Training for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative

Meet Our Staff

Get acquainted with our staff. They have been selected for their knowledge, expertise and experience. We are proud of every one of them!

Vergie Hughes, RN MS IBCLC FILCA

vergieProgram Director Vergie Hughes has a long history of experience in Maternal Child Health including labor and delivery, postpartum and pediatrics, and for the past 25 years she has been involved in lactation management. Ms. Hughes has a BSN from Pacific Lutheran University and a MS from Georgetown University. She has been a board certified lactation consultant since 1985. At Georgetown University Hospital, she was the director of the Human Milk Bank. She created and developed the National Capitol Lactation Center and the one week Lactation Consultant Training Program. This course has trained more than 6,000 Lactation Consultants since its inception in 1990.

She has been a private practice lactation consultant and business owner, and operated her own lactation center, Washington’s Families First.  Lactation Education Resources is her website, offering training to professionals and information to parents. Ms. Hughes has served on the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and has served on the IBLCE exam writing committee. She is currently a Member of the Board  Directors of LEAARC (Lactation Education Accreditation and Approval Review Committee).

Her first love is teaching and that is exemplified by the creativity of the courses she has developed.  A series of courses “The In-patient Breastfeeding Specialist,” "The Out-patient Breastfeeding Specialist” and “The NICU Breastfeeding Specialist” are all designed to advance the lactation management skills of nurses at the bedside.  She has developed a online training course for the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative used by over 500 hospitals world-wide.

Ms. Hughes is the program director and content manager for all of the on-line Lactation Education Resources courses. Ms. Hughes was honored to become a Fellow of the International Lactation Consultant Association (FILCA).

View Vergie's complete CV

Angela Love-ZarankaAngela Love-Zaranka

Angela has been Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) since 1997. She has served on the IBLCE Board of Directors for many years in several capacities and is currently the chair of the Governance Committee.

She received her undergraduate degree and Master’s of Science in Administration, specializing in non-profit management from Trinity College in Washington DC.

She is the lead Lactation Consultant at DeWitt Army Hospital where she over-saw their successful designation as an Baby-Friendly Hospital.  She also maintains a private practice in Alexandria, VA. Angela has been a valued member of the Lactation Education Resources teaching staff for over 10 years.

Angela is available for personalized consultations on the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative as well as speaking engagements. Angela Love-Zaranka CV



Douglas Thom MAT, - Technical Support Director and Web Administratordoug left

Douglas Thom has both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. He has had extensive experience with web design and web-based systems. He is the technical support director and provides technical guidance in using our online Learning Management System.


Doug is an avid sailor and when he is not 'computing', he can be found on his sailboat!

Contact: 443-203-8553, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Sonja Kueppers - Information Technologies Consultant

Sonja Keuppers, a mother of two and experienced breastfeeding peer counselor, is a Jill-of-all-trades. She has extensive professional experience in the Information Technology field and is our Information Technologies Consultant. At Lactation Education Resources, she is primarily focused on developing our web-based systems.

Steve Young - Project Manager

Steve has a BS in Business from Metro State University of Denver and has a passion for computing. Steve is assisting with tech support, content delivery and other technical projects. He is a proud father of five breastfed kids.

Juanita Spears - BFHI Program Manager

Juanita manages the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative project. She is your point of contact for all items related to Baby-Friendly and the FirstLatch website, which supports the online Baby-Friendly courses. Juanita has an extensive background in business, education and account operations. View the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative proposal.

Contact Juanita at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Annette Nash- BFHI Project Assistant

Annette is the right-hand assistant to Juanita in the Baby-Friendly Hospital program enrolling students and providing support to group managers. She is the mother of 2 very beloved breastfed babies who are now 10 and 12 and thriving in life.

Contact Annette at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nickole Unterzuber Bowman - Business Manager

Nickole is responsible for all of the business operations of Lactation Education Resources and Her experience includes human resources, operations, and project management.

Wendy Lawrence - LER Manager

Wendy manages our Lactation Consultant Training program. She may likely be the friendly voice you hear on the phone when calling our office. She holds an Associate degree in Education and is the mother of two smart, strong, beautiful (and breastfed!) growing girls.

Contact Wendy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dalaney Young - LER Administrator

Dalaney is responsible for assisting with phone calls and company projects. She has her BA in Maternal and Child Health and practices as an IBCLC. She has five energetic and fun loving breastfed children.

Julie Grimes - Customer Service Specialist

Julie breastfed her own son for 2 and a half years and has been a breastfeeding peer counselor for nearly a decade. She works on a variety of projects for LER, but you’ll most likely hear from her if you call the office or write into the forum.

Allison Ivatury - Special Projects Coordinator

Allison Ivatury has worked with Lactation Education Resources in many capacities since 1999. She is currently providing support for the executive team and is the mother of two breastfed children.

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