Sara Jane Cantwell is a wife, mother of three and active philanthropist. She grew up locally and attended college at Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas where she studied nursing. She has been married to her husband Chad since May 2002. All three of their children were premature and NICU patients. Her youngest child and only son entered the school system at four years old after he was diagnosed with Autism. His diagnosis along with her passion for helping in the community kick started her work in philanthropy. Sara Jane enjoys spending time with her family, exploring Austin and the local hill country. Sara Jane joined the MMBA board of directors in January 2020.
“I was introduced to Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin during my volunteering experience on site through The Junior League of Austin, I fell in love with the mission and passion behind MMBA’s process and outreach.”
Nan Kinzler holds a Masters in Architecture from UT Austin. She has over 35 years of experience in both residential and light commercial construction and architectural design. In 2007 she opened her own consulting and construction management firm, Small House Productions.
"While I first became involved with MMBA by providing input to the building design committee; I had an earlier awareness of the need for donor breast milk - while visiting a friend at the NICU, where her son had been born extremely prematurely (26 weeks). Though she was able to provide milk for her son, there were other babies, that were receiving donor milk. I'm excited to be involved with such a crucial program and am looking forward to helping to increase awareness of the continuing need for breast milk donors, and to help broaden the base of financial supporters."
Michael Crowe is a partner with the law firm of Husch Blackwell, LLP. Michael graduated from the UT School of Law and, for over twenty years, has focused his legal energies almost exclusively on healthcare law and policy. He is married to the talented and effervescent Hope Morrison and has three wonderful daughters; Sarah, Amelia, and Natalie. Michael enjoys mowing the yard and watching TV.
“I first heard of the milk bank from Hope, who made sizable deposits after our daughter Amelia was born. Fast forward sixteen years to my law school buddy, Marianne Baker-Bolduc, explaining the history and mission of the milk bank, and asking if I wanted to get involved. I was thrilled to be asked, and am honored to serve this life-saving organization.”
Julia Weatherby (Current board member and also a member of the President’s Council)
Julia Weatherby is a healthcare technology professional working to improve the lives of seniors with dementia. Julia volunteers to educate seniors and caregivers on technology. Julia was previously senior project manager in the Medicaid program at Texas Health and Human Services Commission and senior IT consultant for IBM’s healthcare industry clients. She holds a master’s degree in biomedical informatics from Oregon Health & Science University, and a computer science degree from St. Edward’s University. Julia has a renewed passion for the incredible value of donor human milk and lactation support since becoming a mother. Julia enjoys travel, photography, beekeeping and collecting eggs from her backyard chickens.
"I support Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin, because I believe every new parent should have the best alternative available for their child if they can't provide their own breast milk. I want to see MMBA, breastfeeding, and milk banking continue to grow so that worldwide, we can meet the need of every child who is in need of breast milk. I want to see donated breast milk continue to be available, safe and affordable for all fragile infants in need.”
Lakshmy Vaidyanathan, MD
Dr. Vaidyanathan is a Board Certified Pediatric Hospitalist at Ascension Seton Medical Center, Austin. She joined the University of Texas Dell Medical School Faculty as an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in 2016. Dr. Vaidyanathan is a Fellow of Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine since 2017. She is also certified as an IBCLC since 2013. Dr. Vaidyanathan obtained her Medical degree from the University of Calicut, India and completed her Pediatrics Residency training at Children’s Hospital of Austin. She has been practicing in Austin with Seton Family of Hospitals since 2000 and has been a teaching faculty for Pediatrics and Family Practice Residency Programs. Dr. Vaidyanathan has been instrumental in establishing the Donor Milk program in the Well Baby Nursery at Seton Medical Center, Austin. Dr. Vaidyanathan and her husband have lived in Austin for the past 25 years and have 2 daughters.
“I am honored and excited to serve the MMBA and to promote breastfeeding, good health and well being of newborns. I am extremely proud of all of MMBA’s accomplishments and incredible life saving efforts”.
Founder at Austin Impact Capital, John brings to the MMBA Board of Directors twenty years of executive financial management experience. He has served in a variety of financial and operations roles in public and private technology companies. He is active in the Austin-area social impact investing space in the healthcare and education technology sectors. In addition to the MMBA, he serves on the boards of directors at Mission Capital, Charity Dynamics, and the Austin Community College Foundation. He earned an M.B.A. from UT Austin.
