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Meet our Presenters

Lucy Battles, Recovery Coach Professional

Lucy Battles is a maternal health advocate and recovery coach professional based in North Carolina. She overcame a number of maternal traumas -perinatal substance use, medical stigma, emergency c-section, and postpartum depression. Her lived experiences as a mother in recovery, as well as her professional experiences in the recovery field, have given her unique perspectives on what women living with substance use disorder need to experience life-long recovery. Lucy works with youth and emerging adults who are impacted by substance use, mental health challenges, and justice involvement. She shares her story on the state and national level to both patients and providers alike to spread awareness and advocate for empathic, collaborative, and integrated healthcare options for pregnant and parenting women. 

Shawnee Benton Gibson, LMSW / FLDC

Shawnee Benton Gibson is the CEO of Spirit of a Woman (S.O.W.) Leadership Development Institute and the Co-Founder of the ARIAH Foundation. She has over 32 years of administrative, clinical, and executive coaching experience and expertise in women's leadership, youth development, reproductive justice, racial equity, individual and group counseling, trauma, and bereavement. These skills, combined with her spiritual and artistic gifts, allow Shawnee to guide individuals as they navigate the stages and phases of their lives. She employs a holistic, culutral, and spiritual approach to her work and utilizes a social justice lens as a foundational principle for her service to community. Her primary healing tools consist of spirtiual counseling, vision coaching, psychodrama, sociometry, sacred rituals, energy work, the performing arts, and storytelling as mediums to ignite transformation and initiate catharsis. 

Shawnee is the subject of the Emmy nominated documentary "Aftershock". The film follows her and her family as they fight for reproductive justice in the wake of the tragic and preventable death of Shawnee's eldest daughter, Shamony Makeba Gibson, due to a birth related pulmonary embolism. According to Shawnee, "activism is a labor of love and liberation". 

Rhianna Britton, MSN, RNC-OB, C-EFM, NPD-BC

Rhianna Britton is a Professional Development Specialist for the Labor and Delivery and Postpartum units within the M Health Fairview system.  Rhianna is a graduate of the University of North Dakota where she earned her Bachelor's degree in Nursing and a graduate from Walden University where she earned her Master's degree in Nursing Education.  Rhianna has vast clinical experience in labor and delivery, fetal monitoring, postpartum and newborn care, and nursing education/curriculum development. Her areas of expertise include physiologic birth, fetal monitoring, and perinatal loss. She has a special interest in classroom instruction and the professional development of labor and delivery nurses to further their clinical expertise and practice and improve patient outcomes.

Jeanne L Friebe, RN, BSN, IBCLC, RNC-LRN

Jeanne Friebe has been working with breastfeeding families for the past 35 years as an RN on the Family Birthing Center at St Cloud Hospital in labor & delivery, postpartum, NICU, and as a Childbirth Education instructor. In working with the NICU Level 2 and 3 premature newborns and their families, she found that her passion for breastfeeding flourished as she worked with mothers struggling to breastfeed, produce milk, and pump. In 1997, she was hired to start an inpatient Lactation Program at the St Cloud Hopsital and had the opportunity to focus most on the breastfeeding population. In 1999, she became an IBCLC and in 2013 became certified through the NCC in the Low-Risk Newborn Population; she now serves on the content writing team for that organization for the NCC exam in the low-risk newborn category. 

In 2019, she began a new chapter in an outpatient clinic setting with a focus on lactation; a dream come true, many years in the making. She is an active participant in both the MN Breastfeeding Coalition and the Central MN Breastfeeding Coalition. She opened a Milk Depot in Central MN, through the MN Milk Bank for Babies and currently serves on their Board of Directors. 

She started her nursing and lactation consulting career at the St Cloud Hospital; the organization is considering pursuing the Baby Friendly designation. She is part of a fantastic team of nurses and providers co-leading a workgroup as they pursue the 10 Steps Mother Baby Friendly designation through the MN Department of Health. She was instrumental in opening the St Cloud Baby Cafe in collaboration with some really great nurses, Stearns/Benton and Sherburne County Public Health, and the St Cloud YMCA. It has become a wonderful community resource for moms and their babies and is a lot of fun. 

Personal Statement: Breastfeeding was a struggle for me with our first baby, so my empathy for first time mothers is real. I like to offer my services with expectant mothers and their significant other, before and after delivery, and meet them were they are at, clear up myths, share my knowledge and experience, and help them achieve their infant feeding goals. I offer support & kindness. 

I live in St Joseph MN with my spouse. he is now retired; I'm just not ready yet. The grandchildren are starting to arrive and we are really enjoying that experience. My motto is: "A grandma is a great Mom who has been promoted". :)

Helena Girouard, MPH

Helena Girouard works for the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County as the Health Education Program Consultant, the Overdose Prevention Program Coordinator, and Maternal & Child Health Program Coordinator. She graduated from Daytona State College with an AA and an AS in Human Services with a Specialization in Addiction. She graduated with her BS in Public Administration at Flagler College in 2019, and earned her Master's in Public Health at Hawai'i Pacific University in December 2022. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Educational Leadership at Capella University.

Helena has been a Parent Leader Volunteer since 2014 and became a Parent Leader Network Steering Committee member through the Center for the Study of Social Policy in 2019, working with community providers, parents, and other stakeholders to inform policy and programming for vulnerable families to build resiliency and support family well-being. She completed a two-year Pritzker Fellowship with Pritzker Children's Initiative in June 2020 and a one-year Maternal Mental Health Fellowship with the Policy Center for Maternal Mental Health (formerly 2020 Mom) in 2022. These fellowships built a network of strong leaders nationwide, who lead community-based efforts. Helena is now a part of the second cohort of the OD2A Workforce Development Program: Health Equity Track for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASHTO), with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Her passion is sharing lived experience and academic knowledge to conduct transformative work in the community aimed at improving life for families through resiliency building and collaboration.

