diabetes Association of Washington and Northern Idaho. She attended Ball State University, Muncie, IN and graduated from Calumet College, Whiting, IN with a BA in Mass Communications.
“All of us at Families for HoPE are thrilled to have Susan as our very first Executive Director, and we look forward to seeing Families for HoPE continue to grow and flourish under her leadership,” said Becky Wilson, Board President.
You may contact Susan at Susan.Millender@FamiliesforHoPE.org.
2022 Officers and Directors
Becky Wilson, President (2021-2022)
I am the mother of three children, Charlie, Breanna and Jack, and live in Crandon, Wisconsin with Ken, my husband of 26 years. Born in 2004, Jack was diagnosed with lobar HPE. Through this journey with Jack, I have discovered my passion, and today, I’m employed by a nonprofit organization in my community serving individuals with disabilities. From 2010-2013, I served my first term on the board of directors of Families for HoPE, and my current board term began in 2015. My husband Ken and son Charlie both race off-road trucks and proudly display the Families for HoPE logo on their trucks to raise awareness of HPE. You may contact me at Becky.Wilson@FamiliesforHoPE.org.
Roxanne Steele, VP & Secretary (2015 to present)
From our home in Richmond, Indiana, my husband Brian and I are the parents of four children. Our youngest daughter, Rachel, was born in 2002 with semi-lobar HPE. I was closely monitored throughout my pregnancy because I was expecting twins; however, we did not learn of Rachel’s HPE until after she was born. The first few days of her life involved a lot of physicians, unfamiliar medical terms and many fears for her future and our family. Sadly, Rachel passed in January 2015 but lived nearly 13 years continually surrounded by the love of her sisters Mariah and Sara and twin brother Nathan. It is because of Rachel that I am one of the founding directors of Families for HoPE, and I have served as Secretary of the board of directors since 2015. You may contact me at Roxanne.Steele@FamiliesforHoPE.org.
Steve Harley, Treasurer (2022)
My son Samuel Aaron Harley (“Sammy”) was born with semi-lobar holoprosencephaly in 2003. We were blessed to have Sammy in our lives for nearly 5 years, and we treasure the memories we created with him. Although Sammy passed away in January 2008 following a critical illness, he is never far from my thoughts and continues to inspire me each and every day. My wife, Leslie, is one of the founders of Families for HoPE. I joined the board of directors in 2021, and I am poised to combine my passion and hope for HPE with my education and business experience to help move Families for HoPE toward long-term sustainability while maintaining focus on the mission to support, educate and encourage HPE families. You may contact me at Steve.Harley@FamiliesforHoPE.org.
ARIKA GATES, Director
Arika lives in Elwood, IN. Her daughter Madelyn was diagnosed with holoprosencephaly prenatally and passed away in 2008 at the age of two. Arika is also the mother of son James who is Madelyn’s twin. She has worked in the agricultural business and management industry for two decades. After serving two board terms from 2008 to 2013, Arika is returning to board service.
ROBERT HAMILTON, Director
Robert is a resident of Indianapolis, IN. He has been a senior executive at four public hospitals/health care systems with missions to serve the needs of the underprivileged and medically indigent of Indianapolis, Chicago, Austin, TX, and Seattle, WA, working closely with clinicians and social workers. Now retired, Robert is a consultant to health systems in the Midwest.
Brian hargrove, Director
Brian is a graduate of Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana, with a degree in Marketing. He has spent the bulk of his career in Market Research where he conducted research studies that had a direct effect on consumer spending, development of new products and/or systems. Brian is currently a certified web developer. He was a member of Kiwanis for 10 years during which he served as a board member and officer. He joined the Families for HoPE board in 2022. Brian is a native Hoosier and lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.
DORESA IBRAHIM, Director
FERNANDINA BEACH, FLORIDA
Doresa lives in Fernandina Beach, FL. Her daughter Laila was diagnosed with holoprosencephaly at birth in 2012. Laila recently reached the milestone of learning at grade level for the fifth grade in the public school she attends. Doresa has two decades of experience in technology and marketing.
BRIAN STEELE, Director
A fifty-one-year-old father of four, including a deceased HPE daughter, Brian is a resident of Richmond, IN. He is an athletic trainer who has worked in the rehabilitation world for 30 years. He holds a master’s degree in biomechanics and has a strong background in medical support and genetics. Brian has a passion for supporting HPE kids, families and educating the medical community on the life of a child with HPE.
Families for HoPE is seeking qualified individuals to serve on its board of directors. For more information, please contact Susan Millender at Susan.Millender@FamiliesforHoPE.org.
Past Presidents of Families for HoPE, Inc.
Josh Timmerman – 2016-2000
Ed Tierney – 2013-2015
Shira Arnold – 2011-2012
Leslie Harley – 2006-2010