“I love the mission of MMBA, because it exemplifies the commitment of families in the community supporting other families. Moms volunteer and donate human milk that nourishes tiny preemie babies in need. And MMBA ensures that this life-saving milk is safe and effective for these at-risk infants.”
Jana Sharpe-Sanders is the daughter of Dr. George Sharpe, one of the cofounders of Mothers’ Milk Bank Austin, and the Milk Bank has been a very important part of her life from the beginning. Since Dr. Sharpe’s passing in 2006, Jana has increased her involvement with the Milk Bank, becoming a milk donor in 2009 after the birth of her second child. Jana works in physical therapy in the Austin area, and is married with two daughters: Kira and Keelin.
“Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin has been a part of my family since day one, and I am lucky to have been able to be a milk donor, financial donor, and now serve on the Board of Directors. I am proud of the work that my father started, and what the MMBA has done in reaching out to our local community and beyond, to the international community. The education about the benefits of breastmilk, medical research, and constant need for financial donations, to support us in our mission to save the lives of medically fragile infants, is vital to our success and health of the human population, worldwide.”
Elizabeth Polinard, PhD, RN
Elizabeth Polinard received her PhD in Nursing from The University of Texas at Austin and is currently the Clinical Professional Development Consultant for Perinatal and Neonatal Services for the Ascension Seton healthcare network. In this role, she creates and implements clinical education for both new and experienced nurses as well as other healthcare providers. Additionally, as co-founder and co-chair of the Ascension Texas Council on Racial and Health Equity, Elizabeth envisions a world in which health disparities no longer exist. Her membership on the MMBA Board is part of this work. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and spending time with her exceptional family.
“What a privilege to serve the MMBA as a Board member. Not only is this organization’s mission a sacred one but - one of life’s many synchronicities - Dr. George Sharpe, co-founder of the MMBA, was my oldest son’s neonatologist 28 years ago.”
Veronica Hendrix, LVN, IBCLC, RLC
Veronica Hendrix is a nurse and lactation consultant who has been assisting mother-baby dyads to successfully breastfeed for over 18 years. She is passionate about bringing awareness to the community about the benefits of mother's milk and has been serving as the Program Coordinator in state government for the Texas WIC program's Texas Ten Step Program. This designation program aims to build support for breastfeeding from healthcare providers in hospitals and birth centers across the state through implementation of the WHO/UNICEF's Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a bundle of evidence-based practices that improve health and breastfeeding outcomes. Veronica joined the Board of Directors of MMBA in January 2019.
"I believe it is a basic human right for every infant to receive their mother's milk or donor human milk. There is so much more to learn about the benefits and uniqueness of this extraordinary fluid and it goes without saying that the most critical infants should be receiving this opportunity without question. I am eager to do what is needed to support the mission of Mother's Milk Bank at Austin, and look forward to the exciting work ahead."
Jennifer Goetz, MD
Jennifer Goetz is a neonatologist with Mednax, Inc. whose primary practice location is St. David's Medical Center. She joined the MMBA board of directors in January 2014. Jennifer obtained her medical degree at the University of Louisville in 2007, then completed a pediatrics residency and neonatology fellowship at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. She also earned an M.A. in bioethics and health policy from Loyola University Chicago. In Austin since 2013, brings her passion for hands-on clinical care to her patients in the NICU. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her husband and two dogs.
"I see firsthand, every day, the beneficial effects of donor human milk for our smallest and sickest babies.”
Bailey Escarzaga, MD
Dr. Bailey Escarzaga is an OBGYN physician at Women Partners in Health in Austin, TX. She obtained her medical degree from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in El Paso, TX and completed her residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. She has a passion for women’s health and advocates for women’s health issues both locally in Texas and nationally in Washington, D.C. She enjoys live music, hiking, and spending time with her family.
“As an OBGYN, I value my role in supporting women through their breastfeeding journeys and promoting Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin. I have seen the reduction in illnesses associated with prematurity through the use of donor milk. I am proud to be a part of an organization that fosters community amongst mothers and families.”
