Megan loves her husband Mason, one of the greatest blessings in her life, and their three precious children, Brady, Ellie, and Emma.
Megan has a story with its own challenges and beautiful redemption. Growing up, she saw the power-loving strangers have to change the trajectory of a family in a difficult season. Since then, she has dedicated her life and career to the calling of strengthening families and reminding people of their dignity, worth, and value. Megan has a wealth of education, over ten years of dedicated experience in social services, and a great passion for this important work.
Megan has an undergraduate degree from Liberty University in Psychology and a Master’s in Human Services with a dual concentration in Executive Leadership and Family and Group Dynamics.
Megan’s family hosts children in their home and approaches this ministry together. They are a team, and her family supports her wonderful adventure as the leader of Better Together. She feels blessed to have them behind her and to be a part of a team of talented, passionate individuals who love people and wants to help equip the faith community.
Executive Assistant and Development Connector
Lora’s favorite thing to do is spend family time with her husband, Chris, and their son, Jay. She enjoys attending church, hosting gatherings with friends and family, and cooking. They have always dreamed of having a big family and are excited to welcome their second child later this summer.
Director of Organizational Development
Tristan is excited to join the Better Together Team. He loves his wife Robyn (happily married since 2008) and is a proud dad of four children, Calysta, Jett, Dashiell, and Armadeus.
He joins the team bringing his experience as executive director of a Christian summer camp that went from the brink of closing its doors when he arrived, 7 years later, a thriving ministry that serves children in the community daily with an after-school program.
With his M.A. in Christian Leadership from Liberty University and recent induction into the University of Maine Augusta’s Athletic Hall of Fame, he brings strong servant leadership skills that will be invaluable as he seeks to grow Better Together’s reach. Tristan is so passionate about seeing families thrive and meet the felt needs of people who are unemployed that he moved from Central Maine to Southwest Florida to play a role in what Better Together is doing in Florida and across the Nation.
Tristan comes to Better Together following a position with the Christian Civic League in Maine, where he implemented Better Work job fairs as a part of his service to the state of Maine and its churches. When Tristan is not in the office he likes to play with his children and sneak in a little golf.
Director of Communications and External Relationships
Gisela loves spending time with her family, fiancé, and her precious dog Obi. When asked, others would describe Gisela as thoughtful, optimistic, and persistent.
She was born and raised in SWFL, so naturally, she has a strong passion and desire for helping people in this community.
Gisela received her Bachelor of Arts in Communication from Florida Gulf Coast University. She previously worked in the non-profit sector supporting foster children but then decided to pursue a corporate career. Gisela quickly learned that her heart belonged to serving those in our community through non-profit work, and this led her to Better Together.
Gisela is excited to join the Better Together team and help lead our mission of keeping families together and children out of foster care.
When Gisela is not in the office, she enjoys volunteering, watching the Hallmark Channel/reruns of her favorite shows, and making memories with her family and friends.
Executive Director of Programs
Isis loves spending time with her husband, Danny and their two boys, Asher and Ayden. She always has something planned to do with them, including Disney, Universal, and Islands of Adventure. She also loves to party plan, and everyone enjoys her get-togethers, even when her husband says she is “going overboard!”
Prior to joining Better Together, Isis worked in the medical field for 16 years. She has always had a passion for helping others, but it wasn’t until being introduced to Better Together, and becoming a host family, that she realized her passion for helping families in need.
Over the last three years, her family has hosted 18 children. Her husband and children are just as committed as she is in this ministry and share in the joy of being able to care for children while their families maneuver through crisis. Better Together is a way her whole family serves together.
Better Work Relationship Manager
Christy and her husband Diego, along with their little girl Adelina have recently moved to Milwaukee Wisconsin where Diego is the Worship Director at a local church. Before the move Christy was working with the Churches and Volunteers in SWFL, now she is our Program Coordinator assisting our Work Ministry Nationally. She feels blessed to be apart of the Better Together Team in a new role and thrilled to help equip and inspire churches to reach their community by providing employment opportunities to unleash their full potential.
Family Care Coordinator
Through her own life experiences as a child and young adult, Selena understands that life can throw curveballs that can cause a downward spiral into hopelessness. She believes that people can come back from devastating circumstances stronger than they ever thought possible. Her own personal journey allows her to feel empathy for families in crisis.
Selena brings 15 years of experience to her role at Better Together. With experiences in the government and non-profit sectors, she has gained extensive knowledge in substance abuse, mental health, and child welfare.
