“The better our families are, the better our people are.”

Maryella Gockel, Ernst & Young Americas Flexibility Leader

Meet the Parental Leave Leadership Team

CPLL is made up of an international team of committed professionals who were challenged and impressed by the leadership transition required when we became parents. We did not fully anticipate that parenthood would bring a new opportunity to hone our team management skills, and we began to understand that properly shaped, the experience of becoming a parent could be enhanced to develop new leadership skills. We began to understand the importance of efficiency in a different way, balancing multiple priorities, making trade-off decisions, and developing new self-discipline. We also recognized that the typical feeling of being lost and even lonely navigating new terrain, could be helped and supported through networking with trained professionals.

Our team loves working and loves parenting. The two roles are woven into our days and lives and make up our worlds. We have chosen this work because we are dedicated to redefining the way our countries and our companies consider and support the parental leave transition. We know you are too.

Amy Beacom, EdD

Founder and CEO

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Dr. Amy Beacom is the founder and CEO of the Center for Parental Leave Leadership, the first consultancy in the US to focus exclusively on parental leave. Drawing on over 25 years in executive leadership development and coaching, Amy consults with Fortune 100 companies, international organizations, and working parents, to transform the way our companies and our country engage with the parental leave transition. Amy created the first evidence-based parental leave transition coaching model which sits behind the work that CPLL does, and distilled the coaching method into the first book to be written about parental leave, The Parental Leave Playbook: Ten Touchpoints to Transition Smoothly, Strengthen your Family, and Continue Growing your Career (Wiley, 2021). She has trained and supervised parental leave coaches both in the US and Australia and the manager-focused training program she created can be found in over 80 countries around the world. Dr. Beacom is recognized as the United States’ premiere expert on the personal and professional interplay around parental leave for employers and employees. She regularly appears on expert panels, conferences, and podcasts and has been quoted in such publications as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Working Mother. Amy holds a BA in Sociology/Anthropology with a minor in Gender Studies from Lewis and Clark College, an MA in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University, and a doctorate, also from Columbia University, combining Organizational Psychology, Women’s Leadership, Work/Family, and Applied Anthropology. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their son and daughter.

Sue Campbell

Communications Strategy & Content Writer

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Sue Campbell is a writer, author, and coach who has worked with the Center for Parental Leave Leadership since its early days, helping to communicate the transformative impact of their core mission. Her professional background includes twelve years in public service, seven of those as a business systems analyst leading projects and teams to deliver process improvements through technology. Her writing, often focused on issues important to parents, has been published in many outlets, including Prevention, Good Housekeeping, Scary Mommy, and Mamalode. Sue is the author of, The Cat, the Cash, the Leap, and the List, a novel for middle grade readers, and the co-author of The Parental Leave Playbook: Ten Touchpoints to Transition Smoothly, Strengthen your Family, and Continue Growing your Career (Wiley, 2021). Sue lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and two children.

Amy Pytlovany, PhD

Director of Research and Assessments

Dr. Amy Pytlovany is an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist dedicated to bridging the gap between academia and industry. At CPLL, “Amy P.” applies her passion by bringing an evidence-based lens and scientific approach to all conversations, projects, and assessments. Amy P. earned her masters and doctorate in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Portland State University (PSU). She minored in Occupational Health Psychology and worked closely with leading work-life and diversity scholars. Amy continues to collaborate with PSU colleagues on academic publications, and as an adjunct professor for the Psychology Department and School of Business. Amy P’s applied experience includes developing assessments and trainings, implementing family-supportive workplace interventions, assembling and leading organizational focus groups and data collections, and informing about organizational best-practices through white papers, reports, blogs, and personal interviews. Her scope is vast having worked with various companies from small municipal organizations to large Fortune 500 and Global 500 companies. Amy P currently lives in Upstate New York with her husband and daughter.

Eric Williams, MBA

Policy Lead & Partnerships

Over the last decade, Eric has helped lead efforts on groundbreaking family-focused policies in New York such as LGBT marriage equality and paid family leave. Eric has coached over 200 senior leaders and worked with dozens of organizations nationally on leadership development, team behavior, and workforce dynamics including training, culture, and remote work. Eric is the author of several publications on leadership development, volunteer training, and civic engagement. Eric helps lead CPLL’s policy work while developing the partnerships, systems, and practices to keep CPLL growing. Eric received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, Irvine and an MBA from NYU Stern focused on organizational leadership and marketing. Eric is originally from California and now lives in Beacon, NY with his wife and son.

Jeffrey Alan Smith

Brand and Design

Jeff has been an integral part of the development of our brand image and directing the design of all CPLL’s product and promotional materials. His goal is to make our brand shine, create collateral materials that are a resource to our followers, and help demonstrate our leadership in the Parental Leave space. Jeff brings valuable perspectives from his past work with a diversity of companies like Kaiser Permanente, Levi Strauss, Worlds of Wonder, The International Toy Fair in New York, Oral-B Laboratories, Tektronix, Johnson & Johnson, Pendleton Woolen Mills, and The American Advertising Museum, to name a few. In his current role as CPLL brand director, he brings a heartfelt commitment to and a strong belief in our important work. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his husband. His two granddaughters are the twin muses that drive his passion.

