Meet the Team

Martha Joy Rose
Founder, Executive Director

Martha Joy Rose, BFA, MALS with a Master’s in Mother Studies. She is an award-winning artist and activist. Joy was diagnosed with SLE at 37 after the birth of her fourth child and received a kidney transplant. After Illness changed her life, she became passionate about women’s issues. Her pursuits have included academia, large-scale community gatherings, music, and museums. She is the NOW-NYC recipient of the Susan B. Anthony Award, her Mamapalooza Festival Series has been recognized as “Best in Girl-Power Events” and her music has appeared on the Billboard Top 100 Dance Charts. She founded the Museum of Motherhood in 2003, initiated 501c3 non-profit status in 2005, saw it flourish in NYC from 2011-2014, and then pop up at several academic institutions.

She has been organizing international conferences, hosting interns from global institutions, and has continued to nurture the ongoing evolution of a modern mother’s movement with an emphasis on visibility, family studies, and inclusion. She launched the Journal of Mother Studies, MER, and MaMaZina Magazine. Her writing has been featured in academic and literary journals.

Connie Burgess
Data Manager & Board Member

When you visit MoM, join one of our groups, attend a conference or make a legacy donation, Connie will be sure to welcome you to our family! Her new role at the MOM Art Annex is to manage data systems and build towards our solvency and success. She comes to us as a human relations expert with experience in artist development, banking, and community resources. Past roles have included multiple positions at Omega Institute. She brings with her an ethos focused on well-being. Along with our team, she brings the fortitude to confront economic disparities while encouraging diversity. She role models our culture of inclusion as we aim to create safe spaces for all.

Connie will be integrating projected database goals into newly developed systems to better maximize community impact and activate ongoing relationships.

Connie is a world traveler and the mother of two adult boys. If you have questions or concerns, want to inquire about legacy donations, payments, or memberships, please write

Curatorial and Strategic Planning

Donika Vlada

Event Coordinator

Donika has an MA in Communications from Vienna University, a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Advertising from her hometown Sofia, Bulgaria. With more than ten years of experience in Event and Communication management, she speaks the language of business, art, connection, diversity and kindness. A mother of two, woman entrepreneur working with emerging conscious businesses, a constant inspiration seeker, she is joining Museum of Motherhood by bringing variety of exciting and unique events – Mom Talks, Fathers’ focused evenings, classes and hours for neurodivergent guests, Experience History – hands on activities for kids, History on Cushions and many more. As a living museum MoM will grow, evolve, and transform according to our community needs and engagement and will offer events that deconstruct stereotypes, educate, inspire and encourage conversations and connection.

Sierra Clark

Empowerment Facilitator

Sierra was born and raised in St. Petersburg. She is a force for change and spiritual awakening, committed to social justice, children, and the highest potential in every human. Sierra’s superpower is her ability to love greatly no matter what the circumstances. Her dynamism is contagious. Whether room of 500+ women or a small group of women, Sierra bursts with passion, poetry, and enthusiasm. A professional healthcare worker, author, and group leader, Sierra employs heart talks, personal development tools, and affirmations to create an environment that is transformative.

Sierra is a contributor to the book Repair of the Black Family Anthology, available in our bookstore at The Factory.

Deborah Gelch
Strategic Advisor

Deborah is a senior executive who combines a deep technical background with general management experience. She has a track record of successfully building and leading collaborative teams with an agile mindset that delivers innovative products and services that achieve ambitious business goals. Deborah is known for an entrepreneurial spirit and drive that enables growth in sales and student recruitment, customer retention, institutional advancement, alumni affairs, analytics, and IT operations. Deborah earned her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College majoring in Art History and minoring in Astronomy. She has a graduate degree in Non-Profit Management from Lasell University and holds multiple Salesforce consulting certifications. Deborah joins MOM’s team as a valuable contributor and leader who can facilitate next stage practical growth of the museum vision in St. Petersburg

MOM Art Annex 501c3 Non-Profit Board

Martha Joy RosePresident, has overseen MOM since its inception and has been involved in all aspects of its ongoing success.

Connie BurgessVice President, joined the MoM board in 2023. Her commitment to sustainability, diversity, women’s well-being, and community enterprises is affirmed through her devotion to the museum’s growth, technological development, and relationship building. Her background in the indie label music scene in NYC, banking, and Omega Institute help round out MoM’s growth potential.

