Our Leadership Team
Wendy Haas - ABE, President, Board of Directors, Social Media
Hi, I’m Wendy Haas. I’ve been a volunteer with BWI of Cleveland since February 2015 and an educator since August 2015 (an ABE as of March 2017!). I joined the Board of Directors in January 2017 and am acting president. I began learning about babywearing while pregnant with my first bunny, Arlo, and have worn her since just a few days after her birth in April 2014. Her sister, Ada, joined us in December 2015. With two toddlers (and while I had two under two, especially!), babywearing was and is a necessity; Ada has been worn almost every day of her life and Arlo is worn at least a few times a week for hikes or when the evening or errands stretch a little too long. I started with a stretchy wrap and an SSC with Arlo, then branched out into ring slings and woven wraps. With Ada, I mostly wrap, but still love an SSC for quick ups. We tandem wear more than I’d like, but it’s a great skill and I’m grateful they like to be worn! I’m a professor of art history and I teach at several campuses across the NE Ohio area, which allows me the flexibility to be home much of the time with my bunnies. When I have the time, between grading and kid-wrangling, I love to hike, run, bike, read, and pursue painting and printmaking projects.
Kate Krengel - MBE, Secretary, Board of Directors
Hi, I'm Kate Krengel, the Secretary and a ABE for BWI Cleveland. I started babywearing with the birth of my son Graham in July 2014. My background is in engineering, as well as coaching and exercise science. While work keeps me somewhat busy, I have a flexible schedule that allows me to spend a lot of time with Graham and also to spread the babywearing love. My husband and I are also very active, so still try to squeeze time in for rowing around being parents!
Dara Vanover - VBE, Treasurer
Hi! My name is Dara Vanover! I have 3 children; two stepdaughters Kathryn (11), and Annaliese (9), and a son Eoin (14 months). My husband and I are both avid babywearers! I currently attend North Royalton and Medina regularly, with Medina being my home meeting. In a previous life, I ran a college radio station, was an active member of a theater group, and dabbled in neuroscience (and escaped with a minor in psychology for my troubles!). Now I am a sahm playing soccer taxi.
Katie Abell - MBE, VP of Education
Hello! I am Katie Abell and I am the VP of Education and a west side MBE for BWI of Cleveland. I have two children:Jeffrey, who was born in the summer of 2013 in Landstuhl, Germany and Melva who was born February of this year. I started wrapping out of necessity! we lived on the 3rd floor of a 200 year old farm house with narrow stairs and the midwives in the hospital wouldn't let me go home until I could safely carry my newborn. I found a local German babywearing group and learned even more. My family moved from Germany to Cleveland in Spring of 2014, and I was looking desperately to replace the babywearing group I had left behind in Germany. I went to a Lakewood meeting, met everyone, and knew I found my people. I stay home now while The kids are young, but I am a middle and high school science teacher by trade. Teaching others to babywear lets me keep enjoying my profession.
Candance Loyd - VP of Membership
Hi, my name is Candace and I am new to the baby wearing community. I have 3 children and babywear my youngest son who is almost 6 months old. With my first and second children I tried to baby wear, however neither child was open to it…but this could have been the carrier I was using and was afraid to buy another carrier. I am a SAHM now but also run a small baking business from my home (state inspected). Before I had my oldest son I worked outside the home and managed personnel, grant monies, data base information, scientific research and publication. In my family’s free time, we are outdoors a lot swimming, kayaking, geocaching, and going to the parks and zoo.
Jenelyn McNeal - VBE, VP of Outreach
Hi! I'm Jenelyn (rhymes with adrenaline) but you all can call me Jen) I'm a stay at home mom of two lively little girls - Ari (3) & Hayden (21 months). I've been married to my husband Austin for 5 years. I enjoy being outdoors, hiking, running, and discovering new parks in NE Ohio. I recently ran my second half marathon! I love historical fiction, sci-fi movies and I'm always looking for a good Netflix show to binge watch. I am obsessed with tacos. I've been babywearing since Ari was a newborn so just over 3 years. My current favorite babywearing item is the dependable ergo ventus performance from Medina lending library! With two toddlers running around we need quick ups and the ergo does not disappoint.
