Board of Directors 

Beth Isaacs, Founder & President

Beth has worked in maternal-infant health since 1980. She received a B.S. from Northwestern University and a BSN from Rush University, after which she worked as a labor and delivery nurse, childbirth educator, and lactation consultant for many years. Beth earned a MPH from University of Illinois at Chicago. Her MPH thesis examined the impact of community-based doulas on rates of breastfeeding initiation among teen mothers on the west side of Chicago. This led to many years of work as a trainer of community-based doulas. Beth contributed to the book, The Community-Based Doula: Supporting Families Before, During, and After Child Birth. She also collected and edited the stories of community-based doulas in Sharing Our Stories, wrote a chapter on breastfeeding for the Textbook of Breast Disease, and contributed to the Illinois Breastfeeding Toolkit. 

  Beth Isaacs, Founder & President   Beth has worked in maternal-infant health since 1980. She received a B.S. from Northwestern University and a BSN from Rush University, after which she worked as a labor and delivery nurse, childbirth educator, and lactation consultant for many years. Beth earned a MPH from University of Illinois at Chicago. Her MPH thesis examined the impact of community-based doulas on rates of breastfeeding initiation among teen mothers on the west side of Chicago. This led to many years of work as a trainer of community-based doulas. Beth contributed to the book, The Community-Based Doula: Supporting Families Before, During, and After Child Birth. She also collected and edited the stories of community-based doulas in Sharing Our Stories, wrote a chapter on breastfeeding for the Textbook of Breast Disease, and contributed to the Illinois Breastfeeding Toolkit. 

Beth Isaacs, Founder & President

Beth has worked in maternal-infant health since 1980. She received a B.S. from Northwestern University and a BSN from Rush University, after which she worked as a labor and delivery nurse, childbirth educator, and lactation consultant for many years. Beth earned a MPH from University of Illinois at Chicago. Her MPH thesis examined the impact of community-based doulas on rates of breastfeeding initiation among teen mothers on the west side of Chicago. This led to many years of work as a trainer of community-based doulas. Beth contributed to the book, The Community-Based Doula: Supporting Families Before, During, and After Child Birth. She also collected and edited the stories of community-based doulas in Sharing Our Stories, wrote a chapter on breastfeeding for the Textbook of Breast Disease, and contributed to the Illinois Breastfeeding Toolkit. 

  Charlotte Johnson, Treasurer   Charlotte worked as a labor and delivery nurse and mother/baby nurse at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook Country from 1981-1992. She was the OB nurse discharger planner from 1992-1998, and from 1998-2011, she was the perinatal outreach educator fro Stroger Hospital Perinatal Center, presenting education to nurses and physicians at the network hospitals. During that time, she also worked as the lactation consultant and coordinated the breastfeeding program for the hospital, which was a peer counselor-based program. From 2002-2005, she volunteered as a doula for pregnant women incarcerated at Cook County Jail delivering at Stroger Hospital. She retired in 2011 but volunteers with organizations providing pregnant and parenting women and families in underserved communities. 

Charlotte Johnson, Treasurer

Charlotte worked as a labor and delivery nurse and mother/baby nurse at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital of Cook Country from 1981-1992. She was the OB nurse discharger planner from 1992-1998, and from 1998-2011, she was the perinatal outreach educator fro Stroger Hospital Perinatal Center, presenting education to nurses and physicians at the network hospitals. During that time, she also worked as the lactation consultant and coordinated the breastfeeding program for the hospital, which was a peer counselor-based program. From 2002-2005, she volunteered as a doula for pregnant women incarcerated at Cook County Jail delivering at Stroger Hospital. She retired in 2011 but volunteers with organizations providing pregnant and parenting women and families in underserved communities. 

  Brenda Matthews, Secretary    Brenda is the State Breastfeeding Coordinator at the Illinois Department of Human Services. She chairs the State Breastfeeding Task Force and works with local WIC agencies to provide breastfeeding education and support to breastfeeding women. Brenda is a registered and licenses dietitian and Certified Educator with more than 20 years experience in breastfeeding promotion and education.  

Brenda Matthews, Secretary

Brenda is the State Breastfeeding Coordinator at the Illinois Department of Human Services. She chairs the State Breastfeeding Task Force and works with local WIC agencies to provide breastfeeding education and support to breastfeeding women. Brenda is a registered and licenses dietitian and Certified Educator with more than 20 years experience in breastfeeding promotion and education.  

  Heidi Cerneka   Heidi joins IBJ after 20 years advocating directly for women prisoners and human rights.  She has spoken extensively on the topic and published articles on issues related to women and prison. She is currently a law student at Loyola University Chicago, continuing her work with women through internships and volunteer service at the Cook County Jail. While she works for a day when there are no more prisons, in the meantime, her goal is to advocate to guarantee that women who are incarcerated have access to medical, psychological, educational and social resources.  

Heidi Cerneka

Heidi joins IBJ after 20 years advocating directly for women prisoners and human rights.  She has spoken extensively on the topic and published articles on issues related to women and prison. She is currently a law student at Loyola University Chicago, continuing her work with women through internships and volunteer service at the Cook County Jail. While she works for a day when there are no more prisons, in the meantime, her goal is to advocate to guarantee that women who are incarcerated have access to medical, psychological, educational and social resources.  

  Anne Sweeney    Anne serves as Managing Director of New Coast Foundation, which invests in organizations working to alleviate poverty in Chicago. Prior to joining New Coast, she consulted with nonprofit leaders to help problem-solve development and program challenges faced within their organizations. She also worked with the UN Refugee Agency, The US Refugee Program, and other organizations prior to founding Heshima Kenya, a nonprofit that empowers refugee women displaced in Kenya. She has a BS in Social Work from University of Minnesota and an MA in International Relations from American University.   

Anne Sweeney

Anne serves as Managing Director of New Coast Foundation, which invests in organizations working to alleviate poverty in Chicago. Prior to joining New Coast, she consulted with nonprofit leaders to help problem-solve development and program challenges faced within their organizations. She also worked with the UN Refugee Agency, The US Refugee Program, and other organizations prior to founding Heshima Kenya, a nonprofit that empowers refugee women displaced in Kenya. She has a BS in Social Work from University of Minnesota and an MA in International Relations from American University.