Cindy McMillan – Co-Founder / Executive Director of Sistas Caring 4 Sistas ; CD(DONA); CBPC; CBE; DBD; NCPSS
Cindy McMillan was born in Chicago, Ill and spent most of her teenage and adulthood in the Sunshine State of Florida. Cindy became a resident of Asheville NC in 2012. She’s an amazing mother of four who has experienced infant loss, trauma, PTSD, and SDOH shortly after the birth of her twin boys in 2002 and the death of her husband in 2018. She is currently a DONA Certified Birth Doula, Lamaze Trained Childbirth Educator, Certified breastfeeding Peer Counselor, Certified North Carolina Peer Support Specialist, Trained Death and Bereavement Doula; Black Maternal Health Advocate and Community Partner as well as the newly appointed Executive Director of Sistas Caring 4 Sistas Community Based Doulas for Social Justice in Asheville NC.
Cindy’s personal experience with loss, traumatic childbirth, and maternal health inequities has made her a strong ally, advocate, and leader among those who advocate and fight for Justice and equality within Black Maternal Health to increase better outcomes through equitable methods of care and support.
The platform afforded through Sistas Caring 4 Sistas, has made inroads for Cindy McMillan to dedicate her birth work journey towards creating policy change, clinical shift, and pathways to successfully support birthing individuals and their families affected by adverse birthing practices and outcomes.
Wakina Robertson- Co-Founder; Chief Program Officer of Sistas Caring 4 Sistas; CD(DONA); CBPC; CBE; PPD
Wakina Robertson was inspired to become a birth doula after attending and assisting in the birth of her own six grandchildren. Wakina has always shown passion and dedication for helping those in her community. She embraces the gift of welcoming life for the parents and their babies as they journey into this new world. After becoming aware both personally and educationally of the maternal mortality and morbidity rates between Black women versus White women, she decided that changing the narrative and outcomes were a must. Wakina decided that becoming a Certified Birth Doula, PostPartum Doula, Lamaze Trained Birth Educator and a Certified Breastfeeding Peer Counselor would be a pathway in which she could support her community in these areas of needed focus. As of 2020, Wakina has elevated her service and support by being appointed Director of Mentoring for Sistas Caring 4 Sistas Community Based Doulas. In this position she has been able to train and mentor new Doulas of color in an effort to expand Doulas services throughout WNC.
Nikita Smart- Co founder; CD(DONA) Certified Breastfeeding Peer Counselor; Certified Lactation Educator; Certified Lactation Consultant; Death and Bereavement Doula
Nikita is an Asheville resident, Certified Birth Doula through Dona International and has enjoyed this journey of being able to assist moms in the birthing process. Nikita started this journey through a community effort to eliminate disparities in her community. Nikita is a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, Lactation Educator, and a community resource to the moms that she serves in Buncombe County. Nikita is a single parent and has lived in the Asheville area since 2009. Nikita has been doing birth work since 2016 and has enjoyed educating and supporting the women of her community. Nikita has started a journey in the breastfeeding world to become a Lactation Consultant for the women she serves in her community. Realizing that supporting a woman through breastfeeding is as important as giving birth Nikita has found herself in being able to support moms in a variety of ways.
Chama (cay’ma) she~her CD, BDT(DONA), LCCE
Chama has been attending births as a birth doula in Asheville since 1999 and teaching childbirth education classes since 2002. She is a full spectrum birth doula, doula trainer, Lamaze childbirth educator and community based doula advisor who is passionate about community capacity building, OBGYN clinical shift and North Carolina perinatal health policy change. Chama is the owner of Homegrown Families, a perinatal health center and doula agency, a mother of two daughters, and lives on a farm outside of Asheville NC.
Chelsea Norris – Trained Birth Doula
Chelsea is a currently a trained Birth Doula on the Sistas Caring 4 SIstas Team. She has childcare experience from working at the child care center at her High School. She is taking up foster parenting classes to become a licensed Foster parent through Buncombe County. Chelsea has extensive knowledge and love for children and birthing families of her community. She has 3 godchildren who she absolutely adores and a niece and nephew with one on the way in early 2022. She is deeply involved in the health and well-being of all she loves especially those affected by inequities and disparities. Chelsea was extremely motivated to become a birth doula due to active involvement in the birth of her niece. For her it was a very rewarding experience. Chelsea’s love for children, supporting and help others is immaculate to say the least.
Racine Hooper – Trained Birth Doula
Racine is an Asheville resident and has been a birth doula with SC4S since March 2021. She is a proud wife and mother to a handsome baby boy. Since joining Sistas Caring 4 Sistas, Racine found this work to be the most exciting and rewarding career choice of her life. Getting to know her community through Birth Doula Support and Advocacy for birthing families of color brings her great joy. Racine has an amazing gift of easing any fears, doubts, or concerns that birthing individuals may have about pregnancy and childbirth. Her goal for all birthing families are that they feel supported in a manner that allows them to labor confidently, remain knowledgeable, and experience holistic support throughout their pregnancy and child birthing journey. “Every birth is different and beautiful no matter the outcome” “says, Racine”. When Racine is not with clients, she is either working in her yard, hanging with friends and family, or taking her son on adventures through the woods or around town. She is a one of a kind Doula!
Bali Mitchell – Trained Birth Doula
Bali has a passion for social justice, reproductive justice and the disparities that children face. They have had an interest in working with children and families since their time at Meredith College in which they graduated in 2012 with a B.S. in Child Development and Psychology. In addition to their doula work, Bali also has an intimate, personal knowledge of prenatal and postpartum mood disorders.
