Our Team

Jocelyn Alt

Founder / Doula / Childbirth Educator

Jocelyn is a certified doula and childbirth educator with over 7 years of experience working with expecting and new parents. Jocelyn trained as a doula with The Organization of Labor Assistants and Birth Option Resources and has also studied with leading midwife Ina May Gaskin. Prior to founding Ohana, Jocelyn worked in a volunteer capacity as a doula alongside a career in health care policy and strategy. She was a Senior Health Policy Advisor in Congress during the development of health care reform and wrote sections of the new law. She ran the volunteer doula program at the Washington, DC Birth Center for three years and currently serves on the Board of Chicago Volunteer Doulas. In 2012, Jocelyn decided to pursue her passion for supporting expecting and new parents full time by creating Ohana.

Jocelyn holds a BA from Yale University and is currently pursuing an MBA at the Kellogg School of Management. In addition to working with women and their partners during pregnancy and the new parenthood stages, Jocelyn enjoys hiking, salsa dancing, and hosting dinner parties. She lives in Evanston, IL with her husband, Drew Alt.

Languages spoken: English, Spanish, French

jocelyn@ohanaparents.com

Giselle De la Rosa

Doula

Giselle has worked as health educator with community health centers and crisis pregnancy centers in the Chicagoland area and with a women’s organization in a favela outside Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She’s a strong believer in the transformative power of support and education in helping ALL families get off to a healthy start regardless of age, structure, parenting philosophies or financial means. She trained as a doula with Doulas of North America (DONA) and has fallen in love with birth support. Giselle holds a BA from the University of Illinois at Chicago and plans on attending medical school. A native of Colombia, she has lived in six countries and enjoys learning about new cultures. Her other passions include dancing, reading and eating delicious pastries. Giselle lives in the North Center neighborhood of Chicago.

Languages spoken: English, Spanish, Portuguese

giselle@ohanaparents.com

Caroline Taromino

Doula 

Caroline’s passion for working with pregnant women stems from her background in clinical psychology, where she researched the transformational process of pregnancy and motherhood. Caroline worked with pregnant women in New York City’s Bronx neighborhood and was inspired to train to become a doula with DONA in 2012. Caroline strives to empower every woman before, during, and after the birth process, and believes in the transcendent power that every woman can achieve with a supportive birth experience.

Caroline is a registered yoga teacher; she’s especially interested in using visualization, meditation, and breathing techniques as aids throughout the labor process. Caroline holds a BA in psychology from the University of Chicago, and an MA in clinical psychology from Columbia University. Caroline lives in Hyde Park, and loves practicing yoga, cooking and spending time with her two cats.

Languages spoken: English, Spanish

caroline@ohanaparents.com

Nicki Worden

Doula / Massage Therapist

Nicki is a DONA-trained doula and is blessed and honored to be supporting women and their families to have the birth experience they desire. She considers her passion for supporting, educating, and empowering women and families a calling which was born out of the unique birthing experiences of her own three children. Nicki’s birth stories include personal experience of Cesarean-section, VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean), and natural birth. Each of these experiences impacted her life differently and she understands firsthand the importance of having a knowledgeable and supportive presence throughout the birth process.

In addition to being a doula, Nicki is a Licensed Massage Therapist and while working in the chiropractic field for the last 9 years has developed and cultivated an understanding of holistic care and has specialized in prenatal massage for the last 4 years. Nicki makes her home in Plainfield, IL with her husband, Corey, and their three children, Sage, Skylyn, and Sedona.

nicki@ohanaparents.com

Grace Lombardo

Doula

Grace’s passion for doula work runs in her family; her mother has been a practicing birth doula for over 15 years. Grace’s doula journey began after the birth of her first son, Luca, in 2008. Within the following two years, Grace became a certified birth doula with DONA International and welcomed her second child, Cecilia. In 2011, Grace started her own doula practice and became known as the Diamond Doula as she had previously spent more than a decade in management for Tiffany & Co. and Harry Winston.

