Stephanie began her journey into lactation after the birth of her first child, Chloe. She quickly realized there were no avenues of lactation support in her area and unfortunately did not reach her goals. With her second child, Jaycee, she was determined to surpass her goals and took to educating herself. After the birth of Jaycee, Stephanie was asked to apply to become a breastfeeding peer helper at her local WIC office, the first in the county. Through her time as a breastfeeding peer, Stephanie also took LEC’s Certified Lactation Specialist course and became a CLS. She went on to obtain her CLC and then IBCLC. Education wise, Stephanie has a diverse background with her undergraduate studies in Communications and Leadership, with emphasis on Maternal Child Health: Lactation Consulting. In 2016, Stephanie founded the Appalachian Breastfeeding Network, a nonprofit organization comprising of 13 states in Appalachia. It was through this venture that she sought higher learning in business. Stephanie graduated with her MBA in 2019.
Stephanie is the awardee of several awards namely Ohio Lactation Consultant Association’s Outstanding Peer Helper, Ohio Lactation Consultant Association’s Outstanding Innovation as a Cultural Change Agent, United States Lactation Consultant Association’s Terry Jo Curtis award and the United States Breastfeeding Committee’s Emerging Leader.
She currently brings a voice to Appalachia and the specific barriers to breastfeeding and access to care in rural healthcare by presenting at national and international conferences, researching with University of North Carolina, and co-authoring an Appalachian birth folklore book.
I have been a part of my state's lactation conference planning team from 2011-2019. In 2016, I founded my own organization and from that point forward we have planned 4 conferences, along with several webinars in between. With over 10 years of experience in conference planning, I come with not only the do's but also the don'ts of conference planning including making a conference that is for everyone and does not exclude.