Bali became interested in doula work through having doula support through their own twin birth, which made a world of difference for them after their first birth and a miscarriage. Bali and their husband are the proud parents to 3 rambunctious, amazing children and have been living in WNC since 2014.
Khiyara Wynn – Trained Birth Doula
Khiyara Wynn is 31 years old, was born and raised in Asheville NC. She has attended numerous elementary and middle schools in the Asheville area. She went to Erwin High School but ended up graduating from an alternative school in Swannanoa, Buncombe Community School. She is the mother to two teenage children 15 & 14. Khiyara was a teen parent who graduated with both children one on hand one on hip which made her eager to work with young moms and women who face adversities during pregnancy and childbirth. In 2016, she became CNA certified and is also currently working as a PCS for the past eight years. She became a doula in 2021, and became a strong Doula team member for Sisters Caring for Sisters immediately following training.
Jada Sybounheuang – Trained Birth Doula
Jada’s passion to become a birth doula arose while delivering her own child; realizing then, the importance of feeling heard, informed and safe during that moment. This realization inspired her to support others during their own birthing process. Jada focuses on helping clients to feel empowered and confident during this multi-stage transition into parenthood. Jada values the beauty and strength found in the rawness of giving life. She believes it is an honor to service families in finding harmony and comfort during such a pivotal moment in their lives.
April Smalls – Trained Birth Doula
April is a trained Birth Doula who has experience in assisting with two family member births. April has helped raise her nieces, nephews and godchildren since birth and is in the process of obtaining her foster parenting certification. She has always had a true passion for helping others. April is also a strong advocate for the LQBTQ community and is passionate about supporting moms and families before, during, and after birth. She believes every birthing individual should not be without the support, education, and advocacy trained Doula professional.
Jessica Huskey – Trained Birth Doula; Postpartum Doula; Certified Breastfeeding Peer Counselor
Jessica Huskey resides in the Wolftown Community on the Qualla Boundary of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians with her husband, Elias, and their two boys. She is co-founder of the Selu Mothering Project in Cherokee, and a proud full-spectrum doula and breastfeeding peer counselor. Originally from Virginia, Jessica received her B.A. from the University of Virginia in 2011 and started a career in higher education, focusing on minority students in the STEM fields and Native American student recruitment. Following a career shift while pregnant with her second son, Jessica answered a calling to birth work. She joined the Sistas Caring 4 Sistas Birthing Support Team in March 2021. She also serves as a substitute teacher at Cherokee Elementary School. She loves to engage her boys with healthy lifeways through cooking, gardening, canning, and being outdoors as a family. She enjoys learning the Cherokee language and actively participating in the Parent Committee at New Kituwah Academy. She also proudly supports Elias on the Wolftown Stickball Team.
Sistas Caring 4 Sistas Executive Team
Ronald Rudisill – Board Chairman; Founder of Back on Track Recovery Center; North Carolina Certified Peer Support Specialist; CSAC
Ronald is a visionarian, entrepreneur, father, innovator and keen sharp business minded individual who holds a B.S. in Business Administration. Mr. Rudisill is the founder and owner of Trinity Real Estate Development LLC, One Stop Business Shop, and Kingdom Publishing Company where he self-published his novel titled “ From My Lip’s To Gods Ear”. A story of triumph against all odds. Mr. Rudisill spent most of his life in and around the Asheville, North Carolina area. He enjoys spending time with his kids and family, teaching his students and watching, playing, and coaching sports. Ronald is a passionate chef who enjoys cooking and mixing ingredients to create the perfect recipe and dish. This skill set is highlighted in his divine pursuit of excellence to sit at the dinner table with the business world’s most brilliant minds, both locally and abroad. As a dedicated father Ronald understands the importance of birthing families of color receiving the most equitable maternal care to achieve healthy birth outcomes. His prospective and expertise as a father, serving as an active member of the Sistas Caring 4 Sistas Board of Directors as Chairman, not only elevates his voice but, the voices of so many men who have felt their voices were not heard, or valued on behalf of their birthing partner. He is invested in utilizing his skill and expertise from lived experience, work ethic, and holistic approach as a leverage in supporting the mission and vision of Sistas Caring 4 SIstas.
Cherie Jackson – Vice Chairwoman
Cherie Jackson is a proven professional with more than 15 years of human resource management experience. For the majority of her career, she has been guiding organizations in strategic planning, training and development, and staffing. Cherie is focused on providing inclusion strategies to help organizations create more diverse and inclusive workplaces. Her passion for diversity, equity and inclusion earned her the 2020 Spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. Award from Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) in Asheville, NC. This award recognizes individuals for their tireless commitment to social justice at MAHEC and the community at large.
Cherie holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Howard University in Washington, DC. She resides in Charlotte, NC.
Kathleen Foley – Secretary and Treasurer; MHSA, PhD
Kathy, currently serves as Secretary and Treasurer of the Board, she comes to SC4S with a background in medical sociology and demography from the Universities of Michigan and Pennsylvania. As a sociologist, Kathy has a strong understanding of systems, power structures and the ways in which individuals operate within those structures. Her 30-years as a health services researcher consistently focused on bringing the patient’s voice to the forefront. Kathy brings her expertise in project management and implementation to SC4S where she assists with grant writing and establishing the organizational financial infrastructure. She completed REI Phases I and II in 2018, and channels her understanding of racial equity by continuously seeking opportunities to bring others to the table and share power.