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Sarah Haacke Byrd, Managing Director
“At Joyful Heart, we have been working for more than a decade to transform the way society thinks about, talks about, and responds to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. In this watershed moment, it’s a privilege to lead this team. Together, we will continue to push the national dialogue forward, ensure that survivors are heard and believed, and translate this moment into lasting change.”
Sarah Haacke Byrd joined Joyful Heart in 2014 and leads the foundation’s bold vision to end this violence. In partnership with Joyful Heart’s President, Board of Directors, and Leadership Team, she is focused on implementing Joyful Heart’s 10-year strategic plan to grow and sustain its work.
For nearly two decades, Sarah has been building and guiding nonprofit organizations in Boston, Washington, D.C., and New York, including the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture, Facing History and Ourselves, and Anti-Defamation League.
She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and holds a master’s degree in positive organizational development and change from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.
Leslie Hewitt, Vice President of Finance
"I am truly excited to be playing a role in the important and innovative work that the Joyful Heart Foundation is undertaking in healing and protecting survivors of violence and abuse. The combined amount of passion, knowledge, and ideas of the team at Joyful Heart is awe-inspiring and constitutes an indelible resource as we strive to heal, educate, and advocate to end to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse."
As Joyful Heart’s Vice President of Finance, Leslie Hewitt leads many of the organization’s business operations, including finance, legal, human resources, facilities, and administrative operations.
She comes to Joyful Heart with more than 15 years of leadership experience in financial management positions, including six years as the Audit Manager at Buchbinder Tunick & Co. and eight years in the roles of Controller/EVP/CFO at CAMBA, a $110 million New York City-based human services agency.
At CAMBA, Leslie was responsible for the day-to-day management of a highly complex finance operation. She directed the finance, funder audit, and fiscal services departments, and was responsible for formulating and administering organizational policies, procedures, and protocols. Leslie holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Heather Masterton, Vice President of Development
"I am inspired by and grateful for the work Joyful Heart is undertaking to bring holistic healing options not only to survivors, but to frontline workers who are experiencing secondary and vicarious trauma. It is an honor to contribute to Joyful Heart’s work to support resiliency, well-being and thriving in both the lives of survivors and the healers who are of service to them."
Heather has worked for the past 22 years in the field of domestic and sexual violence intervention and prevention, with the last 13 years focused in executive management and fundraising. Her work history has ranged from direct services, such as case management for domestic violence crisis and transitional shelters, legal advocacy and emergency response with law enforcement, to local, statewide, and national leadership positions. Previously, she has served as the Director of Development for Peace Over Violence, LA’s first rape crisis and domestic violence support center, as the Executive Director of South Valley Sanctuary, the second largest domestic violence shelter in Utah, and as the Statewide Coordinator of Domestic Violence Programming for 46 municipalities with the Mexican government's national social services institution in Guanajuato, Mexico.
She holds a master’s degree in women's studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and a bachelor's degree in women's studies and public policy from UCLA. She believes in the healing power of roller derby and is a proud skater with the Los Angeles Derby Dolls.
Lisa Winjum, Vice President, External Affairs
"Joyful Heart is changing the way people talk about sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. Transforming the conversation—the way people think about these issues and survivors—is essential to improving media coverage, the public policy response, and eliminating the stigma and shame surrounding these issues."
Lisa Winjum has more than 15 years experience in public affairs, government relations, and fundraising. She comes to Joyful Heart from Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic (PPHP) and the PPHP Action Fund where she served as its Vice President of Public Affairs, overseeing communications, marketing, public policy, advocacy, and political affairs. This position capped a more than nine-year tenure at the organizations.
Lisa has extensive experience working around the issue of sexual assault. Prior to joining PPHP, she was the Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for the Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services. From 2007 to 2013, she served on the board of the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault, completing a two-year term as its president in 2013.
Lisa holds a JD from Quinnipiac University School of Law and a BA in English and Communication Arts from the College of New Rochelle.
Ilse Knecht, Director of Policy & Advocacy
"I am proud to be able to be part of a team that works fearlessly and with so much passion, commitment and positive energy to bring healing and justice to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. Helping to lead the Joyful Heart’s policy and advocacy work to eliminate the backlog of untested rape kits and bring reform to the way survivors—men, women, and children—are treated in our society and criminal justice system is an honor for me and has been the central part of my career for 25 years. To do this important work with an organization that stays firm to its values and guiding principles while being courageously loud on the issues is inspiring. I believe strongly that we can create meaningful change through legislation and education."