Mallory Over - CSV, VP of Marketing
Hi! My name is Mallory and I have been Babywearing since my son was born in January 2016. I am a stay at home mom/wife and live in Solon with my husband, son, and 2 fur babies. I have a background in Marketing & PR and love to design invitations and plan parties in the little free time that I have. I love the convenience of Babywearing and have a soft spot for SSCs. I hope to one day become an educator and learn more about the different types of carriers Babywearing has to offer!
Angela Salupo - VBE, VP of Volunteers
Hello! My name is Angela Salupo, and I am the VP of Volunteers and a VBE for BWI of Cleveland. I am certified as a registered nurse, currently taking a break to be a stay-at-home mom of two boys, Jackson and Adam...and I’m pregnant with our 3rd boy! I didn’t wear my first son much, but I wish I’d known what freedom it could’ve given me! When my second was born, babywearing became a major part of our daily life. Now that we are preparing for our third baby, I am excited to have a new squish to snuggle again, and also anticipating some tandem wearing in our future!! I’ve been attending meetings since just before my second son was born over 2 years ago, and began volunteering not too long after that! I am thrilled to be a part of this organization and recommend it to so many folks since it's been such a life changer for me!
Loren St. Peter - VBE, VP of Libraries
I've been volunteering with BWI Cleveland for a little under a year. I've been involved with the libraries, myturn, and general assistance as needed. I also help with social media as needed. I am currently a VBE and the VP of Libraries. I am mom to an amazing 17 month old and expecting a new squish in June thanks to our amazing surrogate. Babywearing has been a huge blessing to our family since we didn’t get to develop that bond with our baby for the 9mo before birth due to her being adopted by us straight from the hospital! The bond is strong now! When I am not chasing after her or my husband (who is a big kid too) I can be found camping, kayaking, hanging out with friends, or doing online teaching. I look forward to serving BWI CLE as VP of Libraries and working with you all to make our libraries even greater!
Our Board of Directors
Tracy Elliot - VBE, Board of Directors
Hi!! I'm Tracy Elliott. I am a VBE for BWI of Cleveland on the west side. I have an 18 year old step-son, an 11 year old daughter and a 11 month old baby girl. I am currently a pharmacist for the Cleveland Clinic Cancer center in Independence. I had no idea what babywearing was about before last year and I knew I wanted some sort of carrier for my new baby when she was born. I started researching and purchased a ring sling and a woven wrap before she was even born. I practiced with them and continued to buy more, sell some, trade some. Then I found an amazing group of women in BWI-Cleveland and I attended a meeting so I could get a jump start on learning the basics. Once I had my baby, I was so thrilled to be able to share and learn through this fabulous organization. I became a member and attended meetings as regularly as I could. I then decided I wanted to help others as much as the VBE's that I came in contact with helped me!
Wendy Haas - ABE, President, Board of Directors, Social Media
Nichole Hoven - VBE, Board of Directors
Hi! I’m Nichole Hoven and I am the VP of Membership, Chair of the Board of Directors, and a VBE with BWI of Cleveland. I am mom to Lucas (born 06.2015), wife to Ian, and full time engineer at a University. I became interested in Babywearing while pregnant with my son and started out with a Boba stretch wrap, and an Ergo SSC. Not being 100% sure on how to use the Ergo with a newborn led me to an internet search for a local Babywearing group. I found the Cleveland chapter and as they say, “the rest is history”. My current favorite way to carry my son is using a ring sling (and wearing opportunities are few and far between these days)!! I volunteer at the Avon Lake meeting and wherever else help is needed and my schedule permits!
Amie Kanengeiser - VBE, Board of Directors
Hello friends! I'm Amie Kanengeiser and I am the Social Media Manager and a VBE of BWI Cleveland. I have such a blast doing all of the web designing, being the voice behind our blog plus run our Instagram and Pinterest accounts. I have been babywearing since my oldest son Jackson was born in February of 2007 in our Baby Bjorn. Right before the birth of my middle son Owen I was opened up to the extensive world of carriers and fell head over heels in love with the rich bonding that comes from wearing my children. Through my discovery of carriers, ring slings took my heart and they are still my favorite type of carrier from newborn stage all the way through the toddler years. In August of 2014 we welcomed our third son Aaron earthside and oh how I am loving wearing a little guy again- although he isn't quite so little anymore! While some women dream of becoming doctors or lawyers, I always knew I wanted to be a mother. It is a passion in my heart to raise my family and I am blessed that I get to stay a home with my Littles every day. In between Cheerios and Lego bricks, in my free time I enjoy hiking, spending time outdoors, writing and photographing for my cooking blog My Retro Kitchen. You may also have seen my regular cooking segments on New Day Cleveland. Raising and nurturing my family is my greatest calling and becoming a VBE was a wonderful way for me to give back to other families in the way that BWI has helped me. Not only have I learned invaluable ways to wear and care for my children I have also met some of my dearest friends through our group. It is healing inside and out!
