Meet The Wise Woman Council Members (Board of Directors)
Chair of the Wise Woman Council
Doula & Perinatal Health Provider
Benetta Marie Ward, MPH is a St. Louis native who has a background and passion in Health Education and Maternal and Child Health. She is a graduate of the greatest HBCU in the Midwest, Lincoln University- Missouri with a Bachlors in Health & Wellness in 2012. She later earned her Masters in Public Health from the University of South Florida- Tampa in 2014.
She recieved her Perinatal Doula certification through Jamaa Birth Village in 2016. Her personal belief and birth philosophy is the power of informed choice. She understands that this can only be achieved with knowledge.
With knowledge, comes empowerment to advocate and make informed decisions. This is what she hopes to encourage through her work with women, children and families. The reproductive process is a sacred journey and no one should have to do it alone or with little knowledge or understanding of what their choices are. To be apart of anyone's journey is a true blessing and she is dedicated and honored to travel that journey through being a doula and also helping support Jamaa Birth Village as being a vital pillar in the community by serving as a board member.
Brittany Ferrell, RN
Wise Woman Co-Chair
Activist, Organizer & Nurse
Brittany is a 30-year old community activist, organizer, and nurse from St. Louis, MO. She currently works in high risk obstetrics, and as a Fellow with the Black Futures Lab-- and organization strategically using data and policy to build independent Black political power throughout the nation.
Committed to the overall well-being of all Black people and people of color, Brittany has committed the next two years to Washington University’s Brown School in pursuit of a Master of Public Health. She has an interest in maternal health disparities, reproductive health, and the intersections of race, class, and health.
Jen Jester, CPM
Wise Woman Treasurer
Certified Professional Midwife & Doula
Jen Jester is an experienced doula and Midwife that has served over 350 St. Louis families over the last 14 years. Jen just recently finished her Bachelor of Science in Midwifery from Midwives College of Utah, earning her Certified Professional Midwife credential and opened her midwifery practice Summer 2018. Previously, she served families as a certified childbirth educator for 6 years.
Jen is dedicated to serving the underserved and committed to providing services to any family that wishes for doula and midwifery care. Jen understands that few experiences can be as empowering and rewarding as realizing your body's full potential to bring life into the world, and honors the sacred and vulnerable space of birth.
Jen’s clients receive customized care, and are encouraged to make informed decisions based upon their unique labor experience in the hospital, birth center, or home. Jen believes that a birthing family, during the preparation for and process of giving birth, deserve emotional and physical support, guidance, choice, advocacy, and respect. Jen is a mother of 2, a yogi, a knitter, and lover of the outdoor sanctuary.
Wise Woman Council Member
Doula & PMAD Professional Consultant
Kim Martino-Sexton has spent the past twenty years creating a career in the birth world after her first childbirth and dive into postpartum depression changed her life. She went from a career woman who was never going to have children to being a stay at home mom.
Kim lives her passion for raising awareness and supporting moms with perinatal mood and anxiety. As Co-Owner of Spectrum Birth she delivers calm & confident parents to newborn babies through educational and doula services. Kim is the Postpartum Resource Coordinator for SSM St. Mary’s MOMS Line, providing peer telephone and group support for perinatal women. She is also Co-Founder of Heartland PMAD Consultants: the experts in perinatal mental health provider training.
At home, she’s called the “mominator”, an endearing term given by her rocket-scientist husband and two amazing sons. She loves family dinners, walking her dog, singing, reading, and being her own boss.
Dr. Ayele Kumari, PhD
Wise Woman Council Member
Author, College Professor & Doula
Ayele Kumari, PhD, ND, LMT, CHt. is a dynamic Master teacher-healer specializing in holistic approaches to mind and body wellness. With a background in health education, she has taught and developed health programs at local colleges for over 15 years. Trained in both eastern ,western,and indigenous holistic approaches to wellness, Dr. Kumari’s education spans naturopathy, neuromuscular therapy, homeopathy, women's wellness, as well as counseling.
Kumari has also been a doula and birth attendant for over 20 years and she was instrumental in legal recognition for professional midwives in Missouri through her advocacy work that got the legislation passed.