Maria Andreoulaki


Maria has been researching optimal care for the perinatal period for almost two decades. She has worked with hundreds of women, babies and families, in a circle of sharing and learning. She is a founder of local support networks and her country’s representative for international networks dealing with respectful perinatal care (SPAR for DONA International www.DONA.org, IMBCI www.imbci.org, ENCA www.enca.info, EDN http://www.european-doula-network.org. She is based in Athens, Greece, offering her services as a doula, doula trainer, childbirth educator, body practitioner, translator/interpreter, and coordinator of local and national activities. In her free time she loves to sing, dance, travel, walk, read, and enjoy her family and loving friends.

Jessica English


Jessica English is the owner, lead trainer and coach at Heart | Soul | Business, a company that helps birth workers thrive in their businesses. For the past nine years she's been the agency owner and rainmaker at Birth Kalamazoo, where she attracts clients for nine birth and postpartum doulas. Before joining the birth world full time, she spent more than a decade in marketing, public relations and journalism. Jessica is also a birth doula, DONA approved birth doula trainer and Lamaze-certified childbirth educator. Her mission is to help you rock your birth business!

Kerry Francis


Kerry is a certified birth doula, editor and preschool teacher. She has attended dozens of births and has helped facilitate the healing of birth in adults. Kerry has her master’s degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology and so she often views birth and prenatal events through a psychological lens. She is interested in the baby’s experience of birth.

Sujata Gami


Sujata is committed in her work to promote family centered maternity care by continuing to teach Lamaze childbirth classes and supporting laboring women through her DONA certified birth doula practice. She is also committed to sharing ideas and creative ways to address practice challenges and brainstorm solutions for maternity care teams using over 17 years of teaching childbirth education experience in India, Canada and the U.S.A. Recently, she has been a part of a collaborative maternity care team at St. Francis Women’s Hospital, Greenville, S.C. to plan and mentor a hospital based doula program. Her presentation discusses the process of advocating for the needs of childbearing women by planning and implementing a hospital doula program.

Amy L. Gilliland


Amy researches and teaches about doula labor support, women’s sexual experiences, and the psychological needs of mothers and fathers during the birth experience. She is also an AASECT certified sexuality educator and a member of the psychology faculty at Madison College. Dr. Gilliland’s research has been published in JOGNN, Midwifery, Journal of Perinatal Education, Sexuality and Culture, and the Wisconsin Medical Journal. She is considered to be a “thought leader” on birth doula issues through her influential blog, DoulaingTheDoula. For more information, please go to www.amygilliland.com.

Barbara Hotelling


Barbara is a clinical instructor at Duke University School of Nursing and provides birth doula training for those students who are interested. She has trained Duke University School of Nursing students by their request since fall, 2013.

Co-presenters, Robyn Micol, B.A. and Erin O'Brien, B.A., are completing their second nursing degrees at Duke University.

Jen Kamel

Jen is a consumer advocate and a leading national speaker on the medical facts and political, historical climate surrounding vaginal birth after cesarean. She is the founder of VBACFacts.com and has brought her workshop to over 900 people around the country, giving accurate, current information about post-cesarean birth options directly to families, practitioners, and professionals.

Walker Karraa


Walker has been writing and researching maternal mental health for over a decade. Early in life, however, Walker was a modern dancer and choreographer, receiving both her Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) and BA degrees in Dance from UCLA with honors. Following her career as a dancer, Walker returned to school to receive her second Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University/Seattle and practiced as a family therapist. After a traumatic childbirth and severe postpartum depression in 2000, she dedicated her career to advancing knowledge regarding mental health in mothers. She was a certified birth doula CD(DONA) for nearly a decade before returning to school to complete her doctorate in transpersonal psychology.

While completing her doctorate, she served as the founding President of PATTCh, an organization started by Penny Simkin and Phyllis Klaus, dedicated to the prevention and treatment of traumatic childbirth, and worked as the perinatal mental health contributor to Lamaze International's Science and Sensibility and Giving Birth with Confidence. Her research reviews and interviews have been featured on the Huffington Post, Psychology Benefits Society (APA Public Directorate), Integral Leadership Review, and the American College of Nurse-Midwives. She also served as Program Co-Chair for the American Psychological Association's Trauma Division 56 2013-2014.

Dr. Karraa is a Research Fellow at The Center for Leadership Studies and Educational Research-- School of Advanced Studies, at the University of Phoenix, where she is on faculty as a Dissertation Research Chair and teaches qualitative research methods in the doctoral program.

She is currently conducting a study regarding the stigma of mental illness for women diagnosed with bipolar disorder 0-12 months postpartum; and has received a grant to launch a large research project dedicated to birth trauma.

Dr. Karraa is the Media Review Editor for The Journal of Leadership Studies, and serves on the board as the Media Director for The International Marcé Society of Perinatal Mental Health. Walker was most recently appointed the first perinatal mental health advisor to the President's Advisory Council of DONA International.

