Leadership Team

Laura Zumdahl, Ph.D.
President and CEO

Laura joined New Moms in December 2013 as President and CEO.  Her career has been marked with a passion for excellence in nonprofit service.  She is deeply dedicated to maximizing New Moms’ potential to better serve women and children in poverty.

Prior to joining New Moms, Inc., Laura served as the Vice President, Nonprofit Services at Donors Forum, the Illinois state association of grantmakers and nonprofits, where she provided leadership to their capacity-building efforts to strengthen nonprofits in the sector. Laura has also served in a variety of leadership roles in the nonprofit sector in legal aid, higher education, and child welfare.

Laura’s professional path and involvement in the community stem from her passion to create effective and innovative nonprofits to solve social problems and develop strong leadership. She was named a 2010 Emerging Nonprofit Leadership Fellow by the Chicago Community Trust and received a 40 Under 40 Award from the Association Forum of Chicagoland in 2013. She has been a Big Sister volunteer for 10 years.

Laura earned a B.A. in Sociology from Trinity Christian College; an M.A. in Social Work from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration; and a Ph.D. in Leadership from Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee. You can follow her on Twitter: @LauraZumdahl.

Anne Schulz
Director of Performance Management

Anne has been affiliated with New Moms since 1996, having served as Program Director, Development Director, Consultant, and Director of Program Administration. Anne graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and received her Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University in New York. Anne has various Social Work experience, ranging from serving clients with AIDS to directing YWCA Social Service programs.

Melanie Garrett
Director of Programs

Melanie Garrett, LCSW, joined New Moms staff in 2013 as Program Director. She has a rich professional background of nearly 20 years serving underserved children and families in both healthcare and community-based settings as a social worker and program manager.  Prior to joining New Moms, she was a 2011-2013 Illinois Early Childhood Fellow focused on early childhood policy and advocacy  on both a state and national level.

Melanie received her B.A. from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania; earned her M.A. from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration; and has an Infant Mental Health Certificate from Erikson Institute.

Janet Keller
Director of Finance

Janet graduated from St. Joseph’s College with a degree in Accounting, and subsequently earned her M.S. in Taxation at DePaul University. She has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1982. Janet worked in the for-profit world for 15 years before joining New Moms’ staff 15 years ago. She has over 20 years’ experience volunteering with at-risk children and youth.

Ellen Kogstad Thompson
Founder, Director of Spiritual Formation

Ellen Kogstad Thompson founded New Moms in 1983, after 3 years of working with adolescent mothers in our community. She had noticed the rising epidemic of “kids having kids,” and felt compelled to help. She began by visiting teen moms at the hospital after they delivered their babies; offering “drop-in” groups from her apartment; and visiting the homes of interested moms—New Moms’ first participants. Ellen completed her training as a Spiritual Director, and now works as an adjunct professor at North Park University. She returned to New Moms in 2008, to serve as Director of Spiritual Formation, helping staff and participants to feel whole, nourished, and supported in their daily lives.

Emily White Hodge
Director of Operations

Emily has been with New Moms since 2012.  Her 20+ year career in the nonprofit world is marked by a passion for young people, compassion & justice.  Starting in direct service, she was moved by the unique challenges women face, and has dedicated her career to building bridges for marginalized people.  She uses her organizational expertise to bring stability, process, structure & kindness to the Operations at New Moms, with the hopes that everyone who enters will feel welcomed & well-served.


Workforce Development
Paris Clark, Job Development Specialist
Dana Emanuel, Assistant Director of Workforce Development
Morgan Diamond, Professional Development Training Specialist
Mary Knuth, Supportive Employment Specialist

Bright Beginnings
Mary Famakinwa, Doula
Luecendia Reed, Supervisor
Jessica Smith, Family Services Specialist
Mona WashingtonLead Child Care Assistant 

Bright Endeavors
Logan Quan, Social Enterprise Operations Manager
John Guido, Business and Sales Development Manager
Kelli Nelson, Social Enterprise Supervisor
Jasmine Stewart, Production Team Assistant

Community Engagement
Natalie Golden, Community Engagement and Outreach Specialist
Meaghan Sykes, Engagement Specialist 

Jenna Hania, Development and Communications Manager
Hilary Morreale, Corporate and Foundation Relations Manager

Transformation Center Housing