In collaboration with our PSI volunteers, Office Administrator and the Board of Directors, Wendy is responsible for developing and implementing sustainable services towards fulfillment of the PSI mission, vision and purpose. She serves as a liaison with other groups and organizations, and works on PSI outreach projects to strengthen our support, education, and advocacy network.
BIO: I am the Executive Director of Postpartum Support International (PSI) and live in Portland Oregon. I began my career as a psychotherapist in 1987, and started specializing in perinatal mental health after recovering from postpartum depression and anxiety in 1994. I founded Oregon’s first perinatal mental health support organization Baby Blues Connection in 1994, became a PSI support coordinator in 1997, and was hired as the PSI Executive Director in 2009. I work with providers, public health systems, schools, communities, and hospitals to develop and provide perinatal mental health training curriculum and services. I provide consultation and training for others who are developing their own perinatal support services, and I love to help them formulate the particular model of support that can be sustainable in their local community. I am committed to listening, learning, and improving our capacity to serve all families who need our help. I am extremely proud to be part of PSI and to work with such courageous and passionate people around the world.
Carrie Banks holds a B.A. in Environmental Studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a M.S. in Parks Recreation and Tourism Management from North Carolina State University. She has over 15 years of experience in nonprofits, including 5 years as an executive director. After the birth of her first child, Carrie was diagnosed with postpartum depression, anxiety and OCD. Since making her recovery, Carrie has switched gears from environmental advocacy to perinatal mental health. She started out as a PSI volunteer; coordinating under-served areas in North Carolina. She is also a founding board member of PSI-NC. Carrie was hired by PSI in 2017 and she manages over 300 Support Coordinators in the USA and Canada. She also manages the State Chapters program and PSI’s online support groups. She lives in North Carolina, USA with her husband, 2 kiddos and a wild puppy.
I have a passion for strategic thinking and creative communication along with a drive to learn about different aspects of mental health. Prior to coming to PSI, I have worked in the healthcare field for about 5 years analyzing media outreach, researching health outcomes, developing public and private partnerships within the US and globally and managing web-based content and social media platforms.
I have a BS in Neuroscience from Georgetown University
Melissa Bentley is the PSI Support Coordinator Manager and is passionate about connecting people to support, resources and information.
She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and began as a PSI Coordinator in 2015, helping those in Austin and across Texas. She is President-Elect on the Board of Directors for a local nonprofit, Pregnancy and Postpartum Health Alliance of Texas, where she developed a Therapy Voucher Program for new mothers unable to afford counseling services. She is the President of the PSI Texas Chapter, and is excited to see how the team can help improve services available across the state.
Melissa runs a weekly in-person support group for pregnant and postpartum moms, and co-leads PSI’s Online Support Group for NICU parents. Melissa lives with her husband, two amazing sons and one adorable pup in Austin, Texas.
¡Hola! I’m Karla Cardoza and I live in Sherman Oaks, California. I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice whose diverse, holistic, and multicultural therapeutic approach offers teens, women, and parents a space to work collaboratively toward discovering their inner strengths and living a more joyful life.
I am also genuinely devoted to empowering female adolescents and women to embrace various parts of themselves in pursuit of richer, more fulfilling lives and am passionate about holding a sacred space for discovering a resilient, insightful, healthier and empathetic version of the whole person.
As the Membership Development Coordinator, Edith connects with members on their benefits, manages processes such as renewals, and manages membership data systems and reporting.
BIO: I started working for PSI in December 2017. I have been enjoying getting to know the PSI community! My background is primarily in the nonprofit sector (for 20+ years). I’m also a parent, artist, and activist, and do a bit of puttering in my garden on the occasional non-rainy day here in Portland. My childhood was split between Illinois and Japan, so I appreciate how PSI reaches across the country and across the world.
Dr. Joanna Cole is the Curriculum Director for PSI. She is a clinical psychologist and manager of psychosocial programs at the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment (CFDT) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She provides psychotherapy to pregnant women diagnosed with fetal anomalies and helps families emotionally prepare for different stages in the medical experience, from pregnancy and birth and through the newborn intensive care course. She provides options and grief counseling with couples struggling with difficult decisions or loss, and is a leader within the Perinatal Palliative and Bereavement Care Program, committed to helping families plan for and cope with the knowledge that their baby might not survive after birth.
I am a Maternal Mental Health Advocate and two-time survivor of postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety/OCD and postpartum PTSD. I was truly excited to become a mother and had a perfect pregnancy with our first. All of that changed and my life was forever altered after an incredibly traumatic delivery where everything that could go wrong – did.
