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The CBI Team
Adele is Italian and was always passionate about different languages and cultures. At 18 she travelled to the UK where she met a Korean boy who stole her heart, and they started a long-distance relationship while she completed her education as a conference interpreter and translator for English and Chinese. After graduation, Adele moved to China on a scholarship, and went on to spend several years working in marketing and administration for international companies.
While her work was demanding and exciting, Adele always felt it wasn’t meaningful, and wanted to start a family. She married her sweetheart and moved to South Korea; a few months later Adele became pregnant and, living in a town away from the cosmopolitan Korean capital, was faced with the harsh reality that health care in her area tended to be high-intervention. Adele found she had to fight for her right to have the birth she envisioned and probably wouldn’t have made it without extensively educating herself, as well as the invaluable support of a doula. She decided to pursue certification as a birth doula and childbirth educator, and chose CBI, as its focus on reflective practice resonated with her.
Ever since, Adele has been providing support to couples in Korea during such crucial and challenging times in their lives as pregnancy and birth, and believes she’s found her true calling. Adele began working as a trainer for CBI in 2015. In addition to her birth professional qualifications, Adele trained as a HypnoBirthing Practitioner and has a Master of Arts in Conference Interpreting. Adele also speaks Italian, English, and Mandarin and is a mother of two.
Bekah’s passion for birth support work began in 2009 after she had a daughter by cesarean. She began attending International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) meetings faithfully in that same year, finding inspiration and solace as she and the women there shared and supported each other. Over the next two years, a desire to support women in the childbearing journey steadily grew in her heart, and she began looking at training organizations. After her beautifully supported, midwife attended home birth after cesarean (HBAC) in 2011, she knew she wanted to work in birth support, and Childbirth International was perfect for her needs. She loved the multi-cultural perspective and high quality of the learning program. In early 2012 Bekah began attending births, completing certification as a birth and postpartum doula later that year. She’s part of a fantastic doula group, Birth Chattanooga, but gets to spend most of her time with her four children.
Bekah finds it a privilege to be part of the global, growing birth community! She has been a trainer with CBI since 2015 and is active in her community, serving as a leader of her local Doula Share. Bekah also has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications.
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, USA, Bethany has had a lifetime love for the outdoors. Some of her favorite activities are camping and gardening, which she is often found doing with her 5 kids who are aged teenager to toddler. Bethany came to Childbirth International as a student, hoping to one day become a birth doula. As she began working her way through the 4 courses, a whole new world opened up and she quickly discovered that her greatest love was in working with postpartum and breastfeeding women.
Bethany loves joining women on their journeys into motherhood, helping to educate and support them to make their own choices, and watching them discover who they are as a parent. She has a background in parenting education where her philosophy is that learning happens in a relationship. She brings that relationship-focused learning style to CBI in her role as a trainer. Bethany really enjoys connecting with her students and creating space for them to branch out and explore what being a birth professional means to them. She’s proud to be a trainer with Childbirth International!
Carmen has been in love with birth since she was very little. It started around the time her mother was pregnant with her little sister. “I was two years old and was walking around the house with dolls in my shirt pretending to be pregnant too. I didn’t stop there though; I even went so far as to hide in my room and ‘give birth’ to my babies. Ever since then I wanted to do something for birthing women.” When Carmen discovered doulas and the amazing work they do, she knew that it was what she was meant to do. She has since completed all four CBI certifications and offers Childbirth Education, Doula services, Postpartum services, Breastfeeding services, Mother Blessings, and Placenta Encapsulation to families in her area.
Carmen is the proud mommy of two beautiful boys and one adorable little cat. She has been married to her amazing husband since 2009. They live in the Metro Detroit area of Michigan and spend a lot of our time cheering on their local sports teams. Carmen loves reading, watching horror movies, sewing, crocheting, or doing pretty much any crafting, and spending as much time as possible with her family. She has volunteered for the Detroit Improving Birth rally, coordinated the Big Latch On for Southeast Michigan for three years, is a member of Metro Detroit Doulas, and founder of the Catholic Birth Network. In addition to her CBI qualifications Carmen has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing.
