Morgan Miles, Executive Director and Prenatal Coordinator
Morgan grew up in north Dallas and studied Social Work at the University of Texas. She has lived in Austin since 2010 and loves the mix of the busy city life with calm outdoor space. She currently works for LifeWorks in the Young Parents Program and is a private birth doula. In her free time, Morgan likes to practice yoga, play in the Greenbelt, read, and spend time with her boyfriend and her dog, Elephant.
Morgan took her first DONA workshop in 2012, where she was introduced to GALS by then-coordinator, Karli Hetherington. She attended her first GALS birth a year later with a Spanish-speaking mother. Morgan has witnessed firsthand how GALS volunteers can empower a woman– giving her confidence in herself, her ability to birth and her ability to mother. She hopes volunteers truly see the value in the support that we offer to mothers and families.Morgan was asked to become Volunteer Coordinator the following May and has held that position until 2016. She now is the Executive Director and is able to use her passion about GALS to better serve the community and keep the organization moving forward.
Rasalin Cooper, Volunteer Co-Coordinator
Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, I came into my own as a mother in Texas with little to no support. For almost a decade, the far west border town of El Paso taught me the power and healing of mothering for all women. While completing my college education, I served pregnant women regardless of socioeconomic status, race, religion, citizenship and orientation. My niche rapidly became assisting marginalized mothers in having their desired birth, postpartum and breastfeeding outcomes. Upon relocation to Austin, Giving Austin Labor Support was shared with me by a friend and midwife, who believed I needed to put my skill set to working in the Travis County area. For the past year and a half, I served in various programs under the GALS umbrella and have been immensely grateful for every experience this awesome organization has provided. I prefer to give really big hugs instead of handshakes, laugh really loud, am an avid gardener and love to see a mother come into her own! My hope is that all of our volunteers feel supported, competent and compelled during their time with GALS.
Caxcy Matlock, Volunteer Co-Coordinator
I am a birth and postpartum doula serving birthing families all over the Austin Texas area. My desire to give women knowledge and support as they bring new life into the world is why I love being a doula. My own personal birth experiences have given me a wide perspective as to what birth can look like for each family and for each woman. I have been witness to the transformative, empowering and enlightening journey that pregnancy and childbirth can have on a family. I hope to walk with families and GALS volunteers on that journey and be a light during the most magical time in your life.
I share my own journey with my loving and supportive husband and two energetic and loving sons.
Kisha Mungkornpanich, Co-coordinator for Travis County Sheriff's Office (TCSO)
Kisha is a Texas native who studied writing and English Literature at Texas State University. She is a certified birth and postpartum doula, but is currently working about five full-time jobs at home raising and homeschooling her two daughters. She is devoted to supporting women as they find their clarity and strength in pregnancy, birth, parenting, and life. Kisha volunteers with the GALS/TCSO program that meets monthly with incarcerated pregnant women. It's an opportunity for these women to be heard and acknowledged as they prepare to bring life into the world and find their voice as a new mother in the jail system.
Most days Kisha can be found hanging out with her husband and girls, stumbling through an online French lesson, or plotting her next attempt on a rock climbing route.
Mia Mendoza, TCSO Co-Coordinator
Mia knows how overwhelming navigating pregnancy, birth, and postpartum can be and believes that every mother deserves support as they access their own strength and intuition. Mia values the importance of information and strives for all mothers to have the tools they need to make informed decisions throughout their gestational year. As a mother of two, Mia has experience in prolonged labor, C-section, and VBAC. She is currently offering low-cost doula care as she completes certification.
Dell Gilliam, Dispatch Coordinator
Dell moved to Austin in 2003 and trained at the Lauterstein Conway Massage School and Clinic. She was born in New York and raised in Tennessee. She now works for the state of Texas. After attending her first birth as a doula, she knew she had found a calling.
She is a strong believer in the body’s incredible ability to perform very well without intervention under most circumstances. That the presence of a doula has been proven to lower perceived pain levels as well as decrease cesarean and other intervention risk gives her a great sense of purpose in her involvement with GALS.
Dell views her role as a doula to necessitate an individual approach, which may come in many forms, be it a reminder for self-advocacy, encouraging self-awareness, position suggestions, or simply being a calm presence in the midst of what is a very exciting, though sometimes anxiety provoking experience. Her ultimate goal is to serve the mother in whatever way she can to make the birth experience a more pleasant one for all involved.
Ri Wade, Statistics Coordinator
Ri was inspired to join GALS after the transformational birth of her daughter in 2016. She believes that all births are beautiful, and helps women claim their power as they transition into motherhood through physical, emotional, and informational support (www.austinbirth.com).