I knew nothing about postpartum depression or anxiety and thought only our war veterans could suffer with PTSD. No one ever told me how incredibly common these disorders are and I suffered undiagnosed for four very long years. After being diagnosed and fully recovering, I’ve spent the last several years working and volunteering full-time to educate other mothers and families about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs), with the hopes that no one will have to suffer as long as I did.
One of my favorite quotes is by Mark Twain when he said, “The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” I am thrilled to be a part of the PSI family and am blessed to have found my “why.”
In my spare time I love to bake goodies, spend time with our friends and watch our kiddos play baseball/softball. My husband and I have two children and just celebrated out 18th anniversary.
Birdie Gunyon Meyer is an RN with a Master’s Degree in Psychology and Counseling. She is the Founder of the Perinatal Mood Disorders Program at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is Certified in Perinatal Mental Health, and is an internationally known expert and speaker.
She is a Past-President and Past-Chair of Education and Training for Postpartum Support International and currently is the Director of Certification. PSI is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to helping those suffering from perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
Birdie is also on the President’s Advisory Council for PSI and for the International Childbirth Education Association. Birdie specializes in the recognition and treatment of pregnancy and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. She is a childbirth educator and a lactation counselor.
Birdie has been interviewed frequently for radio, television, and print media.
Birdie is highlighted as a PMD expert in PSI’s video that is shown around the country. “Healthy Mom, Happy Family: Understanding Pregnancy and Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders”. Birdie has been speaking to audiences for over 35 years and is an International Trainer for PSI’s 2-day “Perinatal Mood Disorders, Components of Care” and “Advanced Psychotherapy” 1-day training. She also speaks frequently to communities, nursing schools, grand rounds, and conferences.
I am a yoga instructor and Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder (PMAD) advocate. I suffered from PPA and PPOCD after the birth of my oldest son in 2008. Unfortunately, I wasn’t diagnosed until 2010 while being treated for PPA after the birth of my second son. After my third child was born in 2012, I found myself once again suffering from PPA. A combination of treatments including talk therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes helped me recover completely. Living for two years with an undiagnosed PMAD is what lead me to advocacy work with Postpartum Progress and now Postpartum Support International. Raised by freethinkers, I am devout in my faith, secular humanism. I have been a yoga practitioner since 1996 and a certified yoga teacher since 2011. When I’m not advocating for perinatal mental-health or teaching yoga, you can find me in the pool training for open water swims. I also enjoy working in my garden, which is large enough to feed my family. I spend as much time outdoors as the weather will allow.
Carrie Flora is a marketing professional, MBA and two-time PMAD survivor. She began volunteering in 2014 when she first attended a Climb out of the Darkness event. Since then she has co-led the Baltimore team, raising tens of thousands of dollars for perinatal mood disorders. She officially joined PSI in 2020 to help co-manage the Climb Out of the Darkness.
Jenn Davis is the State Chapters Manager at PSI. She has over a decade of experience in program development and management. She worked with DC Public Schools for 11 years where her work ranged from leading adult and student equity work to managing out of school time programs. Jenn is the mother is two— a seven year old daughter and one year old son. She is passionate about supporting mothers and families struggling with perinatal mental health, as she personally experienced postpartum anxiety and depression. Jenn is a Support Coordinator here at PSI and is also a volunteer mentor at NuturePA, where she provides support and resources to new mothers. Jenn recently became a Certified Pregnancy Health Coach and would love to become a Postpartum Doula. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Spelman College and a M.P.A in Public Administration from Georgia State University.
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a wealth of experience in various areas of behavioral health. The early part of my career was spent working with children/adolescents, as well as substance abuse counseling and inpatient mental health. It wasn’t until my own intense and humbling experience with PPD/OCD that I began to realize my true passion in mental health work. Currently, I provide outpatient therapy in a private practice setting, focusing on women’s health and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. My greatest challenge became one of my greatest gifts and I am honored to give back in this way. The SmartPatients forum was an invaluable lifeline for me during my darkest times and it is truly a blessing for me to be leading it today.
In my spare time, I love to spend time with my husband and daughter, travel, trying new restaurants in Pittsburgh and other cities, reading, shopping and being with my friends. I especially value my family and friend time, as I isolated so much during my struggle. It’s amazing how beautiful and enjoyable the simple things become after such a life altering experience; I try to impart this to every struggling mama I come across, personally and professionally.
