Amy Irvin is the executive director of the New Orleans Abortion Fund, and served as the first intake coordinator. She has worked at abortion clinics in New Orleans and Atlanta, and was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year by Planned Parenthood of Kentucky in 2006. She earned her Master of Science in Social Work at the University of Louisville where she conducted research on parental consent laws for minors at the ACLU of Kentucky Reproductive Freedom Project, and graduated from Agnes Scott College with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. After undergraduate school she taught English as a Second Language, coordinated World Refugee Day activities, and developed a refugee childcare program at the International Rescue Committee. She also worked as a union organizer for the United Food and Commercial Workers, organizers grocery store workers in Arizona and Indiana. Her passions include modern art and mid-century modern furniture.
Jessie Nieblas received her Master of Public Health from Tulane University in the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Science and her Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Santa Barbara in Women's Studies. In her 10 years of work on sexual violence prevention and intervention, reproductive health and rights, and health care access, Jessie has designed, implemented, and evaluated programs; conducted outreach and engagement efforts with diverse communities; and raised funds through direct appeals, grants, and events. She has served as co-chair of Take Back the Night at UCSB, volunteered on RAINN's Online Hotline, and currently works at an anti-sexual violence organization.
Jules Richelson moved to New Orleans in 2012 from Tucson, AZ. In gratitude for second lines, crawfish, and yaka mein, she commits many hours to community engagement. She began with NOAF as a Clinic Escort in 2016 before joining the Board of Directors. In addition, she holds leadership roles at NOLA TimeBank, Evacuteer, and Engulf Arts, and volunteers at STAR (Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response), WWOZ, and LA-SPCA. With many years of fundraising experience and teaching women's health education, Jules is passionate about creating a world where women and womxn are respected and supported to make decisions that are right for their own beliefs and lifestyles.
Sylvia Cochran, Board Member Emeritus
Sylvia Cochran has been involved in the movement for abortion rights since the earliest days - over 40 years working for independent clinics in Pennsylvania and Louisiana. She has worked in all aspects of the field, from reception to patient care, eventually working her way up to office manager and administrator. She is currently the administrator of Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge and Women's Health Care Center in New Orleans. Her first love is politics and she plans to spend her summer working on the 2016 presidential election. She has testified for abortion access before the Louisiana legislature, bringing her professional experience to the Capitol.
Alix is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and currently works as the Advocacy Director at Sexual Trauma Awareness & Response in the New Orleans office. Prior to joining the STAR team, Alix served as the Program Manager of NOLA Dads at Family Service of Greater New Orleans. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2009, a Masters of Social Work degree with a certificate in Disaster Mental Health from Tulane University in 2011, and graduated with a Master of Business Administration, focused on Strategic Management and Leadership from Tulane University’s Professional MBA program in 2017. From July 2016 – June 2018, Alix served as Co-Director of New Leaders Council – Louisiana, a progressive leadership development program. Alix has been volunteering with the New Orleans Abortion Fund as a hotline intake volunteer since October 2016. In her free time, Alix loves spoiling her dog, Shake, and binge watching Law & Order SVU.
Maria Wickstrom, Board Chair
Starting in the late '80's Maria became active as a reproductive rights advocate when she was a clinic escort and helped defend a Baton Rouge clinic targeted by Christian fundamentalists seeking to stop its operation. A Louisiana native, Maria earned her undergrad degree from LSU and Master’s degree from Goddard College in Vermont in Social Ecology. She cut her teeth on organizing around environmental justice issues but then found the labor movement and has worked as a union organizer for over twenty years. Maria's current work in the union is organizer training and development. Always ready for a road trip she loves to travel, hike and canoe . Her love of swimming in cold water connects her to her father's Minnesotan Swedish side. Her Cuban ancestry on her mother's side fuels her love of cooking moros y cristianos with a side of universal healthcare.
Advise, govern, oversee policy and direction, and assist with the leadership and general promotion of the New Orleans Abortion Fund in order to support the organization’s mission and needs.
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