Grace’s doula philosophy is one of empowerment, advocacy and compassion. She believes that every woman deserves the birth she desires and is humbled to join families on this journey. It is an honor each and every time she is invited to a baby’s very first ‘birth’day party.

Grace and her husband Joe live in Northbrook and recently welcomed their third child, Enzo, in late 2013. Watch for Grace cruising around the North Shore in her ‘Doula-Mobile’, with license plate DOULA II.

Languages Spoken: English, Italian

grace@ohanaparents.com

Lauren Durr

Doula

Lauren’s journey to become a doula began when her mother gave birth to her at her childhood home. The story of her own entrance into the world sparked a curiosity in the birthing process and a deep love for helping others create their unique birthing experience. Lauren was drawn to babies at a young age, knowing she wanted to do birth work before starting a family of her own. She now has two young daughters whose births were very different, but equally life changing experiences. Lauren views birth as a rite of passage, something sacred.

Lauren is also a yoga teacher and holds a degree in recreation. She lives in Highland Park, and spends her free time on the beach and in the garden with her family.

lauren@ohanaparents.com

Joanne Fortuna

Childbirth Education Teacher

Joanne is a Childbirth Educator, Doula, & Placenta Encapsulation Specialist. She is also the mother of two creative girls, ages 10 and 5. It is through her own birth experiences that she learned how important it is to have the right support people while birthing. She believes that every person deserves evidence-based care and is committed to helping families gather all information necessary to make informed decisions, and feel supported and empowered throughout the process. When she is not attending births or teaching classes, she enjoys spending time with family, homeschooling her daughters, and expanding her birth knowledge through classes and trainings.

joanne@ohanaparents.com

Sarah Weisz

Childbirth Education Teacher

Sarah is a second generation childbirth educator, who grew up visiting her mother’s Lamaze class and watching birth videos. She worked in the field of education for over a decade, teaching middle school, running programs for teachers, leading youth service-learning initiatives, and writing grants. She holds a BA in sociology from Harvard University and an MA in education from Teachers College at Columbia University. Sarah grew up in Evanston, and now lives in Lincoln Square with her husband and two young children, born in 2009 and 2011. She loves to sew, bake, and watch British detective shows.

sarah@ohanaparents.com

Sang Yup Lee

Dad & Baby Group Leader

Sang is an attorney and the father of a son born in 2012. He and his wife share the dream of being good parents and spouses and both pursuing their careers. As much joy as his son brought to his life, Sang wished that he had a peer support group of fellow dads during the first year of his son’s life, but there was nothing like Ohana available in his community. In 2014, he joined Ohana in appreciation of the vision of this group and his sense of empathy and camaraderie for the dads whom the Dad & Baby Groups serve.

Sang received a BA in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame and a JD from the University of Notre Dame School of Law. He has worked for several legal services agencies and interned for the Honorable Judge Mary Yu with the Superior Court of Washington state. Besides working as a Dad & Baby Group Facilitator, he currently works as Of Counsel for Progressive Law Group LLC on class action consumer and employment law cases, and as an Affiliated Attorney with The Law Office of Kelli Dudley on fair housing cases. When he is not working or spending time with his son, you may see him out blues dancing or swing dancing with his wife.

