California Breastfeeding Coalition Welcomes 6 New Board Members

June 12, 2023

The California Breastfeeding Coalition has six new lactation advocates joining its board of directors, beginning July 1. 

As a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit in California, the CBC’s board of directors has certain legal standards of conduct and attention in carrying out the responsibilities of the organization. They include duty of care, duty of loyalty and duty of obedience. In general terms, the CBC board:

  • Sets our organizational direction
  • Ensures the necessary resources for our organization to fulfill its mission
  • Provides programmatic and financial oversight of our organization

This year’s board recruitment process was our most successful in recent history. We received 17 highly qualified applications from lactation-supportive individuals throughout the state. After much deliberation throughout the recruitment process, current board members made the final determination.

“It was a tough decision,” said Gaby Cavins, interim executive director and board chair. “Everyone who applied had unique qualities and perspectives that would bring immense value to our coalition. We’re fortunate to have so many people interested in supporting our mission.”

Please join us in welcoming the following new members to our board.

Catalina Lemus Carrera, Bakersfield

Catalina is a migrant and seasonal outreach worker for the Employment Development Department, serving the Delano area. She’s also a member of the Kern County Breastfeeding Coalition. As a member of the CBC board, she brings valuable insight on how our statewide coalition can work to improve the health and wellbeing of agricultural and low-wage workers in the state. 

Dr. Sudha Rani Narasimhan, MD, Sunnyvale

Sudha is a neonatologist serving as both medical director at O’Connor Hospital NICU and chair of pediatrics. Sudhha was motivated to join the board after hearing at the 2023 CBC Summit that many NICUs do not have access to donor human milk for the most vulnerable babies. Her hope is to help the CBC bridge that gap, so that these patients have access to life-saving human milk.

Angelica Rojas, Hollister

Angelica is the community outreach and marketing manager at Mothers’ Milk Bank San Jose. Angelica first became interested in the lactation field while working for the WIC program in a rural agricultural community in 2006. While providing postpartum nutrition counseling/education, she noticed parents actually wanted to discuss their breastfeeding experiences and how to manage feeding after returning to work. She obtained her CLE and has worked for lactation-supportive organizations ever since. Like Catalina, Angelica’s hope is to further improve lactation initiation and human milk feeding rates among the state’s agricultural workforce.

Aida Simonian, Glendale

Aida is CEO and director of the Regional Perinatal Program of California for the Perinatal Advisory Council: Leadership, Advocacy, and Consultation (PAC/LAC). PAC/LAC provides services for healthcare professionals, executive and community leaders with training and education on perinatal health topics, program development, and overall quality improvement. Joining the board is an extension of Aida’s long-standing investment in the CBC, and she hopes that her role will help the coalition further equip hospitals and providers to provide equitable lactation education, support and care to families throughout the state.

Brenda Vierya, Palmdale

Brenda is a regional breastfeeding liaison with Northeast Valley Health Corp.’s WIC program. She’s been a longtime CBC volunteer, supporting the success of several California Breastfeeding Summits and events. Her goal for joining the board this year is to help build upon the work the coalition has done to improve the infant feeding landscape in California.

Karlee Vincent, Petaluma

Karlee’s “day job” is with an events production company, but her passion is the work she does to support workplace lactation programs through her own business, The Traveling Milk Truck. As the conversation about chest/breastfeeding and human-milk feeding develops within California, Karlee hopes to help the CBC work to guarantee an equitable support system for parents. 

These members have committed to a two-year term, from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025. Board members can serve three consecutive terms for a total of six years of service.

In addition to Gaby, who lives in San Diego, our existing board includes: Rebeca Pacheco-Hidalgo of Redlands, Ursula Pertl of San Diego, Debbie Albert of Sacramento and Grace Yee of Half Moon Bay. The next planned board recruitment period will be Fall 2024 to replace board members who term out on Dec. 31 of that year.