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Lori Leu, CELA
Board of Directors
Debra Tull
Chair of Board of Directors

Debra (Debbie) Tull grew up as an Air Force dependent moving from coast to coast and living abroad in Okinawa (2 years) and Germany (6.5 years). After returning from Germany and moving to Texas, she began a 35 year career in marketing and all aspects of advertising focusing on the automotive and communications segments on a national, regional and local level. Retiring for a full month, she joined Dignity Memorial, Ted Dickey West as a Funeral Service Assistant and after 3 months began representing the Collin County and DFW area as their Community Outreach Representative. It was at that time she discovered The Wellness Center for Older Adults and has been an avid supporter ever since.

 

Debbie has lived in Plano since 1987, has two children, four grandchildren, and two yippy Chihuahuas. She is a road warrior who loves to be behind the wheel, enjoys cooking, meeting new people and most of all being with family.

Growing up in a small town in Kansas, strong values and ties to the community were instilled in Lori Leu from the start. After practicing as a civil litigation attorney for more than 20 years, Lori longed to focus on a practice area that would more directly benefit members of the community in which she lives. While searching for direction, Lori was approached by family members with questions regarding elder law issues. She then realized that assisting individuals who most need advice, especially when faced with confusing and sometimes overwhelming issues, was the calling she was seeking.

 

As a result, Lori changed her practice to focus on legal issues affecting seniors and long-term planning, from simple wills to more complicated estate planning, financing of long-term care, including Medicaid eligibility, Veteran’s benefits, advance directives, guardianships, probate, and estate administration.

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Breon Dennis
Board of Directors

Breon Dennis served as Assistant Vice President (AVP) of Community Outreach for the Texas Rangers Baseball Club prior to joining the RoughRiders. Breon oversaw the Texas Rangers youth ballpark and camps and clinics. Additionally, Breon was responsible for grassroots marketing, corporate partnerships and outreach within the African American community.

During his time as AVP of Community Outreach, Breon spearheaded many community partnerships with organizations that include the annual Martin Luther King Celebration in Arlington, the Tarrant County HARAMBEE Festival and the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities initiatives which gives North Texas youth the opportunity to play baseball and softball. In 2012, Breon created a program that provided school supplies to help prepare less-fortunate youth in North Texas for school.

Breon began his career with the Texas Rangers in March 2000 and moved to Director of Baseball Programs in 2003. Breon was promoted to Senior Director of Baseball Programs in 2007 before being promoted in 2010 to AVP of Community Outreach and Youth Ballpark. In the fall of 2012 Breon completed the Major League Baseball Scout Development Program. 

Breon currently serves as a board member/council for Black Sports Professional – North Texas, Young Leadership Academy (YMLA) Fort Worth ISD, United Negro College Fund Leadership Council, African American Museum of Dallas, North Richland Hills Police Foundation and Dallas Influencers in Sports & Entertainment .

Breon completed an associate's degree, in Mass Communications, from Bossier Parish Community College in 1999. He received his bachelor's degree in Science Business Administration and Sports Management from Dallas Baptist University in 2012. Breon completed his Masters of Science, in Kinesiology has Dallas Baptist University.

Christene Krupa Downs
Board of Directors
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Ellen Fan, M.D.
Board of Directors

Dr. Ellen Fan was born in Taiwan and migrated to the USA in 1976 with her family. She was raised in Houston and Dallas. She attended Williams College in Massachusetts and Trinity University in San Antonio, finishing with a BA in Biology and minor in religion. She completed Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, following up with residency in General Psychiatry and fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry.

 

In 2005, Dr. Fan and her husband settled in Plano to raise their children and start a private practice. Since then, she has maintained a solo psychiatric practice focused on nursing and assisted living facilities in Collin and North Dallas Counties. She also serves in various medical directorships, fulfilling her interest in palliative and geriatric medicine. In her free time, Dr. Fan enjoys orcharding, being active in various community groups including PTAs and the Plano Community Garden and fostering with cat rescue groups.

