Rachael Gallagher came upon a career as an interfaith hospice chaplain following a stint as a professional opera singer, several years as the assistant director of a fashion department at an arts college, and a season as the associate pastor of a West Philadelphia church. She first came to Philadelphia in pursuit of her Master of Music degree from Temple University, and went on to complete her Master of Divinity Degree at Missio Seminary.
As a hospice chaplain, Rachael cares for the sick, dying, their loved ones, and staff members. Rachael enjoys creating and officiating at life rituals including weddings, memorials, home and baby blessings.
Rachael was born and raised in Florida, but has surfed in Maui, ridden an elephant in Cambodia, explored Thailand solo, and spent one Christmas and New Years on safari in South Africa. Travel is truly one of her favorite pastimes and Rachael enjoys the planning almost as much as the actual traveling. She looks forward to her bi-annual mystery trips with her best friends from college and squeezes in quick trips to visit friends in New York and Boston whenever she gets the chance.
Rachael is an unabashed reality TV historian and will gladly share her thoughts on the latest episode of The Bachelor or The Real Housewives of New York. Her love for reality TV is so strong that Rachael appeared on an NBC reality singing competition called Clash of the Choirs in 2007 and through that she was invited to spend Christmas at Patti LaBelle’s house singing around the piano and eating Patti’s delicious home cooking.
Rachael has come to love Philadelphia, a "city of neighborhoods" and she can probably tell you where to find some of the best food to eat in every corner of the city. Her current favorite indulgence is grabbing some Japanese-style pub food from NUNU in Fishtown. Rachael's happy home is made up of her, her husband Paul and their chihuahua Daisy Mae.
You can find Rachael on instagram at @rae_rae_s, where she documents her adventures with Daisy Mae, her favorite peloton rides, and her most photogenic home cooked meals.
Elizabeth Varaso is a birth doula, a childbirth educator and the mother of four incredibly ornery children. She is an Enneagram 7, a middle child, an ENFP on the Myers Briggs Personality Inventory and an incorrigible optimist.
Elizabeth grew up in Akron, Ohio and figures that the fact that she was born in the same hospital as both LeBron James and Steph Curry means that she must be destined for some kind of greatness. Some of her best stories and adventures have come as a result of being married to her native Philadelphian husband Frank, who has LOTS of good ideas which may one day be documented and shared in a book or even a podcast.
Elizabeth originally moved to Philadelphia in the year 2000 to complete her MSEd in Psychological Services from the University of Pennsylvania and to serve at-risk children and families in the Kensington community.
Following a decade in community outreach work, Elizabeth discovered an unexpected calling as a birth professional after being profoundly impacted by the birth of her own children. In particular, the experience of adding a doula to her team of caregivers gave her a vision of how satisfying a well-supported birth could be. It became her hope and mission to provide empowering, evidence-based childbirth education and strong, gentle & loving doula support to other birthing people and their partners with the hope that they will not just cope, but thrive through their childbirth experience.
Elizabeth's one never-miss-an-episode podcast is The Robcast, but she has most recently been enjoying listening to Unlocking Us with Brene Brown and always enjoys a re-listen of the A New Earth series with Oprah & Eckhart Tolle as well as her favorite episodes of This American Life.
You can find more information about Elizabeth's group, online and private childbirth classes at www.mamabirdbirth.com Elizabeth also hosts a website with video interviews featuring some of her very favorite doulas, along with stories of people doing "pregnancy, birth and parenting ... Philly style" at babyjawn.com