Kate Krengel - MBE, Secretary, Board of Directors
MBE: Master Babywearing Educator
ABE: Advanced Babywearing Educator
VBE: Volunteer Babywearing Educator
VBEiT: Volunteer Babywearing Educator in Training
Jacklyn Bartkowski - VBE
Hello! I'm Jacklyn Bartkowski, a VBE with BWI of Cleveland since the summer of 2016. I started babywearing when my son was born in March of 2015 and have enjoyed learning to wear him in a variety of carriers as he has grown. My home meetingis Rocky River, where I can be seen helping in whatever capacity is needed, especially with ring slings-my favorite type of carrier! When I am not volunteering with BWI, I'm a stay at home mom to my son, Ezra, in Olmsted Falls. I'm also a Board Certifed music therapist with a passion for serving pregnancy and postpartum families in the Cleveland area.
Erin Fabian - MBE
Hello! I am Erin Fabian. I am an MBE located on the far east side. I have been babywearing since my oldest daughter was born in February 2012. We started off using an Ergo, Moby, and pouch sling. It seems ridiculous to think about it now, but I bought my first woven wrap (a Storch Leo) when I was pregnant with my second child. Instead of opening it up and using it with my 16 month old daughter, I kept it in the package until our second child was born. Why? I will never know! Once my youngest was born in November, 2013, we started wrapping and haven’t turned back since! I now prefer woven wraps and ring slings, but ask me in a week and my answer may be different! I love the versatility of babywearing and how there is a carrier out there for everyone. Now I love helping other moms, dads, and caregivers finding that carrier that is right for them. By day, I work full time writing toxicology and drug information for healthcare professionals; I am a pharmacist by training. When I am not mom-ing or working, I am usually found doing something outside (I am an avid marathon canoe racer), baking, sailing, XC skiing, snowboarding, biking, traveling, camping, etc, etc, etc. I love spending time with friends and family and could talk your ear off if you let me!
Stephanie Herb - VBE
Hi! My name is Stephanie Herb. I've been married to my husband Mike since August of 2008 and we have twin girls, Tessa and Sadie, born February 2015. We also have a fur baby, a German Shepherd mutt named Fenway (I am a die hard Indians fan, but my transplant husband favors the Red Sox). With twins, babywearing has been a necessity since day 1! We LOVE tandem wearing in our SSC's, either at the grocery store or on the trails in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and everywhere in between. Also, my daughter Sadie has glasses, and if you've seen us at meetings, you might have seen her with a patch on her eye. She was born with a Morning Glory Disc Anomoly in her left eye, so we patch 2 hours a day to try and strengthen it, and babywearing is sometimes the only way we survive those 2 hours! Pre-babies, I taught middle and high school science (and hope to someday go back to it), and I currently teach Scottish Highland Dancing. I grew up Strongsville and we are currently living in Brecksville.
Fannesha Iles, VBE
My name is Fannesha Iles, but feel free to call me Fanny. I'm from Shaker Heights, Ohio, but my husband is military so "home" is wherever my husband and 3 monsters (soon to be 4) are! I have been babywearing since 2005 and still continue to this day. Babywearing has been a lifesaver during the times my husband has deployed overseas or left for long stretches of time training at various military schools. Babywearing has allowed me to do housework hands-free, homeschool my older kids while tending to the baby, and it has allowed me to get my homework done and complete graduate school to earn my masters degree. In my spare time I like sewing, crafting, baking, speaking Spanish, gardening, and reading.
