Jennifer Canvasser, M.S.W.
Founder & Director
Jennifer Canvasser founded the NEC Society after losing her son Micah to the disease in 2012. Jennifer’s expertise includes nonprofit leadership, advocacy, and community organizing. Jennifer has presented on diverse children’s health topics nationally and internationally. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, earned her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Southern California, and is currently a part-time doctoral student studying medical sociology at UC Davis.
Erin Umberger, M.Arch
Erin Umberger is an Architect with undergraduate degrees in Biochemistry and Biology. In May 2014, Erin and her husband Ryan lost their baby daughter Sarah to NEC at two months of age. Erin’s loss has motivated her to be an advocate for preemies and their families. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.
Board of Directors
Jacynta Brewton, MA
Jacynta Brewton lost her son to necrotizing enterocolitis in 2018. In addition to understanding the devastation of NEC, Jacynta is a major gifts fundraiser at Emory University, and the Editor-in-Chief and Chief Operations Officer for Emerge Woman Magazine. She has served as National President of the University of Florida Association of Black Alumni and Chair of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education’s Minority Advancement Professionals. Jacynta completed her undergraduate studies at Florida Atlantic University and earned her Master’s in Leadership from Shorter University.
After spending a decade in education, Melissa founded two businesses in areas of specialty that she studied after losing her daughter Leyden to NEC. Specializing in emotional intelligence/growth and gut health, Melissa is the CEO of Thrive with Mel-DL and Co-CEO of MOVE with Mooch&Mel. Through life coaching, she assists others feeling stuck make transition and transformation in their lives, regardless of circumstance. Additionally, she teaches holistic health and the application of gut health to help others have more energy, experience better sleep, and better performance. She is the host of the podcast, Grief, Guts and Green Smoothies and of all her titles, her favorite title is Leyden’s Mom.
Adam Masin, Esq.
Adam Masin is a partner at the law firm Shipman & Goodwin based in Connecticut, and has a national practice representing physicians, medical institutions, and pharmaceutical/medical device companies in negligence and product liability litigation. Adam represents Yale New Haven Hospital and Yale University, and he was the lead lawyer in the case involving a contaminated probiotic in a baby with NEC who tragically died.
Chelsea Matter is an independent documentary producer. She has worked on films that have premiered at Sundance, Tribeca and IDFA and have covered social issues ranging from income inequality to responses to terrorism to the effects of chemicals in consumer products on our health. Chelsea has also produced and written documentary television series for networks including The History Channel, Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel and Travel Channel. A graduate of Stanford University, Chelsea began her career as a television news journalist, working for affiliate stations in Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Amena Mebane, Esq.
Amena graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in American Studies Honors with an emphasis in Race, Law and Social Movements. After completing her undergraduate studies, Amena attended the University of Washington, School of Law where she graduated Order of Barristers. She served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for the King County Prosecutor’s Office in Seattle for five years doing rotations in the District Court, Felony Trial and Domestic Violence units. After moving back home to California in 2016, Amena has enjoyed her work as a mother, wife and estate manager. In January 2019, Amena and her husband lost their youngest daughter, Makenna, to NEC at 7 weeks old. Amena is hopeful to use her advocacy skills to help create a world without NEC.
Rebecca Meuninck, Ph.D.
Dr. Meuninck is the Deputy Director for the Ecology Center, a Michigan-based non-profit working to protect human health and the environment. She has worked on environmental health and environmental justice issues for more than 17 years. Rebecca coordinates the environmental health work for the Ecology Center and the Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health and serves on the steering committees of several state and national environmental health coalitions. In the wake of the Flint Water Crisis, Rebecca was appointed by Governor Snyder to the state’s Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission. Rebecca’s work centers around her passion for protecting children’s health. Rebecca holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology, with a graduate specialization in Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change from Michigan State University, and a BS from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan.
Lindsay M. Pollak, MBA
Lindsay Pollak is the head of global programs and analytics for McKinsey & Company’s Diversity and Inclusion function; she is part of a global team focused on developing strategy and implementing key initiatives to ensure that McKinsey develops, advances, and retains the best talent. She has extensive consulting experience focusing on organizational transformation and design. Lindsay has an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA in international relations and a secondary major in economics from Stanford University. She lives in California with her family.
Jenny Quinn, PhD, RN, NNP
Dr. Quinn is a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner at NorthBay Healthcare and serves on the Perinatal Quality Improvement Panel for the California Perinatal Quality Care Collaborative. Dr. Quinn has practiced neonatal nursing for 20 years and has cared for dozens of infants and their families who have been affected by NEC.
Hayley Rohn, Esq.
Hayley hails from Michigan and is an estate planning attorney at Hayley E. Rohn PLLC, an innovative virtual law firm. Hayley has an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and a law degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. She has worked as an attorney with families for over 10 years, and prior to founding Hayley E. Rohn PLLC, she worked for prestigious law firms in the Detroit area in their estate and tax planning groups before working at a large bank in their charitable advisory group. Hayley sees the NEC Society as an inspiring and effective organization, and is proud to contribute by serving among a distinguished Board of Directors.
Tom and Dani’s auntie, Simone holds a degree in Management and International Relations by the University of Aberdeen, a Masters in Middle East Politics, from the University of Durham and is currently specializing in Social Projects. With a long international career in Latin American Equities desks, Simone has lived in the UK and Australia and is a keen traveller with a taste for exotic locations. Her trips to places such as Syria, Bhutan and Algeria resulted in the book “Oh My Buddha” soon to be available in English and proceeds to be donated to Instituto PGG.
Lead Coordinator for the NEC Society
Heather Denchik, RN, BSN, OCN
Heather Tanner, MSA, BSBA