Danielle Plattenburg Arnold, MD
Dr. Arnold is a pediatric hospitalist at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in Round Rock. She earned her medical degree at the UT Southwestern Medical School in 2012. She completed her training in pediatrics at the University of Colorado Pediatric Residency Program. Dr. Arnold is passionate about educating families and future healthcare professionals, including medical students and residents, about the benefits of human milk. As a mother of color, she has a special interest in addressing health disparities and inequalities in care during the perinatal period. She joined the MMBA board of directors in January 2019, and enjoys exploring Austin with her husband and two children.
“I am excited to contribute to the milk bank because it serves such a crucial role for vulnerable patients who cannot speak for themselves. The science and service provided by MMBA protects fragile neonates and ensures optimal nutrition for many in need. In addition, if the milk bank continues to invest in the education of healthcare professions, it will make an impact on generations of babies to come. It is an honor to be a part of such a noble mission.”
Sikander Adeni, MD
Sikander Adeni has been a Neonatologist for almost 30 years now, and one of his greatest joys in practice has been observing, first hand, the significant decrease in NEC with increasing Breast milk usage in NICUs all over the country. He completed his training in Pediatrics and Neonatology in Philadelphia and Chicago, after which he spent a decade with Academic and Private Neonatology Practices in Chicago . He moved to Austin in 2001 and since then has been with the Mednax Neonatology group based at Ascension (Seton) affiliated hospitals in the Austin Metro area. He has served as the administrative Medical NICU Director for multiple NICUs in the Ascension system. He has a deep interest in Medical Ethics and has served, in the past, as a member and chairperson of the Ethics Committee at Dell Children’s hospital. Sikander is married to Shubha Adeni, a Pediatrician, for over 30 years and they have raised 3 children together (currently adults). The Adenis enjoy travelling, working out, contributing to charitable endeavors, reading and have a keen appreciation of the natural world.
“As a firm believer in the positive influence of Breast Milk in the care and development of preterm infants, I am very pleased to be practicing in a city that has access to high quality, dependable donor Breast milk. I am honored to be associated with a prestigious organization that essentially sets the standard for milk banking in the country."
Amanda Koellhofer, B.A.
A former donor mom, Amanda brings more than 15 years experience in marketing and event planning to the MMBA board. After graduating from UT Austin, she enjoyed a sales and marketing career with Dell, NetQoS and Solarwinds before staying home to be a full-time mom to her twin boys. Amanda has also served on boards of the American Marketing Association, Austin Chapter, and the TLLC Child Development Center. She is involved in her church and dedicated to service — especially for kids and families. Amanda loves to read, spend time with family and friends, and travel with her family.
“I learned about the Milk Bank when I had a freezer full of breastmilk near expiration that my twins would not need. I discovered Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin, and I am so proud of the donations I made. The volume of milk that would feed my boys for a few days could feed many sweet babies fighting for their lives for much longer. My breastfeeding days may be gone, but not my passion for saving the lives of babies with a critical need for donor milk. The community created through mothers donating milk, families supporting our Charitable Care program, babies thriving because of another mother’s gift, and recipient family’s appreciation is simply beautiful.”
Peter Untalan, MD
Peter has been providing neonatalogy services with the Pediatrix Medical Group of Austin since 2002. He is driven to ensure the best care to infants, children, and their families. Dr. Untalan, a strong supporter of the power of nutrition and breast milk, served as the President of Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin from 2010-2015. He received his medical degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and performed his residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Peter is thankful for the constant support of his wife Sydney and three children, Antonia, Pedro, and Frances.
“Working with the milk bank is a life mission, because I want to ensure the best nutrition is readily available for our most at-risk babies.”
Audelio (Sonny) Rivera, Jr., MD
Neonatologist, Pediatrix Medical Group/St. David’s Medical Center
Carolyn is a Manager at Deloitte Consulting in Austin. She came to MMBA as Board Fellow in the MBA program at the University of Texas at Austin, which matches graduate business students with local non profit organizations. Her Bioengineering background was a good match, and she worked with the board on the ongoing challenge of increasing milk supply to meet growing demand. From this project as well as a NICU tour, Carolyn learned about the challenges recipients face and the profound impact receiving human donor milk has on their ability to thrive. She enjoys exploring Austin with her husband, son, and dog.
