Every single member on our Core team has something unique to offer to the diversity of our organization, so read up on how they found themselves drawn to DTI. Their stories may inspire you to seek your own personal legend!
Co-founder and Executive Director
Tara Brooke thrives in intimate spaces.
She is drawn to the energy manifested during major life transitions, a fascination that grew to define her career and led her to co-founding Doula Trainings International (DTI).
It wasn’t until her postgrad years, working with HIV+ positive women at a clinic in Philadelphia, that Tara was introduced to the word that represented her natural inclination towards providing emotional support surrounding all things reproduction: Doula.
Once she had a word for her purpose, the question became: “How do I get to be around birth more?”
The path was driven by idealistic motivation, like moving to NYC without a job at 23 years old to find herself approaching pregnant women on the street and talking to them about doula work and her growing practice. She soon had enough clients to open up a small, thriving space in SOHO called Power of Birth that focused on childbirth education, as well as birth and postpartum doula work.
After attending to hundreds of clients as a birth and postpartum doula Tara became pregnant herself. It was 2009, and after the birth of her first daughter, the idea behind DTI came to her. A certification her own way: A more comprehensive curriculum that linked birth and postpartum doula training that certified doulas for life. She closed her space in NYC, moved coasts to California, and held the first DTI training with Co-founder Gina Giordano in 2011.
Today, Tara can be found working as the Executive Director of DTI. She is the mother of three children, the wife of a corporate anthropologist and a world traveler who lives in Mallorca, Spain. Tara also calls New York City and San Francisco home.
Co-founder and Creative Director
Gina Giordano has supported hundreds of families unconditionally, holistically and with a full heart since 2005. Since a young age, she has always had two passions in her life; supporting women through childbirth and alternative medicine. Through her company, Bella Belly, she offers families the support and evidence based information needed to approach birth in a mindful and holistic way.
She is a certified childbirth educator and has additional training through many herbal workshops, therapeutic grade essential oil trainings, one on one apprenticeships, and The Farm’s Midwifery Assistant Training. She served as Co-Director on the Metropolitan Doula Group and Director of the Brooklyn Doula Group during her seven years living in New York City.
Gina is one of the co-founders of DTI, a doula trainer and mentor. She is eternally grateful and passionate about creating a unique program that provides knowledge and support to new doulas as they take their first steps on the journey to supporting women and changing the culture of birth.
Gina is the oldest of five children in a loud, beautiful and loving Italian family. She is the honored mother of two daughters and is married to her lifelong sweetheart, who works as a film editor. They currently live in Austin, TX and when she is not working or with her family, she enjoys spending time practicing yoga, connecting with friends and curating the aesthetics of life.
Malika has been a birth worker since 2008. She spent several years working with the Philadelphia Alliance for Labor Support (PALS), providing childbirth education and support to women with limited financial resources. Malika moved to the DC metro Area, in 2011 and began working as The DC Doula. Through her company, she continues to support families in need and to provide evidence based education and resources to her community. With the help of an amazing doula and her husband, Malika peacefully navigated 50 hours of active labor that resulted in the birth of a fantastic little boy. In her spare time, Malika enjoys practicing yoga, studying herbalism, and learning about natural healing. In her other career, Malika obtained Masters degrees in Social Work and Education from Columbia University and Baruch College in New York City.
Director of Online Programming
After graduating with a degree in journalism and nearly 10 years in the corporate world, the birth of two babies fueled Jenny’s desire to pursue her own small business as a childbirth educator. In 2012 she founded her company Expecting the Best and began offering Hypnobabies classes. Not long after, the path to being a doula became evident.
Supporting students at their births was an easy fit, but it felt like just the beginning of the story. Shortly after attending her first birth, Jenny discovered Doula Trainings International and pursued their Power of Two: Birth and Postpartum certification. The importance of compassionate care for all birthing people drives Jenny’s passion to spread the word about DTI’s unique training model, not only within her city of D.C. but across the U.S.
She lives in northern Virginia with her husband of 13 years, daughter Avery, son Liam and their rat terrier Norah.
Social Media Coordinator
A first generation Romanian American, Larisa Manescu is a writer based in Austin, Texas with a journalism background and an activist heart. She believes in the power of collective personal testimony to shatter stigma surrounding “touchy” topics, especially in regards to sex education. She’s grateful to work with an organization that is deeply self-reflective about its mission, persistent in providing doula opportunities for all, and unwavering in the truth that feminism must be intersectional in nature or else it serves to uphold oppression.
Cheyenne Varner is a doula, designer, photographer, and writer in Richmond, Virginia. Her passion for design and birth collide in an online shop of educational materials for birth workers, The Educated Birth. Whether solo, or collaboratively, Cheyenne seeks to pursue all of her work with excellence, authenticity, and grace.
Christina Clark, CD (DTI) has recently begun training as a GentleBirth childbirth instructor, completed 100% Doula business training and Spinning Babies training, and is involved in her community through the Alabama Birth Coalition. When she’s not working directly on birth work, she is a sexual health educator with with the Alabama Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, ensuring knowledge, skills, and access for Alabama’s young people.
Christina has her Masters of Public Policy from the University of Northern Iowa and her Bachelor of Science in Political Science from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Christina lives with her partner, Matt, and their two dogs, Scout and Raines. When not working, Christina can be found in yoga class, knitting, reading, or enjoying a glass of wine. She loves to travel, and is fortunate to have family and friends spread throughout the world.