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Informed Beginnings is a hybrid board consisting of current members of the National organization.  A monthly meeting is scheduled to discuss all aspects of the cooperative to assure that it is current, stays on mission, and is successful.


Deb Lawrence, President
Streamwood, IL
Before she had kids, Deb taught high-school home economics, earned a master's degree in Family Studies, and coordinated the education department at a small liberal arts college. Deb began teaching childbirth classes in January 1996. By 1999, students were asking her to be their doula. She began supporting births, and got further training and DONA certification. She is honored to have supported around 400 births, so far. She was a founding member and treasurer for a Chicago-area doula networking organization. She has 3 young adult children.

Dorene Vaughn, Social Media Coordinator 
Palmdale, CA
Dorene has been married to her high school sweetheart since 1981. Together they have six children, five born naturally and one by Cesarean after a natural labor.  All six were breastfed. In 1988 she became a childbirth educator, and is now a certified Informed Beginnings educator. Dorene has volunteered for over twenty years at her children’s schools. She enjoys baking and has won many awards for it over the years, so (much to their enjoyment) she bakes for her students each week.

Pam Cowles, Secretary
Bloomfield, IA
Pam had two unmedicated hospital births and three home births simply because she had heard it was best for her babies. When her children began having babies, she became aware of the climate of childbirth in the U.S., where women who want a natural birth have to know how to achieve it. After supporting one of her daughters during pregnancy and labor, she immediately began working toward her doula and childbirth educator certifications, and is passionate about helping couples have joyful births and healthy babies. As well as being a Board Member, Pam also performs administrative duties for Informed Beginnings.

Pam Llewellyn, Secretary
Laurel, MD
Pam became certified to teach natural childbirth in 1988, and began unofficial doula work in 1989, by attending the births of friends and students. By 1993, she had become an active practicing doula in the MD/DC/VA area. In 1996, Pam began working as a midwives' assistant for BirthCare and Women's Health (Alexandria, VA), and she completed DONA training in 2002. During her teaching years Pam taught close to 300 couples, and she feels herself blessed to have attended over 800 births as a doula and birth assistant.

Tara Rice, Chairperson, Forums Administrator
Farmington, NY
Tara became interested in childbirth education during her first pregnancy in 2001. Though she first sought out a natural birth because she felt it was in her baby’s best interests, she was surprised to discover that natural birth was good for mothers, too. She became certified to teach childbirth classes in 2005, and also began attending births as a doula. Tara is honored to serve on Informed Beginnings’ board of directors, and is passionate about the good that this organization can do by training teachers to provide evidence-based, contemporary, compassionate, and comprehensive childbirth education.

Ellen Seebacher, Member at Large
Berlin, MA 
Ellen has been teaching natural childbirth in Massachusetts since 2001, following a career in teaching and writing about technical subjects. She has had two very different births with nurse-midwives, the first in a hospital, the second at a birth center. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago (in behavioral sciences/psychology) and several birth-related certifications. She's also been through training as a homebirth midwife, and though she hasn't apprenticed yet, she still hopes to when her kids are older!

Laura Barsay-McKay, Member at Large

Chicago, IL
Laura is the newest member of the board and is honored to be working within such a caring and informed childbirth organization.  Laura is deeply committed to making sure that parents in this incredibly transformative, vulnerable, and extraordinary period in their lives are supported and nurtured.  She works as a birth and postpartum doula, childbirth educator, and PE.  Laura has had two births of her own; one hospital birth attended by an obstetrician with all the bells and whistles/interventions and her second a peaceful midwife attended birth at a birth center. 

Angie Helwich, Member at Large
Homer Glen, IL
Angie is a married mother of 3 children, 2 boys and 1 girl. She has been a certified professional birth doula for 3 years and trained with Informed Beginnings in 2015. Angie feels educating and supporting families during pregnancy and birth, while giving families options and choices, will ultimately become the foundation for their parenting experience. In her spare time, Angie enjoys running and hiking outside, creating art, and spending time with her family.

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