Our Dedicated Team

Strength in the Tribe

At the Mommy Center, we believe that motherhood is an incredible journey filled with love, joy, and endless learning. Our amazing team is here to support and empower moms throughout every step of this remarkable adventure.

We are passionate professionals who will help you navigate the joys and challenges of raising your little ones. Together, let’s celebrate the magic of motherhood and build lifelong connections within the Mommy Center community.

Cristina Gamarnik, M.A., CCC-SLP

Founder, Mommy & Me Educator, Speech and Language Pathologist, Parent and Relationship Coach

  • B.A. and M.A. in Communicative Disorders
  • Licensed Speech and Language Pathologist
  • Published Author of The Articulation & Phonology Video Assessment Tool
  • Infant Care Specialist & Childcare Specialist
  • Positive Discipline Educator
  • Couples Coach (Using Gottman Principles)

Cristina is a mom to two boys. Before becoming a mom, she worked as an SLP at schools and private clinics. After having her son, Cristina experienced the struggles of motherhood. Through her journey in counseling, spiritual and self-growth, she realized that her calling was to create a community for mothers who may be going through the same.

She is an infant care specialist as well as a positive discipline educator. She also is trained in couples coaching through the Gottman Institute. She developed this community to be able to provide mothers with the education and support so they can be the best mother, wife and woman they desire to be.

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Carmen Stramara

Postpartum Doula, Mommy & Me Educator, Infant Care Specialist, Gottman Bringing Baby Home Educator, CPST

  • Postpartum Doula
  • Infant Specialist

Carmen is a postpartum doula and parent of two wonders who absolutely loves to read, enjoys deep conversation and is convinced she is solar powered. Her life’s journey has had her move 8 times in the past 12 years which helped to refine the skill of finding and creating community wherever she lands. Carmen believes supportive community is the key to wellbeing and hopes to positively impact those around her.

Her philosophy is that there is not one right way to parent and she enjoys lifting others to help find the right way for them. Carmen is driven to help heal the world by helping heal families in the postpartum period.

Outside of reading in the sunshine, her favorite activity is having her whole family (including Happy, the dog) piled on the couch together while laughing at AFV.

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Leora Robles, B.S, IBCLC

Lactation Consultant

  • Lactation Consultant
  • IBCLC – International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

Leora is a mom to three boys. She founded The Breastfeeding Center of Orange County with a mission to provide compassionate, evidence-based breastfeeding support to all families regardless of their infant feeding goals.

As a mother herself who experienced an array of breastfeeding challenges, it was important to Leora to provide support and encouragement to the families she works with, ensuring they feel heard and supported along their breastfeeding journey. The Breastfeeding Center of Orange County provides private lactation consultants, prenatal classes, and educational opportunities through an array of offerings.

Leora lives in Orange County, California with her three boys and husband, Adam.

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Elizabeth Pluskalowski, MS OTR/L, SWC, CLEC, IBCLC

Pediatric Occupational Therapist & International Board Certified Lactation Consultant 

  • MS and BS in Occupational Therapy, University of New Hampshire
  • National Board Certification in Occupational Therapy
  • California Board of Occupational Therapy Advanced Practice Swallow Assessment, Evaluation, or Intervention
  • Certified Lactation Educator Counselor
  • California Children’s Services (CCS) paneled Occupational Therapist
Lizzie has been a practicing occupational therapist since 2010 and solely dedicated to pediatrics since 2011. She has experience working in a variety of settings including major children’s hospitals (inpatient and outpatient), acute rehabilitation, early intervention programs, private practice, and school systems.

Over the years, Lizzie has taken numerous advanced training courses, including: pediatric feeding/swallowing, tethered oral tissue (TOTS), neurodevelopmental treatment, sensory processing disorders, breastfeeding, upper extremity splinting/rehab, and myofascial release. Lizzie is originally from New York and studied in New Hampshire. Following grad school, she has lived/worked in Washington DC, Virginia, and Chicago before relocating to the west coast in November 2015. She is happy to now call Mission Viejo “home” where she lives with her husband Brett and one-year-old son Ari.

