Kim Updegrove, RN, CNM, MSN, MPH
Kim Updegrove was born in New Jersey and has dedicated her career to saving babies’ lives and caring for women and children around the world. A registered nurse and certified nurse midwife (CNM), Updegrove earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing at William Paterson University, a master of public health degree at Rutgers University and a master of science degree in nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. After finishing her MSN, Updegrove left the Penn faculty and moved to New Haven, Conn., where she worked as a CNM, delivering more than 500 babies and providing well-woman care. She also served on the graduate faculty of the Yale University School of Nursing. Kim has devoted her professional efforts to growing the Mother’s Milk Bank at Austin since 2002. Updegrove is a past president of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA), and chairs the guidelines committee helping to ensure quality control of donor human milk and cultivates the development of nonprofit milk banks. She has traveled to multiple states, China, Poland, Turkey and the province of Alberta to foster and mentor milk banks. A coveted speaker on the topic of donor human milk, Updegrove has presented at national conferences in Prague and British Columbia, and has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, ABC News and NBC News. On days off Kim takes her grandson for hikes, plays tennis and talks to all who will listen about the life-saving powers of breast milk.
Diana was born and raised in Northern Virginia and moved to Austin in 2016 from Richmond, Virginia where she studied Sociology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Diana became passionate about all things breastfeeding after having her son, and was introduced to the Milk bank via social media. She joined the milk bank in September 2018 as the office assistant and handles a number of tasks, including assisting the donor team with screenings and shipping donor supplies. Diana is mother to a VERY cute 11-month-old named Gary and two dogs, Cammy & Chuck.
Leryn was born in Houston, TX and grew up in Fort Worth and Arlington, where she studied Philosophy and Merchandising at The University of Texas at Arlington. She moved to Los Angeles in 1997 where her two amazing kids were born. In 2017, Texas called her home and she landed in Austin. Leryn's love of children, community, and strong passion for breastfeeding advocacy, along with her background of working with non-profits such as Motion Picture Television Fund, Adopt-A-Bunny-Rabbit, and Bike Austin made Mother's Milk Bank at Austin a perfect fit. Leryn is loving her new family at the Milk Bank and takes great pride in lending a helping hand in any way needed. Outside of work she enjoys hiking with her dog Dude, writing, painting, and spending time with family and friends.
Hyram grew up in North West Houston before spending 4 great years at UT Austin where he earned a BA in Business and of course an education in Austin live music experience. He has lived LA, Nashville, and NYC (and a few others) over the years where he has worked in photography, music business and real estate. He is the father of three boys and he and his wife enjoy family, residential real estate, design, art, education, great conversations, day trips, and music. At MMBA, Hyram is the facilities manager making sure that our new home on Dillard Circle is always running smoothly to ensure we continue to save babies' lives. Outside of work, his interests include family, fishing, design and the mechanical world of building, engines, boats, cars and making things.
Tedrah Robertson is a first generation Texan with deep southern roots. She relocated to Austin originally to pursue her Bachelor of Fine Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. During her undergraduate career, Tedrah began her career in Texas politics with the goal of improving the lives of Texas children and families. While pursuing her Masters at Texas State, Tedrah became an active member of the Junior League of Austin--which led to her community volunteer placement at MMBA. It didn’t take long before Tedrah opted out of a career in politics to join the #ISaveBabies team at MMBA. As the Development Director, she heads up MMBA’s fundraising and community partnership efforts as a means to raise awareness about the importance of donor human milk and crucial financial support for our philanthropic programs-- Charitable Care, Research, and Education Programs. Saving babies is a 24/7 adventure that Tedrah happily shares with her son and husband.
Donor Experience Manager
Cat is almost a native Austinite and attended the University of Texas at Austin, earning a dual degree in Sociology and History in 2011. She started out in the non-profit world but quickly got pulled into Austin's tech scene. For eight years Cat developed her skills in customer success and digital marketing strategy, supporting Fortune 500 brands. After her son was born in 2018, she felt a pull to mission-oriented work and returned to her non-profit roots. Cat brings her expertise in marketing and improving the customer journey to her role at the milk bank, building partnerships with corporations, orgs, and individuals that further the reach and impact of MMBA. She's also particularly proud of meeting her own breastfeeding goals while continuing her career, and donating her extra milk to NICU babies through the milk bank.
Melissa is a native Austinite who attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a degree in Child Development and Family Relationships. Before joining MMBA in 2012, she managed a toy library and taught parenting classes for twelve years. During this time, she gave birth to two sons, became passionate about breastfeeding, and began telling other nursing moms about MMBA. Little did she know, years later this would lead her to managing the Milk Recipient Program which dispenses donor human milk to hospital NICUs and Well-Baby Units and outpatient families. Melissa lives in Round Rock with her husband, two teenage sons, and her Golden Retriever, Riley.
