Meet Our Staff, Board and Crew
Meet Our Founding Directors
Leah and Emily co-founded Birth Roots in 2004 and co-created the Community Supported Parenting© model of Parental Development group work. This style of facilitation brings the Birth Roots’ mission to life by creating a class environment that fosters connection, dialogue, and meaningful reflection. Leah’s Birthing From Within and Blossoming Newborns classes have transformed the experiences of an entire generation of new families in Southern Maine. She also launched Parents Raising Consciousness, a new parent coaching program. Emily completed her Parenting By Connection certification in 2013 with Hand in Hand Parenting and is bringing this philosophy to the Birth Roots community.
Meet Our Staff
Director of Operations & Volunteer Coordinator
We’re so happy to welcome Sarah to the Birth Roots family. She is the person you’re likely to be in contact with as you register for classes and she runs our volunteer program. She also manages Birth Roots’ finances and operations.
Meet Our Facilitators
Meet Our 2017 Board Of Directors and Committee Chairs
Board Chair: Katie Brooke, Realtor
Katie Brooke is a full-time real estate agent at Keller Williams Realty serving the Greater Portland region. In 2013, Katie trained as a Doula and it was through this experience she began to fully understand the impact Birth Roots has on families throughout Southern Maine. In the past, Katie has worked in education and social services, finding great joy in working with children and families. Katie also serves on the board of the Friends School of Portland, volunteers with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and spends Friday mornings with the Walking School Bus for the East End School.
Vice Chair: Stephanie Sukeforth
Stephanie Sukeforth has worked in development and the non-profit sector for ten years. She is currently the Planned Giving Coordinator for The Salvation Army’s Northern New England Division. Birth Roots played an instrumental role providing loving and unconditional support after having her baby. It’s her hope to give back and help new mothers share in this experience. She lives with her husband and daughter in Scarborough.
Treasurer: Stephanie Walsh
Stephanie Walsh is a certified public accountant with a background in finance, accounting and tax preparation, specifically for not-for-profit and healthcare organizations. She worked for 5 years in public accounting and is currently an auditor at MaineHealth. She is a proud wife and mother to aand a daughter. She also enjoys volunteering on the Birth Roots Finance Committee and as Room Mom at her son’s not-for-profit childcare center. Her passion for serving on the Birth Roots board comes from a desire to give back to an organization that provided wonderful experiences for both she and her husband as they navigated the first years of parenthood.
Secretary: Wendy Richards
Wendy Richards joined the Birth Roots board in 2016. Wendy is an attorney that focuses on tax-exempt organizations of all kinds, and is also a mom to an exuberant toddler. Wendy holds an A.B. degree from the University of Chicago and a law degree from the University of Wisconsin. Before discovering her love of tax law, Wendy had a brief career as a microbiologist. When she isn’t wrangling a toddler into a car seat or reading tax regulations, Wendy likes to listen to podcasts, read novels, and spend her time around interesting and positive people.
Ellen and her husband moved to Maine (from Boston) last year looking for a close-knit community to call home. She is a proud mom to a son and a daughter. She works for a health insurance company and has her Masters in Public Health. After having her son, Ellen realized how important strong community connections are to new parents and young families. She is proud to be a part of an organization with the unique niche of helping new parents and young families as they navigate through the excitement and challenges of having young children.
Johanna Hill, DC
Johanna Hill, DC, is a chiropractic physician specializing in pregnancy and pediatrics and has been a member of the Birth Roots board since 2012. In a prior life, she worked in non-profit development at a large outdoor history museum, as well as in strategic development for two other start-up community-focused nonprofits. Her passion for Birth Roots began when she first set foot in the oxytocin-rich space and felt that she had found her flock – not as a parent (yet), but as a birth professional. She is the proud mama of a little girl.
Kristina Burks Halliday
Kristina Burks Halliday is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker providing supportive individual therapy at her private practice in Saco. She has a particular clinical interest in perinatal mental health and wellness and is engaging in training focused on maternal mental health. Her passion for Birth Roots is formed in the recognition, both professionally and personally, of the positive impact that a supportive community has on families in the transition to parenthood. She has a history of volunteerism with organizations dedicated to serving women and children. She is the grateful mother to two daughters and one son, all of whom continue to be lovingly supported by their “flock” formed at Birth Roots.
Silver Shea is a long time resident of Portland where she currently resides with her husband, 4 year-old daughter, cat and backyard chickens. She brings with her years of experience working in the non-profit community as an advocate for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. She has an education in the fine arts and a deep passion for all things design. She has most recently been pursuing the ever challenging career of stay-at- home mom, in which her Birthroots flock has played an invaluable supporting role. She looks forward to the chance to pay it forward to other new moms.
Board Emerita: Leigh D. Baker, D.O.
Leigh D. Baker, D.O., is an Osteopathic manipulation specialist who enjoys treating pregnant women, infants, and children. In 1989, as a family physician looking to improve pediatric advice, she took a Connection Parenting class and has been an advocate of Community Supported Parenting ever since. She has been an essential member of the the Birth Roots board since 2007. “I consider my work at Birth Roots public service to the health of our community. It’s a way of promoting mental wellness in the world that has incredible potential.”
Thank You to our Board Alumni!
Allison Gray, FHNP