Our Team

Passion & Commitment Aimed at Building Families

Growing Generations’ leadership team have an average of 14 years of experience in the field of assisted reproduction. Meet the people who combine that knowledge with passion and aim to make sure each person we work with feels seen, heard, and taken care of.

  • CEO & Partner

    Teo Martinez

    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.          

  • President & Partner

    Erica Horton

    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.

  • Senior Partner

    Stuart Bell

    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.

  • Senior Partner

    Dr. Kim Bergman

    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.  

  • Staff photo of Heidi Gast

    Chief Customer Officer

    Heidi Gast

    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!

  • Vice President of International Development

    Jessica Junyent

    Jessica is the executive tasked with spearheading the development of key markets in Europe, Canada, and Latin America. Her visionary leadership was pivotal in the successful launch of our esteemed VIP International Donor Program, levering partnerships with renowned fashion models, top-tier IVF clinics, and legal firms worldwide to provide our clients with an array of program options. Boasting an impressive linguistic repertoire, Jessica is fluent in English, Italian, French, and written Portuguese, while also exhibiting bilingual proficiency in Catalan and Spanish. Her academic credentials are equally noteworthy, having graduated with Honors from the prestigious Faculty of Law at the University of Barcelona and obtaining a master’s degree in Spiritual Psychology in the United States. Prior to joining our organization, Jessica excelled as a civil litigator at Piqué Abogados, one of Spain’s foremost law firms. Her extensive professional background encompasses leadership roles within the entertainment industry and real estate sector. Jessica’s personal interests include an unwavering passion for culinary exploration, as well as a deep-rooted love for the strategic game of chess.

  • Staff photo of Vanessa Leon

    Director of Marketing

    Vanessa Leon

    Vanessa is the Director of Marketing, 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. She is currently pursuing her executive MBA through the Lee School of Business at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

  • Staff photo of Danielle Foraker

    Director of Innovation

    Danielle Foraker

    Danielle Foraker is GG’s Director of Innovation & Technology. She’s a well-caffeinated dog mom and serial problem solver, creating solutions that help people meet both clients’ needs and their own. She joined the team in 2013 and has served in multiple roles over the last decade, including staff onboarding and digital marketing. She is a 2x Salesforce Certified Administrator and specializes in optimizing business processes for the humans who use them. When not at her desk, you can find Danielle doing just about anything that involves sunshine. Other interests include bizarre feats of athleticism, finding the perfect cup of chai, and taking entirely too many pictures of her dogs doing normal dog things.

  • Staff photo of Lacey Locke

    Director of Case Management

    Lacey Locke

    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.

  • Staff photo of Alisha Burns

    Case Specialist

    Alisha Burns

    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.”

  • Staff photo of Michele Lee

    Case Specialist – Asia

    Michele Lee

    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.

  • Case Specialist

    Erin Salerno

    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.

  • Staff photo of Jodie Meurer

    Case Specialist

    Jodie Meurer

    Case Specialist Jodie and her husband Brian live in Minnesota. Their two sons Benjamin and Christian are in their 20s and are busy making the world a kinder and more creative place. With their boys out living their dreams and creating their own adventures, Jodie and Brian have turned their empty nest into full hives! After years of research they began beekeeping in the spring of 2020. When not tending to sticky honeycombs and buzzing bees, Jodie is also a birth and postpartum doula and a former two-time surrogate with Growing Generations. The birth world is Jodie’s passion, and she is happy to put a new spin on the phrase ‘the birds and the bees’!

  • Staff photo of Kristi Strei

    Case Specialist

    Kristi Strei

    Kristi brings years of customer service experience as well as a personal story with surrogacy. She and her husband completed their family with the help of an amazing surrogate with Growing Generations. Kristi is thrilled to be part of the Growing Generations family and excited to help guide clients on their personal journey to parenthood. She is committed to making each client’s story a joyful and rewarding experience. This is her dream job, and she is excited to be living it!  When not working, you can find her spending time with her family, friends, reading a good book, or shopping online.

