Mom Starts Here is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization serving Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady Counties in New York. We assist women in unplanned pregnancies, young mothers, and parents in need.
Maureen is a Member Service Leader for SEFCU. She lives in the city of Albany with her son Quentin, and daughter, Rhiannon. Maureen has always felt the power of community. When we gather to share ideas and support each other we are stronger. The proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” has always resonated deeply with her. As a single mother, she would not be where she is today without the support of family, friends, and even strangers who may never realize the impact their kindness and generosity played in her life and the lives of her children. Maureen was inspired by Kyla’s vision to build a community that empowered parents and built stronger families and is humbled to serve on the Mom Starts Here Board.
Kyla is the Founder and Executive Director of Mom Starts Here. She founded the nonprofit organization after her lived experience as a young, under-resourced mom in an unplanned pregnancy. At 19, Kyla found herself navigating community resources in an effort to support herself and her newborn son. Four years later Kyla founded Mom Starts Here with the hope to support other mothers and parents in their time of need. In the years since its foundation, Mom Starts Here has grown to expand its programs and services to provide more wrap-around support for parents. Kyla's vision is for Mom Starts Here to have an intergenerational impact on the lives of families because she believes that parents and children thrive when they are invested in. She is passionate about empowering parents. Kyla works with incredible families that teach and inspire her daily. Kyla lives in the Capital District with her husband Brandon, son London, daughter Sydney, their Great Dane, Saint Bernard, and their cat. She is proud to lead Mom Starts Here and looks forward to continuing to broaden the organization's reach and deepen its impact.
Tahnya has been a Mom Starts Here board member since 2017. She started with MSH because she truly believes in the mission and vision of MSH and wished that she had access to an organization like this when she was a single mother struggling to make ends meet. Tahnya was able to navigate her life's journey successfully and has a strong desire to help others that are facing some of the same challenges she faced in hopes of helping them to live the lives they envision for themselves. As the founder and CEO of Phoenix & Maven Consulting, Tahnya has a passion for empowering people to overcome obstacles to a rewarding, successful life & career. Tahnya has over 25 years of experience supporting and advising on business performance, business analysis, strategic planning, employee success, corporate engagement, and stakeholder collaboration. She holds a bachelor's degree in Business Administration & Organizational Psychology, and she is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) with the International Coaching Federation (ICF). She became a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and Energy Leadership Master Practitioner (ELI-MP) through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (IPEC). Tahnya has helped countless individuals improve their lives and advance their careers through her perfected methods of one-on-one coaching, small group, and team coaching. Her desire is to tell her story and lift others along the way.
Kate Otis is a philanthropic strategist, bringing people, ideas, and resources together to improve the region. She is the community development officer for the Arrow family of companies which includes Saratoga National Bank, Glens Falls National Bank, and Upstate Agency Insurance. In this role, Kate is responsible for the strategy and coordination of community involvement and investment in the region. Kate lives in Albany with her husband and two children along with three dogs and one cat. Recently having two more children within two years, one during a pandemic, Kate is passionate about supporting and empowering families to be healthy and happy and to reach their financial goals.
Linden joined the Mom Starts Here team while Kyla, the Executive Director, was her downstairs neighbor… And she can’t think of any better summary than that for what brings her to the Board: Community. A native of Appalachian Ohio, Linden grew up seeing the lasting scars resource extraction inflicts, but also the amazing ways that capital-thefted communities come together in joy, celebration, and support of one another. She has taken this lesson with her to many different homes—Istanbul, Berlin, Boston, Minneapolis, Troy—and learned new truths from all of them. Linden currently works as the Director of Development at Parks & Trails New York, and in her free time organizes with communities around housing justice. She holds a Masters in Sustainable International Development from The Heller School at Brandeis University. While not a parent herself, Linden is lucky to be called “Aunt” by many a little one. She is proud to be included in the Mom Starts Here team, and is committed to supporting families in the Capital Region.
Joni has loved working with families to provide support and resources, encouraging them to live their best lives for over 30 years. Her current role is Manager of Cancer Control and Strategic Partnerships with the American Cancer Society. She believes in trying and learning new things every day. Joni challenges herself to seek out new things, as it causes her to broaden her perspective and to think differently. Joni has loved being a Mom Starts Here Board member. She has had the opportunity to help support women and families to dream big- whatever that looks like for them. She is passionate about Mom Starts Here's work to help nurture families by sharing information, resources, and supporting moms, along with advocating with internal and external partners. We are building a community of collaboration with a shared vision of a world of strong empowered moms and families. To some people our mission may just be words on a piece of paper– to Joni, it defines what she does and how she does it. Joni is grateful to be a part of this organization, and her favorite quote is "Dream it - Believe it - Achieve it - Dream again.”
Christin Guilder, LICSW
Christin is a psychotherapist with a private practice in Brattleboro, VT. She specializes in trauma psychotherapy for individuals who present with post-traumatic stress and complex PTSD. Christin is passionate about the process of building rapport and creating a safe space for her clients to heal from these traumatic experiences and regain control in their own lives. Christin’s passion for working with Mom Starts Here stems from her work with trauma survivors who are navigating parenting while simultaneously addressing and healing from their own past trauma. She is dedicated to guiding and supporting clients through their trauma healing and into the best version of themselves that they envision for their life and their children. In addition to individual psychotherapy, Christin has experience in crisis intervention, case management, patient advocacy, support groups, supervision and consultation, speaking engagements, and teaching at the collegiate level. In her free time, Christin enjoys live music, running, crafting, hiking, gardening, traveling, and visiting friends and family. Christin lives in Vermont with her partner, dogs (Winston and Remy), cat (Mannie), and chickens.