team & advisory board

executive team

sara Pearce, RN


Sara is the founder of Amma Parenting, Partner, as well as Director of Education. A Registered Nurse and Certified Nurse-Midwife, Sara practiced OB nursing and midwifery in North Carolina and Minnesota until 2001, when she shifted focus to education. She founded Amma Parenting in 2007 to bring the New Mama Class to new mothers and became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. As the business grows, she still maintains a commitment to spending time in the classroom with new mothers. Mom to: David, Caroline and Bennett. You can reach her at

gwen martin, CEO

Gwen Martin CEO

Responsible for the overall strategic direction of Amma. In this role she is focused on creating new avenues for growth and developing partner relationships.

Gwen has been building and growing businesses throughout her career. She has a history of success in cultivating relationships and leading teams to grow award winning brands. Mom and stepmom in her blended family to: Erica, Ellie, Maisy, Georgia and Henry. You can reach her at

Kristine merta, CEO

Kristine Merta CEO

Responsible for the overall strategic direction of Amma. In this role she is focused on creating new avenues for growth and developing partner relationships.

Kristine has extensive experience developing business, growing and managing relationships, and leading teams. She is licensed to practice law in the State of Minnesota and is a member of the Minnesota and Hennepin County Bar Associations. Mom to triplets Lydia, Clifford and Emily. You can reach her at

Missy Duffy, RN

Missy Duffy RN MS

Missy is the Director of Center Operations. An RN since 1992, she has a background in perinatal nursing, nursing administration, and childbirth education. Missy oversees Amma operations and manages our fabulous center associate staff. Mom to: Keegan, Finnegan and Macgregor. You can reach her at

Terri Hafner, retail

Terri Hafner

Terri is Amma Parenting’s Director of Retail. Terri’s background spans retail management, merchandising, retail consulting, business startup, and art. She is the whiz behind our retail boutique’s “cute” factor. Mom to: Brian and Joe. You can reach her at

Loretta Sauvageau RN ICCE

Loretta is the Director of New Parent Education and CPR.  She is an RN and has over 20 years experience as a Certified Childbirth Education Instructor through International Childbirth Education Association.  Loretta oversees our new parent and CPR classes and manages their fabulous teachers. Mom to: Tyler, Parker and Sophia, Mom-in-law to: Katie.

team of expert teachers

Amma Parenting runs on the brain power of our talented group of expert teachers! All of our childbirth teachers are either Registered Nurses or Certified Childbirth Instructors, and you’ll find a range of experts in all our classrooms, from lactation consultants to parent educators. When you register for a class, you will be able to see your teacher’s bio.

board of advisors

At Amma Parenting, we believe that parents seek and deserve only the most trustworthy information about birth, babies, and parenthood. To ensure quality of information, we rely on our Advisory Board to review our written materials and course content.

Through this multidisciplinary team we are proud to be at the forefront of birth and family education.

Andrea Messina MD

Dr Messina is a board-certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist in practice at Park Nicollet. She is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Stefan Kramarczuk MD

Dr Kramarczuk is a board-certified Pediatrician in practice at Metropolitan Pediatrics. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Adjunct faculty in Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School.

Mary Sheedy Kurcinka PhD

Mary is a bestselling author, speaker and licensed parent educator. She is the author of the popular books, “Raising Your Spirited Child,” “Kids, Parents and Power Struggles,” and “Sleepless in America.” Mary lectures on the topics of parent-child dynamics both nationally and internationally, and consults with families all over the world.

Sieglinde Peterson MD

Dr Peterson practices family medicine at Fairview.

Katja Rowell MD

Dr Rowell is a family physician and childhood feeding specialist. She is a clinical faculty member of the Ellyn Satter Institute and teaches professionals and parents about the importance of a healthy feeding relationship. More about Dr Rowell can be found at

Jesse Kuendig LGSW

Jesse is a licensed graduate social worker in practice at the Mother Baby Program at Hennepin County Medical Center. She also serves on the board of Jenny’s Light, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness of perinatal mood disorders.

Samantha A. Sommerness DNP RN CNM

Samantha received her BSN from The University of Portland in Portland, Oregon in 1993, her Masters of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania in 2000 and her Doctorate of Nursing Practice in 2011 from the University of Minnesota.

Charles Hirt MD

Dr. Hirt is a practicing OB/GYN at Abbott Northwestern Hospital. He received his medical degree from Tufts University in 1997 and completed residency at the University of Minnesota.

Steven Calvin MD

Dr. Calvin is a practicing maternal-fetal medicine physician who is committed to empowering mothers to have safe, satisfying, and seamless pregnancy care experiences. He works with Midwife colleagues at the Minnesota Birth Center in Minneapolis.

Laurel Wills MD

Dr. Wills practices pediatrics at New Kingdom Healthcare.

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