Leslie Lytle, Founder & Executive Director
Leslie is a mother, wife, yoga teacher, and childbirth advocate who thrives on connecting people with resources and facilitating growth. A twenty year career as a massage therapist informs her work as a childbirth educator and women’s health advocate. Leslie has worked with pregnant women since 1992, taught prenatal and postpartum yoga since 2000, and is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator.
Leslie holds an MS in Sociology where her area of focus was health and illness with additional coursework in public health. She is fascinated by the intersection of biology and culture that is ever present in the childbirth and early parenting arenas. A member of the Emerging Nonprofit Leaders Program Class of 2013, Leslie completed a Certificate in Non-Profit Management through Non-Profit Learning Point in 2014, is the 2016 recipient of the Pat Asch Fellowship for Social Justice. She looks forward to the day when Richmond will be known far and wide as a mother/baby/family friendly city.
Portia Chan – Board President
Becoming a mother awakened Portia’s super powers. She discovered strengths that were dormant until she had an emergency c-section. Although the experience was frightening, the love and presence of her husband David and the caring doctors and nurses made that part of her maternal journey more comfortable. When her daughter came out singing, she fell in love, and her heart expanded and has been growing ever since. With her second pregnancy a VBAC was not an option, and she fell in love again when her second child, her son, was born.
Portia’s wish is that all mothers will be loved and supported from pregnancy to birth and early parenting. She understands that “it takes a village.” With a professional background in development, she is the Chair of the Development Committee and enjoys working to make RVA a truly birth-friendly city.
Caitlin Minnick – Director & Secretary
Cait was raised in a military family that frequently moved, fostering a deep love of travel. Richmond has been her home since 2015. She and her husband have two children and cannot wait to build a huge family with their dogs in RVA. Cait received a Bachelor of Science in the History of Medicine from the University of Rochester, and a Master’s in History from La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Before becoming a mother, Cait was a Montessori Secondary Level Educator in Lexington, Kentucky. Prior to that she was a Professional Tutor for LaSalle University’s Academic Discovery Program . Cait believes strongly in the idea of giving back to her community. She is an outspoken person who enjoys learning and spreading information. She is passionate about the pregnancy and postpartum stage of life as it affects everyone, yet seems to be marginalized by popular culture.
Janina King Poulin – Director
Janina was born and raised in Georgia and spent twelve wonderful years in New York City before happily moving to Richmond, Virginia in March of 2016. Here in Richmond, Janina has settled down with her family and raises her son Sebastian with her husband Sam. Janina made a career in recruiting for Creatives and Tech professionals. When she found out she was expecting, Janina was fascinated and delighted by all the changes her body was making to make room and grow her baby. The more information she sought, the more she craved. Janina got certified in prenatal fitness and began working with different fitness instructors to help other mamas to be. After giving birth, she learned how few resources are available for working mothers, in regards to support for mental health, fitness, and breastfeeding. Janina’s passion for helping other mothers have a better experience and feel supported continues to grow with each experience she has. Janina is grateful and excited to be of service to Nurture and the community.
Jane Van Ostern – Director
Jane comes to Nurture as an active grandmother with decades of dedicated service to empowering families during the critical early years of life. With a specialized focus on spirituality, Jane holds a deep conviction that “The universe has presented us with a powerful means of creating peace: the way we bring our children to life.”
She is founding director of Music Together of Greater Richmond, the first research-based music and movement program for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and the grown-ups who love them. Jane is also the co-founder of Parents’ Place, an award-winning parent education center in California. Other leadership roles include serving as a La Leche League Leader in several communities between 1978 and 1992, and co-authoring “Nurturing Parents: Pathways to Ministry with New Parents” (1992). She has also completed Birthlight Baby Yoga Teacher Training.
Alexis Willard – Director & Treasurer
Alexis Willard is a stay-at-home mom with 6-year-old and 2-year-old daughters. With her first daughter, she enjoyed a wonderful pregnancy and childbirth, but noticed a lack of comprehensive, centralized resources for Richmond families. She came to OmMama through the Baby & Me yoga class with Leslie Lytle. Inspired by the fellowship of the yoga class, Alexis jumped at the opportunity to work with Leslie and other dedicated women to bring to life a maternity resource center in Richmond. While delivering her second daughter four years later, Alexis noticed quite a change in the hospital procedures and attitudes. Encouraged by this, she is dedicated to continuing the effort with even more support of the community and medical professions. Prior to motherhood, Alexis worked in the green building industry. She worked closely with committees at a non-profit organization, and understands the cooperation it takes to achieve the desired goals. Alexis looks forward to helping other women and families in the Richmond area enjoy a healthy and satisfying experience, throughout pregnancy and beyond.
We’re growing our board and committees. If you are interested in joining our dedicated and passionate team through board or committee service, please inquire at info@NurtureRVA.org or click this link.