Board of Directors

Babywearing International is governed by an all volunteer Board of Directors.  Board members are elected by Chapter Volunteers during the BWI Annual Meeting in November and serve overlapping two-year terms.  The Board of Directors is responsible for strategic planning, policy, budgeting, organizational administration, and provides oversight for contractors and committees.

Jess Thrift

Board Member

Jess Thrift : Board Member
jess.thrift@babywearinginternational.org

After studying botany and biology at a small liberal arts college in Pittsburgh, PA, Jess Thrift turned her scientific methods toward working professionally in fundraising services and database management with non-profit organizations focused on education and children. She discovered babywearing out of necessity when her twins were born in 2013.
Jess became a founding member of BWI of Olympia, and currently serves as Secretary.  She currently lives in Olympia, WA with her wife and their three boys. She is a Project Manager at a college in Olympia. She spends her time reading and talking about books and coffee.


Perla Robertson

Treasurer

Perla Robertson : Treasurer
perla.robertson@babywearinginternational.org

Perla Robertson is mama to four babes between the ages of 4 and 9, all who have been worn since birth.  She didn’t know a single other babywearer until her second child was about six months old, which was when she attended a babywearing meeting for the first time.  She made some wonderful friendships there and learned many tips and tricks.  The main part of her babywearing education came from TBW (thebabywearer.com), where she spent hours and hours asking questions, answering questions, and getting to know people.  (denimmeitai)  She became a VBE for DC-MD-VA in 2011, but moved to Illinois shortly thereafter.  She eventually founded the Chambana chapter in July of 2014.  She is an MBE for that chapter and serves as its President and Librarian.  Additionally, she serves on the Chapter Support Committee.

Perla holds a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Illinois.  She feeds her musical soul by singing at local Music Club meetings, singing with choirs, and accompanying the choirs at a local highschool.  When she’s not babywearing or doing music, she is busily homeschooling her crew.


Anne Rush

Secretary

Anne Rush : Secretary
anne.rush@babywearinginternational.org
Anne Rush has a BS in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a JD from Stetson University College of Law. She is a practicing attorney in Gainesville, FL focusing on criminal defense where she is also active in her local BWI chapter as well as other non-profit groups. She lives with her husband, son, and two cats and in her spare time enjoys sewing, crafting, and curling up with a good book and glass of wine.
Anne had a difficult start to motherhood. A side effect of polycystic ovarian syndrome resulted in her not being able to breastfeed as she had always planned. Discovering babywearing helped her heal the mental wound of feeling she had let her son down and let them establish a special bond. Because of this Anne is very passionate about BWI and providing babywearing education and is honored to be able to serve on the Board of Directors of the organization to help it grow and assist others in their journeys as caregivers.

Tasneem Muhammad

Board Member

Tasneem Muhammad : Board Member

Kat Chaffin

President

Kat Chaffin : President
Kat.Chaffin@BabywearingInternational.org

Kat Chaffin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Visual Communications, and greatly enjoys her part-time work doing graphic design, prepress and production art in the printing industry. Kat lives with her husband and two children in the Los Angeles suburb of Valencia, CA, where she started the Los Angeles County chapter of Babywearing International.

Kat discovered babywearing in early 2012, with her 2nd child. She quickly became obsessed with woven wraps and wrapping, and soaked up all the knowledge she could. She is passionate about spreading her love of babywearing, and will happily talk for hours about it with anyone who’s interested. Kat is pleased and honored to be able to use her skills to benefit Babywearing International by serving on the Board of Directors, as she believes greatly in its organizational mission.

When she’s not doing her job as a mom, reading a book, or on her computer talking wraps and designing things, you can often find Kat at her piano. Whether classical or jazz, there’s never enough music time for her.


Catherine Dean

Board Member

Catherine Dean : Board Member
Catherine.Dean@BabywearingInternational.org

A former Museum curator and third-generation educator, Cathy has been babywearing since the birth of her first daughter in 2011.  She now is a Master Babywearing Educator, a Center for Babywearing Studies Certified Babywearing Consultant, and the President of BWI of Central Virginia.  She has served on the BWI Board of Directors since 2014.

