It is with great excitement that the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) announces Lakeisha M. Dennis as ICAN’s new President, effective October 1. Lakeisha served the Board of Directors as Chapter Director and Member at Large and previously as the NorthEast Regional Coordinator. She was also the founder and chapter leader for ICAN of Greater Essex County in New Jersey.
Ms. Dennis’s professional experience include higher education, non-profit and the food and beverage industry. She is also a decorated Air Force veteran. Lakeisha’s work and experience as a birth professional proved the catalyst for her involvement and commitment to ICAN. She is both excited and humbled to serve as ICAN’s 13th president and believes her diverse professional and academic background is well suited for today’s more global and diverse world. “I’m excited to be working with this dynamic group of women who are phenomenally devoted to the mission of ICAN,” says Lakeisha. She looks forward to meeting the challenge of the presidency as ICAN approaches its 35th anniversary.
Lindsey Seger will be resuming her role of Vice President, after being Acting President since January of this year. VP is a role that utilizes her strengths and passions in service to ICAN, and she’s eager to get back to business. Lindsey is also the chapter leader for ICAN of Nashville, a certified childbirth educator, and a diagnostic medical sonographer. When she isn’t working, she’s laughing with her sons, curled up on the couch with her husband, or reading a good book.
Megan Nickel-Martin is our current Secretary. She is also one of the founders and leaders for ICAN of Lee County in FL. She will be concluding her term as Board Secretary in early November. We are indebted to Megan for her voice and her gracious support. During her term as secretary, Megan’s most notable accomplishments were creating a chapter leader training for ICAN’s chapter leader accreditation program and creating a person. She gave birth to her daughter, Lorelei, in Sept 2015. She describes her time as secretary as “enlightening and a wonderful learning experience.” While Megan will continue to be involved with her chapter, she is looking forward to having more time to spend time with her children, following her husband’s band, The Freecoasters, as they embark on a multi-state tour in 2017, and starting the daunting process of applying to graduate schools. ICAN means the world to her and she is proud to have served on our Board of Directors.
Mychel Hefner is continuing her role as Treasurer. She also serves as Assistant Chapter Director and covers as Regional Coordinator, as needed. Mychel manages the ICAN Store and serves as the ICAN Webmaster. She found ICAN in 2010 while looking for support for a VBAC with her third child. She received so much support on the forums from other moms who felt the same about their previous birth experiences; betrayed, disrespected, violated. It encouraged her to get more involved. She joined the Board in 2013. Mychel has three boys and an amazing husband who supported and “caught” their third baby via unassisted VBAC due to a lack of supported options. In addition to ICAN, Mychel homeschools her 3 boys, collects Disney Snow Globes and plays in homeschool band with her sons.
Ann Marie Walsh has accepted the role of Chapter Director and will continue as Board Member at Large. She joined the board in April of this year. Ann Marie found a passion in birth after her first labor ended in a cesarean. She became a research junkie and found ICAN in 2010. Rather than ‘waste’ all of that information, she decided to share with local mothers by starting Second Heartbeat to share research, statistics and teach a VBAC birth class. As Co-Leader for ICAN of Nashville, she supports mothers as passionately as she received support. She has since welcomed a second and third child by hospital VBAC. Ann Marie spent time with ICAN as both the Southeast Regional Coordinator and United States Coordinator – South.
Brianna Barker is the Advocacy Director and Board Member at Large. She also joined the board in April of this year. She previously served as ICAN’s graphics coordinator. Brianna is a mother, wife, and volunteer at home Mom. She is the leader and founder of the Huntsville chapter of ICAN. She is passionate about supporting mothers and advocating for a system that provides integrated, evidence-based, respectful care options in all settings with particular concern for fully informed consent, and respect for patient’s rights surrounding both cesarean sections and Trial of Labor After Cesarean. Brianna was inspired to start volunteering for ICAN after having little support during her own personal birthing experiences. Her first child was born via cesarean for preterm breech, second via hospital VBAC, third out of hospital VBAC over state lines, and she is pregnant with her 4th baby due this fall. Brianna felt strongly about the need for an ICAN chapter in her community because women should not feel alone during their birthing journeys.
Christa Billings serves as our board member emeritus and past president. She served as the conference director in 2016. We are forever indebted to Christa for her institutional memory, mentorship and longstanding commitment to ICAN. Christa has been involved with ICAN for 9 years and has served in numerous positions. Christa is a mother to 3 girls. Her own birth experiences are what brought her to ICAN and shaped her passion for continued birth advocacy work.