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.
Alesha has been a nurse for over 20 years. She enjoys helping and serving others, in her professional life and personal time. She has worked on A7E/General Pediatrics at Methodist Hospital. It is through that experience that she learned to incorporate families into her care of patients. She found it vital to care for not only the patient, but to care for the family by providing them with needed support. She finds that same trait has come in handy with her current oncology patients. Alesha and her family live in Indianapolis, Indiana, and she joined the Families for HoPE board in 2022.
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.
Cheryl Lehman, Director
My husband, Bill, and I have been blessed with three children—Kloie, Kyra and Kollin. My HoPE journey began in 2001 when Kloie was born with semi-lobar holoprosencephaly, and we have grown so much in the last 21 years as individuals and as a family because of the blessings (and challenges) we have experienced with our daughter. I joined the Families for HoPE board in 2015 with the HoPE of helping other families navigate this very special life that none of us expected. We are a family! Please feel free to contact me at Cheryl.Lehman@FamiliesforHope.org.
Families for HoPE is seeking qualified individuals to serve on its board of directors. For more information, please contact board President Becky Wilson at Becky.Wilson@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