Board of Directors
The current board of directors for Babywearing International, Inc.
Ann Marie Rodgerson, President
Ann Marie graduated from Elon University with a BA in English and Theatre Arts. She earned her Master's in Education from Marymount University while working as a secondary English and theatre teacher. Ann Marie left professional teaching for the informal classroom of parenting.
Ann Marie failed to find a successful carrier option for her oldest daughter despite trying. She was delighted to discover Babywearing International of DC-MD-VA after the birth of her second and set about learning as much as she could so that she could help prevent other parents from the frustration she had in not finding a good carrier with her oldest. She is now a VBE with BWI of DC-MD-VA and helps parents around our Nation's Capital to wear their babies safely and comfortably while regularly wearing her middle and youngest daughters. Ann Marie chaired of the committee planning the 2012 International Babywearing Conference in Washington, DC.
Susan Chanse, Vice President
Susan earned her B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Women's Studies, along with a Certificate in Gerontology from the University of Tampa. During graduate school at Arizona State University, she studied Sociology, Statistics, and Education before pursuing her Graduate Certificate in Gerontology. After her first son was born, her family bought a business specializing in breastfeeding products and services, baby carriers, and other products related to natural family living. After closing her business, she continued to work in the baby retail industry, transferring her skills to a cloth diapering and natural parenting store which also sold baby carriers.
Jan Andrea Heirtzler, Secretary
Heather Felker, Treasurer
Heather Felker earned her formal education in Human Services and Computer Information Systems, and holds a certificate in Advanced Family Studies. In 2009 she attended the Babywearing Institute to become a Certified Babywearing Educator. In 2010 she returned to the school and is now licensed to teach their curriculum.
She currently runs a small babywearing business, providing sales and personal consultations, and teaches classes to members of the medical and social services communities. She is also a La Leche League Leader and is studying to become a post partum doula. Also in 2009, she took over leadership of her local babywearing group from its founder, and in 2011 began the process of converting it to a chapter of BWI.
Heather is the mother of 8 children, spanning twenty five years from oldest to youngest. Each child was breastfed and parented in arms, cementing her passion for babywearing as an essential parenting tool. She and her husband live in
Christie Chapman, Affiliation Liaison
Christie Everett Chapman holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Eastern Nazarene College, and a Master of Social Science Administration from Case Western Reserve University. She is a Licensed Master Social Worker in the State of New York and works as a mental health counselor with young children. She specializes in family therapy,with an emphasis on maternal-infant attachment and its impact on the socioemotional wellbeing of infants and children. Everett Chapman holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Easter
As a full-time nursing, working mother, Christie has found babywearing to be an indispensable tool for the promotion of healthy attachment. She is passionate about helping other families feel confident babywearing so they too can utilize this invaluable tool.
Karen Hoppis, Chapter Liaison
Karen earned a B.A. in Elementary Education, an M.A. in Educational Technology, and was a classroom teacher for six years before having her first child in 2005. She created and ran Ventura Babywearers for a year before she resigned as a teacher and moved with her family out of state so she could stay at home full time.
Heidi Donnelly, Newsletter Editor
Heidi Donnelly graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in the spring of 1998 with a B.A in English and a teaching certificate. She spent the next five years teaching in both private and public schools, four of them in Kalama, Washington where she taught high school Language Arts and also supervised the high school newspaper and yearbook.
In the spring of 2003, she left the classroom at the end of the school year. Heidi and her husband were expecting their first baby in the fall and it was important to them both that she be the main caregiver of their child. That fall she also was introduced to babywearing at a la Leche League meeting. The concept was intriguing and made complete sense to her, but she didn't have the support she needed to make it work.
In 2005, with the arrival of their second child, Heidi dived head first into babywearing, determined to figure it out this time. She also found the support, both locally and in the cyber world, that she needed to make it work for her and meet her needs. She even went a step further to designed and begin selling her own mei tai, the Silly Goose Baby adjustable base mei tai. Locally she was involved in the babywearing group in Vancouver, Washington.
