Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is operated by a dedicated, compassionate, and skilled staff that guide our large team of volunteers in the community.
Chief Executive Officer
Gina has been the CEO at NILMDTS since October 2011. Gina has worked in the nonprofit sector her entire career and has personally been touched by the services of NILMDTS.
In 2007, Gina and her husband went to a routine prenatal visit for their first baby and learned that their unborn son had a rare condition called Potter’s Syndrome, which is not compatible with life. As they carried their baby to term, they learned about NILMDTS and requested a photographer to capture images of their son David on October 25, 2007.
Not even a year later, the Harris’ lost their second son, Ethan from another, unrelated fetal condition called hydrops and cystic hygromas. Because his condition was so severe and the shock they were in, the couple did not get pictures of him. Gina says it has left an empty hole in her heart. She understands from firsthand experience the significance NILMDTS images have on the healing journey.
After losing David and Ethan, the Harris’ lost two more babies through miscarraiage. They were told by doctors that they could not have a healthy boy. Shortly after Gina joined NILMDTS as the CEO, she became pregnant again and in 2012 delivered her rainbow baby – a healthy boy named RJ.
Gina is a sought after national speaker in the fields of relationship education, bereavement, and positive youth development. Gina is a contributing author in the books, “Unshakable Character” and “The Burning Heart of a Difference Maker.” Her story (listed under her maiden name Gina Waegele) is featured in the book, “Sister Freaks,” edited by Rebecca St. James. She has been featured in major media including CNN, The LA Times, The Washington Post, Extra, NBC, People Magazine, all the major Denver media, as well as dozens of local newspapers and radio shows.
Gina has a Master’s of Science in Nonprofit Management from Regis University. She graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelor of arts in television news and video communications and has worked as a reporter and anchor for a CBS affiliate. Gina is a five-time state championship cheerleading coach and choreographer and was the 2008 John Lynch Foundation Coach of the Year. She has been married to her husband Rob since 2004. Rob, Gina, and their rainbow baby RJ along with their dog Lily reside in Colorado. She enjoys working out, running, hiking and playing board games.
Senior Director of Operations
Missy has been actively involved with NILMDTS since 2015. During this time, she has served as a Dispatcher, Assistant to the Photographer, Digital Retouch Artist, Affiliated Photographer, Dispatch Coordinator, Medical Program Manager, Director of Programs, and now Senior Director of Operations. Missy’s work with NILMDTS is dedicated to James, the son of very close friends of hers. James passed away unexpectedly shortly after birth in 2014 and through that experience, she came to know the incredible importance of remembrance photography.
A native West Virginian, Missy has a BA in English from West Virginia University and a MS in Accounting from Texas A&M University-Commerce. She currently lives in Omaha, NE with her husband, three kids, and three crazy dogs. In her spare time she most enjoys reading and traveling.
Director of Information Technology
Ali came to know Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep when her first baby, Zachary, was stillborn in 2011. She began volunteering as a Community Volunteer in 2013 assisting with recruitment and in 2015, she became the Seattle Area Coordinator. After a year of great administrative and logistical advancement for her local team, she joined the ranks of west coast Regional Coordinator in 2016. To help drive consistency and connectivity within the organization, she continued as a Volunteer Coordinator until she left her career as an IT Audit Manager and joined the staff as Volunteer Care Specialist in 2018. She took on managing the entire volunteer program as Volunteer Program Manager before landing in her current role tying her passion of helping others with her previous career strengths; overseeing all Information Technology for NILMDTS.
During her time at NILMDTS and her own personal experience receiving photos, she realized the importance of images and found a deep desire to take up photography. After months of leaning fundamentals of professional photography, in 2017 Ali started her photography business, Life Under the Stars Photography, named for her son, and also became a Seattle area Volunteer Photographer and Digital Retouch Artist.
Ali enjoys honoring her son’s memory by helping others experiencing loss and showing them there is hope after such a significant and devastating loss. She first found her own version of hope by welcoming her daughter, Vivian, at the end of 2012 and has since welcomed a healthy baby boy, Conner, in 2014 and second daughter, Claire, in 2016. Besides her roles within NILMDTS she previously served as the President of Parent Support of Puget Sound, a Seattle area non-profit supporting families experiencing miscarriage, pregnancy loss, stillbirth and infant death.
Ali resides primarily in Sammamish, Washington and is often found at the beach in Ocean Shores, Washington with her loving husband, three lively children, two dogs and a cat.
Kara has been in high-level non-profit leadership for more than a decade and has dedicated her career to improving the lives of others, including those going through grief and loss. Her natural passion is helping those who need the most love and support, and bringing healing, hope, and honor to brave spaces by helping others know they are more than enough. Her versatile background includes photography, working and serving with a nationally recognized non-profit, journalism, international storytelling and speaking, and extensive innovative leadership development knowledge.
Kara believes the mission of NILMDTS is powerful, meaningful, and life-impacting, and she is grateful to be at NILMDTS.
“I want to help NILMDTS flourish and grow so that more families can experience the healing power that comes from remembrance photography. I believe documenting each family’s story can help bring light to their dark times, so that they can hold on to those memories forever and cherish them for a lifetime,” she said.
