Our volunteer board is made up of breastfeeding moms and lactation professionals (and some of us are both!). We share a common dream of improving the culture of breastfeeding in Chicago.
- Samantha Adjekum is a wife and mother as well as a Chicago native. She works as a therapist in private practice specializing in Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. She also has worked as a doula for the past few years. Her works focus has been on women such as perinatal mental health, domestic violence and sexual assault. Additionally, she provides crisis counseling. Samantha’s personal journey led her to working with Breastfeed Chicago, as she had first hand knowledge and experience of the struggles of breastfeeding. After struggling to nurse one child and successfully nursing another, she gained compassion and empathy for other mothers and envisions Breastfeed Chicago contributing to promote breastfeeding awareness, acceptance, education and access for all mothers.
- Patricia Berg-Drazin, RLC, IBCLC, CST, (Board Vice-Chair), owner of Breastfeeding and Parenting Solutions and Luminessence CranioSacral Therapy (I am one of three Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants who is also certified as a CranioSacral Therapist – world wide.) “My vision for Breastfeed Chicago is that we will help more women know about resources available for them so that they can reach their breastfeeding goals. I also see Breastfeed Chicago as a vehicle to educate the public and health care professionals.”
- Maria Briseño, CLC is a Lactation Counselor for Health Consortium of Illinois, Healthy Start Program. She is a LLLI Breastfeeding Peer Counselor and Program Administrator, also a Parent Educator and a Doula. Maria speaks Spanish and serves on the Latino Advisory Board for the March of Dimes, The Chicago Region Breastfeeding Task force on the Peer Counselor committee and secretary. She is married and the mother of three breastfed sons.
- Patricia Fron, MSW, (Board Secretary), Executive Director of the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance. Mom to one sweet little dude. “We as a society create so many barriers for those who wish to breastfeed, and knowing the plethora of breastfeeding benefits, we must work to eradicate those barriers. Breastfeed Chicago does just that. We are a voice of encouragement, support, education, and advocacy; we are eliminating restrictive practices, policies, and mindsets that set women up for failure.”
- Melissa Sablack Gonzalez LCCE, CD(DONA), wife and mother to two-school age boys, founder of Mesa Birth, a Lamaze-Certified Childbirth Educator and labor and postpartum doula, and former marketing executive. “My vision for Breastfeed Chicago is to see this great city take the lead in encouraging a breastfeeding-friendly environment in hospitals, at work, and at home, for all women.”
- Al Grippe moved to Chicago from the East Coast in 2008 after having served as an AmeriCorps VISTA, and earning her BA in Sociology and MS in Management. Currently, Al is the Director of Grants at Harper College Educational Foundation and has over a decade of experience in development and grants. In addition to her full-time job and her family, Allison stays active in the LGBT movement, particularly with Chicagoland Rainbow Families. Al is a proud wife and mom of 2 children, the first of whom she nursed until 2.5 years and the youngest, 9 months, who she is currently nursing. “My vision is to help all families reach their breastfeeding goals through access to information and resources, and to ensure policies are in place to protect those rights. Chicago has the opportunity to lead the way toward a breastfeeding friendly nation and I am proud to be a part of that movement.”
- Elizabeth Handler (Treasurer), I run my household, parent five children, and minimize chaos. I also am a compulsive blogger at Makingitfun.net. “I see a city and suburbs where women are eager to try breastfeeding, where they are confident and encouraged about breastfeeding. I see babies thriving. I see women helping each other and a sense of community growing.”
- Telika Howard, CLC has served breastfeeding parents in many capacities: as a doula for Birthways Chicago, a WIC peer counselor in Chicago, a breastfeeding counselor in labor and delivery and NICU department at regional one hospital in Memphis, as well as a breastfeeding education and outreach worker in Illinois and Memphis. She has breastfed 7 children lives with her children and husband in Chicago. She currently provides family education at Howard Area Community Center and is a member of Chicago Birth Workers of Color.
- Katelyn Kanwischer, MS, is the Early Childhood and Programs Manager at the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) and a certified lactation specialist. She has a background in developmental psychology and in her professional career has always worked with mothers and babies. “My vision for Breastfeed Chicago is that we can help make breastfeeding the easy choice and reduce barriers at all levels within the community.”
- Katrina Pavlik, MEd, (Board Chair), founder of Breastfeed Chicago, postpartum doula, certified lactation specialist. “My dream for Chicago is that it will become the most breastfeeding-friendly city in the country. Not only will new moms get the help and support they need from their health care providers, but they will benefit from an extensive breastfeeding-support network. Moms will be seen breastfeeding their children anywhere, anytime… and it will be considered a normal, natural way of feeding our children.”
- Robin Ross, CD(DONA), Montessori Toddler Directress, Certified HypnoBirthing Instructor, DONA-Certified Birth Doula, Trained Lactation Educator CAPPA, Co-Owner of Bellies to Babies Studio, Downers Grove. “My vision for breastfeeding in Chicago, is to help build awareness city-wide through education about the importance of breastfeeding. My goal in this vision is to help support families by providing resources that will maintain confidence and trust in one’s ability to breastfeed, thus leading to a sense of empowerment.”
- Tytina Sanders-Bey, CLC, is a La Leche League International breastfeeding peer counselor and program administrator. She is a lactation counselor for the Healthcare Consortium of Illinois in Southeast Chicago, as well as being a Loving Support and Rush Mother’s Milk Club peer counselor and an ICTC provisional doula. She serves as the peer counselor co-chair for the Chicago Region Breastfeeding Taskforce, volunteers for March of Dimes and is a member of the United States Breastfeeding Committee. As the mother of five nurslings, she is proud to say all of her school-aged children are honor students.