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Julie Thornton Wilson, LMSW
Board of Directors

Julie grew up in Plano, Texas and married her high school sweetheart, Todd.   They raised two boys Jack and Owen.   They are learning to appreciate their new world of empty nesting.   Julie enjoys traveling, volunteering, and spending time with her family.    Julie is also a big fan of TCU football - Go Frogs!

Julie earned a master’s degree in social work and focused her career on geriatrics.   Julie’s thirty years of work experience include all areas of senior living and rehabilitation.  Julie feels the best part of her job is having the opportunity to touch a wide variety of people while making a tremendous difference in their quality of life.  Julie works for Senior Living Specialists and is an expert at helping people navigate the maze of senior living and community resources. 

Many people in the community remember Julie for her many years as a community educator with the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Dallas covering Collin and Denton Counties.  Julie trained caregivers and professionals on dementia.   She considers community education and volunteering to be her best work.   

Attorney Christene “Chris” Krupa Downs is an attorney at Krupa Downs Law, PLLC in Plano, Texas. Chris focuses her practice on wills, trusts, advance directives, estate planning, guardianships, and probate. She has almost 10 years of legal experience handling estate planning, probate & guardianship legal matters for clients in Allen, Frisco, McKinney, Plano and throughout Collin, Dallas and Denton counties.

In addition to her practice, Chris writes and lectures for local and state bar associations, and at legal seminars. She is a member of various professional organizations, including the Collin County Bar Association, the Dallas Bar Association, and the Texas Bar College. She is also active in the State Bar of Texas and served on the Computer and Technology Section Council.

As part of giving back to the Texas community, Chris served on the board of This Side UP! Family Center, an organization providing parenting and family-based education, and City House, a homeless shelter for youth in the Plano and northern Texas. Her additional community contributions are numerous and include serving as a public affairs representative for the Junior League of Collin County. She is also a former Treasurer and Executive Vice President of the organization.

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Melinda Marks, CPA
Board of Directors
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Shannah Hayley
Board of Directors

Shannah Hayley’s pursuit of living life to the fullest has taken her all over the world with various communications-focused jobs, from teaching in Kenya to consulting in the United Kingdom. After moving to North Texas in 1999, she leveraged her background in communications into marketing and business development in the professional services marketplace before transitioning into the public sector. Shannah now serves as the Director of Communications and Community Outreach for the City of Plano, the 69th largest city in the United States. Her responsibilities include process management, strategic planning, communications and supervision of all aspects of the City's communications, marketing and community outreach efforts. 

Shannah also serves as the curator of TEDxPlano. She is an idea-lover on mission to bring people together, focused on sharing ideas with the potential to transform the Plano community and the North Texas region. Shannah earned her B.S. in Communications Management (with honors) and her M.A. in Communications from Missouri State University. She earned her Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM) designation in 2006 and was admitted to the Society for Marketing Professional Services College of Fellows in 2013.

Melinda joined the Wellness Center in October 2016. During her tenure on the Board, she has served as Treasurer and on various committees. She graduated from Baylor University and is a Certified Public Accountant. Melinda has more than 25 years of accounting and management experience, as well as, outsourcing. She has been involved in transactional processing and reporting for public and private companies. She is passionate about providing outstanding timely and accurate accounitng to support solid business decisions.

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Melinda became aware of the need to support the senior community when she was taking care of her father. It became extremely obvious that there were not many sources of detailed information to guide someone through the journey of caring for a parent. She is extremely proud to be associated with the Wellness Center and support its efforts in the Collin County senior community.

Melinda and her husband live in Dallas. They have a son and daughter.   

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Hennie Garza 
Board of Directors
Gayla Denniston 
Board of Directors 

Gayla has lived in Plano with her husband, Jeff, for 30 years. They chose this area to raise their three children where the schools, parks and libraries were a big draw to this community. Their children are now adults and have moved all over the country.

