Who We Are

Staff

 

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Anya Tanyavutti

Executive Director 

Pronouns she/her/hers

Anya obtained her M.Ed. in Socio-Cultural Studies and Educational Thought and her B.A. in Elementary Education from Western Michigan University.  She traveled as Fulbright Scholar to Senegal, West Africa, as part of a curriculum development team in 2003, an experience that was foundational to her values in work and life. She has over 15 years’ experience as a not-profit-leader and an educator. In 2017 Tanyavutti was elected to the Evanston/Skokie District 65 School Board and currently serves as Board Vice President. She provides consulting services in strategic planning and racial and social justice education.  Tanyavutti remains convinced that her most meaningful, complex, and joyful work is being a mother of three little ones.

executivedirector@chicagovolunteerdoulas.org

 

 

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Sonia Collins, CD(DONA), CLC

Program Director 

Pronouns she/her/hers

Sonia 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! 

programdirector@chicagovolunteerdoulas.org

 

Katee Evans

Postpartum Program Volunteer Co-Coordinator 

Pronouns she/her/hers

Katee has a B.S. in Public Health and is a Master’s candidate in Public Health from Loyola University Chicago (May 2020).  After serving on a jury that involved a case with low birth weight babies, her interest for women, infants, and children's health elevated and eventually transitioned into developing an interest in health disparities all over the world.  She believes the interconnections of our own well-being and our communities well-being is not sufficiently included in conversations about individual success, community development and social change. True health equity cannot be sustainable if community level variables such as shared definitions of health or the strength of community networks in maintaining a sense of social support are not addressed.  The opportunity to work with CVD is a perfect catalyst to help develop a program that addresses health disparities that occur among vulnerable populations; especially black and brown people. Katee enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and experiencing all types of cultures.  More specifically, she really enjoys helping others, as she believe that we all bring different strengths to life and are therefore supposed to share our knowledge and abilities to serve others.
postpartum@chicagovolunteerdoulas.org

 

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Nancy Cowans, CD(DONA), CLC

Postpartum Program Volunteer Co-Coordinator 

Pronouns she/her/hers

I was introduced to Chicago volunteer doulas in the fall of 2008 during a doula training. I was a labor doula for many years and I now have a mad passion for postpartum care. I love watching new families evolve into parents. Because of this I also work on a Mother/Baby unit overnight at a local hospital. I enjoy what I do with CVD because I get to engage with families and mentor many Doulas.

postpartum@chicagovolunteerdoulas.org

 

Maggie Quinn

Logan Correctional Peer Doula Program Coordinator 

Pronouns she/her/hers

Maggie has worked for over 20 years as a volunteer, community organizer, development coordinator, fundraiser, and advocate for social justice with many not-for-profit organizations. She grew up in Columbus, Ohio and moved to Chicago in 2007 to complete her BA at Roosevelt University in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies. Maggie has been a part of such organizations as Oxfam America, Grassroots Campaigns, Human Rights Campaign, and Onward Neighborhood House in Chicago. Her Board work also led Maggie to become a Certified Lactation Counselor.

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 her second and third pregnancies, they chose two birth doulas who also served CVD. The Quinns now have three daughters, Harper, Everly and Willa.

Maggie was inspired by CVD’s mission and applied to be a Board Member. She joined the CVD Board of Directors in June 2013 and served as Chairperson from 2015-2019. Maggie currently works as a subcontractor for CVD as the Program Coordinator for the new Logan Correctional Peer Doula Program. Her work is informed by her experiences and passion both in the nonprofit world and as a mother.


Board of Directors

(in alphabetical order)

 

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Angelyn Anderson, PhD

I have been a trained doula since 2012 and am an educator by profession and vocation. Outside of my experience as an educator in the higher education arena, I am also an educator in the realm of social justice and community advocacy. My passion is to work with those who are marginalized and disengaged and helping them to get involved in addressing issues that matter to them. I also serve as administrator for Sun Kissed Doulas, an online resource designed to encourage and support African-American doulas. I have earned an undergraduate degree in Political Science and graduate degrees in Educational Administration as well as Social Justice and am currently working on my doctoral degree in Ethical Leadership. I am also a conflict coach and mediator. In my spare time, I have trained as a yoga and Zumba instructor as well as a Thai Bodywork practitioner. I currently reside in Chicago with my petdren, a Shih Tzu and Bichon and in my spare time I enjoy cooking, knitting and collecting miscellaneous facts.

