Our speakers all work within the maternity services and between them encompass all aspects of birth – from the antenatal period through to the postnatal. From positive birth to trauma and the effects on the wider family.
These speakers have a wealth of experience between them, years of professional development and multiple publications met with great success. Check out the full bios below!
Mark is registered as a midwife and nurse. He loves being around people, for as long as he can remember; having five sisters and three brothers afforded him plenty of practice and now, with 6 children and 6 grand children he has lots of opportunity to indulge his people passion.
The choices he has made in his professional life have been shaped by this gregarious inclination.
He has trained and worked as a Nurse, Midwife, Teacher in Further Education, hypnotherapist, NLP trainer and an out reach youth worker.
Mark still works as a Midwife offering a birth education through the Birthing4Blokes programme (@Birthing4Blokes), where work and play often merge!
Mark wrote the award winning book: Men, Love and Birth.www.birthing4blokes.com
Milli Hill is the founder of the Positive Birth Movement (PBM), a global network of nearly 400 free to attend antenatal groups.
Her book, The Positive Birth Book, was published in March 2017 to wide acclaim, immediately becoming an Amazon bestseller and remaining one of the most popular books for pregnant women ever since. Her message is simple, that birth really matters to women, that it can be empowering, inspiring and life-enhancing, and above all, that they can do it! She is a tireless advocate for women’s choices and for the notion that birth can be positive in any setting, from home to the operating theatre.
As well as her work for the PBM, Milli writes for various publications about birth and motherhood, including the Telegraph, Guardian, BestDaily, GoodtoKnow and Mother&Baby. She uses social media to challenge attitudes around pregnancy and birth and is the brains behind leading campaigns such as #SoProud and #BirthJustHappened. Milli lives in Somerset with her partner and three children, and her next book will be published in 2019.www.positivebirthmovement.org
Mark Williams is a keynote speaker, author and International campaigner. In 2004 he himself experienced depression and suffered in silence for years. He founded International Fathers Mental Health Day and #Howareyoudad campaign to make sure all parents are recieving support. Mark has spoken on television and radio stations around the world and works with Dr Jane Hanley who have both published articles on fathers mental health together.
Mark was awarded Inspirational Father of the Year and Local Hero at the Pride of Britain Awards in 2012 and was invited to meet The Royal Family on World Mental Health Day in 2016.www.reachingoutpmh.co.uk/
Dr. Sheena Byrom OBE, RM, MA, HFRCM, Ed D honoris causa
Sheena Byrom is a practising midwife of 40 years, having worked in the NHS for most of that time. Sheena was one of the UK’s first consultant midwives, and as head of midwifery successfully helped to lead the development of three birth centres in East Lancashire. As well as being an international speaker, Sheena provides consultancy services to both NHS Trusts and to organisations globally; helping them to support normal, physiological childbirth.
Sheena is involved in several midwifery related charities, and is one of the project leads of the Midwifery Unit Network, which assists and promotes midwifery led units (birth centres) both online, and face-to-face. Sheena and her midwife daughter Anna Byrom are the proud new owners of The Practising Midwife, and an exciting online platform All4Materity.com – the go to place for maternity workers to learn, share and care.
Sheena’s midwifery memoirs, Catching Babies, is a Sunday Times bestseller, and her seminal book, The Roar Behind the Silence: why kindness, compassion and respect matter in maternity care jointly edited with Soo Downe, is being used as a resource to improve maternity care throughout the world. Sheena and Soo are currently editing a second book, ‘Squaring the Circle: researching normal childbirth in a technological world’, will be published in 2019.
Sheena was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to midwifery, and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Midwives in 2015. In 2016 and 2018, Sheena received Honorary Doctorates from Bournemouth University and the University of Central Lancashire, and in 2017 she was made a Visiting Fellow at Bournemouth University. Her personal and midwifery related website is sheenabyrom.com.www.sheenabyrom.com
Zoe Wright is a Midwife, Founder and Trainer of the Real Birth Programme. She started her career as a midwife in 2006 after having three of her own children. She has trained in Hypnobirthing and Birth Trauma Resolution and speaks at universities to student midwives about the power of positive antenatal education and the benefits for women and their birth partners in understanding the process of birth to empower them.
In 2012 she wrote the beginning of an evidence based antenatal education programme for women, that has been constantly developed to become the accredited training programme it is today, that women across the country now have access to. In 2018 she won an award for her work and recognition for the steps made into introducing the programme into hospitals around the UK.