Selena is a wife, mother of two, and grandmother to one Indiana Jones. She enjoys spending as much time as she can with her family and her two dogs. She believes her family is one of her greatest accomplishments.
Director of Church Engagement
Paola is excited to rejoin the Better Together team. She is passionate about bringing innovative and restorative services to children and families in need. She believes the local church has the greatest opportunity to love and engage in what the Lord calls us to do through this program: help the widows, the orphans, and the hurting in their time of need. For the past 10 years, she has worked within the child welfare and at-risk youth worlds bringing interventions and the hope of Christ with tangible resources.
Paola graduated from Southeastern University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and she continued on to earn her master’s degree in education with a concentration in counseling. She loves spending time with her husband Jared and their sweet girl, Ellie Grace. She loves to watch sunsets and eat ice cream.
Consultant for Special Projects
Leah Hughey loves Jesus, her family, and words. She is a voracious reader and, if you’ve ever met her, you also know she talks a lot.
She is originally from and has now returned to Pennsylvania, after spending almost a decade in Virginia as well as three years in Jacksonville, FL to launch Better Together’s Northeast Florida location. She passionately believes churches, communities, and individuals can solve messy social problems when they work together.
Like the rest of our team, Leah believes the Church is the embodiment of Christ, whose earthly ministry addressed both spiritual and physical needs. She loves stepping back and watching our partner churches do just that. In her spare time, Leah goes on walks with baby Judah, drinks tea, and seeks out dogs she can pet.
Home Study Specialist
Jillian has worked in foster care licensing for three and a half years. When offered the opportunity to work with Better Together, she didn’t hesitate to say yes. Jillian has seen the effects of the foster care system and is excited to work with an organization that is preventive and proactive – keeping children’s trauma minimal and promoting strong communal support.
Jillian is the mother of a 10-year-old girl, Jailyn, who has brought her so many blessings. Motherhood has given her so much more meaning to life. In her free time, Jillian enjoys spending quality time with her daughter, family, and 65-pound lap dog, Izzy. She enjoys shopping, going to movies, festivals, dog parks, and concerts.
Home Study Specialist
My name is Adirem Garcia, recently married in November 2018. I attended FGCU and graduated with my Bachelor’s in Social Work in 2013. I have worked within the foster care system since 2014 and my husband and I have been foster parents since June 2019. We love being able to help others and be a mentor if we can to the families that need support and love during their trials.
We attend Life Church and love to spend time with our family and friends. For fun, we both play on coed sports teams together – kickball and softball. We love to travel and try to vacation on a cruise annually! My stepson, Jeremiah, loves to play sports as well and he is a great, big foster brother to the kiddos who come to our home.
It is a blessing to be able to help others in our work environment and also in our home! We love sharing the love of Jesus with others!
Marketing & Digital Partner
Stephen Freeman is the founder of Kairos Digital and works as the Marketing and Digital Partner for Better Together. He is a Florida native and is passionate about helping good organizations and businesses clarify their message so they can grow with partners they trust.
Stephen and his wife Caroline have two boys, Sam and Charlie, who are 14 months apart and keep them laughing and on their toes. Stephen is also a deacon at Awaken Church Jacksonville, a partner church with Better Together.
Founder and Board President
Tarren Bragdon is president and chief executive officer of the Foundation for Government Accountability, which he founded in 2011. In just seven years FGA has grown from $50k in start-up funding to about $9 million in private donations and about 30 staff. FGA helps people experience the Power of Work by advancing reforms that move individuals from welfare to work, reduce government barriers to better jobs, and lower the cost of private health coverage.
Tarren has founded seven different companies, including three not for profit organizations.
Tarren is a nationally recognized expert on health reform issues. He has testified before committees of the U.S. Senate and House; state legislative committees in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Ohio, and New York; numerous national conferences; and the American Swiss Foundation in Switzerland. His work has been featured on Fox News, Sean Hannity show, National Public Television’s NOW, in Wall Street Journal editorials and op-eds, and in the New York Post, Boston Globe, New York Times and on National Public Radio. His research has been published with The Heritage Foundation and The Manhattan Institute.
From 2008 to early 2011, Tarren was CEO of The Maine Heritage Policy Center, a free-market think tank based in Portland, Maine. In September 2010, he received the Thomas Roe Award, given annually by the State Policy Network to the individual with the greatest impact on the nation’s free-market movement.
