Frank Garrott, President & Chief Executive Officer
Frank Garrott joined the Gladney Center for Adoption as Chief Operating Officer in 2007. One year later he was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer, just the 9th person to lead Gladney throughout its illustrious 130 year history. Garrott had previously served nine years on Gladney's Board, but his affiliation with Gladney dates back much further – to 1987 when he adopted Phillip and four years later adopted his daughter, Hayden. His family was complete in 1993 with the arrival of biological son, Sam.
Garrott sits on the Board of Children's Home Society of America, an affiliation of agencies that share a common heritage. He is a board member of Both Ends Burning, an organization committed to the mission that "Every child deserves a family." He also serves on the Board of the Texas Alliance for Child and Family Services. Garrott was a founding board member of BraveLove, an organization focused on conveying the positive message of adoption to the public. He continues to serve on their Advisory Board. Previously, Garrott served on the Boards of Joint Council on International Children's Services and Christian Mission to the United Nations Community.
Garrott enjoyed a long career in business consulting and banking with Price Waterhouse, Citibank and Bank One in New York and Texas.
Garrott received his B.A. from Duke University and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin.
Married in 2016, he and his wife Lynne together have five children and one grandchild. They attend McKinney Bible Church in Fort Worth.
Mark Melson, Chief Operating Officer & Executive Vice President
I earned both my BBA and MBA from the University of North Texas and then worked as a financial consultant and in various fundraising capacities with North Texas not-for-profit organizations. Just before joining Gladney in 2008, I served for seven years as Director of Finance and Gift Planning for Harris Methodist Health Foundation and then as Chief Development Officer for Big Brothers Big Sister of North Texas.
Ellen Wilson, Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President, CPA
I earned my BBA in Accounting from the University of Texas at Arlington. As a CPA, I spent time in Public Accounting, Banking and Oil & Gas before joining the Gladney Team. I have been with Gladney since 1999 and previously served as VP of Finance for the Gladney Fund. In 2006, I took the reigns of Chief Financial Officer for the Gladney Center helping ensure good financial stewardship of the resources entrusted to us and overseeing the facility management of the beautiful Gladney Campus. In addition to duties as the CFO, I also participate with the Gladney Fund Board in the long-term investment management of Gladney’s endowment.
With the support of my husband and three children, I have been blessed to have the opportunity to focus my professional attention on the long-standing mission of the Gladney Center to Build Bright Futures through Adoption.
Heidi Bruegel Cox, General Counsel & Executive Vice President, JD
Heidi Bruegel Cox is the Executive Vice President and General Counsel for the Gladney Center in Fort Worth, Texas, and has worked as an attorney in the field of adoption for over 25 years. She is a Fellow in the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and serves on the board as secretary for the National Council for Adoption.
As a child advocate, Heidi is active in educating the public and promoting legislative initiatives to protect children and support positive adoption practices, Heidi previously served as a gubernatorial appointee to the Texas Adoption Review Committee which examined the child welfare system, seeking solutions to remove barriers to adoption for children in foster care.
Heidi has also served on the board of the Texas Family Law Council, which supports the efforts of the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Texas. Heidi will be inducted into the Adoption Hall of Fame at the National Council for Adoption Annual Gala this November in Washington, D.C.
Heather Beasley, Vice President, Human Resources, MBA, MSHRM
Heather received her B.B.A. in Management Information Systems from Texas Tech University in 2001. In 2009, she received an MBA and Masters of Science in Human Resource Management from the University of Texas Arlington. Heather has been an active member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) since 2008.
After working in the Assisted Living field for 4 years, Heather became part of the Gladney Center for Adoption team in December 2005. She believes Gladney is an amazing organization to work for and is grateful to work with such a dedicated and passionate staff of professionals.
Heather's primary goal is to recruit and retain the most talented and passionate professionals and become the Adoption agency of choice for students as they graduate with their advanced Social Work and Counseling degrees. Her motivation at Gladney is to partner with staff to ensure they have the resources available to provide the best possible service and support to Gladney clients. Heather hopes the Gladney staff will continue to see Gladney as a fun, challenging, and rewarding place to grow in their careers.
Jennifer Lanter, Vice President, Communications, Communications, Education & Marketing, BA Communications
Jennifer Lanter is the Vice President of Communications for the Gladney Center for Adoption and. Jennifer provides a unique and engaging perspective on the subject of adoption and has worked in the adoption field for over 16 years. In addition to her professional experience with adoption, Jennifer and her family adopted a precious little boy 10 years ago.
As a Fort Worth native, Jennifer Lanter received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Texas in Arlington. She began her career at the Gladney Center and has since dedicated her career to creating bright futures through the miracle of adoption.
Jennifer has extensive media experience and has worked with People magazine, Oprah Winfrey Network, Lifetime, MTV, Washington Post, New York Times and several other media outlets. Jennifer is passionate about public speaking and loves the message of hope and adoption across the world!
Lisa Schuessler, Vice President, Donor Relations, Development
Lisa Schuessler joined Gladney in 2008. Throughout her tenure at Gladney she has served in various fundraising capacities and now leads Gladney’s Donor Relations efforts. Lisa has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication with an emphasis on Advertising from San Diego State University.
Lisa’s favorite role is to serve as a connector for Gladney, linking people’s time, talents, and treasures with the heart of our mission. Her team does that through written requests, creative communications, one-on-one conversations, genuine and intentional relationship building, updates for donors on the impact of their gifts, and special events, including The Gladney Cup.
Personally witnessing the impact you can make when you serve alongside those who need you, fuels her desire to be an adoption advocate and volunteer with several organizations in her community. Lisa found her love for community engagement at a young age when she found herself constantly looking for ways to serve. She and her husband, Jeff, have three sons and are proud to call Fort Worth home.
When you couple giving hearts, who want to see lives changed, with Gladney’s belief that every child deserves a loving and caring family – anything is possible. Together, We Are Gladney!
Gongzhan Wu, Vice President & Executive Director - Asia, PHM
I joined the Gladney Center for Adoption in 1994. Before Gladney, I was working for ESPN Sports Network as its Director of Mandarin Language Service. I did my undergraduate in the Shanghai International Studies University, formally known as Shanghai Foreign Language Institute before I came to U.S. in 1987. With a Fulbright scholarship, I attended Columbia University and obtained a Master of Philosophy in Political Science in 1989. In the past twenty-three years, I am responsible for Gladney's New York Office and running its Asia adoption programs from New York.