 

Qiddist Ashé

Pronouns she/they

Qiddist Ashé (she/they) is a liberatory educator of young minds, a policy-thinker and community organizer, a facilitator of racial justice and liberation work, a DONA-trained full-spectrum doula, Lamaze certified childbirth educator (LCCE) and community herbalist living in Chicago. She believes deeply that it is our destiny to liberate and be liberated, and is committed to making healing practices accessible to LGBT+, disabled, and Black & Indigenous communities of color. With a B.S. in Social Policy and an M.S. in Education, Qiddist also brings her passion for advocacy and liberatory structural change to her reproductive justice and education work. They center abolitionist and transformative justice strategies,  and culturally responsive pedagogies that bridge evidence-based information and ancestral wisdom. Qiddist is particularly passionate about making body literacy and reproductive education accessible to queer and trans communities of color, and advocating for healthcare policies and practices that support reproductive autonomy. Qiddist currently lives in Chicago where she works as an elementary educator and runs a doula practice, Ashé doula services, which offers sliding-scale, afrocentric, holistic care for all experiences in the reproductive cycle. Inspired by her own maternal lineage of midwives in Ethiopia, Qiddist is especially driven as a birthworker to restore our collective belief and confidence in our innate ability to birth. This is part of her larger work, Ashé Living, which she co-founded with her wife Olivia Ashé to bring healing practices of all kinds to her communities. 



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Cassie Calderone

Cassie primarily works in Chicago area professional theatre as an Actors Equity Stage Manager. The birth of her child two years ago changed her perspective and Cassie has became a toLabor trained doula in 2016. She serves on the board of Chicago Latina Moms and is an active CVD doula.

 

Lindsey Handrinos

Lindsey Handrinos is our newest board member who discovered CVD after her own positive experiences with two home births. She has a B.A. in communications from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and obtained a Master’s in Business and Public Relations from LaSalle University while living in Athens, Greece.  Upon moving to Chicago from New York City,  she has been active in her community, volunteering with various organizations such as Breakthrough Urban Ministries and The Anti-Cruelty Society. In her free time, Lindsey loves to travel with her husband, Jason, daughter, Fiana and son, Nasos. She and her husband hope to one day expand their family through an international adoption.

 

Megan Langer

Megan was born and raised in Chicago. She has a background in Art & Design as well asYoga. In 2011, she founded MHYoga.  Megan spent time developing programs, teaching health and nutrition enrichment classes for children and adults. Her primary focus was on pre/postnatal yoga as well as teaching in schools throughout the Chicagoland area. Most recently, Megan made the decision to stay home and raise her three children (ages 6, 4, and 6 months). She has always had a strong interest and passion for living a  holistic lifestyle. Her interests in health and wellness have led her to assist in supporting others wanting to make changes in their own lives. Ever since the birth of her first child, Megan has wanted to use her passions, love for babies and personal experience to support other women during their transition into motherhood.


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Jeanine Valrie Logan, MPH, MS, CLS 

Pronouns she/her/goddess

Jeanine is a nurse, birth worker and activist, certified lactation education specialist, youth ally, home birth mama, future midwife, ecofeminist, and homeschooler. She has worked for various organizations advocating for birth justice and safe motherhood. Jeanine is a mama blogger and blogs regularly about breastfeeding, birth justice, and midwifery in the Black community. She is the co-editor of the book Free to Breastfeed: Voices of Black Mothers. Jeanine is also a local member of the International Center for Traditional Childbearing and works collectively with birth workers of color to address birth inequities. Jeanine is on the steering committee of the newly formed Illinois Birth Justice, a social and birth justice organization working to provide support to pregnant women who are incarcerated as well as a former participant on the Community Advisory Council of Sage Community Health Collective. Jeanine has worked for various organizations advocating for birth justice and safe motherhood including the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, The Women’s Collective, and previously as the Program Director for CVD. Jeanine received a B.A. in Biology from Fisk University, an M.P.H. in Global Health Policy from the George Washington University, and mostly recently, an MS in Nursing from DePaul University.Jeanine is a wife and mama of two awesome Empresses. Jeanine spends her extra time growing food, foraging plants, and swooning over #herbalist things.

