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DADvocaCY TEAM bios

allan Shedlin, MA, ABD
Founding Dadvocate

Most importantly, Allan Shedlin is the father of and daddy to three daughters and a “bonus son,” as well as five grandchildren, and three “bonus grandchildren.”


Allan is a former teacher, adjunct professor, school principal, advisor to the US Secretary of Education, state superintendents of education, and the White House Office of Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships. He earned a BA in English from Colgate University, MA in both Elementary Education and Special Education from Columbia University Teachers College, and an ABD in Education Administration from Fordham. But he considers his D-A-D the most important "degree" of all.


He's held a variety of leadership positions in education and child advocacy at the local, state, and national levels. Shedlin has written widely in the popular and professional press on education and parenting issues. During the past two decades, he has devoted his research and energies to working with parents – with a concentration on dads, granddads, and father figures. He has conducted qualitative research with children (5 to 21 years old) and dads and granddads (16 to 104 years old) from more than 20 countries.


Shedlin has been described as a “serial social profit entrepreneur” because he has been founder, executive director, or president of several education- and family-focused organizations, including the National Elementary School Center, DADsUnlimited, REEL FATHERS, New Mexico Alliance for Fathers & Families, and currently the DADvocacy Consulting Group (DCG).


Shedlin's work with DCG includes developing and conducting programs for dads/granddads/father figures at schools and agencies, as well as one-on-one parenting coaching, workshops, and speaking engagements in a variety of venues. He also continues to write on a broad range of parenting topics. He and DCG are based in the greater Washington, DC area.

Dadvocacy Consulting Group founder Allan Shedlin carrying three young daughters at beach


Dadvocacy Consulting Group founder Allan Shedlin being carried by his three adult daughters
Dadvocacy Consulting Group founder Allan Shedlin with his five grandchildren


Neil Tift, MA
Principal Dadvocate

Neil Tift is the father of three, grandfather of 12, and a foster father of many. He has nearly 50 years nonprofit agency experience working with children and adults with developmental disabilities as well as homeless adults. He is the recipient of the Global Prosperity & Peace Award, presented by the Global Prosperity & Peace Initiative, for his "long and tireless work with fathers."


For the past 27 years, Neil has created and managed programs serving low-income fathers in Minnesota, Washington, DC, and Arizona. He currently is the Training Coordinator for the Native American Fatherhood & Families Association (NAFFA)   in Mesa Arizona. Previously, he served as Father Involvement Coordinator for the Child Crisis Arizona in Mesa. In 1990, he founded the nation’s first Fathers Resource Center in Minneapolis. He was also training director for two national fatherhood organizations in Washington, DC.


Neil has served as an adjunct instructor at seven colleges and universities over the past 33 years, teaching ethics, child psychology, and human service administration. He has contributed chapters for six books and written numerous articles on fatherhood and gender-related issues.


Neil and his wife Denise developed and teach a marriage enrichment curriculum titled Marital Resiliency. They are certified family mediators and parent educators, teaching workshops that address parenting education and gender reconciliation issues. They created the nonprofit Paternal Instincts to provide education and training to parents, foster parents, and young adults who have aged out of the foster care system. Neil and Denise have been foster parents for children and adults with special needs since 1994.


Neil earned an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Saint Thomas and a Social Work Certificate from the University of Minnesota.

randell D. turner, PhD
Principal Dadvocate

Most importantly, Randell Turner is father of two and grandfather of five grandchildren. He also is an author, trainer, coach and a Child & Family Therapist who specializes in working with men and fathers.


As one of the pioneers in the Fatherhood & Men’s Movement, Randell founded The Father’s Workshop in 1996,  from which he has authored award-winning resources for organizations, like the National Center for Fathering, National Fatherhood Initiative, National Head Start Association, Parents as Teachers, Prison Fellowship, and Most recently, he authored Rescuing the Rogue, a Small Group Curriculum for Forging and Restoring Healthy Intimate Relationships


Randell is a child abuse survivor, having spent six years under the watchful care of Child Protective Services and the Foster Care system, to whom he is eternally grateful.

Dadvocacy Consulting Group Dadvocate Randell Turner and grandson
scott beller
director of communications & DADvisor

Scott is the proud daddy of two daughters. He is also a seasoned writer and public relations agency veteran with more than 30 years experience helping organizations of all sizes reach audiences and tell their stories, credibly and with impact. Prior to launching his own creative communications consultancy in 2003, he led PR teams with some of the world’s most respected agencies, including Fleishman-Hillard and The Weber Group.


Scott’s strategic communications talents have been called upon by some of the most recognized brands, including Nike, Dell, Anheuser-Busch, XM Satellite Radio, NASDAQ, American Public University System, Sprint, FEMA, and Southwestern Bell. During his career, he’s developed and managed numerous campaigns supporting the improved quality of life for children and families. As an independent consultant, he’s helped launch two other parenting advocacy nonprofits with DCG founder Allan Shedlin. His first book, Beggars or Angels (Oaklight/DTC Press, August 2013), was a ghostwritten memoir for the nonprofit Devotion to Children's founder Rosemary Tran Lauer.


In addition to his role directing DCG’s overall communications strategy, social media, and other activities, Scott is editor for and a regular contributor to our Daddying blog. He was formerly known as "Imperfect Dad" and Head Writer for the Raising Nerd blog, which supported parents in inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers, and creative problem solvers.


Scott’s work with DCG, Daddying, and Raising Nerd is the perfect storm allowing him to pursue all his passions at once: being a dad, writer, teacher, and creative Nerd. He earned his BA in Communications from Virginia Tech and lives in Arlington, VA, with his two mighty girls and superstar wife Elisabeth.

Ben Garber
IT director

Ben is a student at the University of South Carolina's College of Engineering and Computing. He is studying Computer Engineering, Integrated Information Technology, and Mathematics and is employed as a technician for the University of South Carolina Division of Information Technology. After successfully completed a software engineering internship at CACI, the company invited him back to continue this summer 2021. He is Chief Executive Officer for GarberTech LLC, and affectionately refers to DCG founder Allan Shedlin as "Grampsy."



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Dadvocacy Consulting Group IT Director Ben Garber


Dadvisory TEAM members

Robert Richardson, MA

Rob Richardson is the proud father of three girls and “Papi” to two grandsons and a granddaughter. He is a senior strategist who bridges business and academia to advance the objectives of each. He is an educator and business leader with a career as the head of major non-profit, philanthropic, and educational programs and organizations. 


Playing communications and leadership consulting roles at The Conference Board and the Committee for Economic Development, Rob prepares business leaders to amplify their voice and to direct corporate resources to propel state and local education improvement. Previously, he led program development and fund raising at Achieve, Inc. and Change the Equation, both national non-profit organizations launched and supported by CEOs. 


From 2001-2011, Rob served as the East Coast education manager for Intel Corporation. He provided strategic direction to Intel’s investments in K-12 schools and higher education to improve programs in math, science, and engineering, particularly for women and under-represented minorities. Prior to that, he founded and was president of a regional education center for nine years, offering professional development to teachers in 10 school districts. For this, his organization won a White House citation for public/private partnerships.


Rob earned a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and a master’s from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He currently lives in Washington, DC, not far from family members.

Dadvocacy Consulting Group Dadvisor Robert Richardson with two grandchildren
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Anthony fleg, Md

Anthony Fleg is a proud daddy of four, husband, son, and brother. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, he has called New Mexico home since 2008. He is a family physician at the University of New Mexico and also a Coordinator/Co-Founder of a love-funded partnership, Native Health Initiative (NHI). Through NHI, Anthony lives out his highest value/vision: to use love as a strategy for social change. 


Anthony tells his patients at the outset that exercise is the medicine he prescribes most, and he lives this out through a wellness program he coordinates through NHI, Running Medicine.“As a DADvocate, it is wonderful at Running Medicine to see families running, walking, and playing​ together. I see what we are doing as, more than anything, a safe environment that allows dads and moms to play again, and in this play, to become the parents they are meant to be.”

Dadvocacy Consulting Group Dadvisor Doctor Anthony Fleg with wife and four children outdoors hiking
Hakim Bellamy, MA

When not renowned as “Kaylem's Dad,” Hakim is known as the inaugural Poet Laureate of Albuquerque, NM (2012-2014) and, until recently, the Deputy Director of Cultural Services for the City of Albuquerque.


Hakim is a national and regional Poetry Slam Champion and holds three consecutive collegiate poetry slam titles at the University of New Mexico. His poetry has been published in the Albuquerque Convention Center, on the outside of a library, in inner-city buses, and included in numerous anthologies across the globe.