Recipient Program Administrative Assistant
Cassandra Lawlis was born in Kansas City, Missouri, although neither she nor her parents ever lived there. She grew up in southeastern Wisconsin and came to Austin via Madison (where she received her BFA in Art), Minneapolis, Portland, OR and NYC. While in New York she met her husband, had a baby, and became involved in the local breastfeeding community. Also while in NYC, through an series of unlikely events, she helped implement the Quality, Environmental, and Health and Safety Management program at a multinational express shipping company. Sorting through all those regulations has made her particularly suited to filing insurance claims at MMBA. Her baby is now eight years old but is still awfully cute.
Donor Mom Program Specialist and Volunteer Coordinator
Alison grew up in Gloucester, Massachusetts and attended Lasell College just outside of Boston. She worked for a local newspaper for a couple of years after graduation and moved to Texas on a bit of a whim in 1992. With a background in advertising sales, she spent 12 years in the corporate world and then left after becoming a mom. In 2007, she re-joined the workforce at her first non-profit, learning very quickly that this was where she belonged. She joined MMBA in 2012 and works with our Milk Donors and Volunteers. She is a proud mother, an avid reader, adores movies and live music, and is a big time animal lover.
Laura grew up in Austin and loves everything about it (except the traffic)! She's been working at MMBA since 2012. She maintains ongoing communication with approved milk donors, ensuring that all changes in health or lifestyle are acknowledged appropriately. Outside of work, she loves being a mom to her ten-year-old daughter.
Jennell is a born and raised Austinite. She's passionate about social justice, the environment and politics. In 2014 she graduated from Texas State University with a Master's in Sustainability. In 2018, she gave birth to identical twin boys; Gemini and Kodiak. The twins received donor milk in their first days of life before Jennell's supply came in. When her supply regulated, she had more than enough to share. Jennell applied to become a donor and to this day she's donated over 6,000 ounces of breast milk. Jennell is passionate about the milk bank's mission and joined MMBA as soon as she was able; continuing the fight to save medically fragile babies!
Andrew was born and raised in Texas, migrating South on I-35 his entire life with stops in Grapevine, Waco, and Georgetown before settling in Austin. Andrew graduated with a Bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature from Southwestern University in 2013, but always felt called to serve others, particularly the vulnerable and needy. Through a series of highly fortunate events, Andrew ended up at the Milk Bank in 2014 as the Equipment and Inventory Coordinator, and he feels doubly fortunate that he gets to work at a place that helps the most vulnerable. Andrew is now the Operations Manager, overseeing all processes and personnel related to the procurement, handling, pasteurization and dispensation of donor milk. Andrew is a husband and a father; his child was born in June of 2016 and will very likely become president one day.
Quality Assurance Technician and Operations Technician
Mindy was born in Ohio and relocated to Texas at the age of 4. She received her BS in Nutrition from UT Austin and shortly after joined the staff at the milk bank. Her love and passion for helping others in need contributes immensely to her job. At the milk bank Mindy makes sure the standards and procedures in the lab are met. In her free time, Mindy enjoys spending time with her toddler son, Michael.
Melissa was born in Austin, TX and has lived here her entire life. As a kid she trained dogs competitively for 8 years and still loves to spend time with her dogs teaching them new tricks. After 10 years in the food industry, Melissa has made the move to MMBA where she works as a Lab Coordinator. Plus, she is a former Donor Mom herself. Outside of the office, Melissa enjoys spending time with her son, Caleb, and taking care of her chickens, pigs, ducks, sheep, miniature horse, and 4 dogs.
Chad grew up in Houston until he moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas and has since never left the city. He works as a lab assistant, doing a little bit of everything to make everyone else’s jobs in the lab a little easier. Chad is an avid indoorsman who enjoys video games, 80s music, hard-boiled noir and really anything that keeps him from going outside--it's way too bright out there.
Robin was born in Virginia, but lived in Maryland for most of her life. Growing up as the daughter of a Lactation Consultant, a passion for infant and maternal health was quickly and deeply instilled in her. She received a BA in Anthropology and a BS in Chemistry from The George Washington University. Despite loving her time in DC, she was looking for a new adventure after college and found herself in Austin. At MMBA, Robin works as a lab technician aiding in the safe processing of donor milk. She loves being able to help save babies everyday. Outside of work she enjoys spending time outside, crocheting, and attempting to cook.
Laura Steed was born in Lubbock, Texas. She graduated from Southwestern University in 2015 with a B.S. in Biology. While working in several research labs as well as private medicine, Laura developed a passion for helping others and all things related to the lab. As a laboratory technician, she helps in safely processing the milk used to help save babies everyday. She also enjoys hiking, hanging out with her spouse, and cuddling with her three-legged cat Tripod.
Annie was born in Houston, TX and moved to Austin, TX in 2006. She received her BA in Theatre Arts from St. Edwards University. She has worked with teens in the educational environment for over 10 years through several different visual arts programs. She met her husband in 2007 and they had a little baby in 2015. She is involved in the Austin Art Community, is an accomplished painter, graphic designer and animator. She recently finished animating the first season of an Amazon Original "Undone". Annie works as the Operations Assistant at MMBA and is passionate about normalizing breastfeeding and women's health. She feels fortunate to be a part of helping families find the resources they need to help their children thrive.