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FLAME PRESENTERS:

Tony Dungy

Former NFL Head Coach and All Pro Dad Spokesman


Tony Dungy is a #1 New York Times bestselling author whose books include Quiet Strength, Uncommon, The Mentor Leader, and Uncommon Marriage. He led the Indianapolis Colts to their Super Bowl victory in 2007, the first such win for an African American head coach. Dungy achieved another NFL first by becoming the first head coach to lead his teams to the playoffs for 10 consecutive years. He joined the Colts after serving as the most successful head coach in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history and after playing three seasons in the NFL. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016. 


Dungy has been involved in a wide variety of charitable organizations, including All Pro Dad, Abe Brown Ministries, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Athletes in Action, Mentors for Life, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Boys & Girls Clubs. He also has worked with Basket of Hope, Impact for Living, the Black Coaches Association National Convention, Indiana Black Expo, the United Way of Central Indiana, and the American Diabetes Association. 


Since his retirement from the NFL in 2009, Coach Dungy has served as an analyst on NBC’s Football Night in America and enjoys time with his wife, Lauren, and eleven children at their home in Tampa.

Mark Merrill

President, Family First, Inc.


Mark Merrill is the founder and president of Family First, Inc., a national nonprofit that provides programs and online resources to help people love their families well. He is host of the Family Minute with Mark Merrill, a nationally syndicated radio program reaching more than 5 million listeners daily, and has appeared on numerous major broadcasting network shows and affiliates, including FOX and Friends and the Today Show. 


He has been featured in USA Today, The Washington Times, and Sports Illustrated, and is the author of All Pro Dad, as well as several marriage and parenting books. As an advocate for the family, he has spoken at conferences and events hosted by major companies, NFL teams, organizations, and government bodies. Before founding Family First in 1991.


Mark practiced law in Florida for seven years. He and his wife live in Tampa, Florida, and have five children.

Kimberly Dent, MPPA

Executive Director of the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood/Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. 


Kimberly Dent brings more than 21 years of government experience to the fathers and families she serves. The Ohio Commission on Fatherhood provides funding to Responsible Fatherhood programs throughout the state and makes policy recommendations. It also trains professionals and engages the community regarding the vital role fathers play in their children’s lives. 


Dent has served in various capacities in local and state child support programs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration from Ohio University. 


Additionally, she is working on her Ph.D. in Public Policy and Administration.

James Murray, MPA

Acting Director, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Regional Operations


James Murray serves as the Acting Director for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Regional Operations (ORO). In this capacity, he is the principal advisor to the Assistant Secretary regarding field operations and provides executive leadership and direction to ACF’s 10 regional offices on the integration and coordination of ACF human service programs to promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities. 


Before becoming Acting Director, Murray served as the Deputy Director with broad oversight for the planning, direction, and timely execution of ORO activities. Before serving as Deputy Director, Murray was the ORO Executive Officer. In that role, he provided leadership and direction for the effective, uniform, and economical accomplishment of management and administrative functions across regions. 


Murray began his professional career in the nonprofit sector focused on responsible fatherhood. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Development from Howard University, a Master of Public Administration from Bowie State University, and is the married father of two children.

Cheri Tillis, MS

Acting CEO/COO, Fathers & Families Support Center


Cheri Tillis is the Acting CEO/COO of the award-winning and nationally recognized Fathers & Families Support Center (FFSC), formerly Fathers’ Support Center, St. Louis, where she is responsible for providing oversight of agency programs and daily operations at five locations. Prior to her responsibilities at FFSC, she served as a Youth Specialist for the Division of Youth Services in St. Louis. She also served the St. Louis area as an AmeriCorps member. 


Tillis holds a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Jackson State University, a Master of Science in HR Management from Lindenwood University, a Business Management for Non-Profit Leaders Certificate from Washington University Olin School of Business, and was a Missouri Foundation for Health Fellow. 


She has served as the Principal Investigator on several fatherhood research studies in partnership with Mathematica Policy and Research, Washington University Brown School of Social Work, and The Brown School Evaluation Center in St. Louis, where she lives with her husband and two sons.

Cynthia Osborne, Ph.D.

Founder and Director, Child and Family Research Partnership


Cynthia Osborne is the Founder and Director of the Child and Family Research Partnership and leads its national Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center, home of the Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap (2020) for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. She is also Associate Dean for Academic Strategies and Director of the Center for Health and Social Policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. 


Osborne is an appointed member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Mathematics Committee to Reduce Child Poverty by Half in Ten Years. 


She also serves as the Chair of the Responsible Fatherhood working group for the Fatherhood Research and Practice Network and previously served as director of the Project on Education Effectiveness and Quality. Osborne holds a Ph.D. in Demography and Public Affairs from Princeton University, a Master in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a Master of Arts in Education from Claremont Graduate University.

Armon Perry, Ph.D.

Professor, BSW Program Director, University of Louisville


Armon Perry’s research efforts center on the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and external factors that influence men’s involvement in the lives of their children and families, as well as the impact of that involvement on the well-being of the family. 


The findings of his research have pointed to the tools, resources, and experiences that shape men’s ability to be involved fathers, the role that mothers play in facilitating or truncating fathers’ involvement, and social service providers’ attitudes toward engaging fathers. 


Perry is interested in not only understanding the factors that encourage or discourage fathers’ involvement in the family, but also in participating in projects to enhance the quantity and quality of their involvement. His most recent project involves serving as the Principal Investigator on 4 Your Child, a federally funded project that provides responsible fatherhood, healthy relationship, and economic self-sufficiency services to non-resident fathers across several counties in Kentucky. 


Perry holds a Master of Social Work and a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama.

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