Meet Our Team

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Board of Directors

Bill Merry

Chairman of the Board

Bill serves as our Chairman of the Board and has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2000. He is a graduate of Tennessee Tech University with a Bachelors degree in Marketing. He and his wife, Julia, have two children, Kensley and Connor. An active member of Crieve Hall church of Christ, he is currently serving as a deacon and is on the missions committee. Bill has traveled to Cuba, Mexico, and the Ivory Coast on mission and relief trips.

Eric Bearly

Eric and Carrie Bearly have been faithful Healing Hands International supporters for many years. Their children Nolan (7), Elena (5) and Rhett (3) are also heavily involved in fundraising for building wells through their neighborhood lemonade stand along with a family campaign on their website.

Since graduating from Pepperdine University in 2000, Eric has worked for Bobit Business Media where he currently serves as Chief Digital Officer. He was involved in marketing, event management and sales for the past 18 years before moving into his current role aimed at advancing digital growth company-wide. Eric and Carrie both grew up in southern California and moved to Colorado around six years ago. Eric serves as Deacon of the Connections ministry at his church, facilitating deeper relationships and involvement in members of the church family.  

Bruce Beck

Bruce A Beck is a Shareholder in the LBMC tax practice. He has over thirty years of diversified experience including individual/tax planning, manufacturing, construction, healthcare, printing and publishing. He is a Certified Public Accountant and a Personal Financial Specialist. Bruce's previous experience includes practicing with the Nashville office of a National accounting firm from 1984-1995. He is a graduate of Lipscomb University. He is active in his community and continues to support many professional and civic organizations. He previously served on the Board of Directors for the American Red Cross-Nashville Chapter. A native of Lexington, Kentucky, Bruce resides in Brentwood and his wife and two children and are members at Brentwood Hills Church of Christ.   

Rita Cochrane

Rita worked part-time as the front desk receptionist for HHI from 2016 – 2018 and has served on our Women of Hope Conference planning and steering committee for three years. She attended David Lipscomb from first grade through college. She received her degree in Education and taught middle school for 25 years. Following this career, Rita began working as the Director of Women’s Ministry at the Church of Christ in Green Hills, which she still currently works.

Rita is married to Michael Cochrane, who serves as an elder in the church, and is mother to three adult children, grandmother to six rambunctious boys, and has been “American Mom” to four international students. In addition to Rita’s duties in Women’s Ministry, Rita speaks and teaches Bible classes.

Kay McDowell

Kay received her B.S. in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations from Freed Hardeman University and has established herself as an accomplished PR professional and consultant. Kay has worked has a Foundation Relations Manager for Ducks Unlimited, Inc served as Public Relations Manager for the WONDERS: The Memphis International Cultural Series, and was an independent public relations consultant for twelve year. Since 2011 Kay has worked on the leadership team of Mitchell Communications Group both as a Senior Strategist and she currently leads the Community and Consumer Packaged Goods teams.

Kay is married to Scott McDowell and they have three adult sons. Scott is the newly appointed president of Lubbock Christian University. Kay loves the work of HHI and understands the relationship between our work and the local church having lived in Nashville for more than 20 years before moving to Texas in 2019.

Fortune Mhlanga

Fortune is a graduate of Harding University where he received his B.S. in Computer Science and then went on to get his M.S and PhD at The New Jersey Institute of Technology. Fortune was born and raised in Zimbabwe and after completing his education served as the Director of the Science & Industrial Research Development Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe from 1998 – 2002; and as Chair of the Computer Science Department at the University of Zimbabwe from 1994 – 1997. Over the past 18 years Fortune has taught and led departments of Computing and Technology at Faulkner University, Abilene Christian University, and for the past 9 years established and led the College of Computing & Technology at Lipscomb University. In August of 2020, Fortune began serving as Executive Director for the Data Science Institute at Meharry Medical College.

Fortune and his wife Flora have two sons, Carl and Craig who attend Lipscomb University and Pepperdine University. Fortune and Flora have a passion for serving others and are members of the Otter Creek church of Christ in Brentwood, TN.