  • Staff photo of Nordia Beckford

    Case Specialist

    Nordia Beckford

    Nordia joined Growing Generations as a Case Specialist in February 2022 and brings to the team many years of customer service experience garnered in different fields – from college residential life to the world of IVF. She is extremely excited to be a part of a company that creates legacies, and her main aim is to make this process as smooth as possible for the clients she works with and be an asset to her team and company. Nordia is a Christian who is passionate about the gospel and absolutely loves people and hearing them tell their stories. Born and raised on the island of Jamaica, she moved to the state of Maine in her junior year of high school in search for new experiences and adventure. There, she discovered her love for the sport of frisbee, and her disdain for the winter. In her free time, she finds joy in traveling, eating (who doesn’t?), immersing herself into different cultures and learning new languages!

  • Staff photo of Lindsey Petersen

    Case Specialist

    Lin Petersen

    Lin is a Case Specialist who eagerly joined the Growing Generations team in 2022. She majored in Nutrition and Fitness Science and has an extensive background working in customer relations. Lin is passionate about building relationships with clients while helping them through such an intimate journey. In her spare time, she enjoys being outdoors, traveling, attending concerts, and watching Friends for the one thousandth time. Lin is thankful to be a part of the Growing Generations family and looks forward to helping people create families each day.

  • Case Specialist

    Erica Trueheart

    Erica Trueheart, a former project manager, operations specialist, and preschool director, was thrilled to join the Growing Generations family in April 2022. She has a passion for family and enjoys spending time with her “rainbow baby”, Eric. Erica is quite a foodie and is on a constant quest to discover the most delicious vegetarian foods. She and her partner grow many veggies and herbs for their recipes in their backyard. Erica yields to her creative side by dancing, writing children’s stories and making hand crafted brooms. As a certified Youth Yoga Instructor, she finds joy in teaching children basic yoga, breathing and meditation techniques.

  • Karen Thorpe - Staff Pic

    Case Specialist

    Karen Thorpe

    Karen is a Case Specialist who started with Growing Generations in April 2022. She has a BA in International Affairs from the University of Colorado Boulder. The core values of Growing Generations and their commitment to diversity were key factors in her decision to join the team. She is passionate about creating possibilities and building relationships and looks forward to doing so every day with Growing Generations. Karen has worked in high-level customer service and management roles for 18 years. She recently moved to the Oregon coast with her husband where they love spending time outdoors hiking, crabbing and whale watching. Additionally, Karen finds joy in reading, cooking, and traveling.  

  • Case Specialist

    Abony Wilkins

    Abony joined Growing Generations as a Case Specialist in April 2022. She has an extensive background in customer service along with case management experience in social services.  Abony has a passion for helping people achieve their goals, while also creating healthy and long-lasting relationships.  She enjoys spending quality time with her husband and four children. In her spare time, she enjoys attending festivals, museums, and live music performances.  Abony also enjoys reading international newspapers that offer unique perspectives on pressing issues.

  • Staff photo of Erin Enders-Tharp

    Insurance Specialist

    Erin Enders-Tharp

    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.

  • Staff photo of Jennifer Applegarth

    Director of Finance

    Jennifer Applegarth

    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.

  • Finance Specialist

    Britny Schumacher

    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.

  • Staff photo of Casey Gillingham

    Finance Specialist

    Casey Gillingham

    Casey joined Growing Generations in 2020 after having delivered GG Baby # 1514 in 2017. Casey enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, and they can often be found at the beach. Casey is involved in her community supporting foster families and as a Guardian Ad Litem.

  • Finance Specialist

    Connie Smith

    Connie is a Finance Specialist that joined Growing Generations in 2021. She has been a two-time surrogate with us and is now living the dream being able to continue to be part of the surrogacy world in a different way. Before joining the GG team, she was in operations for six years in healthcare in obstetrics. Her wife and kids live in sunny California and enjoy family outings, arts and crafts, and family movie nights. She also enjoys decorating, boxing, watching re-runs of Friends episodes, and is learning to play the piano.

  • Staff photo of Jade Jeffers

    Finance Specialist

    Jade Jeffers

    Jade is a Finance Specialist who joined the Growing Generations team in 2022. She joined our team with a background in finance and a passion for working with families. In her spare time, Jade enjoys spending time with her family, especially her children and their puppy, Lupin. She also enjoys reading, exploring historical sites, and traveling.