From 1996 through 2000, Tarren served in the Maine House of Representatives. Elected at the age of 21, Tarren remains the youngest person ever elected to the Maine Legislature.
He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Maine and his Masters of Science of Business degree from Husson University in Bangor, Maine.
Tarren and his wife Anna have four children; Wyatt, Waverly and the twins, Jude and Asher.
Doug Campbell’s life is now consumed by trying, through Better Together to keep families together and kids out of foster care and, through Friends of Foster Children Forever, to do for abused and neglected children what neither the state nor any other agency does to make their lives closer to normal. He serves on the board of Healthcare Network of SWFL that provides primary medical, behavioral and dental health care to over half the children in Collier County and, he has been a Guardian ad Litem for 20 years. Doug is a central Kentucky native and was an oil and chemicals industry executive, a career that included 17 moves and more than 20 jobs.
Doug and his wife Nancy have lived in Naples since 1997 but have had family in the area since 1966. They have two children Mary and Jim, and three grandchildren. They periodically visit them in Boulder and Chicago, and the rest of the time he spends doing as instructed by Nancy, his wife of 50 years.
Doug is motivated by Better Together, Friends of Foster Children, Healthcare Network and his involvement as a Guardian ad Litem. All have taught him the glaring unfulfilled needs of children who, through no fault of their own, become dependent on the government. His philosophy is to make money, have fun and do all you can to keep the government from destroying what you worked to earn, including working within the system to see that tax dollars do as much good as possible.
Doug believes that this is a valued venture since Better Together works with volunteer families to help families at-risk who want to stay together, thrive and avoid foster care. Friends of Foster Children meet the unmet needs of kids in the dependency system who have become wards of the state with little to no explanation. It’s for these children that he spends most of his time working to meet their needs that the state does not.
In Collier County, more than 700 abused, abandoned and neglected children are removed from their homes each year. Doug dreams that through volunteer initiatives such as Better Together, the need to remove these children from their homes and place them in foster care will no longer exist.
Dr. Alise G. Bartley is a marriage and family therapist and mental health counselor that has been helping families, couples, and individuals for over 25 years. She earned her MA in Counseling and Human Development from Walsh University and her Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy from The University of Akron.
Her focus is helping those who are struggling with their mental wellness from a relationship perspective. She believes that no one lives life in isolation and that we are greatly impacted by those around us.
Since no one therapy fits everyone, she uses a combination of theoretical orientations to provide a customized therapeutic experience including Emotionally Focused Therapy, Structural Family Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Her areas of expertise include relationship issues such as communication issues, parenting, healthy sexual functioning, along with depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder and personality disorders.
She has helped clients work through a diversity of situations. She has been a faculty member at The University of Akron and is presently a Clinical Assistant Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University and Clinic Director at the Community Counseling Center at FGCU and maintains licenses to practice in Ohio and Florida.
Mr. Wyatt is the former Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Fortune Brands, where he served in that role from 2011 until July 2017. He served as Executive Vice President of Fortune Brands from July 2017 until his retirement in December 2017.
Prior to that, Lee served as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Hanesbrands Inc. (formerly, Sara Lee Branded Apparel) from 2005 to 2011. He has held various financial roles at Sonic Automotive Inc., ultimately serving as Chief Financial Officer through 2005.
Lee has more than 40 years of experience working with public and private companies. He is a graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale with a BS in Accounting, holds an MBA from Washington University and is a Certified Public Accountant.
Lee and his wife Jaci currently reside full time in Naples, Florida.
Jonathan Bechtle, Esq., Chief Operating Officer & General Counsel at the Foundation for Government Accountability, is a seasoned nonprofit leader and a nationally-recognized expert on election law and government transparency. Prior to joining FGA, Jonathan served as chief operating officer and then chief executive officer of the Freedom Foundation, a free-market think tank based in Olympia, Washington. He has testified before Congress and has been a guest lecturer at the National Republican Lawyers Association Election Law School and the National Freedom of Information Coalition’s FOI Summit.
Jonathan has been published in many national and state media outlets, including the Seattle Times, Washington Post, and National Review Online, and has appeared as a guest commentator on the Lou Dobbs Show. He is co-author of the book, “To Protect and Maintain Individual Rights,” a citizen’s guide to Article I of the Washington State Constitution.
Jonathan earned a Juris Doctorate from Oak Brook College of Law in Fresno, California, and is a member of the California Bar and is licensed by the Florida Bar as an Authorized House Counsel. He and his wife Melissa live in Naples, Florida with their four children.