Protecting human rights in childbirth

Our Trustees

Chair

Elizabeth Prochaska

Elizabeth is a barrister specialising in public and human rights law. She was formerly Legal Director of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. She has a particular interest and expertise in women’s rights relating to pregnancy and childbirth and regularly advises women and health professionals in this area. She has lectured on childbirth rights around the world, working with lawyers and campaigners to promote women’s dignity and autonomy.

You can read her speech on the launch of Birthrights here.

Alix Anderson – Secretary

Alix is Chief of Staff at Unicef UK. She has been working with Chief Executives and their teams for 10 years across both the travel and charity sectors. She brings experience of charity governance from both Unicef UK and Comic Relief where she has worked closely with the Board of Trustees. Alix has a young daughter and is passionate about advocating for human rights during pregnancy and childbirth.

Rachel Crasnow QC

Rachel is a leading silk in equality, employment and human rights work. She practices in all aspects of domestic and EU employment law, acting in high-profile cases in forums including the Supreme Court and CJEU. She undertakes a wide range of work from equal pay, working time and maternity rights to TUPE, internal disciplinary tribunals and collective rights. She is particularly recognised for her expertise in discrimination law; her practice includes advising in goods & services cases and regulatory work. Rachel is regularly instructed in high value and complex trials by individuals, private companies, and public sector bodies. She is a trained mediator and is often instructed in difficult mediations. Part-time judge. Frequently instructed as an external investigator.

Indy Cross

Indy is a communications specialist with nearly two decades of experience in marketing, influencing, policy, internal/external comms and fundraising. Currently Head of Communicatons for criminal justice charity Spark Inside, Indy has built a varied career that includes work for the Government Equalities Office; entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones’ Foundation; and the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games and the London 2012 Festival & Cultural Olympiad. Indy​ has a young son and feels strongly about advocating for care and respect during pregnancy and childbirth. 

John Davis – Treasurer

John is an entrepreneur and business leader who is expert in small businesses, banking and technology. After time at Lehman Brothers and Sky, he worked for 10 years at Barclays as the Marketing and Product Director for Barclays Business before running a fast-growth start-up to scale up company called BCSG. He sold that business and two others during 2016 and 2017 and now acts as a Non-Executive Director, adviser and consultant to a range of companies and charities. He also spends plenty of time with his three school-age daughters.

Julie Frohlich

Julie is a consultant midwife and supervisor of midwives at a London teaching hospital. Her remit as a consultant midwife is promoting normality. Julie is a passionate advocate of personalised maternity care which promotes women’s dignity and empowerment and supports women’s individualised choices regarding their own maternity care.

Sandra Igwe

Sandra is the Founder of The Motherhood Group, a platform to support the black motherhood experience, through events and workshops, peer-to-peer digital support, through advocacy and campaigning. Sandra pioneered through The Motherhood Group UK’s first awareness week highlighting black women’s maternal mental health – Black Maternal Mental Health Week UK. Sandra is also a bestselling children’s author that explores the feelings of young children through rhyming picture books. She’s also a speaker who campaigns for maternal mental health.

Carolyn Johnston

Carolyn is a consultant anaesthetist at St George’s Hospital in London, with clinical commitments covering obstetric anaesthesia, pre-operative assessment, and renal transplantation amongst others. She has an interest in healthcare improvement, particularly improving patient experience; leading projects improving patient feedback and involving patients as partners in designing new services and safety improvements. She was an NHS London Leadership ‘Darzi’ Fellow and an Improvement Faculty fellow of the NHS Institute of Innovation. She teaches regularly on local, regional and national courses, with particular interests in coaching, simulation and non technical skills/human factors. She is also working with the Royal College of Anaesthetists on research into less-than-full-time training outcomes and developing quality improvement training for doctors.

Mars Lord

Mars is a coach and birth activist. A triple award winning doula, mentor, educator and coach with over 15 years’ experience, Mars is in high demand, both in the UK and across the world, as a speaker and trainer. Mars created Abuela Doulas a doula preparation course primarily, but not exclusively, for Black and Brown women, and is the Founder of BLA (Black Lives Abuela) Scholarship. This scholarship is to help Black women who wish to become doulas to train and not be held back by socio-economic disadvantage. She is Inclusion Consultant to several large companies causing them to look deep into their practise to make systemic and structural change.

Simon Mehigan

Simon was the Clinical Director at One to One Midwives and is now a Director of Midwifery in an NHS Trust. A midwife for 20 years, his particular areas of interest are supporting women that have had a previous traumatic experience achieve a more positive outcome in future pregnancies and births and encouraging health professionals to continually question what they do and how they care for women and their families. He strongly believes that promoting a culture within maternity services where women are treated with respect and kindness, and where they feel informed, supported and empowered can have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of the wider community.

Rebecca Schiller

Rebecca was co-chair of the Birthrights’ board from its founding until late 2015 when she became Chief Executive, and from January 2019 Rebecca has rejoined the board as a Trustee. Rebecca is a freelance journalist, author and occasional doula. Her latest book, Your No Guilt Pregnancy Plan: a revolutionary guide to pregnancy, birth and the weeks that follow was published by Penguin Life in 2018. She has also written two books on human rights in childbirth published by Pinter and Martin and the Guardian. Before entering the childbirth world as a doula she completed a Masters degree in War Studies with a focus on human rights issues. She has worked in the charity and the NGO sector, most recently at Human Rights Watch.