Amy I. Catania has served Chicago Volunteer Doulas in a variety of capacities including volunteer doula, mentor and board member since 2008. In 2015 she resigned as co-chair of the board to take on the role of volunteer Executive Director. Amy is also responsible for developing and co-facilitating the "Intercultural Communication Training For Doulas", one of the ongoing core training requirements for all CVD doulas. Amy began working on social justice at an early age, beginning at 9 years old with marching and fundraising for handgun control, as well as volunteering on political campaigns. She has had over 22 years of non-profit experience, largely in the anti-domestic violence movement, LGBTQ rights, anti-racism work and the health care field. Her work has encompassed direct service, volunteer coordinating, curriculum development, training facilitation, development and program direction. Amy was born and raised here in Chicago in the near south side's Douglas neighborhood and has also lived in Portland, OR and Northern Wisconsin. In addition to being CVD's director, she is also a full spectrum doula, Birthing From Within mentor and non-profit trainer and consultant. Amy currently lives with her partner and three children in a two-flat in the Humboldt Park neighborhood along with her sister, niece and nephew who live upstairs.
Sonia Collins, CD(DONA), CLC is what some may call a "birth junkie". She worked as a community based doula providing free doula services to teen moms for 3 years, and transitioned to becoming a private doula in 2013. Sonia has her birth doula certification through DONA international, is a certified lactation counselor and is the Program Director of Chicago Volunteer Doulas. Sonia's vision is to be able to provide affordable childbirth education and doula services in a way that allows partners to work as a team in order to make informed decisions during labor, delivery and beyond!
Board Member Bios
(in alphabetical order)
Rebecca Balogh has been a volunteer with Chicago Volunteer Doulas since 2014 and board member since early 2016. Rebecca spent over a decade roaming California and Colorado, returning to her roots in Chicago and the legendary Route 66. She volunteers from the heart as a doula and provides professional experience as a board member. She graduated Indiana University 2004 with a BA in Communication and Culture, Art History and Studio Art. Rebecca extended her Metaphysical education with the Self-Realization Fellowship and Yoga West in Los Angeles from 2009-2011, only to discover years later her meditation practices translated into an empowered, natural childbirth. She is passionate about serving families in Chicago, as well as her husband Christopher Ryan and 4yr old daughter Iris Moon.
Simone Bonde is currently pursuing a Masters of Science in Nursing and Clinical Nurse Leader at Rush University. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Communication from St. Norbert College
Simone joined Chicago Volunteer Doulas in 2011 as a doula and has served the organization for several years before joining the Board in 2015. She volunteered for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, creating treasured photographic gifts for parents who suffered the loss of their baby. She is involved in the initiative to help Rush University Hospital achieve Baby Friendly status. She uses her story telling gift and enthusiasm to inspire and teach mothers about immunizations, healthy pregnancy, self-advocacy and reproductive justice.
Prior to nursing school, she enjoyed a vibrant career as a commercial photographer, creating images for Chicago childrens’ hospitals, universities, and nonprofit organizations as well as nationally recognized companies such as Disney. Fun Fact: Simone loves to cook. Her specialty is pulled pork which she likes to serve with Jamaican rice and peas, Nicaraguan cabbage salad and fried plantain with feta cheese.
Tricia Kuehn (Board Secretary) has worked in early childhood since 2005 and became a childbirth doula over 5 years ago. She is also a lactation counselor and a moderator for Breastfeed, Chicago! She is a long time member of Chicago Volunteer Doulas and has served as a volunteer doula, worked on special projects, sat on the Program Committee, co-chaired the Healing Garden fundraiser and is currently co-Chair of Professional Development as well as Secretary of the Board. Tricia currently works in College Housing at the University of Chicago where she has the opportunity to offer supportive services to undergraduates throughout their college experience. She is married to Evan who is hugely supportive of Chicago Volunteer Doulas' mission. Together they have two children, Sophia and Becket.
Kaja Lundevall is a labor and delivery nurse and doula, a graduate of Seattle University with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and a minor in Non-profit Leadership, and Global African Studies. She is currently a graduate student at Marquette University studying midwifery. She has been volunteering with CVD since the fall of 2010. In her free time Kaja enjoys taking on private doula clients for births and postpartum work. Kaja lives in Highwood with her family, and in enjoys walking her dogs, biking, yoga, and gardening.
Shannon A. McNamara has served on the Board of Chicago Volunteer Doulas since 2012. In that time she has been an active member of our fundraising and marketing committees. Shannon serves as Donations Coordinator of our annual Summer Soirèe Gala, a position which she has held since 2013. In the past she has also co-chaired the gala as well as co-chaired our “Life with Baby” and “Life with Toddler” conferences which were held in 2013 and 2014. Shannon Co-Produced a short film on CVD in conjunction with fellow Board member Simone Bonde in 2015. Shannon came to CVD through our organization’s on-call doula program when she labored at Swedish Covenant Hospital in 2012.