Rebekah Kelly - VBE
Hello! I am Rebekah Kelly and a VBE with the May 2015 training group. I started babywearing with an Ergo when my daughter was 4 months and finally attempted (and fell in love with) wrapping when she was 9 months old. My best friend introduced me to the wonderful world of babywearing and BWI of Cleveland! We welcomed our second child in August 2015. Prior to becoming a stay at home mom, I was a mental health counselor and art therapist. Babywearing has saved the day for us on countless occasions and I love being a VBE to help others in their babywearing journey.
Abby Kosch - VBE
Hi there! I’m Abby--mom to 2-year-old Freddy and 1-month-old Archie and wife to my fantastic husband, Joe, of almost four years! I’m a high school English teacher who loves the theatre and all things holistic--essential oils, reiki, chiropractic, sign me up! I’ve been a CSV for a year now and would love to help foster some growth east-ward, where my family is putting finishing touches on our 1825 farmhouse! I started wearing the boys in ring slings and our Moby within their first weeks and we moved on to a few buckle carriers and several woven wraps. I’ve already discovered how handy babywearing is when you have two, so I can keep up with that toddler!
Brittany Lorello - VBEiT
Hi Everyone! My name is Brittany and I am a VBEiT with BWI of Cleveland. I am married to my husband Chris and I'm mom to an adorable little girl named Madison(Madi). We also have 3 dogs and 2 cats (Our house is like a small zoo). I am due with our second baby girl in August! I did not know ANYTHING about babywearing until Madi was about 4 months. I wish I had known sooner because it would have been a life saver in the newborn stages. Madison is most comfortable in ring slings. I had just started getting into wrapping once becoming pregnant so I plan to babywear asap with our new baby. I can see quite a bit of tandem wearing in my future. I'm a stay at home mom and I LOVE being able to spend time with my daughter every day. I am very lucky to be able to witness every milestone.
Tracy McBride - VBE
Hello, my name is Tracy McBride and I am the a VBE with BWI of Cleveland. I live in Wickliffe with my husband and my 4 children Emily (6/28/12), Conor (5/13/14), Finn (11/14/15) and Abigail (3/16/17). My babywearing journey started with Emily and a Moby wrap. I loved the closeness it created but I knew very little about babywearing options and missed that connection once she outgrew the Moby. When I got pregnant again I did a ton of research and found babywearing love all over again. Aside from my passion for Babywearing, I love to bake, cook and craft and I am blessed to be able to stay home with my children everyday.
Sarah Miller-Fellows - ABE
Hello! I'm Sarah Miller-Fellows, and I am an ABE for BWI of Cleveland. I have one son, O, born in April 2014, and one daughter, C, born in September 2016. I love all kinds of carriers and am having fun trying all the things with my littlest one. You can find us most months at the Cleveland and South Euclid meetings. Professionally, I am a medical anthropologist with a background in public health, specializing in reproduction and early childcare. My job lets me be a total birth nerd and spend lots of time cuddling babies, traveling at every opportunity, and reading books - a few of my favorite things. My husband and I live in Cleveland Heights, where we juggle working, grad school and parenting. We couldn't do it without babywearing and love to share the world with our kids. I love spreading the love of babywearing to other parents and caregivers!
Theresa Rakocy - VBE
Hi, I'm Theresa Rakocy. I’m a VBE and help with scheduling consultations for BWI of Cleveland. I started babywearing using my boba when my first was born in May 2015. I started babywearing as it was just easier and felt right for our family. The bond formed through babywearing between my daughter and myself and between my husband and my daughter is amazing. I have since fallen in love with woven wraps, ring slings, and buckle carriers for the quick up and downs. I started attending meetings a few months after my daughter was born and while we don’t wear regularly right now (independent children and all :) ) I love that I can help others in their babywearing journeys, and welcome the occasional chance to wear. In addition to being mommy, I am an intellectual property attorney working in Cleveland. My family has three dogs and a cat so it’s quite busy at our house.
April Reiman - VBEiT
I am the mother of two wonderful little people, Danika and Westley. I've been with my husband for almost 18 years and married for 8 of those (we were high school sweeties)! I'm a pharmacy technician and work for a wonderful compliance packaging pharmacy. I'm quite new to babywearing, but it feels almost like a long lost friend that's been found. It was meant to be. I am truly excited to learn everything possible!