Ilse Knecht has dedicated the past 16 years of her career to ending violence and creating better communities. She comes to the Joyful Heart Foundation from the National Center for Victims of Crime, where she created the DNA Resource Center and led the center’s efforts to reform policies and practices related to testing rape kits. She has served on several advisory committees for projects related to sexual assault, forensic exams, and sexual assault response teams, and has spoken extensively in the media about these issues. Her interest in social justice issues goes back to high school, when she and her friends raised money to send school supplies to El Salvador. In and after college, she worked to safeguard a woman’s right to choose, was the volunteer coordinator for a Green Party candidate for city council and mayor, and was a leader with the Student Environmental Action Coalition. She credits her mother with instilling a duty to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Monica Martinez, MFTI, Director of Retreat Research & Survivor Support
“I’m excited about being part of Joyful Heart’s mission to support survivors' healing. It’s amazing to see the transformation of a survivor, who is able to find hope and feel empowered about their future. It is truly a privilege to be a part of this journey of healing that changes the lives of not only the survivors but also their children, who can grow up in a safer environment instilled with hopes and dreams.”
Monica is a marriage and family therapist who has worked with survivors of domestic violence and their children for nine years. She earned her master's degree in counseling psychology from Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles. Monica’s experience in community mental health includes the coordination of a county funded domestic violence program that supported survivors in becoming self-reliant by providing counseling services, independent living skills classes and vocational training. She also has experience working at a domestic violence shelter where she provided individual and group therapy.
Vaughan Bagley, Special Projects Manager
"I am honored to join such an inspirational organization working to bring domestic violence and sexual assault to the forefront of our national dialogue. The Joyful Heart Foundation's collaborative and survivor-centric approach to addressing these issues is shifting the way both the general public and policymakers view and respond to such violence. For these and many other reasons, I am humbled and grateful to join a community I have admired for some time and I look forward to being a part of this growing movement to say NO MORE."
Vaughan Bagley graduated from Stanford University in 2012 with a BA in human biology and Honors in Ethics in Society for her thesis work examining human trafficking policies in the state of California. As an undergraduate, Vaughan served as a panelist for the Office of Judicial Affairs Panels, which heard cases of sexual assault on campus. After moving to New York to act as a paralegal in the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office Human Trafficking Bureau, she volunteered two night shifts per month as a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advocate at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center, giving her important insight into the further trauma that survivors face when collecting evidence for rape kits.
After leaving the District Attorney's Office, Vaughan worked as the Marketing and Engagement Manager at the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children, where she remained for two years. Vaughan officially comes to Joyful Heart from the Women's Outreach Department at the Hillary For America Presidential Campaign. She continues to work on millennial women outreach for the campaign in her free time and is delighted to be able to focus on addressing issues at the Joyful Heart Foundation that affect so many young women across the globe.
Benjamin Clark, Finance & Operations Manager
"The Joyful Heart Foundation is truly transformative. The comprehensiveness of its healing programs for survivors ensures that all elements of self are addressed. Moreover, by raising awareness around abuse issues, the Joyful Heart Foundation is helping to create a society that is more knowledgeable about and more accountable to these injustices. The Joyful Heart Foundation helps to improve the lives of countless individuals and I feel privileged to be a part of that."
After graduating from Lawrence University, Ben Clark served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Campamento, Honduras. In that role, he conducted topographic studies and designed potable water systems in rural communities and also managed the implementation of a latrine construction project in a nearby community. After returning from the Peace Corps, Ben completed an MPA program in public and non-profit management and Policy from New York University’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He is also a current board member for Kids for Tomorrow, which funds educational programs in Kenya, Cambodia, and New York City.
Liliana Rocha, Policy & Advocacy Manager
"Joyful Heart Foundation empowers survivors every single day through holistic healing programs and fearless advocacy and education campaigns. That is why I am thrilled to be part of JHF. I know that with this team of committed and intelligent professionals, we can end the backlog of untested rape kits around the country and enact much-needed reforms that serve first and foremost survivors of sexual abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse. Our task is challenging indeed, but I am ready to do my part with JHF to bring justice to light for all the resilient survivors."
Liliana "Lily" Rocha is the Policy & Advocacy Manager, working with the dedicated Policy & Advocacy team to enact legislation targeted to end the backlog of untested rape kits throughout the country and bring accountability on rape kit testing practices. Before JHF, Lily was a congressional staffer for almost four years, working in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. While on Capitol Hill, she worked on education, healthcare, and labor issues. Ultimately, she created and led a coalition of researchers, congressional staffers, and advocates write and introduce a new federal bill to combat the stigma surrounding mental health access. Originally from the Chicago suburbs, Lily graduated in 2010 with a BA in economics-political science from Columbia University. In her spare time, Lily enjoys running and volunteering as an English as a Second Language teacher.