Burt Nowers

Burt has been involved with Healing Hands International since 2005 when he began serving on our Board of Directors, serving as both Board Treasurer and Chairman of the Audit Committee. He served as the President from 2012-2016. A graduate of Lipscomb University, Burt is a CPA and one of the founders of AIM Healthcare Services in Franklin where he spent 14 years as Chief Financial Officer. He and his wife Lisa have been married for more than 30 years and they have three grown children. Burt serves as an elder of the church and is also on the Board of Directors for the Central European Christian Education Foundation.

Dr. Doug Peters

Dr. Doug Peters joined our Board of Directors in the summer of 2012. He is the Minister at Grace Crossing Church in Conroe, Texas. Doug received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Bible and Ministry from Abilene Christian University. He completed the ACU Doctor of Ministry degree in 2006. He has served on ACU's Alumni Advisory Board as the past President and was the past Chair of the Visiting Committee for the ACU Department of Bible Missions and Ministry. Doug and his wife Sheryl have been married for almost 30 years and they have two daughters, Alani and Lauren.

Barry Pickering

Barry was born and raised in North Nashville, and graduated from Tennessee Tech with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (1978). In 2011, he retired as a Senior Project Engineer after 33 years combined service with Colgate Palmolive and Hill's Pet Nutrition, Inc. Barry and his wife, Camille, live in Cross Plains, Tenn. and are members at Greenwood Park Church of Christ in Bowling Green, Ky. They have three sons and four grandchildren.

Camille has been active in packing MAGI boxes for the past 25 years. She made her first mission trip to Honduras in 2009 and encouraged Barry to join the next one in 2010.  Since then, they have both made multiple trips to Honduras and Haiti with HHI and Mission Lazarus. Since 2008, Barry and Camille have been active with the ministry to Nashville's homeless community at Green Street Church of Christ. Barry enjoys woodworking as a pasttime and made the HHI logo in our newly refurbished lobby area. 

Dr. Lon Raby

Dr. Lon and Rebecca Raby have been loyal donors and supporters of Healing Hands International for more than 15 years. As an active volunteer, Lon makes medical mission trips annually and more frequently when possible. In addition to work in Belize, he has worked closely with Mission Lazarus since 2007 and made trips to Baja Missions since 2015.   

Lon is a Nashville native and a graduate of Lipscomb University and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (M.D.).  He has been a practicing dermatologist for 22 years and is a partner at Dermatology Associates in Huntsville, Alabama. Lon and his wife Rebecca, who is also a physician, attend the Mayfair Church of Christ where they have also been active as children and youth teachers over the years. Lon has also served as Deacon for the youth and missions. The Rabys have three adult children, Caitlin, Samantha and Franklin.

Dr. Randy Steger


Randy is a retired professor of business administration at Lipscomb University where he was a member of the faculty since 1983. He has more than 30 years of experience in the business world. He is the Founder of Healing Hands International and served as its President for more than 20 years. He currently serves on our Board and is on the Board of Directors for several other organizations. His family includes his wife Chris who is a Medical Doctor and his three children, Brandy (foster daughter), Daniel and Lydia.

Jeff Whitehorn

A graduate of Lipscomb University in 1980, Jeff went on to receive his CPA and worked for two years before heading to the University of Alabama to earn his MBA in 1988 with an emphasis in strategic planning. After graduation Jeff embarked on a 29-year career in healthcare administration, 25 of those years serving as a hospital CEO with Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). After serving as a hospital Chief Executive Officer for 25 years, Jeff took early retirement in 2017. Jeff coaches executives, directors, managers, and early/mid-careerists. Jeff has served on various board in the healthcare community and other not-for-profits around Nashville.

Jeff and his wife Jennifer have had a longstanding passion for the work of HHI. Jeff and Jennifer are active members at Brentwood Hills church of Christ where Jeff served as an elder. They have two adult daughters, Ashleigh and Emily.