Our certified RETAIN Parental Leave coaches act at various times as executive coaches, consultants, therapists, lactation support, doulas, and more for expecting and new working parents (and their companies and managers).

Amy Beacom, EdD, Founder, Center for Parental Leave Leadership

RETAIN Parental Leave Certified Coaches

RETAIN Parental Leave Certified coaches use evidence-based methodologies and practical tools to help support working parents and managers to navigate the 3 phases of the parental leave transition smoothly and sustainably. Coaches can be hired directly by the new parent or their employer. The direct and personalized support that RETAIN Parental Leave Coaches offer has been shown to decrease stress at work and home, increase communication with key stakeholders, support more equitable divisions of labor, improve sleep strategies, increase uptake of existing workplace resources, increase employees sense of mattering, improve health and wellness (including perinatal mental health), and ultimately help create a better experience for all.

Hillary Aponte-Chimelis, LPC, PMH-C, R-PLC

Hello, my name is Hillary Aponte-Chimelis and I am a licensed professional counselor in the state of Pennsylvania and established a private practice, H. Aponte-Chimelis Counseling LLC, located in Berks County, Pennsylvania. I am trained in family and trauma informed therapy. I am also certified in perinatal mental health through Postpartum Support International (PSI). I developed a passion for the perinatal population due to my own experience with recurrent pregnancy loss and my transition to motherhood during the global crisis (COVID-19). I am devoted to creating awareness on the importance of perinatal mental health and the transitions to parenthood.

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Sonya Belletti, LCSW-QS, PMH-C, R-PLC

Sonya is a seasoned clinician and coach with over 20 years experience serving families from diverse background. Sonya received her BA in Psychology with a specialization in Child and Family Studies from Syracuse University and her Master’s in Social Work from San Jose State University. Sonya is Gottman trained and a Bringing Baby Home Educator. Sonya prides herself is working collaboratively with clients to build healthy relationships that fully supports their personal goals where they can thrive.

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Richelle Clayton, R-PLC

In addition to being a RETAIN Parental Leave Coach, I am also a Certified Birth and Postpartum Doula, Pediatric Sleep Consultant, and Childbirth and Breastfeeding Educator.

Over the years, my career has evolved from a collegiate athlete turned volleyball coach to a high-tech management consultant. I was on a leave of absence for graduate school when I found out I was pregnant with my firstborn.

As my first maternity leave came to an end, I made the decision to walk away from a very different career path to explore my newfound passion of supporting new families and a desire to build a modern-day parenting village. I made that decision in 2019 and haven’t looked back!

When I’m not supporting new families, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our two kiddos around our home in the SF Bay Area and wine tasting at our favorite Sonoma wineries.

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Whitney Coble, LCMHC, PMH-C, R-PLC

Whitney specializes in helping everyday women who seek to improve their ability to cope with their daily challenges. As a woman herself, she understands society’s pressures on women as they attempt to navigate their careers, family dynamics, relationships, and everyday life.

In addition to helping women, Whitney is also certified in perinatal mental health serving women who are trying to conceive, have fertility issues, have experienced infant loss, transitioning into motherhood as well as postpartum depression. Black maternal health and reproductive education is a strong passion of hers. Whitney has a strong passion geared towards women have fair and equitable parental leaves and the ability to have a safe well planned parental leave.

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Jennifer Cunningham, R-PLC

Jennifer Cunningham has been a Human Capital Management professional for nearly 20 years. The last 10 years she has created programs in the workplace to support parents and caregivers. Her passion is coaching women and men on their transition out on parental leave and back to work. Jennifer’s goal is to guide her clients in attaining a successful and fulfilling professional and personal life. She has her Masters in Social Work, is a Certified Transitional and Leadership Coach and a RETAIN Parental Leave Coach.

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Jane Daly Danese, R-PLC

I know it’s possible for new parents to feel fulfilled and valued at home and at work, but that it requires careful planning and strategic support. My life’s work has combined corporate communications, workplace wellness and personal development, expertise I use to create career strategies that allow parents of young children to thrive.

Through ebb + flow co., I help people navigate the complex life transition of going from working individual to working parent. My purpose is to support parents in building work-life strategies that align with their unique goals.

After having my first child, I successfully strategized and persuaded my company to establish a parental leave policy for all employees. Then I transitioned away from my corporate career in public relations to focus on the important work of supporting new and expectant parents.

I also teach prenatal yoga (RPYT, RYT 500) with a focus on education and community so people can emerge feeling heard, seen, understood, and supported.

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Qef Johnson, LPN, Doula, CBE, R-PLC

Qef Johnson is a nurse, childbirth educator and highly experienced doula. She is passionate about supporting families and building communities. Her love for perinatal health developed during her studies at Howard University, in which she majored in Biology; while her devotion to supporting birthing families began through her own experiences during pregnancy and postpartum. Qef has been in private practice as a full spectrum doula since 2015 and has provided childbirth education to parents for the last 6 years. She has supported families in a variety of birth places, birth choices and birth circumstances. Previously, Qef worked as a nurse in acute patient care and in corporate quality improvement for over 12 years. Recently, Qef Johnson became a Certified RETAIN Parental Leave Coach to support parents through the transitions of balancing parenthood and careers. Qef lives in Brooklyn, NY and is a mother of 4 children. In her spare time, she loves to dance, eat Ethiopian food, and most of all travel.  