In 2009, shortly after the birth of their third child, Heidi and her husband, Brent, moved their family to Ashton, Idaho. Heidi soon found herself even deeper in the babywearing scene as she was quickly roped in by Kimber Tower, designer of the Ball Baby mei tai and local leader in SE Idaho, to help plan the 3rd bi-Annual International Babywearing Conference to take place in June of 2010 in Rigby, Idaho.
Over the next year Heidi decided to close her babywearing business and stop making mei tais. She also was pregnant with baby number four and deep in the planning of the conference. All three of those experiences were vital to Heidi's path towards babywearing advocacy.
Towards the end of 2011, Heidi's husband took a job transfer to N. Idaho and they moved their family north to the Coeur d'Alene area. She is working together with a local business and a local Spokane mom to establish a strong babywearing advocacy network in the Inland Northwest.
Heidi is excited to bring her skill, experience and enthusiam to the BWI board of directors, having met many of them at the 2010 conference and having known many more of them from her cyber support group in her early babywearing days. She has intiated the bi-monthly BWI newsletter, Carry On! and plans to streamline the newsletter and the BWI blog.
Sarah Rockwell, International Liaison
Sarah Rockwell has doctoral and masterís degrees in Special Education, and a Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Special Education. Sarah's doctoral research was focused on teaching
academic skills to children with moderate to severe disabilities.
Sarah is also a wife, mother, and Trained Babywearing Educator. Sarah has been babywearing for 3 years, and led a babywearing group in Gainesville, FL for a year before moving to San Francisco where she is currently a VBE for BWI-BA. She received training through the US Babywearing Institute and is planning to offer individual consultations when she finishes her certification exams. Sarah is particularly interested in helping parents whose children have special needs enjoy the benefits of babywearing and would one day like to do research on the benefits of babywearing to children with special needs.
Steffany holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts, a Master of Elementary Education and Literacy Studies, and is currently pursuing her Ph.D in Education with emphasis in Family Studies and Parenting Education. She worked as a public school teacher for several years before having children, and focused her career on the non profit sector after the birth of her first child. Steffany currently runs a homeschooling cooperative and enrichment education program, as well as a homeschooling mom to her three, going on four children.
Steffany began her babywearing journey in 2007 with the birth of her first child. She got a crash course in babywearing options while trying to tend to her special needs child, and expanded her babywearing passion and experience after adding subsequent children. In 2010 Steffany founded Kansas City Area Babywearers and in 2011 formed the Kansas City chapter of Babywearing International. Steffany attended the Babywearing Institute in 2012 and earned both beginner and advanced certifications. She continues to serve as the President of Babywearing International of Kansas City and Master Babywearing Educator, with special interests in supporting urban and high risk populations and non profits. She is also passionate about expanding the research base within the practice of babywearing. Steffany is excited to continue spreading the babywearing love in her own community and enjoys having a presence in the natural parenting community at large, working as a contributor on the online communities Attached Parents at Work and Natural Parents Network.
Faith Rayland graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor of Science in Economics. She is now a stay-at-home-mom to two sons, ages 5 and 3, with a third on the way. She is also a part-time Yoga instructor and a La Leche League Leader. She has enjoyed wearing her children from birth and while she loves all carrier styles, she specializes in wraps and has a series of wrapping videos on YouTube under the username BabywearingFaith.
Medical Advisory Panel:
Lois Shiow-Balster earned her undergraduate degree in biology at the University of California, Berkeley, her medical degree from the Ohio State University, and completed her pediatrics residency at Columbus Children's Hospital/Ohio State University. From 2002-2005, she was an Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Ohio State University and taught medical tudents and residents in the outpatient clinics and in the newborn nursery wards. Her time working with newborns and their mothers inspired her to develop a breastfeeding curriculum for pediatric residents, and to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Since 2005, she has been in private pediatrics practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Lois is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the International Lactation Consultants Association (ILCA), the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABFM), and is a Medical Associate member of the La Leche League International (LLLI). She has been using baby carriers since the birth of her first child, but became passionate about babywearing after the 2004 birth of her second child who was born prematurely and battled gastroesophageal reflux during infancy.
Born in Ohio, Lois was raised in the East Bay suburbs of Northern California and then lived in Columbus Ohio for 10 years, where she met her husband and where her two sons were born. Lois and her family currently reside in the San Francisco Bay Area, but they still root for the Buckeyes.