As statistics coordinator, Ri draws on a decade of experience in international development, post-secondary education, and birth demography, and holds a MA in Education and Anthropology from Columbia University. She is proud of the effectiveness of GALS volunteers, who work with families and community partners to carry on the doula tradition of improving labor and birth outcomes in the Austin area.
Nicole McCharen, President of the Board
Nicole McCharen is originally from Austin and has her degree in Social Work from the University of Texas. After completing her degree, she worked in foster care and in a prenatal education program for parenting teens through Any Baby Can. She began to see many mothers birthing alone or with a lack of support and heard about a doula program like GALS that initially inspired her to become a birth doula.
Nicole began working and training as a birth doula in 2008 and joined GALS soon after volunteering for births and eventually coordinating the ABC/ GALS Prenatal Program. She stopped working closely with GALS in 2013 before the arrival of her third child. She has also worked as a doula both independently and in a collective since 2008. She is a trained life coach through the Coaches Training Institute and began training in September 2015 and was certified in June 2017. She is the owner of Mama Bloom, which specializes in postpartum groups and individual coaching for parents. Nicole truly believes in the power of safe spaces for every mama to find the support they need during birth and postpartum and knows that as mamas thrive so do their families. Nicole loves the Austin community and enjoys life alongside her husband and three kids.
Carla Denison-Bickett, Treasurer
Carla was most recently the Chief Financial Officer of The Cara Program (a workforce development non-profit in Chicago) after joining in 2009 to serve as Director of Finance. Carla previously worked as a Vice President of Finance at Lehman Brothers Asset Management LLC and as the Controller for Lincoln Capital Management. She has extensive management, reporting and budgeting experience and managed financial reporting, accounting and government contracts. Carla was also responsible for technology and human resources as well as strategic planning for Cara and its social enterprises.
Carla was the Vice President and Treasurer for RefugeeOne (a refugee resettlement organization in Chicago) and a member of the IL CPA Society Non-Profit Organization Committee including former chair of the Corporate Governance subcommittee. Carla also was a member of Forefront’s Community of Practice on “Solving the Overhead Challenge” which assisted in the movement to change the perception of overhead for non-profit success.
Carla graduated from DePaul University with a BS in Accounting and has a MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. She is also a CPA registered in Illinois and a Certified Non-Profit Accounting Professional.
Carla is married with one child and lives outside of Austin in Buda TX.
Laura Lambert, Secretary
Laura grew up in rural Maryland, and has lived in Maine, Southern India, Massachusetts, and California before recently landing in Texas. Laura is currently Senior Director of Development for the University of California, Santa Barbara. Before working in higher education, Laura held various fundraising and administrative roles in international development and health and human services in the Boston area.
Laura’s professional work is defined by building and sustaining meaningful relationships through philanthropy---helping people explore, identify, and invest in their philanthropic passions, as well as assisting recipients of philanthropy articulate their gratitude.
Laura trained as a labor assistant with ALACE, which is now toLabor. She has attended the births of friends, and was supported by a doula during the birth of her son.
Laura graduated from Bates College with a BA in Women & Gender Studies and English and has a MA in Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education.
In her spare time, Laura explores Austin with her husband Paul and son Milo, spending many hours in the kids’ section at Bookpeople. Laura is an avid reader of fiction and memoir, and is inspired to knit hats for baby heads.
Elizabeth Schoenfeld, Board Member
Elizabeth is currently the Director of Research & Evaluations at locElizabeth earned her Ph.D. in Human Development & Family Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. She currently serves as the Director of Research & Evaluation at another nonprofit in Austin, where she oversees all evaluation initiatives for the agency’s 16 programs.
Dara Fields, Board Member
Dara is a Certified Nurse Midwife and owner of Midwifery of Austin. Dara trained at Columbia University in New York City. She has been a long time supporter of GALS during her time as a Nurse Midwife at Brackenridge Hospital.
Karli Hetherington, Board Member
Karli grew up in East Texas and graduated from The University of Texas at Tyler in 2008 with a degree in Journalism and Spanish. She and her husband moved to Austin in 2010 for his music and a change of scenery. She took a doula training workshop in 2011 and was soon connected to GALS where she attended many births at Brackenridge L&D in support . She served as Program Director from 2012-2014, Dispatch Coordinator from 2014-2015 and took some time away after the birth of her son in 2015. She served this organization as Board President, and is continuing as a board member until January 2018. She brings history and passion for our mission and the community GALS serves. Karli is a Certified Doula (TLCD) and practices with ATX Doulas.
Yazmin Costopoulos, Vice President of the Board
Yazmin is a birth doula, postpartum and Newborn Specialist, Educator, and Yoga Instructor. She volunteered for GALS as a doula and a translator. We welcome Yazmin to the Board of Directors as Vice President in January 2018!