Meet our Staff

Shanalynn Phillips

CEO, Lead Instructor, Birth Doula Program Coordinator

Shana Phillips (she/her) is an allied healthcare professional and the CEO of Psalms 9017 LLC. She began her birth working career after having to unexpectedly serve as a doula for a stranger while in nursing school. Shortly after, she became a certified doula and then went on to get certified as a Childbirth educator, newborn care specialist and a placenta encapsulation specialist. Diving deeper into maternal care, Shana spent time serving as a member of the University of Chicago’s department of OB/GYN and family planning research team, where she worked on projects concerning birth justice and reproductive rights. In 2017, Shana became the mentor program coordinator for Chicago Volunteer Doulas where she mentored and trained over of 300 doulas in a five year period. In 2019, Shana’s passion for birth work, health care and education, as well as, her desire to see all birthing individuals have effective support led her to create Gifted Hands International. GHI runs Illinois first and only 100% black owned fully comprehensive doula training and certifying organization and through it Shana has had the opportunity to train and mentor and serve individuals from all walks of life which has included nurses and other healthcare professionals, to stay at home moms, and even women in correctional facilities! Shana still serves as a birth doula for clients across the country while also regularly teaching infant care classes both privately and at her local hospital Shana believes every birthing individual deserves to be supported and advocated for. They deserve to be treated with respect, and to have their babies born safely and in the manner of their choosing. When she’s not working, Shana loves spending time with her husband and daughter.

Latisha Stapleton

Postpartum Doula program coordinator

Latisha Stapleton is a Maternal and Child Health Specialist, and the owner/operator of Mother May I, Inc. She has her B.S. in Family and Consumer Sciences and a dual M.A. in  Human Dynamics and Innovative Leadership. Latisha began her  career serving pregnant and parenting families  on Chicago’s  west side 20 years ago, when she  was hired to be a case  manager by a dynamic  Family Practice OB GYN.  At the time,  the  community was extremely high risk for pre  and  postnatal  maternal mortality so during  her  6  years of employment,  Latisha received direct  training in medical terminology,  maternal/fetal  anatomy and physiology, labor  and delivery,  and medical records management and she gained the  experience of supporting both vaginal and cesarean births. She also became a certified co-facilitator in the Centering  Pregnancy group  model, which allowed her  to teach  and graduate  three classes of expecting parents;  preparing  and empowering them for labor, delivery,  and parenting  a newborn.  Latisha’s history was  the foundation  that  ignited  her passion to press  forward and create an  agency that  would serve the entire pregnant or parenting family by  offering doula support, child/family assessments, family management and so much more. In 2019 her business Mother May I, Inc was established to do just that. In 2020, Latisha had the absolute  pleasure of meeting Shana of GHI, and she  became a  graduate of her inaugural doula class.  After graduating  Latisha was so “GHI proud” that she stayed and grew to  substitute Monday Night Live sessions and teach newborn care at clinicals. Now, she is officially GHI staff and is the creator  and educator of the Postpartum Doula program. Latisha is a wife and a mom of four, outside of her relationship with God, marriage &  family  is her first love. She believes that all  families  should have the support to communicate their  needs, connect to services, and create  positive  lasting memories with one  another. 

Cristen Bennett

Program Administrator and Student Liaison

Cristen Bennett is the Co-founder of B&B business development & Marketing, a consulting firm that helps connect businesses to their target markets, as well as, trains companies in administration and customer service skills. Cristen developed a passion for birth justice after experiencing poor care during the birth of her daughter. She was treated as if she was uneducated and her reports of pain were ignored. As a result she labored all night in the hospital alone with the nursing staff right outside her door but never coming to check on her because they didn’t believe she was truly in labor. By the time they came to check on her the next morning her baby was ready to be delivered! This poor treatment prompted Cristen to tell her story in hopes that no one would have to experience the same lack of care she did. When Cristen learned that Gifted Hands international needed a program administrator it was a no brainer! As administrator and student liaison, Cristen handles all of GHI’s public communications as wells as facilitates communication between students and staff. She assists with student on boarding and is just an overall champion helping them navigate the program.

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