Mandy Huber, CNM, IBCLC 

Mandy Huber (she/her) is a midwife and nurse in Minneapolis. She is the abstractor for the Minnesota Department of Health's Maternal Mortality Review Committee. This work inspired her interest in and study of the role of stigma and bias in healthcare documentation. She is a member of the Hennepin Healthcare (HCMC) Midwife Service and is active in local and national committees for the American College of Nurse Midwives. She believes in the transformational potential of the midwifery model of care. 

Mandi Jares, Survivor Advocate

Mandi is a survivor of 30 lived years in the life and a Survivor Advocate at Terebinth Refuge.

Emily Lange, RN, BSN

Nurse Manager, Terebinth Refuge

Edward B. Martin-Chaffee, MD

Pediatric Cardiologist, Neonatologist; CentraCare Health

Jen McLellan, CBE, Founder of Plus Size Birth

Jen McLellan is a published author, founder of Plus Size Birth, and host of the Plus Mommy Podcast. She helps people navigate the world of plus size pregnancy, shares tips for embracing your body, and laughs her way through the adventures of parenthood. With over 8 million page views, Plus Size Birth is the premier plus size pregnancy resource trusted by parents and professionals. The Plus Mommy Podcast has over 280,000 downloads and was named one of the best pregnancy podcasts by The Bump.

Jen's work has appeared in major publications, including The New York Times, Glamour, and Huffington Post. As a public speaker, Jen has been featured at numerous events, including presenting at the National Institutes of Health. Jen is also a certified childbirth educator, wife, and mother to a charismatic teenager.

Autumn Mels, DNP, MSN-Ed, RNC-OB, E-EFM, CNE

Autumn Mels is currently the OB Outreach Educator at the University of Chicago Administrative Perinatal Center, where she proivdes education to 15 hospitals within the network, participates and tracks trends in maternal morbidity & mortality in Illiniois, as well as completing hospital redesignation swith IDPH. Piror to her work at the University of Chicago, she worked as a bedside nurse at a level III institutieon and as a nursing professor at Trinity Christian College. Autumn has a true passion and drive to provide the best eduation possible to healthcare workers in order to improve the care being provided to mothers and infants. 

Autumn has recently started opening up about her own traumatic birth and the impact we as healthcare workers have on patients, but also the impact patients' adverse birth outcoems have on us as healthcare workers. 

Outside of her professional life, she enjoys speding time with her husband and four beautiful children, either playing games, hiking, or camping. Autumn enjoys reading and running - of which - she ran 3 full marathons last year!

Kris M. Schueren, RN, CPHRM

Kris Schueren is a Risk Management Consultant at M Health Fairview. She has been a Nurse for 38 years, the last 20+ years she has been involved in Risk Management/Claims management/Defense of malpractice cases. Kris is a member of American Society for HealthCare Risk Managers (ASHRM) and has obtained her certification as a HealthCare Risk Manager (CPHRM)/   Her focus is providing education and sharing her experience around documentation when cases have gone to litigation in an effort to prevent future lawsuits.  Kris has assisted with resolving medical malpractice claims and evaluating cases to determine if a case demonstrates negligence malpractice, assisting attorneys in preparing providers involved in litigation.

Cynthia Terlouw-Kvistad

Cynthia (CeCe) Terlouw-Kvistad is the Founder and Executive Director of Terebinth Refuge, a Christ-centered shelter and safe home in the St Cloud MN community, bringing hope and healing for sex trafficked and exploited women. CeCe has been working to bring healing and education, and to combat the problem of human slavery since 2003, beginning at the Heartland Girls' Ranch in Benson MN. CeCe has been actively involved at the state level with Minnesota's Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force and was involved in designing and implementing the MN Safe Harbor, No Wrong Door Model for Youth. She developed the Heartland Girls' Ranch, Hearts for Freedom Program for sexually exploited girls. She is now addressing the lack of services for adult female victims through Terebinth Refuge. CeCe serves on the Central Minnesota Human Trafficking Multi-Disciplinary Team. She is an Adjunct Professor for The Samaritan Women Institute for Shelter Care, a national organization supporting shelters with resources around the nation. She also serves on the board of Trafficking Justice, a Twin Cities based non-profit that works to prevent sexual exploitation and supports restorative organizations. CeCe is often asked to speak to groups to educate and raise awareness concerning the issue of sex trafficking and exploitation.

Nanette Vogel, MS, RNC-OB, C-EFM, NPD-BC

Nanette graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, and from Bethel University with a Master of Science degree in Nursing Education. Her clinical experience includes level II neonatal nursing at Children’s Hospital of Minnesota, and antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum nursing as a staff nurse, nurse preceptor, and charge nurse at North Memorial Health Care. She has been working as a professional development specialist for over 20 years and currently works at M Health Fairview where she oversees orientation, ongoing education, and competency for over 700 nurses at 9 different institutions. 

Nanette has been teaching in academia for 10 years and is currently a community faculty member at Metropolitan State University where she teaches family health nursing. 

Nanette has been an AWHONN volunteer for over 20 years in various positions and is currently the AWHONN MN Section Secretary/Treasurer. She is also a member of the 2025 AWHONN National Convention Planning Committee.  

Her greatest professional joy is developing nurses and nursing students.