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Emily Varon, BCBA

Behavior Specialist

  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Emily Varon is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with a dedicated focus on sleep-related behaviors. She has worked in the field of behavior analysis since 2000 and has devoted her practice to improving the sleep habits, and related behaviors of children since 2010.

Emily’s unique style of supporting parents with developing healthier support systems for their families has resulted in hundreds of success stories over the years. She is dedicated to maintaining an individual family’s values, through the process of evaluating the most appropriate strategies for a child. Her focus on sustainability of skills, versus “good” or “bad” habits, offers families a broader, long-view perspective of sleep, child development, and behavior, resulting in more sustainable results over time.

With a background rooted in Applied Behavior Analysis and child development, Emily deeply values science and research to support the strategies she offers families, and will only recommend protocols that are valid, proven methods. Emily resides in Irvine, California with her husband and two tweens who delight, challenge and entertain her all day long

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Nadine Durbach, LCSW

Clinical Social Worker & Psychotherapist

  • Master of Social Work from University of Toronto
  • Gottman Level 1 Trained
  • CBT Certified
  • DBT Certified
  • Over 25 years of experience

Nadine’s mission is to support individuals, couples and families to cope with the challenges found in relationships, effective communication and healthy parenting. Her passion is empowering her clients to be their authentic and fully expressed selves. Additionally, her interest lies in supporting women to adjust to the role that Motherhood brings, and in guiding couples to healthier and happier relationships. Having raised 3 kids to young adulthood, Nadine emphasizes progress over perfection and values the kitchen table as a no-tech zone!

When not working or volunteering in the community, Nadine loves spending time with her family of 5 humans and 2 Goldendoodles. Her free time is invested in cooking, entertaining, walking at the beach, arranging flowers, traveling, and getting lost in a great book with an almond milk latte in hand.

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Cami Leenstra, RN, BSN

Birthing Class Educator

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing University of Rochester
  • BS Psychology Cal Poly SLO
  • Labor & Delivery RN for 5 years
  • Perinatal Diagnostic and Treatment Center RN for 2 years
  • Baby Friendly Training Certified
  • Advanced Fetal Monitoring Certified
  • Advanced Cardiac Life Support Certified

Cami has been a Registered Nurse since 2015 specializing in the areas of high risk pregnancies in the antepartum period, Labor and Delivery, postpartum, and recovery. Cami has two young children of her own. andknows how vulnerable and scary it is navigating both preganncy and postpartum as well as the unimaginable thought of having to resuscitate your child. She strives to give her students power through knowledge, practice and tools for success. 

Cami Leenstra
Nicole Zahiry

Nicole Zahiry, M.A, BCBA

Behavior Specialist

  • B.S. Psychology, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (SLO)
  • B.A. English, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (SLO)
  • M.A., Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT), Chapman University
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
Nicole is a Mama to three children (13, 7, and 3) and a strong supporter of community, early intervention, and advocacy/inclusion. She has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) since 2012 and has worked in private clinics and educational settings for nearly 15 years.

She has worked closely with the autism community throughout her career providing families with evidence based behavioral assessment and treatment, access to community supports, and collaboration with school-based special needs teams to identify appropriate placement and functional goals. She is passionate about infant/toddler play (and educating new Mamas on how to incorporate it into their daily routines!), helping parents navigate challenging behavior (including sibling interactions) and supporting Mamas of children with special needs (from the initial diagnosis and beyond). Have questions about behavior? Biting? Hitting? Tantrums? Toilet-training? Play? Nicole is our go-to gal and has you covered!

