With Mother’s Day 2021 close upon us, we reflect upon the role many mothers have played in our organization and the Family Law Reform movement as a whole. Many accuse us of being a fathers’ group. In fact, we are pro-family, pro- Shared Parenting, and pro both mothers and fathers. Without women and mothers, our organization would not be as successful as it is. It is often women that are first to recognize that children need both parents. These women and mothers exemplify the character traits needed to inspire and nurture the world!
We need to look no further than our mission statement to see how vital our female counterparts are:
“To preserve and protect children and families through repairing and rebuilding current structures and organizations to create a solid foundation for Iowa’s families now and for future generations.”FUAN MISSION STATEMENT
Zeroing in on the word “families,” we find it twice in this short statement. That is an obvious call for the inclusion of women and the recognition of the role they play. They all are assuring that our children are properly cared for and raised with a firm foundation. Even if the basic family unit crumbles, both parents must remain an integral part of the children’s lives.
FUAN is proud to say that many of the “Active Committee Participants” and leaders of our organization are women. We need to look no further than Toya Johnson, our Executive Director, Whitney Rupe, our Treasurer, and Rosanne Plante, our Lead Lobbyist and legal counsel. These strong women exemplify the leadership that makes Families United Action Network Iowa’s leading non-profit Family Reform organization. If we were to list the female leaders of our affiliate organizations, the list would go on for several pages/chapters!
In addition to these positions, we have had women serving as editors for articles for our website and newsletters, writers for these articles, as well as graphic designing, and sponsoring or organizing events to help educate the public about the issues we feel are important. Whether it is helping make banners for our Bubbles of Love Event, marching in the University of Iowa Homecoming Parade, greeting the public at events, helping kids with crafts at events, or even dressing up as Santa Claus at our Christmas party, we are well aware of the contributions they make. Thank you all!
In the tradition of David Letterman, with Mother’s Day 2021 arriving here's a list of 10 reasons why we feel FUAN will cross the finish line with legislation to secure Shared Parenting and other Family Law Reforms. This will happen because of the help these wonderful women as well as ALL of you other mothers and FUAN Family Participants.
10. Molly K. Olson
Molly has made a name for herself through her national leadership with Leading Women For Shared Parenting. Her constant perseverance on being one of the most well-known and persistent Family Law Reform advocates in Minnesota. Her progress there continues to set milestones. Molly then started an organization she named the Center for Parental Responsibility (CPR).
Her goal is to mobilize like-minded citizens affected by family courts and develop an all-volunteer people-helping-people organization. Educating policymakers became a big part of the work. And despite all this, somehow, Molly found the time to be our leading article contributor for the Families United Action Network website.
9. Sherry Palmer
As an entrepreneur, published author, constitutional scholar, and mother of four plus one, Sherry earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas, during her high-conflict divorce, in proposal writing, public policy analysis, and non-profit management from the College of Community Service at the University of North Texas, before co-founding Fix Family Courts, the National Family Law Policy Center, and Family Law Reform, Inc with her husband and partner, Ron B Palmer. Sherry has also started a production network where she is producing family law shows like FUAN TALK, and Family Law Straight Talk.
Sherry is the co-author of several books. She is a thought leader in Family Law Reform, and an active leader and advisor for FUAN legislation and for several of the FUAN committees including of the FUAN (CNC) – Communication & Networking Committee handling or producing many of the video or website projects you have seen. Her hands-on efforts have been an inspiration for people nationwide.
Sherry is sought after by attorneys, legislators, parents and advocate leaders nationwide for help with applying parental rights arguments to cases and incorporating into legislative bills. Her books are used for finding solutions for family court high conflict litigation where she and Ron have cracked the code on the toughest problems in child custody suits nationwide. Sherry's and Ron's work has been adopted by many family law reform activists, father's rights and mother's rights groups as well. Hers and Ron's unique ability to translate constitutional rights and create unique core solutions is unparalleled and unmatched, and continues to be a driving force forging pathways for those creating online courses and educational resources.
8. Ruth Nichols
Ruth is a Shared Parenting advocate, Certified Family Life Educator, and contributing author to the Huffington Post, Divorce Magazine, The Divorce Magazine, Family Law Web Guide, A Voice for Men, and National Coalition for Men (NCFM) and manages several pages and sites addressing the issues in the Shared Parenting arena.
She is the founder of SharedParentingInfo, Rate MY Family Court, and Title IV-D and Child Support. Ruth remains a strong ally and an active participant for FUAN. She provides research and is an active creator on the FUAN (CNC)-Communication & Networking Committee.
Ginger is an activist documentary filmmaker dedicated to addressing ignored issues and shedding light on solutions. The motivation for her activism was suffering from her own parents’ divorce as a teenager and meeting so many “erased” parents with similar stories. ERASING FAMILY premiered at Lincoln Center in 2019, where Ginger exposed the trauma children experience when the divorce courts erase a loving parent.
You can see her documentary on Amazon Prime or Netflix. If you haven't seen it yet, You Should
We are fortunate to have her as a FUAN Family Participant and contributor.
