Our Board of Directors
The Board is responsible for mapping the strategic plan for the network. They are tasked with advancing the mission, maintaining the integrity of the network, and representing the NPN on a national level.
Gigi Khonyongwa-Fernandez – President
Gigi is the mother of four angel babies and a surviving twin born at 24 weeks. She is both an International Coach Federation (ICF) accredited Professional Coach and a Trauma-Informed Certified Coach, and founder of GKF Coaching and Consulting. Gigi currently serves as the President of the Board for NICU Parent Network (NPN), a PPAB member for European Foundation for the Care of Newborn Infants (EFCNI), and a Chair Committee Member for the Global Alliance for Newborn Care (GLANCE). She is an experienced international speaker, presenter, and facilitator.
Kristy Love – Immediate Past President
Kristy is the mother of two preemies, a daughter at 35 weeks, and a son at 30 weeks. She has been actively involved in supporting NICU families and advocating for NICU families nationally since 2001. Kristy has been with the National Perinatal Association (NPA) since 2009 and currently holds the position as Executive Director.
Tieast is the mother of three inspiring children including a micro preemie NICU graduate who was born at 26 weeks. She is actively engaged in advocacy for neurodiversity and eliminating disparity in access to medical care and serves on the Board of Trustees for On My Own of Michigan. Tieast has held positions in training, public speaking, government contracting, and commercial aviation, and is currently the University Relations Lead for Stellantis North America.
Elizabeth Simonton is an attorney and former small business owner, who started the NICU Families Fund with her Husband in 2014 after having a NICU experience of their own. ICU baby was developed in 2015 to broaden and extend the mission of the NICU Families Fund. Elizabeth serves on the 2020-2021 Florida Perinatal Quality Collaborative Committee, was named a 2019 Miami Leader by the Miami Foundation and is a graduate of Radical Partners’ Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp’s Cohort 6. Elizabeth believes that every parent should have the opportunity to be at their baby’s hospital bedside and she is passionate about removing barriers for NICU parents to be able to accomplish that.
Jennifer Degl is the mother of four, including a micro-preemie who was born at 23 weeks, and the founder of Speaking for Moms and Babies, Inc. Her mission is to educate the public on maternal and neonatal health issues. She is the author of two books and an article in the Journal of Pediatrics, a passionate public speaker, a member of the International Neonatal Consortium, and she also serves on the Board of Directors for NIDCAP Federation International. Jennifer has been a high school science teacher for 20 years and believes education is the key to healthcare reform.
Standards & Review Committee, Co-Chair
Pam Frasco is a proud NICU mama two-times over and founder of Project NICU. Her experience with the unexpected deliveries of 31- weeker Santino and 30-weeker Salvatore has given her a passion to connect with and give back to the NICU Community. Her sons have inspired her to create a community that supports parents during and after their NICU Journey, and the medical teams that care for them.
Erin Whaley is a partner at Troutman Sanders LLP where she represents healthcare providers, payers, and health IT vendors on the full spectrum of legal issues they confront on a daily basis. Erin serves as the Pro Bono Partner for Troutman Sanders’ Richmond office where she encourages and coordinates officewide participation in pro bono efforts. She is also the Chairperson of the Rural Education Foundation Board of Trustees and serves on the Board of Directors of the NICU Parent Network.
Partnerships & Collaborations Committee, Co-Chair
Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.
– HENRY FORD