Languages Spoken: English, Korean

sang@ohanaparents.com

Andy Ross, LPC

Dad & Baby Group Leader

Andy is a husband and father who loves parenting and considers it the most challenging yet rewarding adventure he has undertaken. Andy is also a Licensed Professional Counselor and holds a Masters of Pastoral Counseling from Loyola University. Andy grew up in the bush of Kenya among the Maasai people, which shaped his views on the importance of family bonds, intergenerational community, including children in our natural rhythms, and the wonder of nature. Andy loves to learn and teach practical insights from psychology, brain research, and traditional wisdom that can help us create more joyful homes. For example, he has come to believe that one of our most fundamental needs as children (and adults) is for people to express that they are “glad to be with us.” When he is not working or washing dishes, Andy loves to wrestle with his toddler, do handyman things, try to play the guitar, play soccer, and get into the outdoors.

andy@ohanaparents.com

Peggy Healy, LCSW, IBCLC

Mom & Baby Group Leader

Peggy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).  Peggy began working with moms and babies as a postpartum doula over a decade ago. She continues to pursue this passion in her work as a perinatal social worker at Evanston Hospital where she works with high-risk obstetric patients and their families, and facilitates the teen prenatal education group. In her role as a lactation consultant, Peggy has worked for the past few years with Cyndi Guzman and The Art of Breastfeeding, visiting women and their babies in their homes to provide breastfeeding support. In addition, Peggy has a private therapy practice, specializing in supporting women with perinatal mood issues.  Peggy is the proud mother of five teen and adult children and the grandmother of one.

Shawna Mertens

Mom & Baby Group Leader

Shawna strongly believes that community support is essential in getting families off to a great start. She has experienced the importance of community in her life after the births of her children, and as she continues to raise them alongside friends and family. Her passion for supporting new families stems from her own experiences as a parent, and from witnessing the experiences of others. Shawna has been a Mom’s Group leader since the birth of her first child, and has loved sharing the journey of motherhood with her fellow group members.

Shawna is also a professional photographer, and has a degree in professional photography from Columbia College Chicago. She lives in Chicago with her husband, Tim, and their two children, Levi and Adeline. Shawna loves anything food-related, especially great coffee!

shawna@ohanaparents.com

Brenda Shover

Parenting Coach / Mom & Baby Group Leader

Brenda has over 20 years of experience working with infants, young children and their families. She holds an Illinois State Board of Education certification in Early Childhood Education (birth – age 8) and an endorsement in Special Education from National Louis University. For 12 years, she was the director of a preschool. She then decided to focus more on individual support and received her certification as a life coach through Life Purpose Institute of San Diego, CA, specializing in work with parents of young children.

Brenda’s passion is to partner with parents and empower them in all aspects of raising their families, encompassing the whole person and respecting the individuality of all. She is the mother of four adult children, two daughters and two stepsons, and is a proud grandma of four: three boys and a princess. Brenda lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her loving husband and elderly, but still spunky English Springer Spaniel, Maddie.

brenda@ohanaparents.com

Advisory Group

Julie Harrison

Certified Nurse Midwife

Julie is a Certified Nurse Midwife with 35 years of experience providing health care to women. She was the Director of Midwife Service at Saints Mary & Elizabeth Medical Center for 12 years. Julie retired from midwifery in 2012, and now continues to be involved in the field through her role on the Ohana Advisory Group and other activities. Julie is the mother of two grown children.

Sue Gottschall

Child Development Specialist / Doula / Childbirth Educator / Lactation Consultant

Sue has worked in child development for over 40 years, and holds a masters degree in this field from the University of Chicago. She is a birth and postpartum certified doula, a founding member and past Director of Chicago Volunteer Doulas, a certified lactation consultant, and a childbirth educator. Her goal is to empower all parents, especially mothers, as they begin their journey into parenthood and all the joys and challenges that it brings. Sue is the mother of four grown children and six grandchildren who continue to delight her as they change and grow.

Paul Leamon

Entrepreneur

Paul is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for shaping innovative ideas into successful, high growth enterprises through his company Venturenetix. His most recent success, Wellfount, is a venture capital backed, healthcare services company that has grown from seed concept in 2006 to employing over 100 staff across 9 states of operation today. His previous experience also includes almost 10 years of work in healthcare/business services consulting and investment banking with Booz Allen Hamilton and Wachovia Securities (now Wells Fargo Securities). He holds a BS in Public Affairs from Indiana University and an MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management.