Meet the Team | Your DNA Guide
Diahan Southard, Founder and CEO, Genetic Genealogy Expert and Educator
Diahan Southard knows firsthand what a difference it can make to know where you came from. What started off as an educational and career interest in genetic genealogy became deeply personal when she used DNA to discover her mom’s birth parents and connect with new relatives.
Now she has 20+ years of genetic genealogy experience. She built her company, Your DNA Guide, to show that learning DNA doesn’t have to be intimidating, frustrating, or require a college degree in biology. Her goal is to teach you to “Do the DNA”–and feel confident and have fun in the process!
Diahan teaches internationally, writes for popular magazines, authored Your DNA Guide–The Book, and produces Your DNA Guide–the Academy, an online learning experience. Contact Diahan’s office.
Connie Davis, Project Manager, Your DNA Guide–the Academy and Genetic Genealogy Coach
Connie is a professional genetic genealogist. Her personal research includes early colonial United States, southern United States, the Midwest, Canada and her California pioneer ancestors. She has experience in African American research and an interest in reparative genealogy.
Kathie Knoll, Marketing Manager
Kathie Knoll (left, above with Diahan) is a veteran marketing and communications strategist in the family history/genetic genealogy community (prior experience at Ancestry.com and Relative Genetics). She has degrees in both business and history. After managing Your DNA Guide–the Academy, Kathie now takes the lead on our marketing team.
Sunny Morton, Content Manager
Sunny uses her award-winning writing and editing talents to plan and create content for our blog and other communications. She is an internationally known speaker; Contributing Editor of Family Tree Magazine, past Editor of Ohio Genealogy News; and co-author of How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records.
Danielle Francis, Affiliate and Events Manager
Dani coordinates live events for Your DNA Guide, manages relationships with our awesome affiliate partners, and assists with customer service. She has a bachelor’s degree in Public Health from Brigham Young University and is working towards becoming an occupational therapist. When she gets a spare moment she can be found working on a DIY home project or listening to an audiobook.
Stephanie Lazo, Project and Customer Experience Manager
As part of the Your DNA Guide team, Stephanie assists with customer service accounts, webinar project management, and with administrative tasks for the Academy. Stephanie has a Bachelor’s degree in Professional Studies with an emphasis on Family History Research from Brigham Young University–Idaho.
Amber Oldenburg, Social Media Manager
At Your DNA Guide, Amber maintains our social media presence and works to develop and implement engaging content. When not working on Your DNA Guide’s social media strategy, she can be found traveling the country with her family or reading a book a history book.
Melanie Mohler, Blog Manager
Melanie manages the Your DNA Guide Blog. She works closely with Your DNA Guide customers and staff to help easily explain topics relating to DNA testing and share DNA success stories on the blog. Melanie is also the editor of Ohio Genealogy News and is currently pursuing an M.A. in Applied History.
Katie Ritchie, Advisor
Katie has an B.S. in Microbiology. She worked with the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation for 10 years. Her favorite responsibility was working on “Special Cases” for genealogists who wanted to ask their DNA specific questions—just like we do now at Your DNA Guide!
Hannah Smith, Social Media Assistant
Hannah joined Your DNA Guide in 2021 as a video editor, assisting with campaigns and other social media content. She is currently a Journalism and Communications student at Utah State University. When not editing videos Hannah can be found nose deep in a sci-fi book, a cold Dr. Pepper close at hand.
Jayne Ekins, Advisor
Jayne has 19 years of experience in the field of genetic genealogy, beginning with the pioneering Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation. She has participated in field specimen collection, marker selection and assay design, data management and computational processes, analysis and algorithms, and investigating population-level research questions. Jayne has lectured throughout the United States and internationally on the applications of molecular biology to elucidating ancient and recent genealogical connections. She has authored and co-authored many peer-reviewed scientific publications and general articles on genetic genealogy. Read Your DNA Guide articles by Jayne.
Kelli Bergheimer, Genetic Genealogy Coach
Kelli is a writer, teacher, editor, and national genealogical speaker. She holds a Bachelor’s in Biology and a Master’s in Business Management. Kelli is the Director of Curriculum and Assessments for Blue Kayak, a K-12 textbook company. She also works as a DNA report editor for Legacy Tree Genealogists and a contributing writer for Your DNA Guide.
Michelle Leonard, Genetic Genealogy Coach
As a Genetic Genealogy Coach for the Your DNA Guide DNA Skills Workshop, Michelle conducts one-on-one coaching sessions and is on hand to help and guide participants throughout their Workshop experience. She is a Scottish professional genealogist, DNA detective, speaker, author and historian with a wealth of international experience in both the traditional and genetic genealogy fields. Her first involvement with DNA came in 2009 when she worked on the ground-breaking ‘Fromelles Genealogy Project’ tracking down appropriate DNA donors to identify WWI soldiers buried in a mass grave in France and she has been immersed in using DNA for family history ever since! She runs her own genealogy and DNA consultancy business, Genes & Genealogy, and specializes in solving unknown parentage and all manner of unknown ancestor mysteries using a combination of DNA expertise and conventional research methodologies. Michelle is also a co-author of Tracing Your Ancestors Using DNA: A Guide For Family Historians and the official genetic genealogist of #AncestryHour.
Lori Napolitano, Genetic Genealogy Coach
After Lori graduated from Northwestern University with a master’s degree in Chemistry, she taught high school science, and then she stumbled into the world of Forensic Science, even before CSI! She changed direction and spent 31 years with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, splitting her time between forensics and investigations. When she retired, she was Chief of Forensic Services in Orlando and had created a very successful statewide Investigative Genetic Genealogy program. Bringing her ‘hobby’ to work and solving over a dozen violent crime cold cases was amazing!