One of my earliest memories of motherhood was the mistaken belief that postpartum mental health issues had a very specific signature to them—that the illness was supposed to look a certain way and feel a certain way. Despite reading countless books about pregnancy, childbirth, and child-rearing, I’d never learned what I needed to about the true nature of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders (PMAD)—what I was experiencing didn’t map neatly to any model of the motherhood experience I had in my head. Over ten months transpired before I sought any treatment. Today, I consider myself incredibly lucky to be a survivor of postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression. With the help of a combination of treatments including consistent talk therapy I was able to fully recover.
Through this experience, it has become my mission to educate fellow moms and dads in the grip of this illness. I joined PSI in 2016 determined to give everything I can to make a difference. I’ve been an active volunteer on PSI’s Helpline and later served as a Mentor for their Peer Mentor Program at its inception. I am incredibly honored and excited to be part of the PSI family!
Prior to joining PSI, I helped lead marketing efforts for The French Culinary Institute, now The International Culinary Center, for over eight years. In my spare time I love discovering new restaurants, exploring my hometown of New York City with my daughter and husband, and trying to sneak in a bootcamp workout whenever I can.
Jessica Peterson has a BA from Washington State University in Sociology and Human Relations, and an MBA in Marketing from Portland State University. She has 15 years of experience working in varying marketing roles. She is a mother to two children and has spent the last 5 years on the Board of her local MOMS group, working to reach out to local moms in her community. She is excited to help ensure every family is aware of PSI and the resources they provide.
She can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tiffany Ross, MSSW, is the PSI Yates Children Memorial Fund Justice and Advocacy Manager. She directed the Maternal Mental Health programs at Mental Heath America of Greater Houston, and the Yates Children Memorial Fund work there to educate clinicians, community health aides and the general public in greater Houston on perinatal mood disorders. Her role in PSI is to coordinate PSI projects and goals related to perinatal mental health in the legal system. This includes developing our legal resources outreach, materials, trainings, and communication.
Kat Schuknecht joined the PSI Staff as Helpline Manager in January 2019. She is currently a PSI Support Coordinator for South Central and South West Wisconsin. She has also been a Mentor in the PSI Peer Mentor Program.
Kat was born and raised in Wisconsin. She traveled two hours south of her hometown to attend college at UW-Madison, earned a BA in English, and has lived in Madison ever since. After the birth of her second daughter, Kat discovered she had been experiencing postpartum depression, anxiety, and OCD since the birth of her first daughter four years earlier. This experience put her on the path to becoming a postpartum doula and perinatal mental health advocate. Kat has been providing peer support to parents locally and nationally since 2014.
In her spare time, Kat is a mama to two kids, owner of two cats, and Girl Scout leader of two troops. She enjoys coffee, more coffee, and maybe just a little more coffee, please.
Jessica worked with families for over a decade as a licensed massage therapist, specializing in perinatal body work and a birth doula. She moved into the nonprofit sector after her own experience with perinatal & postpartum depression, anxiety and OCD following a traumatic birth experience with her second daughter and into the pregnancy of her son 2 years later. Her own experience turned her into an advocate for maternal mental health. She served as the Executive Director of WellMama, a community based maternal mental health nonprofit in Eugene, OR whose mission was to provide social support to families struggling with PMDs and education to the providers who serve them in Lane County. She believes parental mental and emotional health matter and all parents deserve support.
She received her B.A. in Women & Gender Studies from the University of Oregon and is working on her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health in Counseling from Bushnell University. She is currently Secretary of the PSI Oregon Chapter and is a PSI Support Coordinator for Lane County, Oregon. She has also been a Mentor in PSI Peer Mentor Program.
Nikki assumed the role of Consulting Director of Development for PSI in August 2019. Nikki is the Founder of the boutique fundraising consultancy, www.nonprof.io, and brings almost 20 years of diverse fundraising experience to the team. Her background in working with small and mid-size nonprofit organizations to create momentum and dramatic growth in scaling fundraising operations, capacity, and results makes her uniquely suited to partner with PSI at this important point in the organization’s march toward being the number one most recognized global leader in the area of addressing gaps in awareness and access to services for perinatal mood disorders.
Nikki has committed her career to helping women and children. She has led fundraising efforts for water.org, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation, Hopital Albert Schweitzer Haiti, and now has clients in a variety of sectors dedicated to building health and wellness, as well as alleviating suffering around the world. As a mother, feminist, and eternal optimist, Nikki is dedicated to PSI’s mission of ensuring that all mothers and families have access to the help they need when they need it most.
Nikki lives in East Grand Rapids, Michigan, with her husband, two sons, and a very naughty and well-loved tabby cat named KiKi.