Walker runs a successful perinatal research consulting practice, Postpartum Associates, Inc. She is a 12 year breast cancer survivor, and lives in Sherman Oaks, California with her son, Ziggy, and daughter, Miles.

Christine Knefley


As a Certified Child Life Specialist for more than 15 years, Christine works to help decrease the amount of stress children and families in healthcare facilities experience and strives to increase their ability to cope with potential stressors. Her hospital work in the Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit has provided many opportunities to support families as they face the death of a child. In addition to her work as a child life specialist, Christine also works with expectant and postpartum families providing education and emotional support. She is an experienced childbirth educator as well as a labor doula.

HeatherGail Lovejoy


Passionate about all things related to postpartum, HeatherGail has been a happily active DONA Certified Postpartum Doula since 2005. Shortly after, she started her work with DONA International as the Northern California State Representative then became involved in leadership at the board level as the Western Pacific US Regional Director. She currently serves as the President-Elect of DONA International and will transition to President January 2016. She is a DONA Approved Postpartum Doula Trainer and has been having the time of her life sharing her experience and passion for excellent postpartum doula care with her doula students across the US.

Amy Neuhedel

CD(DONA), Dip.HB, M.Ed.

Originally from NY, Amy Neuhedel, has lived in Sweden since 2000. A mom of three and inspired by two Hypnobabies home births, she supports families in person and virtually as a doula, coach, blogger and podcaster (coming Fall 2015!). Visit her virtual home at www.AmyNeuhedel.com.

Mandy Rempfer-Kuncio

MScPT, BSc (hons), CAFCI

Passionate about the pelvis, Mandy has her Master’s in Physical Therapy and is devoted to treating the health concerns of pre- and post-natal women. Mandy has postgraduate training in pelvic floor rehabilitation and treats incontinence, prolapse and birth-related traumas. She also has an interest in abdominal separation (diastasis) as well as cesarean recovery. Mandy strongly believes in treating the body as a whole and loves to help women optimize their physical function. Moreover, she recently attended a DONA birth doula workshop and is almost ready to submit her certification packet!

Penny Simkin, PT

Penny is a physical therapist who has specialized in childbirth education and labor support since 1968. She estimates she has prepared over 12,000 women, couples and siblings for childbirth. She has assisted hundreds of women or couples through childbirth as a doula. She is the producer of several birth-related films and is the author of many books and articles on birth for both parents and professionals. Books include The Labor Progress Handbook (2011) with Ruth Ancheta, The Birth Partner (2008) and When Survivors Give Birth: Understanding and Healing the Effects of Early Sexual Abuse of Childbearing Women (2004) with Phyllis Klaus. Her latest film is “There’s a Baby: A Film for Children about Birth and the New Baby” (2013).

Besides being one of the Founders of DONA International, she currently serves on several boards of consultants, the Editorial Board of the journal, “Birth”, and serves on the senior faculty at the Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations at Bastyr University, which was named in her honor.

Ngozi D. Tibbs


Sunday Tortelli


Sunday Tortelli serves as President on the DONA International Board of Directors. She is a DONA certified birth doula and approved birth doula trainer, as well as a multi-certified childbirth educator and lactation counselor in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Sunday is the mother of four adult children and recently became a grandmother for the first time.

Naoli Vinaver


Naoli is a Mexican Traditional and Professional Midwife, founder of “Luz de Luna” HomeBirth Services since 1990, birth activist, and Mexican Representative of Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) from 1994-1998. She is the author of birth books and video productions and is a conference speaker and organizer, as well as a teacher. She is a member of the Board of Nueve Lunas Midwifery School in Oaxaca, Mexico. Naolí has been an active admirer, defender and promoter of natural and instinctive birthing since she was a child. She hosted a state-wide weekly TV program for over six years, celebrated by an enthusiastic public. As a midwife, she has organized midwifery conferences blending cultures as well as social groups of traditional and professional midwives over the years with the aim of maintaining the dignity and wisdom of traditional midwifery, while expanding the scopes of practice of all midwives around the world. Naolí has three lovely children born at home and dedicates her life to teaching, creating artistic birth materials to educate and promote natural birth as well as to assist mothers and her families in their home births. She has attended over 1,400 home births since 1987. She currently lives in Brazil where she has a busy midwifery practice and teaches midwifery and sexuality related workshops.

Amy Wright Glenn


Amy earned her MA in Religion and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She taught for 11 years in the Religion and Philosophy Department at The Lawrenceville School in New Jersey earning the Dunbar Abston Jr. Chair for Teaching Excellence. She is a Kripalu Yoga teacher, Birthing Mama® Prenatal Yoga and Wellness Teacher Trainer, (CD)DONA birth doula, hospital chaplain, and founder of the Institute for the Study of Birth, Breath, and Death. Amy is a regular contributor to PhillyVoice and author of Birth, Breath, and Death: Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy, and Life as a Doula. www.birthbreathanddeath.com