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Our Team

Our experienced teachers and mentor moms have successfully walked the road of motherhood and have a passion to share the lessons they learned along the way. Each week our mentor moms faithfully lead their small groups in authentic conversations that build upon the teaching topic. Our core values are reinforced in this community where moms find fellowship, compassion, love, acceptance, integrity, discipleship, empowerment and prayer. 


Candace Nassar

Candace is a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ, wife and mother of 3 adult children. She is also a visionary women’s ministry leader, disciple maker and experienced bible study teacher with a strong understanding of women’s needs. She attributes this to a life of living all over the country, including the Southeast, the Northeast, California and Texas. She has been married for over 30 years to a wise Christian man and her children are all committed followers of Jesus Christ.


Candace has an M.B.A. and spent over 20 years in the business world with experience in banking, consulting and entrepreneurship.  She caught the teaching bug while homeschooling her kids during elementary school. After moving to Austin in 2012, she spent 10 years teaching in the Leander Independent School District. She is a member of Hill Country Bible Church Steiner Ranch and on the teaching team of the Saturate Austin Institute. Of all of her roles in life, Candace says none is more important and difficult than being a wife and mother.


Candace is passionate about helping moms become more confident and comfortable in their God given role. Her messages are authentic and deal with the tough issues that moms face today providing insights and answers from a biblical perspective. She hopes to never move again but says she would if God asks her to. “Ever since becoming a believer at the age of 30, God has shown me time and time again that His ways are best!”


Heather Van Stavern

Heather is a gifted communicator who is passionate about obeying the will of God and teaching His word. She and her husband Brad have been married 18 years and have three children: Jade (18), Chance (15), and Dax (13). 


A former public high school speech/communication and theatre teacher, Heather currently serves the body of Christ as a lead teacher in Women’s Ministry and lead teacher in Children’s Ministry at Hill Country Bible Church. Over the last 20 years at Hill Country, Heather has been instrumental in several community-focused ministries, including launching a popular community fun run event that connects people who are far from God with the local church and leading a large afterschool club for 5th-grade public school girls to explore and grow in their faith. 


Heather will take the truths of the Bible and apply it to your life in a friendly, sincere, "I want to hear more" style. She considers it a privilege to speak into the lives of women, guiding them toward knowing and loving the God who made and adores them. 


Heather enjoys spending time with family, traveling, and Mexican food. She, however, can do without olives, creepy-crawling things, and laundry.

Mentor Moms

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Susan McAlinden

Susan McAlinden spent twenty-one years raising her family, participating in Bible studies, leading small groups, Moms in Prayer groups, and mentoring moms of younger children. Being a mom was Susan’s favorite job, and she loves to encourage other moms as they juggle their own family, their extended family, their marriage, and time for themselves.

As her nest started to empty, God called Susan to new ventures, and He will do the same for you. Currently, Susan is a contributing writer on the website, She was recently published in the Proverbs 31 book, “hope when your heart is heavy.”

Susan likes dark chocolate, a good book, a daily walk, and encouraging others to be who they were created to be.

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Julie Whitehurst

Julie Whitehurst was born and raised in Texas, and has resided in Austin for the last 11 years with her husband, Kevin, and their three children, Matthew, Connor and Lily.  She was raised in a family that made Jesus a priority and has continued that pursuit of Jesus daily.  She has taught in married couples Sunday School classes and has led bible studies for women for the past 15 years.  She loves all candles, coffee, fashion, and her beloved Golden Retriever Jojo-bean.  On any given day, you may find her with a blanket and a book sitting near a warm fire in the fireplace.  If Tom Brady is playing?  bonus.

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Barbara Bland

Barbara is an authentic, disciple-making grandmother who is young at heart. She has been married to her husband Joe for almost 40 years. They have two awesome sons and daughters in law and at present, two wonderful grandsons. Barbara is a shining light striving to reflect the love of Jesus in all she does.They have attended Hill Country Bible Church in Austin for over 20 years and been involved in many ministries including, Women’s Bible Study, Celebrate Recovery, Re-Engage, to name a few. She loves being a mentor mom especially to moms with littles because they teach her so much about raising babies in today’s world. She, in turn, is able to give them insight into how she handled things ages ago. She says, “God’s principles never change from generation to generation.” Barbara enjoys exercising at the gym, working in her yard, and taking care of her grandbabies.

Jes Gierke

Jesica is a stay-at-home mom who has a passion for Christ and teaching. She combines these two passions by both homeschooling her children and investing in women through various ministries. She and David have been married for over 18 years and have been blessed with two amazing children.  She grew up in central Mexico where she learned to appreciate the simpler things in life and the value of family. She has lived in Texas nearly 16 years, by way of Chicago, where she met David, her husband and best friend.  Jesica is an avid reader and rarely encounters a book she doesn’t want to at least check out. She holds degrees in both marketing and management from the University of Illinois at Chicago, studied women’s literature at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, Spain, and once upon a time held a teaching certificate. In her free time, she loves to garden, read, but most of all spend time with her children and husband playing games, building puzzles, and sharing a meal.

Kayla Marnach

Kayla is an author and speaker, who for over twenty-five years has shared the love of Jesus with children. whether in costume or out. She is a Texas girl through and through, living in Austin since 1979 with John, her husband of over forty years. They have been blessed with two amazing grown daughters, who are married to two wonderful men she considers her sons.

She has created curriculum for and worked with children of all ages, teaching Sunday School classes for well over twenty years. Her current roll is being “Granny McGrible who shares stories from the Bible.”  As “Granny” shares the stories, her husband willingly dresses up as whatever character the story is about, creating more meaning and impact on the children.

She has organized and led women’s Bible retreats, as well as taught and facilitated women’s groups. Her passion is to let others know they are never alone, that Jesus walks with them every step of the way.

When not traveling with her husband and “four” kids, Kayla enjoys writing, reading, and playing with her rowdy mini-Aussie, Tilly.