 

Heather McCullough CPM, CAPPA Faculty CLD, CPD, CLE HCHI 

Heather is a passionate, experienced, and innovative birth provider for over 25 years, Heather began this work when she was 19. Initially going to pre-med to become an OB-Gyn, Heather was re-directed to Midwifery and became a Certified Professional Midwife. She practiced in Portland, Oregon at the wonderful Andaluz Waterbirth Center. After moving back to the Midwest, she settled in Chicago. As co-owner of 312Doulas, she supports 16-23 clients per month in Chicagoland, while teaching classes and in-services for families, doulas, and educators.

 

Tracy Olasimbo

Tracy Olasimbo is an advocate for equity in education, a skilled facilitator, and a content creator.  As the former Partner Engagement Specialist at Ingenuity, Tracy developed and implemented professional development for educators and community partners, supported under-resourced schools, and built vital relationships in the community. After participating in The National SEED Project (aimed at self-reflection as a means by which communities and workplaces can build the capacity to create equitable spaces), she became impassioned with helping others foster cultural awareness to build equitable and inclusive environments. 

Through the lens of education, Tracy developed and launched Ingenuity's seven-part professional development series in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which provides community stakeholders with a cognizance of the diverse CPS student experience in order to inspire culturally-relevant, equitable programs. Currently, Tracy leads workshops and professional development for parents and District employees on the layered topics of race and education in Evanston. Tracy currently holds the role as a Board Chair for Free Lunch Academy, Board Member for Chicago Volunteer Doulas, PTA Co-President at Washington Elementary, and is a member of the African-American, Black, and Caribbean (ABC) Family Support Group's Planning Committee. She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

 

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Kaja Rumney, RN, CLC, MSN 

Pronouns she/her/hers

Kaja is an OB nurse, doula, and nurse home visitor. A graduate of Marquette University with a masters in midwifery. Along with a Seattle University alumni with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies and a minor in Non-profit Leadership, and Global African Studies. She has been volunteering with CVD since the fall of 2010. Kaja lives in Colorado with her family and enjoys spending time with her daughter along with biking, hiking, skiing, yoga, and gardening. 


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Hillary Scharmann, CPD(CAPPA)

Board Chair

Pronouns she/her/hers

Hillary is the vivacious Doula and Perinatal Educator of Heart, Birth & Baby. Hillary has supported more than one hundred families in having empowered and informed pregnancy, birth, and postpartum experiences. For the past three years, she's been a featured speaker at The Chicago Baby Show at Navy Pier, inspiring parents to trust their instincts and prioritize self-care.  Her involvement with Chicago Volunteer Doulas (CVD) began in 2012, serving as an on-call doula, events committee member, and facilitator for the New Mom & Baby Groups. Her work with parents during the great transition of adding a new member to their family and struggling to find a balance between their personal and professional lives has recently fueled the launch of a new company "The Hive Space," Chicago’s first restorative CO-WORK + PLAYSPACE with supervised childcare (opening Spring 2020 in Logan Square), a joint venture with Hillary's  business partner, friend, and fellow mother Anna Labat. Hillary is the queer mother of three children, lover of hot sauce and mid-century anything. She resides on the north side of the city with her partner Hector, and can be found dancing or taking photos of beautiful things when she is not working.
boardofdirectors@chicagovolunteerdoulas.org

 

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Mary Sommers, CPM, MPS

Pronouns she/her/hers

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 also teaches childbirth education at Birthways in Chicago.