Accounts & Finance
With a background and qualifications in administrative and finance roles, Fiona joined Childbirth International in 2019 and is inspired by the team she works with. “Just an amazing and dynamic group of people!”. Fiona is looking forward to the continuation of the constantly evolving and supportive environment that is CBI.
Having lived in different locations in Australia and New Zealand she now resides in Australia, an hour north of Sydney. Parent to an adult son and a small, yet demanding dog.
Enjoying involvement and education within her community Fiona has been a volunteer for many years in various positions. Including: Skipper of a rescue vessel, Community First Responder for NSW Ambulance and Liaison Representative for the state Maritime Authority.
Fran realized her calling to work with pregnant and birthing women after working with a wonderful independent midwife in Newcastle, UK. Not long afterward she moved to Bangkok, Thailand with her husband and undertook her training with CBI. Training as a doula with CBI opened so many doors for Fran and she has loved becoming part of the community of birth workers in Bangkok, whilst still remaining connected to CBI birth workers worldwide!
Fran currently has her own birth doula practice and coordinates a bumps and babies support group for pregnant women and new mothers. Many of the families she works with are expats and they often find that maternity care in Thailand is very different from their home countries. Although they may initially feel overwhelmed, watching families exploring their options for birth and going on to advocate for themselves and their babies fills Fran with happiness.
When the opportunity to take the trainer program came up she knew she had to grab it with both hands! Fran is excited to be on this new path as a CBI trainer, playing a small, supporting role in the journeys of students as they move into birth work. Within her local community, Fran is the coordinator for the Bangkok Mothers and Babies International’s (BAMBI) Bumps and Babies Group and the New Moon Postpartum Support Group. BAMBI is a non-profit organization which is part of the Childbirth and Breastfeeding Foundation of Thailand (CBFT). In addition to her Childbirth International qualifications, Fran has a Diploma in Health Science and is a certified HypnoBirthing practitioner.
Director of Communication and Trainer
Johanna lives with her wife in Southern Ontario. She was not always interested in pregnancy and birth but started on the path to being a birth professional with grand plans to enter midwifery school. Preparing to apply to school really inspired her to look at other paths and options available, which is where she found Childbirth International.
“I’ve learned so much about the birth, obstetrics, and midwifery worlds since going down this path; I never expected to be where I am now!” Johanna believes that Childbirth International is remarkable in its focus on reflective practice and how students are encouraged to explore their biases in order to better support their clients. Johanna could not be more proud to be a trainer for CBI!
In addition to her qualifications with CBI, Johanna also has a Diploma in Animal Care and is a Certified Bereavement Doula. Johanna and her wife have recently become the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl.
Curriculum Development Coordinator
Kelly wasn’t always interested in birth. She began her career as a certified teacher but quickly realized that teaching adults was more her speed. After taking leave from teaching elementary school to have her own children, everything changed!
Kelly became immersed in the world of parenting and bonding through breastfeeding. Her new passion for birth and breastfeeding redirected her teaching career on a very rewarding path: educating new parents about birth, breastfeeding and bonding with infants.
CBI played a pivotal role in Kelly’s changing career path. After completing the Childbirth Educator and Breastfeeding Counselor courses, she became a Trainer for CBI in 2011. In 2018, Kelly stepped into another role with CBI as the Curriculum Development Coordinator. In addition to her work with CBI, she is a Certified Health Coach, La Leche League Leader and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Kelly also has a Bachelor of History, a Master of Education in literacy and teaching English as a second language, and a Master of Education in Elementary teaching from University of Cincinnati in Ohio, USA. She is currently teaching local classes and supporting new families with lactation services. Kelly has co-authored several peer-reviewed papers in the field of lactation and is currently working on several other research projects.