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Joanna King, R-PLC

Joanna has spent the last decade in public education teaching music and fitness and is skilled in creating safe, equitable, and inclusive environments for the spaces she is in. It wasn’t until becoming a parent that she became painfully aware of the lack of support for new working parents. Joanna’s grounded, empathetic, and instructional approach is informed by her many experiences and certifications centered around child development, leadership, and social emotional learning. She lives in Austin, TX with her husband and their daughter and son.

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Christina Klein, LMFT, R-PLC

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California practicing as a therapist and paternal leave coach. I specialize in maternal mental health and I’m passionate about supporting individuals through their perinatal and parenting journey.

​​I bring a warm, compassionate style to working with my clients. My counseling and coaching philosophy is rooted in client-centered and strengths-based practices. I see it as a true honor to walk with individuals and families as they navigate this exciting phase of life from preconception to parenthood. I believe that parental leave is a critical pivot point not just in our personal lives, but in our professional journeys as well. As your coach, I am here to ease the transition and provide valuable support throughout the process.

The old adage rings true, it takes a village to raise a child. Let me be part of your village.

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Elke Kurtz, MBA, ACC, R-PLC

Elke Kurtz is an executive coach, human resources expert, experienced leader and mom. Throughout her career, Elke has worked to realize her vision of a world where leading with humanity and compassion are tables stakes for organizations. This has meant leading culture transformations, including coaching and advising leadership teams and implementing family-oriented policies. Over the years, Elke has supported dozens of expectant and new parents in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors with the transition to being a working parent. Elke understands just how critical this period is to new parents and the employee/employer relationship.

Elke is also an enneagram practitioner, currently pursuing her enneagram coaching certification with the Deep Coaching Institute as well as a certified coach with the International Coaching Federation. In addition, Elke holds a BA in psychology from Grinnell College, and MBA in organizational effectiveness from Marylhurst University, and multiple human resources certifications.


Jen O'Rourke, MA, MFT, R-PLC

Jen O’Rourke has more that 16 years of experience working as a Clinical Psychotherapist, Parent Educator, and Parent Coach. She holds a Bachelors in Child Development from Purdue University, as well as a Masters in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. Jen is a licensed psychotherapist currently workings in private practice and specializing in perinatal mental health, as well as infant and toddler mental health. Beyond private practice, Jen also owns a consulting and coaching business that is dedicated to helping parents find concrete solutions to their parenting dilemmas and move them closer to a peaceful parenting practice. Although her clinical experience with children and families is vast, nothing taught Jen more than the school of life. As a working mother of 2 young children, Jen knows first-hand the unique struggles that working parents face, as they try to balance work and family life. As a coach, Jen brings a unique warmth and humor to her sessions, while simultaneously helping parents take action and stay goal directed.

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Emily Phelps, R-PLC

Emily has over 10 years of experience in the Learning and Development field, including work within major hospital systems, medical device manufacturers, and academia. Her dual career as both a Corporate Trainer and a Birth and Postpartum Doula informs her practical and wholehearted approach to Parental Coaching. She is a certified Clifton Strengths Coach and Prosci Change Management Practitioner. Using these skills, she guides new parents in cultivating their confidence, tuning in to their inner wisdom, and allowing space for vulnerability during a beautifully messy time in life. Emily particularly enjoys working with first-time parents and those with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs). She has given a TEDx talk on her experience with PMADs after the birth of her first baby. Emily lives in Bloomington, Indiana with her husband Tom and their two young children.

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Megan Taylor, R-PLC

Megan built her career in corporate finance and was deeply impacted by her life transition of becoming a working mother. Always passionate about a robust career, she was unprepared for the equivalent passion that she felt when she became a mother. This intense drive for career and motherhood led Megan to experiment with different models for herself and also pioneer several resources for working mothers and parents at large, including a New Moms group, a Mentor Mom program and a Working Parents Employee Resource Group (“ERG”) at her Fortune 500 employer’s world headquarters. She is experienced in leading teams, interfacing with executive leadership and influencing outcomes.

Megan is the founder of momiculture, an organization focused on helping working mothers flourish and enhancing their employer’s value proposition. A finance professional by trade and a doting mother of two very energetic boys, she leverages her holistic experience to deliver meaningful solutions.

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Jessica Wilen, Ph.D., R-PLC

Jessica Wilen, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at the Yale Child Study Center and serves as the inaugural Director of Professional Standards, providing in-house organizational development and leadership consulting across Yale School of Medicine.

She is the owner of Jessica Wilen Coaching LLC, a boutique coaching and consulting firm focused on the unique needs of professional working parents and the creator of A Cup of Ambition, a newsletter about working motherhood on Substack.

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