Gayla began working at Prestonwood Baptist Church 5 years ago, where her family had already been attending for many years. She works in the Prestonwood Foundation Department and has been involved in the benevolence ministry, career transitions, culture impact, blood drives, WILL drives, and working with senior adults through estate planning, veterans, and Medicare events. She has had the opportunity to plan a variety of events such as Donor Appreciation Dinners, Business Professional Breakfasts, and Senior Adult luncheons.

Gayla’s passion can be summed up in my love for Christ, family, and others. 

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Aqua Umoren 
Board of Directors

My name is Aqua Umoren administrator and owner of Holding Hands Hospice, Magnolia estates of Grand Prairie assisted living and CFHS. My professional and personal goals are to help the senior population navigate the healthcare maze while providing excellent care. I am a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana with a bachelor's degree in business administration. I then attended University of New Orleans where I obtained my master's degree in healthcare administration. I moved to Dallas in 2006 for better opportunities within the healthcare arena. I worked as a marketing director for a home health agency and that is how I was introduced to the post-acute health continuum. I have a passion for helping seniors. I feel they are the most underserved population and need special attention. I have been married 16yrs and have 2 beautiful children, one boy and one girl. I enjoy working out as I was a college track and field athlete. I also love riding motorcycles and just being a great dad and husband. I arrived at where I am by making a lot of mistakes and being a superior observer of others and how they succeeded. It was not easy but not hard more anxiety. The biggest lessons I have learned are, if you set a goal press until you achieve it. Never let someone tell you “You can’t” do something. God Bless!

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Lorie Blessing, MD
Board of Directors

Dr. Blessing was born and raised in Texas. She knew from an early age that she wanted to go into medicine after watching her mom struggle with cancer. Upon completing college at the University of Texas at Arlington, she went onto medical school finishing her clinical rotations in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Blessing then completed her family medicine residency at Methodist Hospital in Dallas, Texas before going onto complete a fellowship in geriatric medicine at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.

Dr. Blessing has spent many years serving the senior community in nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and in outpatient and hospital settings. She currently practices in a private practice setting in Plano, Texas which is tailored to the needs of the senior community in the area. Dr. Blessing also serves as a clinical preceptor for UTSW Medical School in Dallas, Texas as well as Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth, Texas teaching medical students and midlevel providers geriatrics.

Dr. Blessing lives in Collin County with her daughter. She spends much of her free time with her daughter and her many animals.

Genoveva “Hennie” Garza is a native Texan and currently resides in East Plano. Her two oldest children are graduates of Plano East Senior High School and her youngest is a future Plano East Panther.  Hennie has been a practicing pharmacist since 1990.  She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in pharmacy from the University of Texas at Austin.  Hennie has worked the last 30 years to promote the safe use of medications in the geriatric population. She is committed to the education of patients, families and healthcare professionals concerning safe medication use.  Hennie held the credential of Certified Diabetes Educator for 15 years and has held an adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor position with Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Pharmacy since 2010 where she helps mentor and train P4 pharmacy student interns and PGY2 Geriatric Specialty Pharmacy Residents. For 8 years, Hennie served as the Director of Pharmacy for one of the largest skilled nursing facility companies in Texas where she coordinated all pharmacy – related functions for 100 nursing facilities in Texas and 9 in Louisiana. Hennie has worked full time in hospice for the last 4 years. She especially enjoys collaborating with Medical Directors to design and promote cost-effective, clinical best practices to achieve high quality outcomes.

 

Hennie has a soft spot in her heart for working with elderly persons.  Her great-grandmother lived to 95, her grandmother to 90 and her mother is a spry 84 years old.  Hennie would love to share her time, talents and energy to serve this special population using a collaborative style of service on the Board of Directors for the Wellness Center for Older Adults.  

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