Zena Marpet, Secretary, MSN, RN, works PT as an emergency room nurse and serves as the Marketing Director at, an online mental health service for healthcare providers. She has a Masters from USF in public health policy. Her undergraduate work at Eckerd College earned her a BS of psychology and human development 2016 and she worked for mental health residency clinic in the San Francisco area (2020). Zena is a certified Emergency Medical Technician nationally registered and served as team leader for the Emergency Response Squad at Eckerd College (2012-2015). Internships have included John’s Hopkins, All Children’s Hospital research assistant, and Columbia Medical Center’s Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, pediatric emergency center, and Carlton Manor, counselor for children in residence.

Carl Hovey, Treasurer, has been involved with the Museum of Motherhood since its pop-up in New York City at East 84th Street in 2011. Carl is a U.S. Navy veteran, father, and ecologically minded farmer who is invested in seeing to the ongoing success of MOM and all its endeavors.

Taylor Marpet, Community Liaison, is a loving and devoted mom of two. She understands first-hand the relevant issues mothers face, from balancing the demands of motherhood to navigating a career. With a blend of sales acumen and community engagement expertise, Taylor is poised to make a significant impact in fostering meaningful connections and driving positive change within MoM and the community we serve. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a passion for building relationships and creating mutually beneficial partnerships.  With a commitment to social responsibility and community empowerment, she will aid as a dedicated advocate, ensuring that the board’s decisions align with the needs and values of the communities we support.

Tracey Wiseman, Advisor, Fundraising Specialist

Tracey Wiseman is a Principle at Partner 2 Partner Impact. She has counseled hundreds of non-profits, social change organizations, and early-stage corporations to develop and grow successful initiatives.

MOM Conference Academic Board

Hughes Miller – PhD. is an AssociateProfessor in the USF Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, Tampa/St. Pete, Florida, USA. As a feminist criminologist, she teaches classes on Feminist Pedagogy and Feminist Research Methods, and substantive seminars and undergraduate courses on Politics of Motherhood, Women and Social Justice, and Gender, Crime & Justice. (Current) (not pictured).

Aurelie Athan – Ph.D. is a full-time lecturer and MA Program Coordinator in Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University, USA. Her newest emerging theory, Reproductive Identity, debuted in the June 2020 Special issue of the American Psychologist-Rethinking Adult Development: New Ideas for New Times. (Current)

Laura Tropp – PhD. is an Associate Dean and Chair, Communication Arts, Marymount Manhattan College, New York, NY, USA. Dr. Tropp specializes in media and politics and representations of pregnancy, motherhood, and families in popular culture. She teaches courses in communication theory, media history, campaigns and elections, media law and mother studies. (Current).

Hannah Brockbank – Ph.D. Hannah is a freelance writer, editor, and researcher from the UK. Her research interests include: matrifocal narratives, matricentric feminism, testimony, autoethnographic writing, birth trauma and material culture. 

[Photo credit: Natalie Miller]

Elizabeth Marian Charles, MFA, is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Instruction at University of South Florida and a PhD student in Rhetoric and Composition. She teaches first year composition and professional and technical writing, and runs community creative writing workshops.

Legal Advisor

Larry Dillahunty – Larry and Cathy have have been serving the Tampa Bay community for over forty years as a family-run estate planning practice (and other services) at Dillahunty Law in St. Petersburg. We are so pleased that they have joined our team in the capacity of Legal Advisor.

Are you interested in bringing your skills to a non-profit devoted to women, mothers & families? Write us:

Thanks to our ongoing, and rotating roster of volunteers, interns & talented people

Humanity depends on motherhood. I can think of no other subject so wildly misunderstood, underfunded, and understudied. We’re here to change that. Together we will put motherhood on the map, dispel the myths that have kept women and caregivers marginalized, and educate using our own strong voices. We believe that by understanding history, we are creating Her-Story. We believe that motherhood is otherhood and that we are all connected as members of one big human family. We are the house that MoM built.

~ M. Joy Rose, Founder and Director

Special gratitude shout out – Raissa Fitzgerald; Researcher and Copy Editor, Liliana Beltran; curator, Marcile Powers; Mothers’ Club & arts facilitator.

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