Birthrights was founded in 2013 by human rights barrister, Elizabeth Prochaska, and Rebecca Schiller, a doula and writer on birth, parenting and women’s rights. Our work is overseen by our expert board, including senior health professionals, policy-makers, people with lived experience and lawyers.
Interim Chief Executive Officer
Tracey is a versatile advisor and senior executive to the voluntary sector, with 30 years of experience in successfully helping organisations to create and develop strategies and operations that fuel their organisational growth. She has joined Birthrights as an Interim CEO to drive our strategy forward.
Maria is a project management and policy professional having run high profile projects in Government and more recently in the maternity sphere. Maria was previously UK General Manager of Maternity Neighbourhood (a US based, midwife-led company developing a woman-centred electronic maternity record). She also led development of the website Which? Birth Choice for Which? to its launch in 2014. Prior to that Maria worked for the Department for Business for 11 years and also studied for an MBA. Maria has two school age children and was Chair of her local MVP for four years.
Francesca is a senior communications and external affairs professional with a background in the music industry, most recently leading on communications, campaigns and government relations at the ISM. Her experience of giving birth to her son in the first lockdown drove her to pursue a new life in the birth sector. She is passionate about ensuring all women and birthing people have access to safe, personalised and rights-based maternity care. Francesca is currently Chair of her local MVP and sits on the London Perinatal Board. She is the main contact for press enquiries at Birthrights.
Operations Manager (on maternity leave)
Reema has over seven years’ experience in the cancer charity sector. She most recently was a Cancer Support Specialist at Maggie’s at the Royal Free, and previously worked in the NHS and other health organisations including the Health Research Authority in the Department of Health.. She also volunteered as a Research Assistant at the London Art Therapy Centre to pursue her interest in this field of work. Reema experienced some tough times post-birth and joined Birthrights to make a difference for others in similar situations.
Operations Manager (maternity cover)
Sammy has over 15 years experience of working in the charitable and local government sector, working across a range of public policy areas including housing, education and health.
Sammy previously worked for York Women’s Counselling Service, playing a leading role in developing the charity’s strategy and governance. Prior to this, she worked for Shelter, the National housing and homelessness charity, before becoming Operations Director at E-ACT, a multi-academy trust that manages multiple schools across England. In this role Sammy held responsibility for governance, HR, communications, data insight and major projects.
Saras has experience working with charities and a background in law. She has worked with refugees, asylum seekers and those experiencing domestic abuse. Her role before Birthrights included designing and delivering training to healthcare professionals to enable them to identify and effectively respond to disclosure of domestic abuse. She is passionate about ensuring that everyone gets rights-based and person-centred care.
Johanna has worked with Human Rights Law for over 20 years as a practising barrister, focusing on cases involving asylum and human rights law, family law, and survivors of coercion and abuse. In 2009 she gave birth to her son and turned her attention to maternity rights and co-founded a maternity advocacy group in Yorkshire. Outside of Birthrights, Johanna is a qualified breastfeeding counsellor, spent six years on the board of LLLGB and was recently elected to the Great Britain seat on the board of La Leche League International. She is also a trustee for the Iolanthe Midwifery Trust.
Melissa Brown is a practicing midwife with 6 years experience working in the NHS. She has worked in a number of inner London Trusts and with many diverse communities. She has an interest in politics, race and female advocacy, writing her dissertation on the health disparities amongst Black and Ethnic Minorities. It was this interest and a desire to see a maternity service that is more responsive to the people it serves that led her to come to work for Birthrights in the role of Participation Officer. The role integrates her passion for reaching marginalised communities and creating opportunities for the empowerment of birthing people by providing support and education. When Melissa is not working she is busy raising her two daughters and also enjoys literature, cooking and strength training!
Supporter Engagement Officer
Kathryn has 14 years of fundraising experience in the charity sector, working for charities including Shelter and Breast Cancer Now, developing trusts and foundations, special events, challenge events, individual giving and corporate partnership income streams, including the biggest corporate-charity partnership in the UK; Asda’s Tickled Pink.
After becoming a mother in 2017, Kathryn trained as a HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator and Doula in Leeds. She is passionate about ensuring that everyone knows their rights and has access to the best possible care, should they need it.
Advice Line Coordinator
Lorraine is a doula and photographer supporting families across West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. After training with Nurturing Birth in 2019, Lorraine has cared for a diverse number of clients with compassion and a tenacity to improve the birthing experience for all. “I believe every birthing person deserves to have a positive experience on their journey to becoming a parent, no matter who they are and how they choose to birth and nurture their babies.” Lorraine offers birth and postnatal doula support whilst also capturing sacred moments through her birth and postpartum photography services.
Advice Line Coordinator
Beth is a midwife, hypnobirthing practitioner and MSc Student, and her passion for human rights in childbirth stemmed from advocating for women and birthing people as a midwife. Her wish for everyone is to have access to the information that they want and to be unwaveringly supported in what is right for them as an individual, and she believes rights based, respectful care is fundamental in ensuring both physical and psychological safety during birth. She is incredibly proud to be a part of the Birthrights team.
Sydney Kirton is a part-time master’s student in Creative Writing at Brunel University. She has acquired experience in Public Relations through the Taylor Bennet Mentoring Programme. This was an important opportunity for Sydney, as a woman of colour, as only 1 in 10 BAME work in PR. She continued to develop her communications training by reaching out to small businesses and joined Birthrights through the Kickstart Scheme, later accepting a permanent position of Team Coordinator.