Keya Strudwick, MBA, DHA | Board President

As a young child, Keya Strudwick knew she wanted to make a difference in the lives of others. Always eager to learn and to care about the wellbeing of others, it seemed like a natural fit when Keya decided to pursue a career in Healthcare Administration.

Being a transformative, empowering servant leader has led Keya to participate in several national and international mission trips, volunteering with numerous organizations that focus on uplifting, sustaining, and supporting women, children, and youth.

Aligning her passion and purpose, Keya earned her Bachelor degree in Business Administration from Greensboro College and a Master of Business Administration from Strayer University. She received her Doctorate in Health Administration from the Medical University of South Carolina.

Jessica Lee, Esq. | Secretary

Jessica Lee is a mother and an anti-discrimination attorney focusing on the needs of pregnant and caregiving workers and students. For the last two decades, Jessica has worked with non-profit organizations to advance gender, racial, and environmental justice in Virginia and internationally. In 2015, Jessica joined the Center for WorkLife Law where she is now the Senior Staff Attorney and Director of the Center’s Pregnant Scholar Initiative. Jessica’s research and advocacy advances gender and racial equity in the workplace and in education, and she is a nationally recognized expert on the laws at the intersection of employment, education, and maternal and infant health. Jessica directly counsels pregnant and postpartum people facing discrimination or health risks at work or school and enjoys translating complicated legal issues into approachable and useful tools for non-lawyers. She also engages in policy advocacy to secure protections for workers and families, with the overarching goal that no one should have to choose between protecting their health and earning a living. Jessica earned her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University. In her free time, Jessica can usually be found caring for her edible and medicinal garden or exploring nature with family.


Laurie Aronovici, BSN, RN | Treasurer

Laurie Aronovici served as a perinatal nurse for thirty-nine years, with thirty-five of them specifically in Labor and Delivery.  During that time she pursued academic progression, advancing from an Associate Degree to a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. Additionally, she was an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant from 1991 to 2011, Chair of the Virginia Breastfeeding Coalition for 11 years, a Certified Childbirth Instructor through the Richmond Childbirth Association for 27 years, a certified yoga instructor through the Nara School of Yoga for 48 years, a perinatal yoga instructor through Sylvia Klein-Olkin’s Positive Pregnancy Fitness for 25 years, a perinatal massage therapist through Kate Jordan’s Body Work for the Childbearing Year for 11 years, certified in Reflexology and Healing Touch Level 1, and certified in Electronic Fetal Monitoring through National Certification Corporation. She is currently a member of the Virginia Neonatal Perinatal Collaborative. Laurie has a strong commitment to ensuring safe perinatal care for all birthing people, and finding effective ways to decrease maternal morbidity and mortality.  She is also strongly committed to seeing breastfeeding/chest feeding become the cultural norm. Laurie has been married for 41 years and has three wonderful adult daughters and three joyous grandsons.


Kirsten Olsen | Director

After the birth of her first child in 1997, a son named Graham, Kirsten Olsen began to recognize that perhaps pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum recovery and new parenthood were not as Hallmark precious, nor as simple as often presented. Her pregnancy was easy as far as pregnancies go. Her first labor and delivery was also uncomplicated (long, long, long – but uncomplicated), and her postpartum went well, too. She had tons of support! But still, the culmination of all the work made her feel different. Weird. Like, new eyes – transformed. How come nobody talks about this. . .  identity crisis people go through? And how much help you actually, practically, really need?

In January of 2001, Kirsten took her first birth doula course through ALACE, now known as ToLabor. Later that year, she also took the CAPPA training in order to become a postpartum doula, and gave birth to her second son, Marsden, in October of 2001. Kirsten also taught childbirth education classes for Brighter Birth. She attended births, taught classes and took care of postpartum people up until 2008 when she became pregnant with her third child, a daughter (yay!) named Maddy.

After Maddy’s birth in 2009, Kirsten decided to go back to school for nursing. She graduated from J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College in August of 2012 with an LPN, and began working at the first freestanding birth center in Richmond, Complete Care Birth Center. In that role, she was the clinical nurse for the midwives and started facilitating group prenatal care. She also attended births and made postpartum home visits – heaven!! Unfortunately, the birth center closed in April of 2013.

In May of 2013, Kirsten began working at Virginia Commonwealth University in the School of Medicine for the Department of OB/GYN, under the auspices of the Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns initiative. This five year long research project through the Center for Medicaid Services was investigating the positive effects group prenatal care had on the disparities people of color experience in pregnancy and birth.

Group prenatal care seems almost magical at first, though in fact a great many obstetric providers remain unconvinced that this model of care delivers on everything it purports: better experiences for both patient and provider, less incidence of preterm birth for participants, increase in breastfeeding, greater adherence to care. Kirsten went back to school for her Master’s in Education in Adult Learning to get better at this job of educating adult learners. And she can tell you: group prenatal care is not magic! It’s social collectivism! It’s dialogue education! It’s transformative learning! These are the educational frameworks utilized in this model of care. People are seen. People are heard. People are loved and cared for. Everyone. 

In this role, Kirsten got to witness first hand the amazing transformation of countless pregnant people and their partners. Her goal remains to see to it that all pregnant people are taken care of well: that they are seen, they are heard and they are loved.

We’re growing our board and committees. If you are interested in improving the local pregnancy, birth, and early parenting ecosystem through board or committee service at Nurture, please inquire at or fill out this questionnaire.




Leslie Lytle | Executive Director & Founder

Leslie Lytle is a mother, wife, yoga teacher, and childbirth advocate who thrives on connecting people with resources and facilitating growth. She began working with pregnant people as a massage therapist in 1992 which influenced her choice of care providers for her own pregnancy in 1995 – 96. Inspired by the midwife-supported birth of her son, she became a doula in 1998, began teaching prenatal and postpartum yoga in 2000, and is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator. Over 3000 pregnant and postpartum people have participated in her programs.

Leslie holds an MS in Sociology where her focus was the sociology of 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 is the 2016 recipient of the Pat Asch Fellowship for Social Justice, and is an alumni of Initiatives of Change’s Community Trustbuilding Fellowship. She looks forward to the day when Richmond will be known far and wide as a parent/baby/family friendly city.







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