Karli Hetherington, President of the Board
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 is excited to serve this organization again, now as Board President. She brings history and passion for our mission and the community GALS serves. Karli is a Certified Doula (TLCD) and practices with ATX Doulas.
Morgan Miles, Executive Director and Coordinator for Travis County Sheriff's Office (TCSO)
Morgan grew up in north Dallas and studies 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 was asked to become Volunteer Coordinator the following May and has held that position since. As volunteer Coordinator, Morgan facilitates orientations, keeps track of active volunteers, matches prenatal requests, and many other behind-the-scenes aspects of GALS. 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.
Julie Le, Volunteer Coordinator
Julie was born in Lexington, Kentucky, but claims Austin since she moved here when she was 3. In 2010, Julie earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from St. Edwards University. She's originally trained as an entomologist studying wasps, then moved on to research eye and mammary gland genetics in Houston. Currently, she works with the Texas Department of State Health Services as a microbiologist. In addition to her lab work, she's a birth doula with Mama Fox Doula. Julie trained through DONA last fall and is currently waiting on the final word on her certification! In her free time, Julie loves to camp, hike, road trip, read, and watch movies with her dog, Jasper and partner, Chuck. She also serves on the board of directors for Wheatsville Food Co-op.
Julie started volunteering with GALS in July 2015 and has since dedicated herself to the mission of empowering women and their families during labor despite income level. She believes that the more support a family has during their birth, the better the outcome is for the family and the entire community. As of April 2016, she is GALS' Volunteer Coordinator. As volunteer coordinator, she leads orientations, keeps track of active volunteers, and matches prenatal requests. Julie also volunteers with the Dispatch Team which monitors the dispatch line for on-call labor support. Her hope for GALS is to support more women and families in the Austin area and to expand programs to further support our incarcerated community, teens and immigrant families.
Hildara Araya, Any Baby Can Project Coordinator
Hildara Araya is a prenatal educator. Although her background lies in journalism and public relations, the birth world became her passion from the moment she had her first child. She is now the happy mother of three children.
Hildara is certified as an ICEA Childbirth Educator and currently teaches at Any Baby Can and People’s Community Clinic in Austin, Texas. She also lends her knowledge through embarazoyparto.about.com and mejormama.com, both Web sites dedicated to informing the Spanish-speaking community about pregnancy, birth and motherhood.
As a GALS volunteer, Hildara is also coordinator of the GALS/ABC partnership, which seeks to offer prenatal and birthing support to mothers enrolled in ABC programs and services.
Kisha Mungkornpanich, 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.
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.
Yazmin Costopoulo, Translation Services
Yazmin was born and raised in Mexico City, and comes from a multicultural background. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and a Master’s degree in education. While living in Mexico, she had the opportunity to work alongside different groups of indigenous women, from whom she learned about the tremendous significance of the support a pregnant woman can receive from her community of fellow women. Since then, she always longed to be a part of such sisterhood. Hence, she became a doula. She offers mom and her partner a personalized toolbox of strategies to foster the birthing experience that best fits them. She supports women’s choices and encourages them to find their (informed) voice regarding whatever they envision for their body, their baby, and their labor. Yazmin also offers yogic and basic Ayurvedic self-care tools to prepare for labor, as well as postpartum yoga for mom and baby. Yazmin is a natural space holder. She offers a serene, loving and grounded presence.
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.