Bellamy was awarded an honorable mention for the University of New Mexico Paul Bartlett Ré Peace Prize for his work as a community organizer and journalist in 2007, and awarded the Emerging Creative Bravos Award by Creative Albuquerque in 2013. In 2014, Bellamy was named a W. K. Kellogg Foundation Fellow and awarded the Food Justice Residency at Santa Fe Art Institute.


Bellamy has been named “Best Poet” in the Weekly Alibi’s annual Best of Burque poll every year since 2010. His first book, SWEAR (West End Press/UNM Press) won the Tillie Olsen Award for Creative Writing from the Working Class Studies Association. He's also written a children's book, Samuel's Story, a multimedia story set to music.


He is the co-creator of the multimedia Hip Hop theater production Urban Verbs: Hip-Hop Conservatory & Theater, which has been staged throughout the country. He also facilitates youth writing workshops for schools, jails, churches, prisons, and community organizations in New Mexico and beyond. 


Currently, Bellamy is completing multidisciplinary arts projects (manuscripts) from his travels to Turkey and Nepal in the summer of 2016. Bellamy’s work has been featured on AlterNet, Truthout, CounterPunch, and the nationally syndicated Tavis Smiley Radio Show. He's the on-air TV host for New Mexico PBS's ¡COLORES! Program. He holds an M.A. in Communications from the University of New Mexico and is the founding president of Beyond Poetry LLC.

Dadvocacy Consulting Group Dadvisor and Albuquerque NM poet laureate Hakim Bellamy with son
Dadvocacy Consulting Group Dadvisor and Albuquerque NM poet laureate Hakim Bellamy with son


Nigel vann

Nigel is the father of one son. He has worked as a manager, trainer, and consultant with programs for fathers and families since 1988. Since then, Nigel has been able to grow personally and professionally through his work with fathers and fatherhood practitioners in the United States and England. He continues to learn and grow from these experiences, but nothing makes him prouder than seeing what a fine young man his son has grown into.


Nigel has worked with the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC) since 2008, first as Senior Director of Training and Technical Assistance and then as Product Development Lead (2012-present). Prior to NRFC, he managed Maryland's Absent Parents Employment Program (1988-90), served as Program Officer for Public/Private Ventures' Young Unwed Fathers Pilot Project (1991-95), was Director of Partnership Development and Training for the National Partnership for Community Leadership (1996-2004), managed a Healthy Marriage project in Florida (2004-06), and served as an adviser to the PAIRS Foundation Healthy Marriage project in South Florida (2006-08).


During his career, Nigel has worked on four major fatherhood demonstration projects and four international fatherhood projects; visited and provided assistance to fatherhood programs in 42 States; facilitated more than 70 staff training workshops; presented at numerous conferences, and written 12 published articles. He is the main author of the NRFC’s Responsible Fatherhood Toolkit: Resources from the Field and a federal technical assistance product, Tips for Fatherhood Group Facilitators: A Video Resource Guide.

Dadvocacy Consulting Group Dadvisor Nigel Vann and adult son
Jessica Huerta, MA

Jessica Huerta and her husband, Eddie, are parents to two school-aged children. Jessica is a sociologist trained from the University of California, Los Angeles, a retired Captain from the United States Air Force, and a Pat Tillman Foundation Scholar.


Jessica’s work has focused on widening ideas of what women and men can do. She has published work on identifying how journalists discuss women’s expanded roles in combat. She led a team of military photojournalists to highlight excellence in various occupational roles while incorporating the rich diversity of the armed forces regarding race, color, national origin, religion, sex, gender, and sexuality. She takes pride in her team’s creative choices to craft informational videos about women’s expanded freedom to be their authentic selves and service members’ perspectives of their roles as fathers. Currently, Jessica has focused on fatherhood representations in multi-media. Particularly, she is interested in how dads who wear babies are depicted in social media, advertising, and TV/films. She aspires to showcase that dads are not a monolith; instead, dads come in all shapes and sizes, and colors, and smiles, tearful cries, and laughter. Jessica is a strong advocate for fathers’ desires to be more involved with children while pushing for enhanced workplace policies that accommodate the wellbeing of employees who are also caregivers.