Kelly and her family move frequently, having lived in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Arizona, and more! She and her husband have a passion for healthy living and thoroughly enjoy cooking, travel and biking.
Trainer and Trainer Mentor
Kristie’s passion for all things birth took off when she began studying midwifery in her late teens. She married young and hasn’t stopped birthing babies of her own long enough to pick up that interest again! Kristie is a wife and the mother of eight children. Each of her births profoundly affected how she views herself and understands others, fueling her passion to build relationships with parents and provide support during the delicate and defining seasons of pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and breastfeeding.
Though Kristie has supported families for many years, her studies with CBI gave her more confidence and grounding, providing the skills she was looking for to communicate compassionately and effectively.
In addition to her work as a CBI Trainer, Kristie offers doula support, classes, and in-home consultations in her local community. Her birth and breastfeeding teaching skills have been enhanced through volunteer opportunities in high schools and crisis resource centers supporting teenage and single mothers. Her life is very much centered around mothering and she thinks of her work as an extension of that – an opportunity to nurture, encourage, and learn alongside others. Kristie has been a birth doula since 2008 and a postpartum doula since 2012.
Lynne’s first vocation on finishing school was as a birth supporter. In the decades since she has remained passionate about women having a voice and advocating for themselves. Travel opportunities have enabled Lynne to experience a variety of cultures and see firsthand that we all share the same aspirations for birth regardless of where we live.
Working closely with CBI since its inception, first as a trainer, then in administration and now managing student services, Lynne takes pride in being part of an organization recognized as a front-runner in doula training.
Rural Tasmania is where Lynne calls home. In her free time she is an artist and writer, who enjoys travelling and time spent in the garden.
Founder and Board Director
Nikki first became interested (obsessed?) with pregnancy and birth following the miscarriage of her first pregnancy. She found the lack of informed choice, the poor communication, and the lack of support all just made the experience that much more difficult. She knew there had to be a better way.
When she returned to the UK, Nikki had her first baby in a beautiful waterbirth with midwives. This inspired her to then work with a newly established miscarriage support group, advocating for better care for those experiencing loss in pregnancy. Shortly afterward, a friend talked her into training as a childbirth educator. Clients began to ask her to support them during their births and she discovered a whole new world. She was smitten!
Nikki later moved to Singapore with her family and established the first doula practice there. Working with doctors and nurses who’d never heard of a doula, she realized the importance of effective communication and reflective practice. Clients began asking her if they could train to do the job she did, and Childbirth International was born. Originally the courses were taught face-to-face. However, the Internet had just become available and Nikki could see that there were people across the world who wanted to become doulas and childbirth educators, but the training was out of their reach – for financial or geographic reasons. Being in the midst of studying for a Bachelor of Nursing Science degree by distance, Nikki realized that online training could open up opportunities to thousands of people.
Nikki has worked in curriculum development for the past 23 years. She developed the initial CBI curriculum and continues to write courses for CBI. Nikki also developed a high school curriculum framework for the Green School – an innovative and sustainability focused school set in the jungle of Bali that offers alternatives to the traditional approach to school. She has spent the last three years working on a curriculum framework for the training of birth and breastfeeding professionals that will be launched in August 2019. This will be the first curriculum framework that emphasizes the competencies that birth and breastfeeding professionals achieve through their training and experience.
Nikki is passionate about the importance of birth professionals learning how to communicate effectively with clients and using these skills to build relationships with their peers and caregivers. Having real skills to pass on to new families meant that they are able to make informed decisions that are right for them, long after we’ve been involved in their journey. Those working in this field need to have a strong support base to enable them to cope with the emotional nature of our work and develop a network of other birth professionals who come from diverse backgrounds and cultures to give us a breadth of knowledge and perspectives.