Christine Show, Digital Platforms Manager
"It is my hope that through the work of Joyful Heart Foundation, survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse will know that they are surrounded by a supportive community looking to not only serve as a source of strength through the healing process but to help build a future full of empowerment, serenity, and joy."
Christine Show serves both the design and content needs for Joyful Heart Foundation’s digital properties. She began her career more than 10 years ago as a reporter for news organizations that include the Orlando Sentinel, Associated Press, and Newsday. During that time, Christine grew curious about HTML and CSS. She moved to New York City to study digital media and interactive design at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. After earning her master’s degree, Christine put her new skills into practice at her alma mater as Columbia Law School’s website editor.
Christine received her bachelor’s degree in newspaper journalism and women’s studies at Syracuse University. She has also served as a volunteer for the Victims’ Information Bureau of Suffolk and Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic, both on Long Island. As a member of the Joyful Heart team, Christine is proud to utilize her writing and website skills to benefit a cause she cares about deeply.
Karoline Katus, Development Officer
"I am proud to be a part of an organization with such inspiring leadership and values. The depth and stretch of our programs, the strategic planning and the infallible courage and persistence of our team motivates us all to excel and always look to the end goal of one day eliminating violence and sexual assault against men, women and children."
Karoline has been involved with public service since her family's Sunday tradition of distributing homemade meals in downtown Los Angeles and her high schools days of organizing fundraisers in Manhattan Beach. Her passion for philanthropy truly took hold while working as a Student Ambassador for the fundraising office at the University of California, San Diego, in La Jolla, where she graduated in 2006. While there, she hosted multiple events for SurfAid International and volunteered her time in New Orleans for the local environmental and community organization Common Ground. After moving to New York in 2007, she began her career as a fundraising project consultant to organizations, such as Trust for Public Land, Career Transitions for Dancers, and the American Lung Association. She also worked as a grant evaluator, awarding federal funds, for the Non-Profit Economic Development and Commercial Revitalization initiatives for the New Yorl City Department of Small Business Services. Karoline is grateful to work at an organization that has influence across the country and in so many communities, homes, lives, and souls. She believes in power of a smile and finds her peace amongst her Brooklyn "family," the Tuesday edition of The New York Times, and while cycling.
Camille Beredjick, Digital Media Coordinator
"The Joyful Heart Foundation is truly changing the conversation about sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. By uplifting stories of resilience and focusing on community, education, and healing, Joyful Heart commits every day to building a more just and joyful world for survivors. It's an honor and a privilege to contribute to this life-changing work."
Camille Beredjick is a non-profit communications strategist with a background in journalism, social media, and LGBTQ issues. She comes to Joyful Heart from the community health organization Harlem United, where her work focused on social media marketing for HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. Prior to Harlem United, Camille worked in communications and digital engagement at GLSEN, an organization dedicated to creating safe and affirming K-12 schools for LGBTQ students. In addition to her work in non-profits, Camille is the author of GayWrites.org, a daily blog where she writes about LGBTQ news, media, and culture. Camille holds a BS in journalism and gender studies from Northwestern University and is pursuing a MA in communication at Johns Hopkins University.
Bianca Rey, Policy & Advocacy Coordinator
“I believe that violence and abuse are preventable, and that the first step is changing the culture of silence and doubt that survivors face. Joyful Heart’s innovative healing, education, and advocacy initiatives are shifting how we think and talk about sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. I am honored to join a team with the experience, long-term vision, and commitment to enact critical policy changes that will improve the lives of survivors across the U.S.”
Bianca Rey comes to Joyful Heart from Connecticut Voices for Children, where she worked to advance equity and opportunity for children, youth, and families across Connecticut. At Voices, her research, advocacy, and outreach focused on the barriers to opportunity faced by youth involved in the state child welfare and juvenile justice systems.
Bianca earned her BA in global affairs with distinction from Yale University. At Yale, Bianca served as a Communication and Consent Educator, facilitating bystander intervention trainings, leading communication and consent workshops, and coordinating strategic initiatives to foster a more positive sexual climate and culture on campus. Bianca also led the campus chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and performed with Taps.
Following graduation, Bianca worked as a case advocate in the Immigrant Students’ Rights Project at Advocates for Children of New York, translating and advocating on behalf of families whose children had been denied appropriate educational services in New York City public schools.