Kara began with NILMDTS when she signed up to be an Affiliated Photographer in 2022. She lives in Indiana, with her husband, her energetic daughter, and her bold Boston Terrier.
Melanie has been actively involved in NILMDTS since 2018. She first learned of NILMDTS following the death of her first son, Bennett, in 2010. Photography services weren’t something offered to her in the hospital, but she quickly knew this was a way she wanted to give back in honor of Bennett someday. Fast forward to the birth of her rainbow baby in 2018 and a chance encounter with a local volunteer, and Melanie knew the time was right. Melanie has held multiple volunteer roles such as Dispatcher, Assistant to Photographer, Area Coordinator and maintains her volunteer work as a Volunteer Photographer to this day.
Melanie comes from an extensive background in sales and sales management and enjoys helping others learn about NILMDTS and encouraging them to find their place as a volunteer. Melanie has traveled and lived across the world but calls the Seattle suburbs home with her son, Lachlan, and husband, Alan. In her free time, you can find Melanie and her family doing something outdoors, checking out the latest foodie spots, or catching a flight to their next adventure. Melanie enjoys photography, giving back to her local community, and working on DIY projects around their home.
Program Services Coordinator
Lisa has served as a Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Volunteer Photographer, Digital Retouch Artist, and Retouching Instructor/Mentor since 2014 and became a proud staff member in 2019. Lisa’s work encompasses many responsibilities involving retouching requests, family inquiries, various administrative tasks, and volunteer support. Lisa’s last three pregnancies ended in early miscarriage (Matthew, Sarah, and Jeremiah). She is humbled to be able to honor those babies through her work with NILMDTS. She and her husband, Todd, reside in the state of Vermont (and sometimes the state of chaos and confusion) and have six beautiful children, one son-in-law, and a few fur babies.
Jess has been a part of NILMDTS since 2019. During this time she has served as an Affiliated Photographer, Digital Retouch Artist, Area Coordinator, Volunteer Coordinator, and now Regional Coordinator. She lives in East Tennessee, with her husband, their two children, and a small zoo of pets. When she isn’t behind a camera she’s usually baking something with way too much butter, listening to 90’s music, or hanging out in a hammock. Jess says that her work with NILMDTS is a small way of putting some good out into the world, and ensuring every parent knows that their child will always be remembered.
Mackenzie first learned of NILMDTS in 2019 while serving as a chaplain intern at a Level 1 Trauma Center in Omaha, Nebraska. She went on to complete a chaplain residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, where she primarily provided spiritual and emotional support to families on the Mother-Baby, Labor and Delivery, and Neonatal Intensive Care Units. During this time Mackenzie was honored to walk with numerous families experiencing miscarriage and infant loss. Mackenzie was deeply moved by the love these families have for their infants and found great significance in being a companion in their grief. She joined the NILMDTS team in 2022 and is excited to continue using her skills to support bereaved families.
Mackenzie has a Bachelor of Science in Business from Montana State University in Bozeman, as well as dual Master of Divinity and Master of Nonprofit Administration degrees from North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago. Originally from Wenatchee, Washington, Mackenzie currently lives in a diverse neighborhood on Chicago’s northwest side. When not at NILMDTS, Mackenzie can be found curled up with a mug of tea and a good book, or out exploring the many museums and activities Chicago has to offer.
Sami Pye joined NILMDTS in September 2022 as Marketing Coordinator. Alongside her background in graphic design, communications, and studio art, she has loved photography for over 10 years. Sami has extensive experience covering political events, concerts, and food photography, but what she loves most about her photography experience is the people she meets along the way. Sami holds a BA in photography and studio art from American University in Washington DC, where she is currently based. She is excited to join the team and bring her skills and passion to help families and NILMDTS volunteers. In her free time, she enjoys visiting new local coffee shops, exploring art museums, and browsing local farmer’s markets with friends.
Mandy has been involved with various non-profit organizations by serving and an internship. Although her career took her to the fitness industry for the previous eight years, she has always had a heart for non-profits and ministry. Mandy learned about NILMDTS around 2011 from the current NILMDTS CEO, Gina Harris. She is excited to have joined our staff in May 2022.
Mandy resides in Centennial, Colorado, with her husband and their beautiful, big-headed dog. She enjoys spending time with loved ones, getting up to the mountains, traveling, music, food, movies, and binging shows with her husband. Although Mandy is no longer a Sports Performance coach, you can still find her enjoying her free time in the gym. She loves the mission of NILMDTS and is humbled to be able to play a small role in the organization’s significance to all of the families impacted.
Development & Administrative Assistant
Sara has been involved with various nonprofits over the years, including as a fur-baby adoption counselor for the Humane Society, a host at the Ronald McDonald House, and an admin assistant for a child-advocacy group. She is excited to have joined the NILMDTS team in a Development and Administrative support role.
Sara resides in Morrison, Colorado, with her husband, teenage daughter, and two rescue dogs. When she’s not working or volunteering, she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking in the mountains, biking the various paved paths throughout the Denver/Metro area, and writing. Lots and lots of writing. Oh! And seeking out the best restaurant patios for a scrumptious breakfast or brunch in the Colorado sunshine.