Ben King is a veteran and a proud daddy of two young daughters with a story to tell. He is also a teacher, public speaker, and community organizer. Developing a yoga and mindfulness practice helped him adjust to civilian life after returning from Iraq, and he now uses mindfulness professionally to help other veterans thrive as civilians.


Through his company Armor Down, Ben started Mindful Memorial Day at Arlington Cemetery to help visitors mindfully honor the sacrifice of the fallen. He consults for The Women in Military Service for America Memorial. His other clients include veteran service organizations, civilians, and schools. Ben has a master’s degree in Public Anthropology and left the military as an Army Sergeant and Psychological Operations Specialist.

Ben king, MA
Jane Paley, Psy.D.

Dr. Jane Paley is a psychologist in Brooklyn, NY, providing psychotherapy to children and adults. A longtime proponent of bridging gaps between education and mental health, her areas of specialization include learning and neurodevelopmental variation, attachment and parenting, loss and trauma, mood disorders, anxiety, life-stage transitions, and gender identity.


Dr. Paley first learned about child development as a 6th grader from Allan Shedlin in his “Working with Children” class at the Ethical Culture School in NYC in 1976. She was an adviser on the development of the interview question protocol for the DADvocacy Consulting Group and participated in the creation of the Daddy Wishes Fund.

As a teen and young adult, Dr. Paley worked in summer camps, after-school and respite care programs, working with children and families from an array of diverse backgrounds, with differing strengths and challenges. She worked briefly in documentary and independent film and television, after completing an undergraduate degree in filmmaking/film theory at Cornell University. Her first job in that world entailed reviewing children’s films and videos for Teaching Tolerance, a publication of the Southern Poverty Law Center.


Dr. Paley went on to earn a master’s degree in Special Education from Bank Street College of Education (1994), where she trained in bilingual and inclusion settings. She taught at the Joan Fenichel Therapeutic Nursery, where in 1994, she saw her first child in play therapy. She earned a doctoral degree in Child Clinical/School Psychology from New York University in 2004, training and working in a variety of clinical and school settings, including Bellevue Hospital Center and The Karen Horney Clinic.

For nearly a decade, Dr. Paley worked in the Marsha Winokur Learning Center and the Learning Resource Network of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services. During that period, she authored various pieces for Thinking Children, a quarterly newsletter. From 2003-2011, Dr. Paley served as the Brooklyn Clinical Coordinator for the Loss and Bereavement/Loss and Trauma program for Children and Adolescents at JBFCS.

Dadvocacy Consulting Group Dadvisor,Iraq War veteran, and Armor Down founder Ben King on active military duty in Iraq next to damaged armored vehicle


Dadvocacy Consulting Group Dadvisor,Iraq War veteran, and Armor Down founder Ben King with two young children meditating together


Dadvocacy Consulting Group Dadvisor,Iraq War veteran, and Armor Down founder Ben King and his two daughters showing artwork

PHOTO: Ruslan Ivanov

Jenise Davis, MA, JD

Jenise Davis is the proudest older sister of six siblings—three brothers and three sisters. A dual MA/JD degree candidate at Georgetown University Law Center and The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University, she is passionate about advocating for socially and economically marginalized communities, especially at the intersection of public policy, business ethics, and law.


Jenise was born to teenage parents and the first in her family to graduate college. She grew up on the “fringed edges” of the middle class. Her background fuels her passion to support and advocate for similarly situated individuals and families who continue to endure economic and social hardships.


Jenise’s professional experiences have centralized the use of dignifying and augmenting efforts toward the upward and forward movement of marginalized communities. For four years, she served indigent clients as a criminal investigator for the City of Atlanta Public Defender’s Office. There she spearheaded a new holistic model of public defense with the goal of reducing recidivism, improving the quality of service, and, ultimately, improving her clients’ quality of life. She also has offered legal support to low-income community members as a Consumer Rights Advocate at the Greater Boston Legal Services. She has also supported immigrant families as a Graduate Immigration Intern in Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Boston office. Most recently, as a Graduate Research Fellow at the Center for Economic and Social Rights, she examined and documented the serious impact of austere economic policies on human rights.


Born in Los Angeles, CA she has subsequently lived in 10 different cities, five states, and traveled to four different countries providing her a wide-range of cultural and social experiences. She now calls Silver Spring, MD, home.

Dadvocacy Consulting Group Dadvisor Jenise Davis in snow
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