Jasmine Smith, Development Coordinator
“I believe in the power of communities to make lasting and transformative social change, and so it is with intense dedication and pride, that I am honored to work alongside my Joyful Heart colleagues in helping to change society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, and to boldly, end this violence forever.”
Jasmine Smith has over eight years of experience working in the non-profit sector, where she has consistently and passionately advocated for the rights of vulnerable populations and helped to build and improve pivotal programs for the benefit of our global human community. Previously as an Outreach Specialist at the 92nd Street Y, she acted as a philanthropic facilitator and ideation leader for the #GivingTuesday initiative. Jasmine comes to Joyful Heart with a philanthropic lens. At Research to Prevent Blindness as Program Assistant, she effectively aided in the creation and execution of organizational grants management processes. In Jinja, Uganda, she worked with Slum Women’s Initiative for Development, where she facilitated a discussion with local leaders to establish program priorities, which addressed the needs of women in the local communities.
Jasmine is a certified project manager who holds a master’s degree in international affairs from the Milano School of International Affairs, Management and Urban Policy and a bachelor’s degree in communications and theater arts from Pace University. Jasmine also proudly serves on the Urban Justice Center’s Young Professional Board.
Paulina Frias, Finance Associate/Bookkeeper
“I am honored to be part of the Joyful Heart Foundation family and be involved in the inspiring, groundbreaking, and necessary work that we partake in. By challenging the status quo and supporting survivors of abuse, this organization is working to change the future for every single one of us."
Paulina comes to the Joyful Heart Foundation after five years in the executive search industry. A graduate of Hunter College in New York with a diverse science and media background, Paulina has found her niche in working with numbers and her passion in working for a better tomorrow.
Paulina is an avid outdoorsperson, spending her weekends as a Volunteer Leader for the Prospect Park Alliance or hiking around woodland areas. In 2016, Paulina summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa and the highest free-standing mountain in the world.
Christine Gwasda, Executive Assistant to the CEO
"I am filled with joy, gratitude and pride to be part of the Joyful Heart Foundation family. Every day, I am inspired by this team of leaders and every single survivor. I am honored, and humbled to have a part in this foundation, after personally witnessing and feeling the difference Joyful Heart makes. I found my purpose here. I am passionate about our values and guiding principals, especially our that which says it's not just what is doable, but what is possible."
Christine joined the Joyful Heart Foundation after working in the music and entertainment business for the past 10 years. Her professional experience includes providing coordination and support at an executive and high-profile level with companies such as Universal Music Group, S.Carter Enterprises — an artist management team — Viacom, and The Walt Disney Company. Most recently, Christine was part of the Music & Talent team at VH1 Music Television. In the non-profit field, Christine enjoyed working as a Career Awareness counselor at the Fresh Air Fund's Camp Mariah. Other dedications include activism and fundraising for National Eating Disorder Association and Ruff House Rescue Animal, where she rescued her pup, Belle Eve. Christine is excited to combine her skills and passion for this new chapter of her career in serving Joyful Heart's mission.
Kate Lazar, Operations Assistant/Receptionist
"I am honored to be a part of the Joyful Heart Foundation team and to contribute to their work. I know that every day we are working on behalf of survivors, to change cultural attitudes, as well as end the cycle of violence. The staff at Joyful Heart does not just speak out for survivors, we listen."
Kate comes to Joyful Heart after a brief foray into the commercial sector at an electric vehicle manufacturer. She is excited to contribute to the timely and significant work of the Joyful Heart Foundation.
A graduate of Brandeis University with a degree in Anthropology and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Kate Lazar spent her undergraduate career developing her passion for the nonprofit sector. During her time as an undergraduate, Kate interned at FilmAid and the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding. Additionally, in Massachusetts, she participated in an educational enrichment program for local elementary and middle school students. Kate is passionate about education and how creative expression can have a positive impact on the lives of survivors of trauma.
Hannah Liot, Administrative Assistant to the Managing Director
"I am truly inspired by the vision of the Joyful Heart Foundation and their dedication to survivors of sexual assault and abuse. The foundation is helping to create a platform for women to educate, advocate and heal from these traumatic experiences and I am committed to supporting that mission."
Hannah joined the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2017 after five years working at Donna Karan's Urban Zen Foundation. Hannah worked in sales and operations in support of the organization’s mission to raise awareness and inspire change in the areas of well-being, preservation of cultures and child empowerment. Hannah holds a BA in Political Science with a double minor in Marketing and Peace and Justice Studies from Pace University. As an undergraduate, Hannah was on the leadership council for the Peer Health Exchange Program. She's passionate about traveling and wellness and is a certified Yoga instructor.