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Tiffany Guardado, M.S., CCC-SLP

Bilingual SLP & IBCLC

  • B.A in Communicative Disorders
  • B.A. in Spanish
  • M.S. in Communication Sciences & Disorders
  • IBCLC – International Board Certified Lactation Consultant
  • California Children’s Services (CCS) paneled speech-language pathologist
Tiffany has been practicing as a speech-language pathologist specializing in pediatrics since 2014. She has spent the last 8 years working with children and families from a variety of backgrounds and with various levels of needs related to the feeding and swallowing process – from complex medical conditions to selective/picky eating in both a medical setting and private practice.

In addition to her work as a speech-language pathologist, she became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in 2021 to expand her clinical practice to include specialized lactation support. She formed Tree of Life Feeding, LLC in 2020 to serve and provide families the tools necessary to begin a healthy and happy relationship related to feeding from breastfeeding and beyond. Tiffany continues to practice speech and language therapy at a major children’s hospital where she has the opportunity to work in early intervention and cognitive & communicative rehabilitation. Tiffany lives in Long Beach with her husband and two year old son. http://www.treeoflifefeeding.com

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Tiffany Guardado

Sally Morcos, PT, DPT, PCS

Pediatric Physical Therapist

  • Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of Southern California
  • Board certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist
Sally has been practicing pediatric physical therapy since 2006 and obtained her PCS in 2011. She worked at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles for 10 years where she gained extensive experience in the management of high-risk infants and developmental delay. Over the years she has developed expertise in infant movement and development. She has been an assistant lab instructor in pediatric courses in the physical therapy programs at USC and APU.

In 2016 she transitioned into private practice where she primarily treats infants and toddlers with developmental delay and torticollis. She strives to use her knowledge and experience to help parents promote the development of gross motor skills through play.
Her passion for helping children move extends beyond the clinic. Sally is one of the co-founders and current president of Red Star Riders, a non-profit organization that provides adaptive tricycles to children with special needs and physical disabilities. Sally lives in San Dimas with her husband, who is also a Physical Therapist and owner of MOTUS Specialists Physical Therapy, and their 3 children ranging in age from 10 years old to 2 years old.

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Dani Calahan, D.C

Pediatric and Perinatal Chiropractor

  • Doctorate of Chiropractic, Southern California University of Health Sciences
  • Pediatric and Prenatal Trained Specialist

Dr. Calahan was born and raised in Long Beach, California. She is a part of the third generation of her family to graduate from Wilson. While at Wilson, she led her soccer team to a CIF, State, and National Championship her senior year. she went on to play division one collegiate soccer for the University of San Diego, where she obtained her BA in Sociology. Dr. Calahan has come to appreciate over the years the importance of spinal health and its link to the prevention of injury. She has been trained to provide service to all individuals just born to the elderly.

In her free time, Dr. Calahan loves spending time with her husband, Mike, and son, Jack (16 mo). They spend a lot of time going for walks in our neighborhood and hanging out at coffee shops. They love coffee and cooking meals together. She is also an avid reader and loves going to bookstores to pick out new books for herself and for Jack.

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Whitney Sippl, DPT, WCS

Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist

  • Women’s Health Physical Therapist
  • Board Certified Women’s Clinical Specialist

Dr. Whitney Sippl is a mama of two little ones. She treats women in their homes throughout Orange County and at a clinic in Costa Mesa, Califonia through her company Restored Physique Physical Therapy. She’s passionate about promoting awareness, well-being, and healing with a goal of empowering women during the prenatal and postnatal periods to address discomforts or concerns. Many women are told that symptoms such as incontinence, painful intercourse, scar pain, pelvic or back pain, pelvic pressure or abdominal separation (diastasis) are normal during pregnancy or after having a baby; however, though COMMON, these conditions are not “NORMAL” and there are many ways to address these concerns.

Whitney loves teaching women ways to take care of themselves during pregnancy and how to get their bodies back after childbirth and she is also the mom of two little ones. In addition to treating the moms, Dr. Whitney also treats kids with pelvic symptoms such as constipation, urinary leaking, bedwetting, bowel leaks, abdominal or pelvic pain, and painful periods. She also works with families for potty training and addressing potty training difficulties.

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