  • Finance Specialist

    Sean Barker

    Sean is a Finance Specialist who joined the Growing Generations team in 2022 and has a passion for helping others. Prior to starting with GG, Sean worked as an insurance underwriter. When Sean is not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and going on walks with his two dogs, Bauer, and Jack. Sean recently moved across the country to Boston, Massachusetts and has been enjoying sightseeing and scouting out the best local eats in his new city.

  • Staff photo of Lisa Wippler

    Director of Surrogate Admissions

    Lisa Wippler

    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.

  • Staff photo of Kelly Enders-Tharp

    Surrogate Admissions and Marketing Specialist

    Kelly Enders-Tharp

    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.

  • Staff photo of Heather McKinney

    Surrogate Admissions Specialist

    Heather McKinney

    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.

  • Staff photo of Becki Parsons

    Surrogate Admissions Specialist

    Becki Parsons

    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.

  • Surrogate Admissions Specialist

    Breanne Hester

    Breanne (Bree) gave birth to GG baby #1611 in 2018, and in doing so, found her true passion in surrogacy. Three years later she would join Growing Generations as a Surrogate Admissions Specialist. Bree, her husband and two children love to spend time outdoors hiking, camping, four wheeling and backpacking. She is also an avid reader, music lover, and enjoys being glued to a good book or her Kindle. She dreams of traveling the world with her family and experiencing new cultures and foods.

  • Surrogate Admissions Specialist

    Amy Orelli

    Amy joined the Growing Generations team in 2022 as a Surrogate Admissions Specialist. She graduated from West Liberty University, where she received an Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene and a B.S. in Science of the Arts, graduating Magna Cum Laude, respectively. She has worked as a health care provider for the past 16 years, delivering excellent patient care. Amy is passionate about providing exemplary hands-on service and is excited to support surrogates through their journeys. She married her best friend, Tony, on April Fool’s Day more than a decade ago. They have a beautiful son, Julian, and a pup named Shuggie Blue. Her free time is spent outdoors by the pool, the beach, the woods, or whatever live music she can find nearby (or not so nearby). She is also a bit of a night owl, which is when she spends ample hours in the garage, restoring old furniture or building new furniture for her home.

  • Surrogate Admissions Specialist

    Serenity Tomlinson

    Serenity has been in love with the world of surrogacy since 2015 when she began to research what surrogacy was all about. She completed her first journey in 2016 and completed her second journey in 2018 as a Growing Generations surrogate. It was because of her experience with GG, that she knew she wanted to continue to support creating families as an Admissions Specialist and is so excited to be a part of your experience. When Serenity isn’t helping hopeful intended parents and surrogates, you will find her creating adventures with her teenager, at her local karaoke spot singing “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse, or enjoying some fetch with her two dogs. Serenity also has a newly updated “Bucket List”, her goal is to check off at least 2 new things a year!

  • Surrogate Admissions Specialist

    Becky Kammes

    Becky was ecstatic to join the Growing Generations family in 2022 as a Surrogate Admissions Specialist. She eagerly joined the team with over 10+ years in the client service industry, most recently, within the healthcare setting as a nurse’s assistant. Passion drives purpose, and as a four-time gestational surrogate herself, Becky is enthusiastic to be able to help and guide surrogates on such a wholesome and intimate level. In her personal life, Becky thoroughly enjoys spending time with her husband, their three children, and their ‘large and in charge’ tortoise-shell cat, Rosie. You can also catch her enjoying live music, gushing over a good horror movie, collecting coffee mugs, soaking in the sunshine whenever she can, and being a chocolate fiend! One of her favorite quotes is: “I’m going to make you so proud,” -Note to self.

  • Surrogate Admissions Specialist

    Anna Brungardt

    Anna joined the Growing Generations team as a Surrogate Admissions Specialist in 2023 and is thrilled to play a part in making the dream of parenthood come true for GG clients. Anna passionately believes in the right for everyone to create and grow their families, and she is honored to help support this process with kindness, care, and compassion. After completing her B.A. at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC in 2009, Anna earned advanced degrees from UCLA. She holds an M.A. and C.Phil. in European Languages and Transcultural Studies with specializations in Germanic Languages and Literature, Gender Studies, and teaching for social justice. She continues to live in Southern California with her husband, son, and cat. When she’s not watching foreign films or reading too many newspapers, she loves to hike, practice yoga, and cook.    