Alecxix Tapia

Social Media

Alecxix has been a long-time advocate for paid family leave, specifically as it relates to minority and underserved communities. Her goal is to help make paid family leave tangible to all communities. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Administration at San Diego State University and received her Bachelors in Organizational Leadership from Point Loma Nazarene University. Alecxix has previous experience in public administration and social media management through her local county. Currently, Alecxix lives in San Diego, California with her fiancé and their two dogs.

Kisha Edwards-Gandsy

Consultant & Coach


Kisha Edwards-Gandsy is a working parent advocate and successful entrepreneur whose work has focused on creating products and services to ease the work/life struggle and provide caregiving support to working parents. She is the Co-Founder of NY City Explorers Group, a 16 year old suite of highly successful family-focused childcare companies and co-working solutions including the NY City Explorers Pre-K Academy – a private preschool located in the historic Brooklyn Friends Meeting House; Backpacks & Binoculars – a discovery and travel-based school-aged camp and afterschool program; and Bag-of-Tricks Babysitting – an in-home and special event sitting agency. Kisha is also an accomplished consultant and coach whose work has been featured in The New York Times, Crains New York, Oregon Business Magazine, Red Tricycle, Brooklyn Family Magazine, Mommy Poppins, and Time Out NY, among others. Kisha is a member of The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, The National Association for the Education of Young Children, and The Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. Originally from rural Pelzer, SC, Kisha moved to NYC to study Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and, as a published children’s book author, ensures her work with adults is infused with creativity and intention. Kisha lives in Brooklyn, New York and Greenville, NC with her husband and three children.

Scott Behson, PhD

Consultant and Coach


Scott is a Professor of Management and Silberman Global Faculty Fellow at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and the author of the best-selling books, The Whole-Person Workplace and The Working Dad’s Survival Guide. He writes, consults and provides speaking services on building employer cultures that support the work-life challenges of employees, as well as helping working parents balance it all. He was a featured speaker at the White House and the United Nations and appears regularly in national media including the Harvard Business Review, Huffington Post and the Good Men Project. Scott has been published in TIME, Fast Company, Success, and The Wall Street Journal and frequently appears in media, including MSNBC, NPR and Fox News. His most important roles are as husband and father, and he can be seen most often grading papers and writing articles in the car during his teen son’s sports practices. Scott lives in Nyack, NY with his wife, stage actress Amy Griffin.

Karen Abrams Gerber, EdD

Consultant and Coach

Dr. Karen Abrams Gerber has worked as an organizational consultant, coach and researcher for more than fifteen years. Karen works with a broad range of companies and not-for-profit organizations, consulting extensively in both North America and Israel. Karen is passionate about facilitating effective dialogue and transformative change at the individual, inter-personal, organizational, and societal levels. Karen has been a key thinking partner in the development of the RETAIN Parental Leave Coaching model, drawing on her in-depth background in organizational dynamics and theory, leadership development, conflict resolution, counseling, and relationship-building. Karen’s research background and interests focus on transformative change, and, in particular, how to engage people who do not share one’s underlying values in order to create sustainable change. Karen holds a B.A. from Stanford University as well as an M.A. in Organizational Psychology and an Ed.D. in Adult Learning and Leadership from Columbia University. She lives in New York City with her husband and their daughter.

Brenda Johnson, PhD

Consultant and Coach

Dr. Brenda Johnson has worked as an organizational psychology professor, diversity management specialist, group and organizational consultant, program evaluator, and journey-level carpenter. Brenda has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in multicultural psychology, diversity management, conflict resolution, cultural competence, organizational development, research methods, organizational psychology, and group dynamics. Because of her practical experience and academic training, Brenda is skilled at working with leaders and managers to craft comprehensive solutions to challenges in the workplace and guide them in the implementation with buy-in at all levels. Brenda holds a Bachelors in Conflict Resolution Studies from the University of Winnipeg and a Masters and a doctorate in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University. Brenda lives in Seattle, WA with her wife and their son.

Christopher Persley, MA

Consultant and Coach


Christopher is a writer, consultant and coach, and intrepid fatherhood advocate. For nearly two decades, Christopher has worked within the independent school system as an educator and school administrator. He spent the last eight years as Director of Diversity, helping create safe, inclusive environments for diverse communities. In that role Christopher honed his facilitation and assessment skills by crafting and leading workshops, panel discussions, events and symposia – all while utilizing an array of research and assessment tools to ensure his efforts had a measurable impact. Christopher is Co-Organizer of NYC Dads Group, a diverse community of more than 1,300 fathers in and around New York City that provides dads an organized way to socialize and support each other throughout their parenting journey. Christopher is responsible for representing the group in the media, facilitating events, and fostering partnerships with companies and organizations such as Stouffer’s, Dove Men+Care, Withings, and the New York Liberty. A recognized and sought after author, Christopher writes the blog, The Brown Gothamite, and has contributed to The Stir at Cafe Mom, CityDadsGroup.comWhatToExpect.comTheGoodMenProject.com, and the book, Dads Behaving Dadly 2. He has appeared on Good Morning America, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, Mic.com‘s Flip The Script, The Root Live, and CBS News. Christopher has been profiled in Real Simple Magazine and been a Spotlight Blogger at the 2015 Dad 2.0 Summit. Christopher earned a masters degree in Private School Leadership through the Klingenstein Center at Teachers College, Columbia University. He lives in New York City with his wife and daughter.