"I volunteer for Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin, because I believe the donor human milk we provide can save babies lives, improve their long-term health, and have a positive impact that extends to their families and communities. The work performed every day at MMBA embodies Margaret Mead’s wisdom, ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.’ I am inspired by the generosity and passion of MMBA’s staff and volunteers and grateful for the opportunity to serve on the MMBA board."
Hyram grew up in North West Houston before spending 4 great years at UT Austin where he earned a BA in Business and of course an education in Austin live music experience. He has lived LA, Nashville, and NYC (and a few others) over the years where he has worked in photography, music business and real estate. He is the father of three boys and he and his wife enjoy family, residential real estate, design, art, education, great conversations, day trips, and music. At MMBA, Hyram is the facilities manager making sure that our new home on Dillard Circle is always running smoothly to ensure we continue to save babies' lives. Outside of work, his interests include family, fishing, design and the mechanical world of building, engines, boats, cars and making things.
Office Manager/Volunteer Coordinator
Diana was born and raised in Northern Virginia and moved to Austin in 2016 from Richmond, Virginia where she studied Sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University. She became passionate about all things breastfeeding after giving birth to her son in 2018 and found out about the Milk Bank via social media. She joined the Milk Bank team in September 2018 and handles a number of tasks that include coordinating volunteers, scheduling community groups to use our event spaces, and making sure the bills are paid! Outside of the Milk Bank, Diana volunteers at St. David's as a NICU rocker and spends one evening a week snuggling fragile babies. She is a mother to one very funny toddler named Gary and two dogs-Cammy & Chuck. She also really enjoys her (many) houseplants and spending time outdoors with her husband and son on the weekends!
Kim Updegrove, RN, CNM, MSN, MPH
Kim Updegrove was born in New Jersey and has dedicated her career to saving babies’ lives and caring for women and children around the world. A registered nurse and certified nurse midwife (CNM), Updegrove earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing at William Paterson University, a master of public health degree at Rutgers University and a master of science degree in nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. After finishing her MSN, Updegrove left the Penn faculty and moved to New Haven, Conn., where she worked as a CNM, delivering more than 500 babies and providing well-woman care. She also served on the graduate faculty of the Yale University School of Nursing. Kim has devoted her professional efforts to growing the milk bank since 2002. Updegrove is a past president of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), and chairs the guidelines committee helping to ensure quality control of donor human milk and cultivates the development of nonprofit milk banks. She has been invited to numerous states, Canadian provinces, China, Korea, Mexico, Poland, and Turkey to foster and mentor milk banks and to speak at regional, national, and international conferences on breastfeeding, milk banking, and women's health. She has been quoted in local media as well as ABC News, NBC News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. On days off Kim takes her grandson for hikes, plays tennis and talks to all who will listen about the life-saving powers of breast milk.
Development and Communications
Zulesky is originally from Venezuela. She moved to Austin five years ago and has grown to love everything about the city! Solving problems through digital spaces and collaborating with others is how she defines the work she absolutely loves doing. With a background in marketing strategy, branding, and social media, she decided to bring her knowledge to MMBA and support the marketing team. Zulesky is a mother to one cute little girl Avila and dog-Dalí! Outside of work, she loves exploring the city, going on runs, and spending time with her family and friends.
Recipient Program Administrative Assistant
Cassandra Lawlis was born in Kansas City, Missouri, although neither she nor her parents ever lived there. She grew up in southeastern Wisconsin and came to Austin via Madison (where she received her BFA in Art), Minneapolis, Portland, OR and NYC. While in New York she met her husband, had a baby, and became involved in the local breastfeeding community. Also while in NYC, through an series of unlikely events, she helped implement the Quality, Environmental, and Health and Safety Management program at a multinational express shipping company. Sorting through all those regulations has made her particularly suited to filing insurance claims at MMBA. Her baby is now eight years old but is still awfully cute.
