Each of us at Emma’s Footprints has one common goal: to help heal and provide hope to families experiencing pregnancy or infant loss. Our team members have lived through loss and understand the value of having a support network to help us through. Our team would be honored to walk with you in your grief and provide compassionate, understanding care to you.
Tracy Dailey is Co-Founder and Board President of Emma’s Footprints. Tracy and her husband, Bryan, lost Emma Kathryn Dailey on May 30, 2007; six years later she felt a tugging on her heart to “climb into the trenches” with families suffering pregnancy and infant loss. In 2013, Emma’s Footprints was born.
They have three handsome boys that also keep them busy, own two businesses, are very active in their church and love being able to bless others.
As executive director, Julie Swanson is responsible for Emma’s Footprints’ day-to-day operations, fundraising, grant writing, and event planning. While she was appointed to the position in October 2018, she is not a stranger to the organization. Julie and her husband, Mike, were served by Emma’s Footprints when they lost their 4-month-old son Gus to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in June 2016. Julie and Mike understand all too well the emotional, social, and financial challenges that families face after losing a child. Julie began actively volunteering and fundraising for Emma’s in honor of Gus soon after his death and is now honored to be serving in this new role. Julie and Mike are raising their rainbow baby, Walter, born in June 2017 thanks to the miracle of fertility treatments.
DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS
Ashley Westgate is the Director of Operations for Emma’s and BirthRoot. Perhaps more importantly, she is Emma’s Aunt and the #1 Cheerleader for Tracy, Emma’s Mom! As Director of Operations, Ashley builds organizational capacity to serve more families and serve them well by developing policies and procedures, establishing data collection processes, streamlining event planning primarily, and (most notably) supporting the amazing women that run the organization. She is also an SBD Doula and a volunteer with Erie City Moms. Ashley is called to serve others of all shapes and sizes by providing holistic care in many forms: a shared walk, a new piece of furniture, or a listening ear, just to name a few. Ashley is married to her partner in crime, Rich Ligo, lives in Erie, and has worked in community development since 2013. Besides her family and work, she loves organizing, cleaning, anything outside, board games, and prayer.
Director of Bereavement
Amanda Berk lost her daughter Aubree Hope Berk on February 22, 2010. After struggling with her grief alone for many years she became connected to Emma’s Footprints and became the Bereavement Coordinator in 2015. Amanda takes care of all of the new families by helping them with funeral expenses, provides them with support resources, and connects them to our care team as needed. Her goal is to make sure a family never feels like they are alone in their grief.
director of prevention
Tica N. Nickson is a lifelong resident of Erie, PA currently working as an ELECT/Student Parenting Program Case Manager for Erie’s Public Schools. She serves as a Birth Doula, Childbirth Educator, and Lactation Counselor for the Program’s Participants. BirthRoot Community Doula Alliance was developed in efforts to extend those services to the women of our community most at risk to lose their lives or the lives of their babies due to pregnancy-related causes. As Emma’s Footprints’ Director of Prevention, Tica is working to provide representational advocacy, education, and care to reduce rates of morbidity and mortality in Erie’s Black, marginalized, and traumatized maternal health population.
Tica is married to her high school sweetheart and mother of five dope humans and two ridiculous dogs. Besides her family, she loves learning, cooking, and mothering mothers. She is currently completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Integrated Social Sciences at THE Pennsylvania State University.
Meghan’s grief story started when she and her husband lost their first
pregnancy on October 19, 2014. After almost 2 years and lots of emotional healing
she was finally open to talking through her grief with Tracy and other moms.
When Meghan’s rainbow baby Jackson turned a year old she started a course to become a certified birth and bereavement doula. She knew in her heart that no mom should have to walk this road of grief alone.
emma’s board of directors
Kristen Banocy is Co-founder of Emma’s Footprints. Kristen founded Emma’s with Tracy Dailey in 2013. She has served the organization in every role imaginable but has most enjoyed fundraising and event planning. In June 2018, Kristen and her family moved to Cincinnati, OH. They look forward to seeing how this move is going to help further Emma’s mission.
When she isn’t serving Emma’s, Kristen can be found wrangling her three beautiful children, spending time with her husband, traveling around the country to visit family and organizing anything and everything she can.
Kristen is grateful to be part of an organization that not only provides support to families financially but emotionally, with an emphasis on personal healing for every member of the family.
Rachel Lusky is the Vice President of Emma’s Footprints, as well as the Art Director. She was first touched by infant loss when her aunt lost a child after birth when she was very young. When Rachel met Tracy Dailey, she knew she wanted to give in any way to support the mission. Apart from her work at Emma’s, she’s also a mommy and professional photographer.
Joe Mineo is the Treasurer of Emma’s Footprints. Joe and his wife, Joyce, lost Michael James in 1986 and granddaughter, Josephine Noel, in 2016. As a bereaved parent, he has a heartfelt passion for the families that Emma’s Footprints serve.
Pamela Presler is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Private Practice in Erie, Pennsylvania. As a board member, she helped develop the “You Are With Me” peer support group for Emma’s Footprints, and is passionate about guiding parents through their grief in healthy ways. She also serves as a family mediator and educator and specializes in helping children who are experiencing conflict in their families. In addition, Pamela is the Vice President of the Collaborative Professionals of Northwestern Pennsylvania. She devotes her time away from work to her husband and three teenage children.
Tim Kaercher is a longtime Emma’s footprints supporter and current member of the board. Tim brings decades of business acumen and innovative thought to Emma’s and is dedicated to fulfilling the mission of our organization. Tim lives in Fairview with his beautiful wife and two daughters and can often be found volunteering his time and talents within the Erie, PA community.