She believes fully that to support women with informed choice and to help empower them, midwives and other antenatal educators need to feel empowered and supported to.www.therealbirthcompanyltd.com
Catharina (known as Rineke) Schram is Consultant Obstetrician and Deputy Medical Director at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. She is a trustee of BIrthrights, and Lead Obstetrician for Better Births Lancashire and South Cumbria. Rineke’s clinical expertise is in women with medical conditions during pregnancy (e.g. diabetes) and women with complications during childbirth.
She has a particular interest in women’s right to informed consent (and informed refusal), and respect and choice during pregnancy and childbirth. In her professional lead role for doctors she strives to ensure that medical ethical principles such as the right to autonomy, informed consent and confidentiality are upheld and protected.
Elaine Hanzak was a school teacher who expected motherhood to be just like the magazines portray!
In reality she developed a serious form of postnatal illness, puerperal psychosis, and appreciates first-hand what the effects of perinatal mental health can be for all involved. She wrote her story in a book 'Eyes without Sparkle - a journey through postnatal illness' (CRC Press 2005), to increase awareness, campaign for more services and inspire other sufferers. Since then she has been speaking and writing further on the topic and went on to complete her second book 'Another Twinkle in the Eye - contemplating another pregnancy after perinatal mental illness' (CRC Press 2015). This was highly commended by the BMA for outstanding contribution to medical literature and shortlisted for their Popular Medicine Book of the Year 2016. She has been told that her first book has literally saved lives and her second, to help create new ones.
Elaine's presentations are usually endorsed for being informative, inspiring, motivational and humorous, often giving her audience food for thought and future improved actions. Increasingly she is asked to chair conferences in addition to speaking. She has often been featured in the media and has appeared on national television and radio programmes such as BBC Breakfast and Radio 4 Woman's Hour.
See her website at www.hanzak.com
LGBT Foundation believes in a fair and equal society where all lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people can achieve their full potential. Every year we serve 40,000 people - amplifying voices, providing support and offering hope to people who’ve had nowhere else to turn. Pride in Practice is one of many services that LGBT Foundation offers.
Pride in Practice is a quality assurance and social prescribing programme that strengthens and develops primary care services’ relationships with their LGBT patients. We work collaboratively with GP Practices, dentists, pharmacists and optometrists to deliver training, resources, guide accreditation and support primary care services in effectively and confidently meeting the needs of their LGBT patients.
Clare is one of three Pride in Practice coordinators working at LGBT Foundation. Clare trained and qualified in 2016 with a Masters in Art Psychotherapy. During this time she worked with a variety of clients, in particular LGBT service users at LGBT Health and Wellbeing in Edinburgh. These experiences, in addition to those in her personal and professional life, have been instrumental in developing opportunities to understand and improve the health inequalities faced by LGBT people. A passion around educating on the specific health needs of LGBT people led her to work at LGBT Foundation, where she and her Pride in Practice colleagues work collaboratively with primary care services to confidently and effectively meet the needs of their LGBT patients.
See their website at https://lgbt.foundation/
Award winning doula and birth activist Mars Lord has been a birth keeper for well over a decade. After attending the Paramana Doula course with Michel Odent and Lilliana Lammers, a spark was lit within her and the passion that she discovered for birth and supporting parents has fired her soul ever since. She has had the privilege of working with hundreds of families. A birth activist, with a desire to see the ‘colouring in of the landscape of birth’ and finding out the reasons for the maternal and neonatal morbidity rates amongst the BAME community, Mars created Abuela Doulas a doula preparation course primarily, but not exclusively, for women of colour. Her desire for reproductive justice led to the creation of the ‘Reproductive Justice Retreat’. Mars was recently recognised in the Mayor of London's Hidden Credits campaign and continues to speak out about cultural safety and reproductive justice.
See her website here: https://abueladoulas.com/
Leila Baker has been a member of Doula UK since 2014, and started volunteering as a Rep in August 2016. In January 2017 she became joint Rep Coordinator, before joining the Leadership Team as Head of Membership in November 2017. Leila is Chair of the Diversity Panel and a trustee of the Access Fund charity. As part of her doula business, she offers antenatal, birth and postnatal services as well as pregnancy massage and Closing the Bones massage. Leila also teaches hypnobirthing and Antenatal Preparation in groups or to individuals, and also has an office job supporting an HR system and which involves a complex mix of IT, finance and payroll knowledge, project management and end-user consultation. She has six children, a husband and two cats.
See the Doula UK website here: https://doula.org.uk/