Nikki’s vision for CBI has always been to provide a global network of highly qualified and passionate birth professionals who can truly make a difference in the lives of the families they work with. When not supporting our incredibly talented team, Nikki can be found relaxing with friends, enjoying a glass of red wine, or reading research for fun! After a lifetime of avoiding exercise, Nikki has recently started yoga and kickboxing as a way to manage too much good food and wine! With 26 years of experience in supporting people through pregnancy, birth, and parenting, Nikki is stretching her wings and is currently studying a Masters in Human Rights and is enjoying applying this learning through the lens of reproductive rights and seeking out ways to contribute toward improving maternal and infant health globally.
Trainer and Course Author
Unlike some of her colleagues, Sandy had absolutely no interest in pregnancy or birth until she had her own first baby. Then things changed. Lots of things! Sandy had worked in publishing until that time, but found that going through her own first pregnancy and birth opened up a whole new world for her. Sandy couldn’t get over this ‘new’ idea that there were many perspectives out there about pregnancy and birth, and she had the opportunity to decide what she wanted, along with her husband, instead of just expecting to be told how things would go. And so she left publishing behind, and trained as a birth doula and childbirth educator with Childbirth International.
Now, more than a decade later, Sandy is expanding her fascination with birth into graduate studies in health communication and public health. She’s particularly focused on decision-making in health care – and it all began, and continues, with CBI!
Sandy is one of our longest serving trainers (since 2004). In addition to her Childbirth International qualifications, Sandy has a Bachelor of Arts with honors, a Master of Arts, a Masters of Science, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health.
CBI trainers come from all walks of life. They have a wealth of training and experience in birth and breastfeeding work. All CBI trainers have completed the Childbirth International courses themselves and understand the challenges of studying by distance learning. They’ve also worked as birth professionals, some for more than 30 years, and run successful businesses. They’re leaders and activists in their own communities, striving to improve the health and well-being of mothers and babies across the world. You can read more about each trainer in the team biographies below.
Your trainer will be working from home, just like you. She may be living nearby, or she may be living in a different country from you. She’ll understand the challenges of communication across different time zones. She’ll be offering you her unique perspectives based on the work she has done within her own community.
All CBI trainers have previously completed and graduated from the Childbirth International course for which they provide training! Graduates who show exceptional reflection and communication skills, together with a high level of competency in their work and extensive experience in their community, are invited to apply for a trainer position. We don’t accept requests from students to become trainers – they’re always invited because of the skills they demonstrated while training.
CBI trainers go through a stringent interview process. As a group, we review each candidate to determine their potential fit with the team and their abilities in working with clients, community and future students.
When a potential trainer is offered a position they commit to a six-week-long training program. This introduces them to the assignments they’ll be required to review and assess. They learn how to provide effective feedback to students, how to resolve problems, and how to guide and motivate students through flexible learning.
Once they become a trainer, they are part of a strong team and have extensive peer group support. After their training, every new trainer is mentored by a more experienced team member for up to six months. This provides them with the opportunity to develop their skills in giving feedback to students and continually reflect on the work they are doing.
Once a month the whole training team participates in continuing education. Covering diverse topics on pregnancy, birth and parenting, as well as exploring adult education and distance learning techniques. CBI trainers always striving to improve skills and knowledge through continuing education.
The way CBI trainers support and guide you is one of the things that truly sets us apart. Usually, a trainer runs a workshop for a couple of days, and then you are on your own to complete all the certification requirements with minimal support. This is NOT the case with CBI!
Your trainer is with you on your journey from beginning to end. They will contact you within the first few days of you starting and introduce themselves. They will see every assignment that you submit, and will give you guidance on each one. They will continue to support you for as long as it takes for you to complete your course and will still be there for any questions you have or for guidance after you graduate.
We believe the assignments you submit are crucial to your growth and development. They’re not simply a checklist that will be marked of by a nameless person in our admin team. Your trainer will give you suggestions and feedback on how you are progressing. They are invested in your learning and truly cares about your success. From time to time, your trainer might be unavailable to review an assignment. In this case, another trainer will provide you with feedback so you are not waiting.
My CBI training changed my life and my whole way of thinking. The skills I learned impact all facets of my life. This is the best job I have ever had!