Synova Mission

Synova delivers exceptional educational experiences designed to engage, energize and transform neonatal and perinatal nurse leadership teams.

Synova Vision

Synova is dedicated to creating a culture where the leadership experience is rewarding and desirable.

Join us at a leadership conference!

The Synova Leadership Forums are one of a kind meetings that provide nurse leaders with cutting edge information, innovative solutions and exceptional networking, as well as relaxation and rejuvenation.

Attendees network with “like minds” to gain insights into how they can find joy even during difficult times and develop strategies that promote meaning in their practice environments.

  • Leave the conference with a clear understanding of the importance of presence, culture, and leadership in developing teams
  • Enjoy numerous opportunities to broaden your network of fellow leaders through sharing challenges, insights, and perspectives

Meet the SYNOVA Partners

With twenty years in the neonatal and perinatal market space, Chrissy has built powerful relationships with business and clinical thought leaders, developed and managed hospital educational programming, and helped to define new care practices based on data and customer responses.

In her primary role as Vice President of Relationship Development for The First String Healthcare, Chrissy partners with nursing executives to provide strong, experienced leadership talent to complement and build their teams. In addition, she helps to connect new and seasoned nurse leaders with their next professional opportunity. She is passionate about the synergy between her work with Synova Associates and The First String: She connects great people with great opportunities at great institutions.

A contributor to Synova Associates since the beginning, Chrissy’s track record speaks for itself: She calls her customers ‘friends,’ creates synergies and opportunities for business partners and colleagues, and earns trust and respect.

Cathy, a former teacher, helped to establish the NICU Leadership Forum 23 years ago and has a passion for creating inspiring education meetings for hospital leadership teams. Working with the Planning Committee to ask hard questions and deliver relevant content each year energizes her and helps keep the conference fresh and unique.

Working in the healthcare field for over 25 years and starting her career at Children’s Medical Ventures, Cathy has held a variety of roles in the medical device industry. Her unwavering focus is aimed at meeting the needs of babies and nurses through products, educational programs and services that contribute to the improved outcomes of preemies and other hospitalized babies.

Cathy is currently the Chief Customer Officer at Dandle·LION Medical, a company that proudly provides innovative and trustworthy products and programs for babies, parents and staff.

Melissa Gehl

Melissa Gehl


With nearly 15 years in the field of maternal and infant health, Melissa is devoted to ensuring the best outcomes for moms and babies. Her early days as a social worker supporting low income mothers in Chicago led her to the March of Dimes where she spent ten years improving the NICU experience for families and staff. In this role, she led the development of a nationally standardized NICU parent education curriculum, created print and digital educational materials, trained healthcare staff across the country on family centered care and patient experience, and helped many NICUs achieve their patient experience goals through customized program planning.

Melissa enjoys working closely with others to cultivate potential and to achieve shared goals. And she likes finding opportunities to blend the use of creative approaches with an analytical basis. She is honored to support nurse leaders as they strive for the best for their staff and families.

Barbara Greer

Barbara Greer


Barbara retired in 2013 as the director of the NICU at Cook Children’s Medical Center after 27 years. She was responsible for overseeing the nursing practice and quality initiative for their quaternary Level IV NICU. During her last few years at Cook Children’s, she and the unit leadership team worked in tandem with architects and builders on their state-of-the-art 106 bed, all single-room NICU, one of the largest single room units in Texas.

Although retired, Barbara is still active in her profession. She is currently serving on the Perinatal Advisory Council, which has been charged by the Texas State Legislature to develop standards of care, as well as a designation process for both Perinatal Units and NICU’s in the state. In addition, she is a
current member and past president of the Texas Perinatal Association.

Barbara has been involved with the NICU Leadership Forum since the first meeting in 1996 and enjoys planning all the social events for the meeting. She is excited about having the opportunity to now work with the Perinatal Leaders from around the country.

Most recently Lori was the Senior Director of NICU Innovation at the March of Dimes. She led a team that created the My NICU Baby app, spearheaded the development of the March of Dimes Training Institute, and provided the direction and vision for the NICU Family Support Program for the last 10 years. This program served over 100 hospitals nationally, 70,000 NICU families and provided education to 10,000 perinatal and neonatal professionals each year.

Lori, a trained professional counselor, has previously worked in the fields of victim services, was national trainer for Victims Assistance, and is a nationally recognized expert in the fields of patient experience, crisis intervention, PTSD, communication skills, and maternal fetal health. She has been a national trainer for over 20 years and has been featured on multiple news outlets including MSNBC. She has served on the executive planning committee for many professional organizations including Synova.