6. Lynda Steele
Lynda was born in Phoenix, Arizona, where she lived with her mother until she was 17. Despite adversity, Lynda persevered. After 12 years in the National Guard, Lynda now spends her time serving her community as a creator instead of a defender.
As a new and upcoming community influencer in Oklahoma, Lynda enjoys being a part of the intimate process of getting to know her community’s struggles and needs, always listening and applying her creativity for positive solutions to strengthen the individual lives of those around her.
As the founder and Executive Director of A Child's Worth, Lynda Steele directs and administers all programs and operations to fulfill the organization’s mission to enrich lives through community involvement, support, innovative resources, and cultural diversity. We are proud to have her as a FUAN Family Participant and frequent FUAN Contributor.
4. Elisha Doss
Elisha owns a marketing business, Bad Mama Jama Marketing, and donates one project monthly to FUAN’s mission for this reason. Elisha says, “A child should never have to lose their parents while they’re still living.” “It’s their God-given right to know and love them.”
Her work experience and background are in graphic/web design, training/quality, marketing, and communications. She helps lead the FUAN (CNC)-Communication & Networking Committee through several recognizable and timeless Family Law Reform educational pieces.
5. Nicole Kettler
Nicole graduated from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in May of 2014. After graduating, she went on to work at several law firms in the Kansas City area.
She wrote her thesis on the importance of Shared Parenting and graduated with her Master's in the fall of 2018. Nicole took the LSAT with thoughts of going to law school to better serve the fathers that cannot afford attorneys. She then decided to pursue a doctorate in Criminal Justice and enrolled in school in the spring of 2019.
Now over halfway through the doctorate program, she currently works as a paralegal for the United States Department of Justice in Des Moines, Iowa. She has been assisting us with our press releases for a number of years now. Her fantastic work helps us gain exposure for FUAN’s Mission of Family Law Reform. You can follow Nicole on Facebook by typing in #confessionsofastepmom
Monica Szymonik fights her battles in Connecticut… The heart of New England. She is a 2005 graduate of the UCONN School of Nutritional Science and a 2012 graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She owned an abdominal therapy practice for six years.
Her national work and gender-neutral approach have given all parents a voice in seeking mutual agreements through communications that will ultimately lead to the best interest of the child(ren) during custodial divisions.
Monica is a mother, wife, author, business owner, and crusader of justice. Her organization, The Best Interest of the Parent states that its mission is “To transform the way a mother sees systemic abuse, deep maternal wounds that come from unnatural mother-child separation to become empowered to be a thought leader in this growing field of Family Law Reform activism.”We have been fortunate to have her as a FUAN Family Participant and frequent FUAN Contributor.
2. AJ Lillibridge
AJ Lillibridge grew up in Prairie City, Iowa, but moved to Columbus, Ohio, at the age of 19. Growing up, she wanted to become a nurse; however, being a single mother at the age of 21 with two young children, she put her nursing education on hold.
She enrolled at The Spa School, also in Columbus, to become a licensed managing nail technician. She worked in several upscale salons to gain experience to start her own business in the future.
In the summer of 2009, AJ moved to Des Moines, where her third child was born. That same year, she enrolled at American Inter-Continental University to get a degree in business. In 2015 she started her own lash studio business in Urbandale, Iowa, but closed her business in the summer of 2018 to be a stay-at-home mom.
She has worked alongside Dr. Navin Gupta, DPM, in the Des Moines area. She loves to learn new things as she feels that knowledge is power, and power is knowledge. She has been the primary driving force behind the FUAN Times newsletter that has become a valued up-to-date source for Family Law Reform news and events for many!
- Paula Dreeszen
Paula has never been named FUAN Advocate of the Month. She never saw herself fighting the battle of Family Law Reform since her children are now adults. However, as the Mother of FUANs Chief Executive Director and Founder, Nicholas Dreeszen, and a concerned grandmother, Paula is very encouraging of our efforts.
Paula has served as a surrogate mother to more children (and orphaned adults) than she cares to count. Of the many hats she has worn in the past, it is the one she feels most comfortable wearing.
Paula attended the University of Iowa for three years, graduating from Briar Cliff in Sioux City with a BA in psychology. She later earned her teaching certificate from Morningside College in Sioux City. She was the first in her family, as far as she knows, to ever be divorced.
Paula is incredibly active as a FUAN Family Participant and member of the FUAN (CNC)-Communication & Networking Committee. Her efforts, time, patience, and ability to keep our founder grounded undoubtedly earn her a spot in “FUANs Top 10 Reasons We Will Succeed!”
So, with Mother’s Day 2021 upon us, FUAN wants to thank each and every one of these outstanding women for their time and commitment to FUAN. With women and men by our side, we're sure to cross the finish line. Family Law Reform legislation like Shared Parenting will become law. Thank you not only to those listed but all women who help with our crusade in whatever capacity they can, even those just adding moral support! Happy Mother’s Day!