Melissa is a native Austinite who attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a degree in Child Development and Family Relationships. Before joining MMBA in 2012, she managed a toy library and taught parenting classes for twelve years. During this time, she gave birth to two sons, became passionate about breastfeeding, and began telling other nursing moms about MMBA. Little did she know, years later this would lead her to managing the Milk Recipient Program which dispenses donor human milk to hospital NICUs and Well-Baby Units and outpatient families. Melissa lives in Round Rock with her husband, two teenage sons, and her Golden Retriever, Riley.
Milk Donor Program
Donor Program Assistant PT
Kaitlyn hails from the Pacific Northwest, and while she does still drive a Prius and is the only one going for a walk when it rains in Texas, her past five years in the south have caused her to change her answer to “Austin” when asked where home is. While working within Physical Therapy in New Mexico, she discovered her passion for health care and community work, and came to Mother’s Milk Bank with excitement and a want to learn everything about the wonderful world of breast feeding. Studying herbalism and yoga in her free time, she hopes to explore yet another way to appreciate the beauty of our bodies through her time at MMBA.
Donor Mom Program Assistant
Margaret was born in Daytona Beach, Florida and grew up in north-central Florida. She originally began her career path in nursing, but changed course and decided nonprofit work is where her heart is. Margaret moved to Austin in November 2019 to pursue her passion for helping people. She graduated from the University of Florida with a major in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, which proudly bears the title, “The Helping People Major.” Margaret has been a runner for over 10 years and recently got a beagle puppy named Rudy. She loves the mission and vision of MMBA and is excited to work with people who strive to help others as much as she does.
Donor Mom Program Assistant
Kendra was born and raised in Columbia, Missouri. Nomadic, and moving around between Missouri, Louisiana, and North Texas, she finally settled in Austin, where she received her Masters in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at Texas Health and Science University. Kendra's passions are everything pertaining to birth, postpartum, and lactation, as she has used her training as a Doula and Certified Lactation Counselor to aid families of color in Austin and Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Kendra hopes to become a Certified Nurse Midwife in the near future, and being a new lactating Mom, she is excited to be helping mothers and medically fragile babies with her work at MMBA.
Laura grew up in Austin and loves everything about it (except the traffic)! She's been working at MMBA since 2012. She maintains ongoing communication with approved milk donors, ensuring that all changes in health or lifestyle are acknowledged appropriately. Outside of work, she loves being a mom to her ten-year-old daughter.
Milk Donor Program Specialist
Alison grew up in Gloucester, Massachusetts and attended Lasell College just outside of Boston. She worked for a local newspaper for a couple of years after graduation and moved to Texas on a bit of a whim in 1992. With a background in advertising sales, she spent 12 years in the corporate world and then left after becoming a mom. In 2007, she re-joined the workforce at her first non-profit, learning very quickly that this was where she belonged. She joined MMBA in 2012 and works with our Milk Donors and Volunteers. She is a proud mother, an avid reader, adores movies and live music, and is a big time animal lover.
Milk Processing Program
Lab Assistant PT
Lab Assistant PT
Lab Assistant PT
Mallory was born and raised in San Antonio and moved to San Marcos in 2014 where she studied nutrition and foods at Texas State University. Mallory found her love for non profits and child nutrition while interning and eventually working at a small local food bank as a nutrition educator. After graduating with a B.S. of Science in December of 2019, Mallory joined the milk bank. In her free time, Mallory enjoys watching documentaries, researching nutrition, and being with family.
Laura Steed was born in Lubbock, Texas. She graduated from Southwestern University in 2015 with a B.S. in Biology. While working in several research labs as well as private medicine, Laura developed a passion for helping others and all things related to the lab. As a laboratory technician, she helps in safely processing the milk used to help save babies everyday. She also enjoys hiking, hanging out with her spouse, and cuddling with her three-legged cat Tripod.
Robin was born in Virginia, but lived in Maryland for most of her life. Growing up as the daughter of a Lactation Consultant, a passion for infant and maternal health was quickly and deeply instilled in her. She received a BA in Anthropology and a BS in Chemistry from The George Washington University. Despite loving her time in DC, she was looking for a new adventure after college and found herself in Austin. At MMBA, Robin works as a lab technician aiding in the safe processing of donor milk. She loves being able to help save babies everyday. Outside of work she enjoys spending time outside, crocheting, and attempting to cook.