Our Board of Directors
The Board is responsible for mapping the strategic plan for the network. They are tasked with advancing the mission, maintaining the integrity of the network, and representing the PPA on a national level.
Kristy Love – President
Kristy is the mother of two preemies, a daughter at 35 weeks and a son at 30 weeks. She has been actively involved in supporting NICU families at Mercy Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, MO, and advocating for NICU families nationally since 2001. Kristy has also been with the National Perinatal Association (NPA) since 2009 and currently holds the position as their Senior Director of Operations.
Gigi Khonyongwa-Fernandez – Vice President
Gigi is the mother of 4 angel babies and a surviving twin son born at 24 weeks who is now legally blind. She’s an ICF Accredited Professional Performance Coach and Founder of Families Blossoming LLC, a company passionate about providing transformative Professional Coaching and Emotional Wellness services to parents, professionals, and organizations. She serves on the Board of the Preemie Parent Alliance (PPA) and the Parent Advisory Board of the European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI). Gigi currently resides in London, England.
Lisa Grubbs – Secretary
Lisa Grubbs is the Founder and President of NICU Helping Hands, a non-profit organization, that develops hospital- and community-based projects to provide education and support for families with babies in the NICU, during their transition from hospital to home, and in the event of an infant loss. Driven by the belief that no family should face the birth of a critically ill infant alone, Lisa continues to develop programs both locally and nationally to support NICU families.
Summit Program Planning Committee, Co-Chair
Audrey Cohen – Treasurer
Audrey is the mother of a micro preemie son born at 24 weeks. She has spent the majority of her corporate career as a management consultant, advising healthcare and financial services firms on solving complex business challenges. She is currently the Head of Business Operations for Learning & Development at Goldman Sachs in New York City.
Finance & Strategy, Co-Chair
Jennifer Degl is the mother of four, including a micro preemie who was born at 23 weeks, and the founder of Speaking for Moms and Babies, Inc. Her mission is to educate the public on maternal and neonatal health issues. She is the author of two books, the co-chair of The International Neonatal Consortium’s Communications Workgroup, and she serves on the board for NIDCAP and The Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund. Jennifer has been a high school science teacher for 20 years.
Standards & Review Committee, Co-Chair
Kelli D. Kelley is the Founder and Executive Director of Hand to Hold, a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing education and support for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and bereaved families. A NICU graduate parent, she now invests her time and talents raising awareness about the high incidence of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder among these parents and the long-term implications for the baby and family.
Summit Program Planning Committee, Co-Chair (2020)
Tracy is the wife of Jesse and the mother of Cooper, Cohen, Frannie, and Maybry. After the trauma of Cooper & Cohen’s birth at 23 weeks, 4 days, resulting in Cohen’s passing and Cooper spending 134 days in the NICU, she was driven to start Connected Forever. Her family was blessed with Frannie’s full term arrival. Maybry made her appearance at 34 weeks, 2 days, and spent 14 days in the NICU. Tracy is also a school psychologist and mental health therapist, who thoroughly enjoys serving children and families in the education system.
My NICU Network & Webinar Planning, Workgroup Leader
Bob is two-time NICU Dad of Jack (born at 25 weeks) and Tommy (28 weeks). Bob and his wife Susan created the Holding Tiny Hands Foundation and serve NICU families in Iowa. Bob is the foundation’s Executive Director. He is a retired police officer and a stay at home dad.
Member Engagement Committee, Co-Chair
Erin Whaley is a partner at Troutman Sanders LLP where she represents healthcare providers, payers, and health IT vendors on the full spectrum of legal issues they confront on a daily basis. Erin serves as the Pro Bono Partner for Troutman Sanders’ Richmond office where she encourages and coordinates officewide participation in pro bono efforts. She is also the Chairperson of the Rural Education Foundation Board of Trustees and serves on the Board of Directors of the Preemie Parent Alliance.
Partnerships & Collaborations Committee, Co-Chair
Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.
– HENRY FORD