Meet the Specialists

Joelle Phillips


Well before she became a mom, Joelle knew that supporting the development of parents and their kiddos was her calling. She got her undergraduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and during this time began to work with autistic children as an Applied Behavior Analysis therapist. She went on to earn a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at California State University-Hayward and afterward worked as a speech-language pathologist in the California public school system for 8 years. Remaining true to her educator roots, Joelle is the brains behind NurtureU.

Cathy Harcke


As a Doctor of Physical Therapy, Cathy has worked in pediatrics for the past 16 years and currently works in home health with babies under three years who are at risk for or present with gross motor delay. In 2011 she published her first book, Cracking the Motor Mystery: A Fun and Creative Approach to Gross Motor Basics. Cathy works and lives in California and is a mother of two school-age children. Her personal and professional experience has taught her that achievement and success are measured by the progress during the journey, not merely by the final outcome.

Jose Ponssa


An Infant and Toddler Program Counselor for the City of Fremont, California, Jose has been in the mental health field for over 15 years. He received a Master’s in Counseling Psychology from John F. Kennedy’s Graduate School of Holistic studies in 2004 and has been licensed with the state of California as a Marriage and Family Therapist since 2010. As a father and a therapist, Jose believes strongly in a family driven model of care.

Laura McCarthy


Laura has been a speech and language pathologist for more than 15 years. She owns and operates a successful speech pathology office in Boise, Idaho, specializing in children’s speech therapy. Laura enjoys helping all children reach their full potential through a love of language and learning.  As a mother, Laura can relate to the challenges of early years parenting.

Erin McCarter


Erin is an RN and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) with Treasure Valley Midwives and Mother’s Milk & More in Boise, Idaho. She supports families through classes on breastfeeding and newborn care, assists moms and babies to comfortably and effectively breastfeed, and can help with unraveling feeding problems if they come up. Erin believes that breastfeeding is a key contributor to the physical and emotional health of its community members.

Nancy Stark


Nancy has been working as an OT for 40 years, with over 25 of those years focusing on pediatric motor development and sensory processing. Since she only sees her children on a weekly or monthly basis, Nancy finds it crucial to educate all of the people who interact with the child on a daily basis, including parents, caregivers, and teachers. She strongly believes that if everyone is implementing fun but functional activities, a child will progress.

Tami Lynard


Tami is an RN and Certified HypnoBirthing Practitioner at a Regional Medical center. She is dedicated to educating and supporting women during the perinatal period. With over 20 years of experience, she has relayed the message that birth is a normal physiological process, and believes that childbirth is as much an emotional process as it is a physical one. When a mother’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs are being met, a more comfortable and satisfying birthing experience is achieved. She is passionate about her work and considers it a blessing to work with the families in her community.

Cody Human


As a graphic designer and entrepreneur, Cody launched a boutique design and marketing firm, Human Identity, in 2005. She works with national and regional clients to develop and execute strategic marking and communication plans to meet her client’s business goals. Cody partnered with Joelle to create NurtureU’s brand and serves as the creative director for NurtureU.

Amy Pence-Brown


Amy is a writer, body positive activist, artist, historian, mother and radical homemaker in Boise, Idaho. She has a master’s degree in art and architectural history and has written for several local and national publications. She works for Preservation Idaho, serves the youth of her community on the City of Boise Energize our Neighborhoods project, and is on the PTO & School Garden Coordinator at her neighborhood school. Her radical stand for self-love at the Capital City Public Market in August 2015 went viral and has been written about by CNN, USA Today, Cosmopolitan, People, TODAY, WGN Morning News Chicago, Idaho Statesman, and Idaho’s NPR station.

Emily Clements


In addition to her work as a licensed professional counselor in Idaho, Emily has worked with children for many years through volunteer work with The Boys and Girls Club and teaching art with her mom, where together they helped Boise children earn the Guinness Book of World Records title of World’s Largest Finger-painting. In 2014 she spent nearly three weeks aiding victims of human sex trafficking in the Philippines and is passionate about animals as well, volunteering time at a tortoise reserve in Hawaii and caring for numerous pets here at home.

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