Maggie Quinn (Board VP) has worked for over 15 years as a volunteer, community organizer, development coordinator, fundraiser, and advocate for social justice with many not-for-profit organizations. Maggie grew up in Columbus, OH and moved to Chicago in 2007 to complete her BA at Roosevelt University in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies. Following her graduation in 2009, she moved to Costa Rica for 3 months to teach English and creative arts for a small nonprofit literacy project, Abriendo Mentes. Additionally, Mrs. Quinn has been a part of such organizations as Oxfam America, Grassroots Campaigns, Human Rights Campaign, and Onward Neighborhood House in Chicago. Her past experiences have included fundraising, event planning, community organizing, grant writing, donor campaigns and communication, website and social media writing and more. Maggie was introduced to Chicago Volunteer Doulas in 2012; while pregnant with her first baby she happened upon a CVD birth class flyer at a midwife appointment. After such a positive experience with the class, Maggie and her husband, Kevin continued to utilize CVD's services for prenatal and postpartum support, breastfeeding consultation, and a Mom and Baby Group. With Kevin's support, Maggie is now a full time mom to their daughters Harper and Everly. Mrs. Quinn joined the CVD Board of Directors in June 2013 and serves as Vice-chairperson of the Board and co-chair of the Fundraising Committee. Her work is informed by her experiences and passion both in the nonprofit world and as a mother.
Lu Rocha has been an advocate for survivors and victims of gender-based violence for over 18 years. She completed her Master’s degree at De Paul University, with a focus on Violence Against Women from a Cultural Perspective. She has worked with women's organizations from a variety of cultural backgrounds to helped establish domestic violence (DV) programs that reflect their community's needs and cultural values. She served as a Board Member for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) for five years, she is a consultant to several DV groups, and worked in creating economic development projects and opportunities for immigrant women, and in particular, survivors of DV. She began her advocacy work as a volunteer for a twenty-four hour DV crisis hot-line, which served the Latino community. She has worked as a DV counselor, community educator and DV shelter manager. Later in her career, she became a private consultant and trainer, providing training's to social service providers on best practices in providing services to survivors of gender-based violence. She offers workshops to professionals on cultural competency and anti-oppression. Lu is co-founder and board member of Women for Economic Justice (WEJ) a collective of community activists and academics that seek to decrease women of color’s vulnerability to violence through economic empowerment. She is an adjunct professor at De Paul University where she teaches courses on violence against women, gender and culture and Latino history in Chicago. Lu is currently the Healthcare Education Coordinator at the Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network, where she trains healthcare workers on how to screen for DV. Lu is currently a graduate student at Jane Adams School of Social Work, at UIC. Finally, Lu co-authored a book on Latinas’ experience with gender-based violence, which is due to be published in 2015.
Eleshia L. Smith is a new mom and a former client of CVD who has had the fortune of being a recipient of many of the services this great organization provides. Because of her positive experience, she decided to join the board in early 2015 in hopes of helping this wonderful organization expand their reach in undeserved communities on the West and South sides of Chicago. Professionally, Eleshia has been an educator and has taught middle, high school and college English and Reading for the last 10 years. Eleshia holds a BA in Speech Communications from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, M.Ed from Loyola University Chicago and hopes to finish her Ed.D in Curriculum Studies before her 1 year old son Oliver graduates from college.
Mary Sommers, CPM, MPS. Mary is the Director of Birth Center Operations and Maternal Health Programs at PCC Wellness. The birth center is the first free standing birth center in Illinois. Mary is also the President and Director of Academic Affairs of the Midwest Maternal Child Institute. She is a Certified Professional Midwife licensed in Wisconsin, and holds a Master’s Degree in Public Service from DePaul University. Mary has many years of experience and the wisdom that comes from participating in more than 1,000 deliveries over the past three decades. Early in her career, she co-founded Chicago Community Midwives, a not-for-profit home birth service. Mary has since worked as a midwife, doula and lactation consultant for various private practices in the Chicago area, and has directed several nurse-midwifery practices. Mary was a World Health Organization fellow, studying maternal health and breastfeeding programs in the Netherlands and Great Britain. She has worked for more than twenty-five years in community health as an administrator and director of maternal child health programs. Mary is the author of More Than a Midwife: Stories of Grace, Glory, and Motherhood and the Doula Handbook, and is featured in the book, Bright Lights of the Second City: 50 Prominent Chicagoans on Living with Passion and Purpose by Betsy Storm. She is also teaches childbirth education at Birthways in Chicago.