  • Staff photo of Christa Wensel

    Director of Donor Admissions

    Christa Wensel

    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 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.

  • Staff photo of Stephanie Vinci

    Donor Admissions Specialist

    Stephanie Vinci

    Stephanie is a Donor 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.

  • Staff photo of Katy Coyne

    Client Development Specialist

    Katy Coyne

    Katy is a Client Development 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.

  • Donor Admissions Specialist

    Lydaris Burk

    Lydaris is an Donor Admissions Specialist who joined our team in 2020. After graduating with her Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida, Lydaris wanted a career that was purposeful and truly made a difference in people’s lives, and she found it here at Growing Generations. When she is not working, Lydaris enjoys amusement parks, and she loves spending time with her husband Devon and two cats (Kilo and Beau).

  • Staff photo of Arnica Washington

    Donor Admissions Specialist

    Arnica Washington

    Arnica is a Donor Admissions Specialist who happily joined the Growing Generations team in 2021. She has an associate degree in Paralegal Studies and over 10 years of experience in the customer service field. Her passion is helping others, and she loves that she can do that every day with Growing Generations. Arnica believes that making those valuable connections with families are extremely important. She loves spending time with her husband and their three boys. Her favorite quote is “My greatest blessings call me Mommy.” When she is not working or supporting her children at sporting events, Arnica loves to travel and explore new places to eat.

  • Donor Admissions Specialist

    Bethany Lucas

    Bethany Lucas is a Donor Admissions Specialist with Growing Generations who joined the team in 2022. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of South Florida and has a background in paralegal studies, health care, and customer service. Bethany’s goal in her career is to make a difference in the world which led her to a role at GG. She is honored to help donors with their journey to be matched with intended parents. In her free time, Bethany enjoys playing with her fur babies, binge watching favorite TV shows, going to the beach, and traveling.

  • Donor Admissions Specialist

    Emily Smelley

    Emily is a Donor Admissions Specialist who joined the Growing Generations family in 2023. She has a bachelors degree in Psychology, a minor in Spanish, and a masters degree in Business Administration. Her passion for loving and helping others is what lead her to the GG family. Emily enjoys spending time with her husband (Curtis), and their two daughters (Briella and Harlee).

  • Director of Operations

    Craig M. Conley

    Craig joined the Growing Generations family in 2007 as part of the operations team and currently serves as the Director of 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.

  • Operations Specialist

    Valerie Folden

    Valerie happily joined the Growing Generations team as an Operations Specialist in 2013. 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  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.

  • Staff photo of Zoey Gast

    Administrative Specialist

    Zoey Gast

    Zoey Gast started as an intern with Growing Generations in 2020, and shortly after took on her role as an Administrative Specialist in 2021. Growing Generations has been a part of her life since 2007, so it is a honor to get to work for this agency and she is thrilled to be here.  Zoey graduated Summa Cum Laude from Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles, California with a BA in Psychology, and plans to continue on to graduate school to get her doctorate degree. She enjoys traveling all over the world, but she also enjoys spending time with her family, friends, and many pets at home. Her dog, Dozer, a 135lb Mastiff who is also her main fur baby, certainly prefers when she is home! In her spare time, Zoey also enjoys photography, music, cooking, and yoga.

  • Staff photo of Erica Benda

    Director of Client Development

    Erica Benda

    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.

  • Client Development Specialist

    Kellie Nesbitt

    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.

  • Client Development Specialist

    Mat Hayes

    Mat Hayes (he/him) is a Growing Generations Client Development Specialist and has done it all. After studying musical theatre at Auburn University (WAR EAGLE), he spent years traveling the country and world in Broadway productions, performing on cruise ships, etc. He has an Alabama accent and California values. He is a multi-award-winning filmmaker and actor. You can catch him in various TV shows including Jane the Virgin (The CW) and 911 (Fox). His first film, Cognitive, streamed at over thirty festivals all over the world and is now streaming on Amazon. He hosts a weekly podcast about queer faith journeys called The Fagnostic Podcast. He produces projects for Del Shores (Sordid Lives, Queer as Folk) and is also one of LA’s most sought-after acting coaches. Hayes cares deeply about generational healing and is so excited to help you facilitate the family of which you have always dreamed. “To know that one life has breathed easier because you have lived…. that is to have succeeded.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson