GG Team

Our team is crazy about what they do. They strive to have the best lives they can and we expect nothing less of them. They believe in family, they believe in their team, and they believe in being of service to others by helping you to fulfill your dreams. Put simply, they seek to deliver a service that you will treasure forever.

Teo Martinez : CEO & Partner

Teo Martinez

CEO & Partner

Teo Martinez graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles. Later he earned an executive MBA from Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management, where he was inducted as a Beta Gamma Sigma honoree. Teo began his career with Growing Generations in 1999, and is considered an authority in the field of surrogacy and egg donation administration, as well as cost analysis. As CEO, Teo oversees the Strategic Development of Growing Generations and is the executive officer in charge of customer care and satisfaction. Teo also sits on the executive board of Path2Parenthood as its Treasurer, and is Chair of the board of directors of the Los Angeles Youth Network (LAYN). With his educational background, volunteer work and nearly two decades of experience in the industry, Martinez is one of the most knowledgeable and accomplished professionals in the field of surrogacy and egg donation.          

Erica Horton : President & Partner

Erica Horton

President & Partner

Erica began her career at Growing Generations as a college intern in 2003. Like most people at the time, she had no direct experience with the fertility world, but she was immediately intrigued when she read an internship listing titled “marketing intern needed for gay surrogacy agency” (we have always helped all prospective parents but back in the early days you had to say it explicitly). As a queer woman and someone with a gay father, she already had a passion for LGBTQ+ people and families. She had a general idea of what surrogacy was but had never thought of the two coming together in such an intentional way. She at once knew she had to be a part of what Growing Generations was doing. When she reflects back, she says “I can vividly recall the moment I saw the internship posting, the moment I received a call for an interview, and the day of my interview-down to the clothes I was wearing and the excitement I felt. My most vivid memories highlight the most pivotal and influential moments in my life and beginning her career with Growing Generations was certainly one of those moments.” Erica's role in the company has expanded significantly since 2003, and now—as President and Partner—she oversees all departments that manage care for intended parents, surrogates, and donors. She is proud to have been part of establishing Growing Generations as one of the most experienced and reputable agencies in the world. She believes our start working intentionally with the underserved LGBTQ community required us to break barriers and forge paths where none existed before and that still is one of our core strengths today. Erica also serves on Family Equality’s Board of Directors. She has two children: Gavin, born in 2009 and Jack, born in 2012. Both boys were conceived with the help of an anonymous sperm donor. Erica is passionate about ALL people realizing their dream to have a family. She also loves spending time with her boys and her partner, Dan-together they love the beach, being in the ocean, riding bikes, traveling, cooking, and eating.

Stuart Bell : Senior Partner

Stuart Bell

Senior Partner

Stuart is a Senior Partner at Growing Generations, the largest surrogacy and egg donation company in the United States. Prior to joining Growing Generations in 2001, Stuart spent over a decade in executive level positions in both profit and not-for-profit companies. As a writer with a strong emphasis on gay rights issues, his work has appeared in numerous publications over the past 20+ years. He is the author of Prayer Warriors, a memoir published in 1999 by Alyson publications. In February 2008, Stuart and his husband welcomed their son into the world who was conceived through Growing Generations’ surrogacy and egg donation programs. He is active as a donor and volunteer with local and national organizations including Human Rights Campaign, Family Equality Council, LA Gay & Lesbian Center and Youth Emerging Stronger. He served for 10 years on the board of the American Fertility Association (now a program of Family Equality), 4 of those as co-chair. A native of Tennessee, Stuart holds a degree in Communications from Middle Tennessee State University and has lived in Los Angeles since 1992. One thing most people do not know about Stuart is that he is an accomplished pianist and songwriter, playing professionally when he was younger and now just for enjoyment.

Dr. Kim Bergman : Senior Partner

Dr. Kim Bergman

Senior Partner

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist since 1990, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (serving as a founder and past Chair of the LGBTQ Special Interest Group, on the ASRM Corporate Board, and a member of the Executive Committee of the Mental Health Professional Group), the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman is the author of, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019) and You Began as a Wish (Independent Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of over three decades. She has two adult daughters.  

Heidi Gast : Chief Customer Officer

Heidi Gast

Chief Customer Officer

Heidi joined the GG team in 2007 and is currently serving as our Chief Customer Officer. Heidi came to GG having spent years in the social services field. Knowing that she always wanted to work with families, GG was a perfect fit! In her current role, Heidi oversees the case management department, organizational development, and the insurance process as it pertains to clients, surrogates, and donors. Heidi is married to Tim and they have one daughter, Zoey, along with a house full of 4-legged fur-babies!  Heidi enjoys time with her family, reading, basking in the sun, singing along to Sir Elton, and watching reruns of Friends!

Jessica Junyent : Vice President of International Development

Jessica Junyent

Vice President of International Development

Jessica is the executive responsible for developing the European, Canadian, and Latin American markets. She launched our VIP International Donor Program with fashion models and secured partnerships with top IVF clinics and legal firms worldwide to provide our clients with various program options. Jessica is fluent in English, Spanish, Italian, French, and her native Catalan. She holds a Law Degree and a Masters in Spiritual Psychology. Her professional background also includes executive positions in the entertainment industry and real estate. Jessica is a lover of food, chess, and golf. One of her favorite quotes is, “Be the reason someone smiles today.”

Vanessa Leon : Director of Strategic Development

Vanessa Leon

Director of Strategic Development

Vanessa is the Director of Strategic Development, having begun her career as an Administrative Coordinator and later working as a Client Services Coordinator. Originally from Palm Beach Gardens, FL, she attended college in Boston. She received her bachelor's degree in 2004 from Emerson College and moved to Los Angeles that same year. Vanessa enjoys talking with surrogates, egg donors, and clients about this amazing journey, and she works to constantly improve the Growing Generations experience. This west coast transplant spends her free time exploring nature with her rescue dog, volunteering with Angel City Pit Bulls, or playing kickball in an adult recreational league.

Danielle Foraker : Director of Innovation

Danielle Foraker

Director of Innovation

Danielle Foraker is GG’s Director of Innovation. She is a well-caffeinated dog mom whose passions include running, snacking, and thinking too much. Driven by curiosity, she strives to create great experiences for our staff and clients alike. She also serves on the board of national non-profit TogetHER Digital and is an advocate for social justice and equality. Danielle lives with her wife and their four fur-kids outside of Columbus, OH.

Lacey Locke : Director of Case Management

Lacey Locke

Director of Case Management

Lacey has been part of the Growing Generations family since 2011 and is the Director of Case Management. As she has a powerful desire to help enrich the lives of others, Lacey received her master’s degree in Social Work. At Growing Generations, she fulfills her passion by getting to know others while guiding them on their path to parenthood or expanding their family. She is the proud mom of a little “superhero”! On weekends, you can find them exploring nature trails and parks.

Alisha Burns : Case Specialist

Alisha Burns

Case Specialist

Alisha has proudly been a member of the team since 2012. Starting as an Admissions Specialist, she quickly moved into her long-term role as a Case Specialist. Her education and experience in the social work field give her a unique perspective of the diversity that we embrace here at Growing Generations. Her passion to help create happy families drives her dedication to provide a safe, friendly, and memorable experience. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring new activities with her husband, daughter, and rescue pup Ruby. One of Alisha’s guiding principles of life is centered off the Mahatma Gandhi quote, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Jennifer Chang : Case Specialist

Jennifer Chang

Case Specialist

Jennifer is a Case Specialist who works remotely from San Francisco. She loves traveling, learning new languages, and exploring other cultures. Since joining the team in 2012, Jennifer has learned something new every day and feels lucky to have the chance to help create happy families, as well as be a part of many "sibling" journeys! In her spare time, Jennifer likes to spend time with her family, friends, and pets, as well as watching reruns of Arrested Development. She tries to visit a new eatery every week, so feel free to discuss food recommendations with her anytime!

Michele Lee : Case Specialist - Asia

Michele Lee

Case Specialist - Asia

Michele was born and raised in Hong Kong. She is fluent in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin. Michele comes to Growing Generations with more than 5 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She has a passion for travelling, exploring diverse cultures, and enjoys all kinds of adventures. She likes being active outdoors, and you can find her spending her free time hiking, camping, or hanging out on the beach.

Caitlin Svetahor : Case Specialist

Caitlin Svetahor

Case Specialist

Caitlin obtained her bachelor’s degree from Slippery Rock University, majoring in English Professional Writing and minoring in Communications. Prior to joining Growing Generations, Caitlin spent several years working in various customer service positions. Caitlin is excited to be a part of the Growing Generations team, and in her role as a case specialist, Caitlin enjoys helping clients navigate their path to parenthood. In her spare time, Caitlin loves spending time with her close friends and family. Some of Caitlin’s favorite hobbies include recreational fishing, attending sporting events, and binge-watching the latest shows.

Erin Salerno : Case Specialist

Erin Salerno

Case Specialist

Erin joined the GG team in 2016 and continues to enjoy meeting such a variety of people and helping them create their families. In addition to earning her associate degree in 2016, she has over a decade of experience in customer service. Personally, Erin has a great love of food and believes that nothing brings people together like a delicious meal. She relishes her time in the kitchen and fancies trying new recipes and experimenting with different tastes. She also loves to garden and learns something new every year about tending her own vegetables and herbs.  Erin and her husband are also often bit by the “travel bug.” They enjoy visiting new places, exploring different sites, and trying (you guessed it) all the great food other regions have to offer. In her other bits of spare time, she enjoys reading, crafting, and spending quality time with her husband and pup.

Erin Enders-Tharp : Insurance Specialist

Erin Enders-Tharp

Insurance Specialist

Erin joined Growing Generations in January of 2019 as an Insurance Specialist. She has a Bachelor of Science from California State University, Sacramento and was a Division I basketball player. Erin is married to Kelly, who was a three-time surrogate with GG and works for GG as an Admissions and Marketing Specialist! Before her marriage to Kelly, Erin started her family through IVF. Erin enjoys spending time cooking for her family and friends and spoiling her adorable dogs.

Jennifer Applegarth : Director of Finance

Jennifer Applegarth

Director of Finance

Jennifer has been with Growing Generations since 2014, and she has over four years’ of prior experience in the administrative and customer service industries. Jennifer’s favorite part of working at Growing Generations is getting to meet new people and helping those people build families. Jennifer loves spending time at home with her fur babies. She also enjoys listening to music, spending as much time in the sunshine as possible and supporting her local community. She’s involved in Lions Clubs International through her local Lions Club and also part of a local committee made of our friends to raise money for our local community. We hold multiple festivals throughout the year and support other local events.

Britny Schumacher : Finance Specialist

Britny Schumacher

Finance Specialist

Britny began her career with Growing Generations in 2018. She has worked in customer service and administrative roles for a decade. She was drawn to Growing Generations by the ability to help others and the strong core values of the company. She has two children of her own and cherishes being a part of helping build families. She loves to exercise and motivate others to do the same. Her favorite things to do include spending time with her family, watching movies, playing games, listening to music, and cooking something new.

Lisa Wippler : Director of Surrogate Admissions

Lisa Wippler

Director of Surrogate Admissions

Lisa is the Director of the Surrogate Admissions Team and has been involved personally and professionally with surrogacy since 1996. Having completed 3 surrogacies and 2 egg donations, she continues to look for ways to personalize every journey for all clients. Lisa married a fellow Marine and her soul mate, John in 1992. She has two amazing sons/daughters-in-laws and two beautiful grandsons which she loves to spend time with on her farm in Georgia.

Sunnie English : Lead Admissions Specialist

Sunnie English

Lead Admissions Specialist

Sunnie is the Lead Admissions Specialist for the surrogate admissions team. She is responsible for screening potential gestational surrogate candidates and preparing them to be matched with intended parents. Innovating the screening process and connecting with her clients is Sunnie’s favorite part of her role at Growing Generations. Sunnie has always been passionate about helping others and is an advocate for human rights. Sunnie earned her BA from West Liberty University in 2012 and has an extensive background in customer service. In her free time, Sunnie enjoys unplugging and focusing on her family.

Kelly Enders-Tharp : Surrogate Admissions and Marketing Specialist

Kelly Enders-Tharp

Surrogate Admissions and Marketing Specialist

Kelly joined the GG Team in 2012 after completing three amazing surrogacy journeys with us, dating back to 2007. She is an advocate for surrogates and intended parents and has spoken both domestically and internationally about her experiences. Kelly graduated from San Francisco State University with a B.S. in Health Science and a minor in Human Sexuality and continued her education there, receiving a teaching credential in Health and Psychology and a M.A. in Education, with a multi-cultural emphasis. Kelly lives in northern California with her wife and children. Kelly’s “Surrogates Deliver Dreams” keychain boasts her GG Surrogate baby numbers 679, 680, 903, 904 and 1045.

Heather McKinney : Surrogate Admissions Specialist

Heather McKinney

Surrogate Admissions Specialist

Heather graduated with an associate degree in Computer Programming/Web Design in 2009 only to find her true calling eight years later when she joined the Growing Generations team as an Admissions Specialist. Prior to finding her home here at Growing Generations, she spent 8 years in management and has a total of 13 years in customer service. She uses this history today to help expand on the surrogate experience and hopes to continue to grow her career in this field. Outside of work, Heather is typically always on the move, oftentimes working on a new home project, and has recently been accepted to become a foster parent. Though she keeps herself busy, she is happy for a bit of down time to read a fantasy novel or catch up on one of her favorite shows. Overall, she is very dedicated to the tasks she commits to, which is one of the many reasons we love having her on our team.

Becki Parsons : Surrogate Admissions Specialist

Becki Parsons

Surrogate Admissions Specialist

Becki was thrilled to join the Growing Generations team in 2018 as a Surrogate Admissions Specialist. Becki herself is a four-time surrogate through Growing Generations. Becki has already delivered 5 babies for other families. Improving the surrogates experience is a passion of hers, and she loves helping other women realize their dream of helping others grow/start their family. In addition to her personal surrogacy journeys, Becki brings with her over 10 years of customer service and administrative experience in the healthcare field. In her free time, Becki enjoys spending time with her husband and three kids and their boxer, Mia. She enjoys hiking, cooking, watching movies, singing in the car, and quoting The Office.

Christa Wensel : Director of Egg Donor Admissions

Christa Wensel

Director of Egg Donor Admissions

Christa came to Growing Generations with over 15 years of experience in the social work field and was extremely excited to start a new career with Growing Generations. Christa’s passion has always been helping people and making connections. She graduated from West Liberty University with her Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and a minor in Social Work.  She has been with Growing Generations since 2015.  She started as an Egg Donor Admissions Specialist and is currently the Director of Egg Donor Admissions. Christa loves the aspect of working with both the donors and intended parents to help families create families. In her personal life, Christa enjoys spending the weekend on her boat or in the pool in the warm months. The winter months are not her favorite, but she will find activities to keep herself busy. Her family is her life, and she would not know what to do without them.

Stephanie Vinci : Admissions Specialist

Stephanie Vinci

Admissions Specialist

Stephanie is an Admissions Specialist who joined the Growing Generations team in 2013. She joined the team with a background in business and durable medical equipment sales with more than 10 years of experience. Stephanie loves building connections with our egg donors and walking them through their journey in anticipation of the perfect match. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her husband Dom, playing with their two dogs (Frank and Lilly), whipping up a new dish in the kitchen, and spending time with her beloved family. Stephanie also enjoys being active in her community, proudly helping with a hometown arts and culture commission to bring local arts and activities to her neighbors and friends.

Katy Coyne : Admissions Specialist

Katy Coyne

Admissions Specialist

Katy is an Admissions Specialist who joined the Growing Generations team in 2018. She majored in English literature and has a background in ESL education and communications.  Katy is passionate about building relationships with egg donors while educating them about the process, and she enjoys matching them with eager intended parents. When she is not working, Katy is busy playing with her three kids (Vanessa, Moses, and Vivienne) or working her way through her annual goal of reading 20+ novels a year.  In addition to being a bibliophile, Katy also loves painting, writing, baking, and crafting with her kids.

Craig M. Conley : Director of Finance & Operations

Craig M. Conley

Director of Finance & Operations

Craig joined the Growing Generations family in 2007 as part of the operations team and currently serves as the Director of Finance and Operations overseeing the finance and operations departments. Craig attended Marshall University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Finance. Craig loves working with families and being a part of their journey to parenthood. Craig is married to Mary and has two children: Andrew and Kate.  He enjoys traveling with his family and entertaining outdoors around any type of grill.

Valerie Folden : Operations Specialist

Valerie Folden

Operations Specialist

Valerie happily joins the Growing Generations team as an Operations Coordinator. She brings to Growing Generations an extensive background in working with people and providing customer service. She joined Growing Generations to put her passion of helping people to work. Valerie feels blessed and honored to have the opportunity to play a role in helping others achieve their dreams of building a family. Being a single mother herself, she understands what it means to value and assist individuals and couples who want to have and raise children, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status. Valerie loves spending time with her teenage daughter. She is a foodie and enjoys cooking for her friends and family. She enjoys reading, music and loves to watch classic black and white movies.

Erica Benda : Director of Client Development

Erica Benda

Director of Client Development

Erica graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Speech Communication and a minor in Theater (for flair).  Erica is the Director of Client Development and has had the pleasure of previously working in both Case Management and Egg Donation. With over a decade of experience with GG, her passion for helping create families was reignited with the birth of her son, Emmett. Erica enjoys relating to people through their favorite TV shows and movies and is known to regularly quote Friends and The Office. Her happy place is anywhere outdoors with family and friends.

Kellie Nesbitt : Client Development Specialist

Kellie Nesbitt

Client Development Specialist

Kellie is honored to play a role in making dreams come true as a Client Development Specialist. It reminds her of the lyrics to one of her favorite songs, “You get what you give”. The enthusiasm she brings to connecting with intended parents is returned in spades with the excitement she receives from them as they take their first step toward building or expanding their families. She is fortunate to have an amazing family of her own, and she loves spending time with her mother and going on adventures with her husband. The geek is also strong in her, and she nurtures it through playing video games, watching movies, and researching random topics on the internet.