Lauren Sherrill - VBE
Hi! I'm Lauren Sherrill and I am a VBE with BWI of Cleveland. I am a mom to three awesome kids (14, 12 and 2). I did not come from a family or community of babywearers, so when I was gifted a Bjorn with my oldest I wasn't sure how to safely or comfortably use it. Sadly I never wore my oldest children. When I was pregnant with my youngest I threw myself into researching wraps and carriers. With two active kids, I knew I needed to be hands free to keep up with my big kids while still able to nurse and snuggle baby #3. I started out with a Moby and naturally progressed into woven wraps. She has been worn since day one, and it has become her safe place and our daily bonding time. I went back to work full time as a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer when my littlest was 18 months old, so we rely on babywearing in the evenings and weekends to keep our close bond. I'm very passionate about babywearing. I'm so excited to continue this journey into toddler wearing and joining BWI of Cleveland to teach others about the benefits of keeping your little one close.
Melissa Smith- VBE
Hi. My name is Melissa Smith. I am a VBE with BWI of Cleveland. I have been volunteering for almost a year now but have been regularly attending meetings since August of 2015. My husband Eric and I have two children, Owen 3, Clara 20 months and are expecting our third child this summer. My babywearing journey started with Owen in a Beco Gemini (my favorite so far). When my daughter was born I found BWI of Cleveland and became a member. It was so much fun to learn about all the different babywearing options from this group of wonderful people. I am excited to babywear again with baby #3. Currently, I am a stay at home mom but still hold my credentials as a Registered Diagnostic Cardiac Sonographer so someday I can go back to work once my babies are not babies anymore. I look forward to meeting you at future meetings.
Jessica Tischler - VBE
My name is Jessica Tischler and I am a VBE for BWI of Cleveland. I am a Licensed Massage Therapist. Some of my specialties include Pre/Postnatal Massage, Theraputic, Hot Stone, and Cupping. My biggest goal in life was to become a mother, and I have achieved that 5 times over! I have been blessed with many children to love and babywearing has been essential in my journey. I started with my oldest son in 2003 with a pouch sling and a backpack carrier. I have worn all of the babies but I did not fall in love with wrapping until the 5th baby in 2013. I love what babywearing allows me to accomplish in my daily life as a mother of 5, and how it has brought all of us closer as a family.
CSV: Chapter Support Volunteers
VA: Volunteer Assistants
Elise Anderson - CSV
I am a First Time Mom and my daughter, Paige Olivia Anderson, is 7 weeks old born December 29, 2016 (which was her due date)! I first knew I wanted to babywear when I saw a friend of mine using a ring sling with her daughter. She then bought me my first ring sling as a shower gift and my obsession began! During my pregnancy I started my ring sling and woven wrap stash, joined the BWI Cleveland Facebook page and began researching all things babywearing. I first started babywearing a few weeks after Paige was born, as after a grueling 26 hours of labor she arrived by unplanned cesarean and given the recovery from surgery, wearing her was the only way I felt comfortable getting her safely up and down the stairs when I was by myself. After attending the Newborn Workshop, I knew I wanted to be more involved than just attending meetings, and decided to volunteer with the eventual hope of becoming an educator so I can be knowledgeable in all things babywearing for me and my family, and to aid others in their journey! I live in North Ridgeville with my husband Tony and our one-year-old German Shepherd Dog, Vader (he lives up to his name and is often tempted by the dark side- he was found using our stretchy wrap as a bed upon returning from a diaper change). I also work full time as a sales representative in West Cleveland. I enjoy spending time with family and friends, online shopping, reading when I can squeeze it in, and drinking coffee any time of day!
Dominique Burgess - CSV
Hey there! I'm Dominique, CSV with BWI of Cleveland, new mama to the beautiful Addison Sage (3-12-17) and step-mom to the beautiful Arianna Minnie (04-29-08). I grew up in a babywearing home so it came very naturally to me. I've been wearing Addison since I brought her home from the hospital. I went to my first BWI workshop in April and learned so much! I recently became a SAHM which I've been loving!! And before that I worked in the legal field. I enjoy spending time with my family and being outdoors.