Jayne Cronlund, JD

Consultant & Coach

Jayne Cronlund’s work is informed by over 18 years of experience successfully leading diverse groups through growth and change. Jayne has a unique capacity for ensuring that individual values and perspectives are honored and incorporated into day-to-day work in ways that enhance business performance and increase employee engagement, loyalty, and morale. Jayne is recognized both in the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors for her expertise in building collaborative leadership solutions to tough situations. She has a fundamental belief that personal reflection in the service of leadership development can help us all create healthier companies, employees, and ultimately, a healthier planet. Jayne is the founder of flourish, a boutique consulting firm focused on supporting business leaders to create more powerful organizations by successfully integrating their personal and work lives. In her work, Jayne combines her RETAIN training, on the ground leadership experience, and The Power of Ted cognitive coaching framework, with the insight and calm gained through her personal meditation practice, to guide her clients through complex transitions with clarity and development. Jayne holds a BA in Art History from Temple University, a JD from Northeastern University School of Law, as well as various advanced coaching certification and trainings. Jayne lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their daughter.

Deanna Siegal Senior, PhD

Consultant & Coach

Deanna Siegel Senior, PhD, is a certified executive coach and accomplished Head of Talent with more than two decades of experience coaching high-performing leaders and teams. She specializes in executive transitions and focuses on how the most effective executives inspire their teams through authentic leadership and radical candor. Her guiding approach is to help leaders identify their motivations and values in order to effectively tailor their leadership style and discover greater levels of success and ease in all areas of life. Deanna received her PhD in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University, and has coached C-suite executives, start-up founders, mid-career managers, and emerging leaders as well as led large teams in People and Talent at brands including Tiffany & Co., WW (reimagined from Weight Watchers), Deloitte and Pfizer. Throughout her career, Deanna has built a solid reputation as a pragmatist who builds strong relationships, and acts boldly to identify and address challenges. Deanna lives in New York with her husband and three children.

Orla NicDomhnaill, PhD

Australia - Consultant & Coach

Dr. Órla NicDomhnaill has over 15 years of consulting experience working with leading organizations and their boards, building board and organizational effectiveness, leadership strength, and senior team alignment. Órla is the Managing Director of the Institute for Leadership Potential and was formerly the Head of the Assessment and Succession Practice at Stephenson Mansell Group. Prior to that she was a Principal Consultant at Heidrick & Struggles in their Leadership Consulting Practice. Her previous clients include Bausch & Lomb, BHP Billiton, BlackRock, Johnson & Johnson, Marsh & McLennan, Mercedes Benz (China), PepsiCo, Rohm and Haas, HP and United Airlines. Órla gained extensive experience working with top management as a Principal Consultant at Oliver Wyman Delta (New York), where she worked with CEOs, boards of directors, and senior executives of major corporations on CEO succession, executive talent management, and large-scale organizational change. Órla was a faculty member at Columbia University where she taught Research Methods courses in the Social-Organizational Psychology Masters program, and worked as a Process Consultant in Change Management and Conflict Resolution practicums. Originally from Ireland, Órla graduated with first-class honours in Psychology from University College Dublin and has a Masters of Art, Masters of Philosophy and PhD in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University in New York City. Her dissertation, “Gendered Behavior at Work: How Sex, Gender and Approach to Work Impact Behaviors and Outcomes” was published in 2008. She lives in Sydney with her husband and their son and daughter.

Alejandra Garfias

Research Intern

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Alejandra‘s internship experience was sparked by her interest in the field of applied psychology, specifically industrial/organizational psychology. She is keenly interested in learning how to improve organizational work policies and practices to support employees and companies. She has a particular interest on reducing work place harassment. Alejandra is pursuing her BS in Psychology with a minor in Business Administration at Portland State University. She plans to continue her education by studying Human Resources in graduate school. Alejandra is motivated by the joy she has in helping others and that motivation has fueled her personal mission to use human connections as a means to shared personal growth and development. Alejandra is involved in various department organizations on campus and volunteers her time in the Psychology Department as a peer advisor. She also serves as a research assistant for the Human Developmental program on campus and works closely with the academic advisor for the School of Business to ensure a meaningful experience to all students needing help and support. Alejandra lives in Hillsboro, Oregon with her family.