Two years ago, we had the opportunity to reflect on and examine our business practices, and company culture, from a lens of equity and inclusivity. We embrace and have embraced social justice and advocacy as individuals, are each committed to the principles of antiracism and inclusivity, and our lives reflect it. As an organization and team, we want to ensure our personal values are also embodied within all aspects of our business, and experienced on our internal team.
To that end, we are committed to engaging in ongoing conversations and reflective practice with our Advisory Team, and our broader community as well. In community, we learned it is vital to be more transparent and create more avenues to gain input from both clients and from our birthworkers. We welcome your input and user experience, and there are a number of ways you can share feedback with us. This accountability page was created in our reflection, and is where we share updates on the work we are doing to refine our organizational practices and offerings in direct response to input we receive both internally and externally.
Currently, this work is guided by Dorcas Davis of Dorcas Davis Consulting, and Michelle Ndely of Ndely Consulting Group (NCG). Our Advisory Team and Morgane Richardson of Woven Bodies are another layer of community that have supported & held us accountable over the past 3 years.
CHB is excited to ramp up our in-person offerings for pregnant and birthing families as well as for our community of birthworkers! Keep your eyes open this fall and winter. We will be launching three new partnerships from within our Advisory Team. For families seeking the support of doulas, but still feeling cautious or preferring remote contact, Lindsey & Domino have created a unique 12-week course called Chrysalis, where you have access to both of them (and their years of practice) in preparation for your birth, from the location of your choice.
As we experience so many people being moved to generosity and connectedness with others in the midst of their birth journeys, in the next two quarters, you will also see an increase in ways people can contribute to our scholarship funds to train birthworkers and gifted birthworker support funds to cover the cost of doula services for families in need. We have been on a technological learning curve and are finding new ways to connect funders in our circles with causes in our orbit. It is our honor and pleasure to connect with organizations fundraising in the perinatal and birth justice spaces and support those efforts, such as the Ariah Foundation this past spring. Although we are not always positioned to be direct funders, we are pleased to be able to connect potential funders, supporters, and donors in our networks to organizations we believe in and want to lift up. We look forward to deepening our connections and ability to be a conduit in the future.
Some community members have inquired about who has been (and will be) supporting CHB’s operations and who our partner organizations are, outside of those at Grand Street Healing Project. Here are some updates! Rachel Bliss is still our primary point of contact for students and families as our ever-present CHB Operational Manager. As we are a lean team, we have shifted to employing a range of specialists and vetted project managers who support aspects of our company on an as-needed basis. Some are local to NYC, and others work remotely. All CHB teammates have exposure to antiracism training and/or come from activist communities involved in antiracist, equity, and/or inclusion work. Our Ndely Consulting Group teammates such as Kelsey Lindell work directly with Michelle Ndely and Dorcas Davis, are likewise trained, and come to our team from around the globe. All CHB teammates – both local and remote – receive equity training, as these core values and ways of considering impact are centered in all our organizational and business related decisions.
Dorcas’s insight, facilitation, and space-holding amidst the growing pains of our transformation(s) have been invaluable. Michelle Ndely’s architecture will continue to support CHB leaders in organizational and operational leadership via the support of NCG teammates, and with ongoing strategic and tactical support. As NCG also centers on awareness of neurodiveristy, we are practicing radical self-care and learning how to balance that with accountability to one another. We are grateful for the combined thought-leadership of working with this duo, and we hope to open their trainings, as well as Woven Bodies’s equity training and Oge Ometarom’s breathwork & meditation workshops, for a broader student base soon! We are thrilled to be launching multiple childbirth education courses in Battery Park City with our partner from LA, Big & Tiny, this fall!
The Carriage House Birth team have been immersed in developing organizational systems and culture, while also reviewing curriculum and materials to ensure cohesion and alignment to our values. We are diving deeply into both internal and external feedback and are enjoying the creative process of responding with attention and attunement – this is organizational doula work! ;D
Three of our Advisory Team members will be joining us as project managers to support cultural cohesion throughout our organization as we rework aspects of our business: Samantha Huggins, Morgane Richardson of Woven Bodies, and Oge Ometarom. Michelle Ndely will be acting as a Non-Executive Director for the year, and also serving as an incremental leader – modeling aspects and skills within CEO/COO roles for us in the context of executive coaching – as we experiment with ways we want leadership and teamwork to function on our team. Empowering individuals to contribute and ensuring all teammates have an active voice in our operations is our key focus. We will be creating our version of a Beyond-Budgeting Organization, which empowers teammates at the point of service and cultivates shared organizational power. As we are all active birthworkers and most of us are also parents, we are especially mindful of the flexibility we need to build into our team.
We will also be heavily engaged with user experience research and analysis, ensuring our clients and community of birthworkers have their needs centered as we make organizational decisions and transform our operations.
We have been busy and are excited to give an update as we near the end of 2020.
The CHB Leadership team took a 2 month pause going back to their roots to unpack and examine the culture we had created as individuals and as leaders. At the recommendation of Dorcas Davis, our Anti-Racism and Equity Consultant, we spent this time engaged in a reflective short-term coaching practice with Michelle Ndely of Ndely Consulting Group, Dorcas' trusted friend and professional strategic partner. Michelle specializes in supporting white identified people, or teams who are working with white identified people engaged in diversity, equity, and inclusivity work by teaching people how to "align their Intent with their Impact" with a specific focus on exploring accountability and responsibility, intercultural communication, and systematizing desired cultures.
With their guidance and support, we have redefined our roles within CHB, and are learning new ways to
relate to one another as well as all of the stakeholders we serve. Decisions are being made with specific tools and guidance from Dorcas and Michelle. Operations are being led by Lindsey. Samantha is leading Education. Domino is in an external leadership role as a partnership liaison. We are focused on refining how we relate to one another and to members of the CHB community at large as we prepare to intentionally seek out additional members for our leadership team.
Full Spectrum Doula, co-founder of CHB
Birth and Postpartum Doula, Community Doula, Mentor BK
CD (DONA), PCD (DONA), CD (CHB), LCCE, CLC
Placenta specialist Community Doula / Mentor Man/Bx/Queens
Full Spectrum Doula, Educator, co-founder of CHB
Midwife, Founder & Executive Director of Foundation For Advancement of Haitian Midwives, Inc
Full Spectrum Doula, Mentor, Educator
co-founder of CHB
Doula, perinatal health educator + co-creator of woven bodies
Te-Ana R. Souffrant
Certified Full Spectrum Doula
Founder of The Arch App, LLC
PEOPLE + ORGANIZATIONS TO SUPPORT
Birth From the Earth
The Birthing Place BK
Black Mamas Matter
Black Women's Blueprint
Catrice M. Jackson
Coalition to Stop Violence Against Native Women
Dr. Stephanie Mitchell
Foundation for Advancement of Haitian Midwives
Haven Midwifery Birthing Center
Heal With The Land
Village Birth International
BLACK INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF COLOR LEAD BIRTH CENTERS TO SUPPORT
This resource is linked from The Birth Center Equity Fund
BOOKS TO READ
Edited by: Loretta J. Ross, Lynn Roberts, Erika Derkas, Whitney Peoples, + Pamela Bridgewater
(Chapter 2: The True Importance of Christopher Columbus)
By: James W. Loewen
By: Adrienne Maree Brown
By: Victoria Law + China Martens
By: Catrice Jackson
By: Catrice Jackson
VIDEOS TO WATCH