Ashley Deucher - CSV
I have one daughter, Hannah (2 years old) that I have been wearing since she was about 3 weeks. I started with the ring sling and moved over to the SSC - my favorite is the Beco Gemini! I work full time at the Cleveland Clinic in investigational oncology. My favorite things to do in my spare time are family walks, foodie friday and tailgating at the Browns games!
Carleen Johnstone - CSV
My name is Carleen Johnstone and I am training to be a CSV and hopefully an educator down the road! My babywearing journey started when my son was born. I received a ring sling as a shower gift from a good friend, she found me the local BWI Cleveland page, and I went to my first meeting. From there I went straight down the rabbit hole of wraps and carriers. I am currently a full time elementary music educator, mom to a little boy (15 months) and a big dog, and wife to the most patient man. I love yoga, running, singing in a local chorale, and spending time with my boys.
Sarah Michalak - CSV
I'm a SAHM with two little boys. Their birthdays are both this month! Clayton will be 3 and Victor will be 1. My current interests and activities are mostly cooking, sewing/crafting, slowly fixing up the house and property we bought the year before last, and taking Clayton to playgrounds because he is kind of obsessed with slides. I have been aware of babywearing my whole life (my mom and grandmothers used carriers and my older sister wears her kids) and I wore Clayton a little when he was small, but I didn't really get the hang of it until after Victor was born and BWI came to Medina. We love wraps and our ring sling the most so far, but I always look forward to trying something new every month at our meetings.
Megan Palasik - CSV
My name is Megan Palasik and this is my daughter, Karis. She was born in June of 2016. I started wearing her with a Happy! wrap when she was about 2 months old, and we are slowly wearing a bit more and more. I also work full time as a Speech-Language Pathologist for the Medina County Board of DD with some of our school-aged students and primarily with our Early Intervention population doing home visits to families with children ages 0-3 years old. I'm excited to get to know more about the baby wearing community and to learn more ways to use our wraps!
Claire Poulin - CSV, Workshop Coordinator
My name is Claire Poulin and I started babywearing when I had my first baby, Luke, in January 2016. I live in Strongsville with my husband, Jeff, and son. I am also a licensed professional counselor part time but really enjoy getting to be home with my son. While not babywearing I enjoy being involved at my church. I have loved learning about different ways to wear my little one and am excited to be a volunteer.
Oksana Savinell - VA
My name is Oksana Savinell and my husband, Mark, and I have two boys. Dominic is 20 months and Elliot is 2 months. We also have two Border Collies, one of which is a therapy dog. I started baby wearing when Dominic was a newborn and I love stretchy wraps. I recently got a woven wrap and I'm really excited to get good at wrapping it! I've been trying to attend the Avon Lake meetings consistently and I'm excited to help out with social media for BWI-Cleveland.
Sarah Smith - CSV
Hi! My name is Sarah, and I started babywearing when my son, Luca was born in October 2015. We were given a boba wrap which I absolutely loved. I have enjoyed being a part of Babywearing International of Cleveland to learn about new carriers as my son is growing and our needs are changing. Babywearing has totally changed our lives, and I love having my little one close whilst still being able to get stuff done! We love hiking and being outside, and we have a German Shepherd at home who always wants to play. I am excited to learn more through BWI and hopefully give back a little too! I am currently staying at home with Luca, but before that I was an early years and elementary school teacher.
Christine Tracy - CSV
My name is Christine Tracy. I became a mom in September 2016 to a beautiful baby girl, Jana. I worked at Progressive for 2 1/2 years before becoming a stay at home mom. I started babywearing with a Moby when Jana was 5 weeks old. I recently learned how to use a woven wrap and I LOVE it. I am a huge Janis Joplin fan. I also enjoy listening to vinyl records and reading.
Ilana Yares - CSV
My name is Ilana and I am a stay at home mom to Yochai (4), Shoshi (2), and Shuly (1). We moved to Cleveland in July 2014 and that's how long I've been wearing for. I needed to get work done while I was working and babywearing was the only way to do it. Even though I never wore my 4 year old as a baby, I am finding that I wear him now sometimes because he asks me and I say sure, why not? I love reading and watching baseball! I love Cleveland and I am so happy I found BWI to be able to really hone my skills. People are constantly stopping me on the street asking me how I do that!