Leadership

Russ Walker

Executive Director

Starting in January 2022, Russ took over the helm as the Executive Director for the Mary Lee Foundation.  Russ holds a degree in International Business Management and brings over 30 years of experience in finance, business, non-profit and personnel development.  Previously he was the Executive Director for the Wisconsin Dream Center before embarking on 20 years as a business and leadership development consultant.  Russ has been married to his wife Courtney, a certified financial planner for almost 29 years.  He has four adult children, Mackenzie, Madison, Landon and Sheldon.  Russ also has one grandchild, Brodie.  An avid reader, Russ likes to play tennis, cook and travel.

Phone: (512) 443-5777

Fran Rodda, B.A.

Controller/Business Manager

Fran is a graduate of Florida International University with a Bachelors degree in Liberal Studies.  She began working with the Mary Lee Foundation in 2007 as a Bookkeeper at the Southpointe program and the Central Office. Since then she has been involved with the many aspects of the accounting department, compliance with State and Federal regulations and reporting, appropriation of donations and oversight of grant expenditures. From 2012 through 2016, she worked as the Development Coordinator in close collaboration with the Director. In August of 2016 she took the role of Controller/Business Manager of the Mary Lee Foundation.

Phone: (512) 443-5777

Velma Hernandez-Mercer

Human Resources/Office Manager

Velma started working for the Mary Lee Foundation in 2000 and was promoted to Human Resources/Office Manager in 2012.  She came to us from Austin Travis County/MHMR (now called Integral Care).  She loves spending time with her husband of 18 years, 10 year old son, Caeden and their 3 furry babies.

Phone: (512) 443-5777

Sara McDermott

Administrator – Mary Lee Foundation Southpointe Program

Sara joined Mary Lee in 2013 working as a QIDP (Qualified Intellectual Disability Professional). Sara was asked to take on the important role of Assistant Administrator in 2017 and was promoted to Administrator in December, 2021.

Phone: (512) 442-6077

Brian Woods, MBA

Director of Development and Communications

Brian received his Master’s Degree from Walden University.  Prior to joining the Mary Lee Foundation in 2019, Brian was the Annual Fund Director for Concord Community Music School and the Director of Development for Lebanon College.  A native of New Hampshire, Brian and his family moved to the Austin area to be closer to family and specialty care for one of their sons.

Phone: (512) 443-5777

William Whitley

Property Manager

William joined the Mary Lee Foundation in 2019.  Prior to joining us, William was the Property Manager for the Round Rock Housing Authority, before that he was the Property Manager for the Housing Authority of the City of Austin.  William moved to Austin as the Senior Pastor for the Pilgrim Rest Primitive Bible Church in 2008.  He is a graduate of the Dale Carnegie School for Public Speaking, has been married for 48 years, has 4 children, 10 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren!

Phone: (512) 448-9628