Cathy currently lives in Richmond, VA with her husband and two daughters. She has a Master of Arts in Museum Studies from the George Washington University and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Grinnell College. She is a proponent of “anthropological parenting” and is thrilled to see a resurgence of this traditional practice in contemporary society. Cathy is a historic costume enthusiast and history buff and when not babywearing you can find her cooking allergy-friendly foods, sewing, or enjoying contemporary and historical social dance. She is self-employed and owns Historically Inspired Designs. She has more than a decade of hands-on non-profit experience both as a staff member and volunteer and has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Traditional American Dance and Music Society and the Costume Society of America, Southeastern Region.

Kathy Low

Vice President

Kathy Low : Vice President
Kathy.Low@BabywearingInternational.org

Kathy Low graduated from Western Michigan University in 2005 with a BS in Elementary Education. She has three young children which makes babywearing essential to her parenting experience. Kathy has also been involved in the Real Estate Industry, sales, and marketing communities while working from home for the last 6 years. Kathy found babywearing prior to the birth of her first child in 2010 and fell quickly in love. She loves all types of carriers but can most often be found wearing a woven wrap.

Kathy is a co-founder of Babywearing International of Grand Rapids, MI and is currently the Director of Education and a Master Babywearing Educator for the group. Kathy teaches Babywearing 101 classes and works with the new educators of her local group. She loves working with caregivers and sharing the babywearing spirit with everyone. Kathy is thrilled to work with BWI to further foster their goals.


Vilija Simaitis

Board Member/ 2017 International Babywearing Week Chair

Vilija Simaitis : Board Member/ 2017 International Babywearing Week Chair
vilija.simaitis@babywearinginternational.org
Vilija has a BA in English Literature with a minor in Philosophy from Seattle University and  Masters in Teaching from the University of Washington. Before staying home with her two sons she taught high school English. She discovered baby wearing in 2013 when her oldest son was born and found it to be a great fit for her family. She began working toward becoming a VBE while living in San Antonio, TX and was a founding member of the Portland, OR Chapter. Vilija is in charge of coordinating education and training for the Portland area VBEs. The babywearing community was the first group she sought out when moving across the country because she knew she would find a bunch of like-minded friends. 
 
Vilija is excited to serve on the Board of Directors and undertook organizing International Babywearing Week in 2016. She enjoyed working with a great group of volunteers on her committee and looks forward to coordinating another fun week in 2017.

Kassondra Coxson

Board Member

Kassondra Coxson : Board Member
Kassondra.Coxson@babywearinginternational.org

Kassondra Coxson earned her Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Behavior at Rollins College after a ten-year hiatus from college during which she worked as a retail Operations Manager, an international Tour Manager for a ska band, and a website developer at an advertising agency serving several Fortune 500 companies. She lives with her husband and two children in Mount Dora, Florida. A work-at-home-mom, Kassondra loves all things geeky and is the co-owner of Designed by Geeks where she creates and sells geeky patterns for use with appliqué and embroidery machines, electronic cutters, and standard computer printers, as well as geeky fabric, tee-shirts, posters, and cell phone cases.

Kassondra was introduced to the art of babywearing in the summer of 2013 when her first child was three months old. Babywearing has been a passion of hers ever since. She is especially interested in increasing awareness of babywearing accessibility and helping all interested parents and caregivers find options that work for them.


Staff

Wendy Sparks

Executive Director

Wendy Sparks : Executive Director
director@babywearinginternational.org

Wendy joined BWI in September 2016 as BWI's first executive director. Her efforts at BWI focus on supporting the board of directors and committees to strengthen the impact of BWI’s programs and services. Before joining Babywearing International, Wendy spent sixteen years as nonprofit changemaker, specializing in transition management, strategic planning, and capacity-building initiatives. She has worked with a variety of organizations, including international advocacy groups, political campaigns, schools, and museums, zoos, and cultural associations. Wendy holds master's degrees in interdisciplinary studies and environmental studies as well as postgraduate certificate in nonprofit management. A California native, Wendy lives in western Oregon with her family and spends her free time camping and exploring the Oregon coast.