Staff

Maile M. Zambuto, Chief Executive Officer

"I am a part of the Joyful Heart Foundation because shedding light into the darkness that surrounds violence and abuse is the first step toward ending it. I am proud to play a role in Joyful Heart's vision which seeks to ignite and foster open dialogue about how to collaboratively end the cycle of violence and abuse."

Maile M. Zambuto was named Executive Director of the Joyful Heart Foundation in October 2008 and appointed as Chief Executive Officer in 2011. She comes to Joyful Heart from her position as the Chief Development and Marketing Officer of Safe Horizon, the nation's leading victim assistance organization. Maile has been working in the field of victim assistance, raising critical funds and much needed awareness, for over 20 years. 

Her current focus is driving the sustainable growth of Joyful Heart's expanded program portfolio in three areas: Healing, Education and Advocacy. Maile also serves on the National Advisory Committee for Los Angeles-based Peace Over Violence, on the board of directors of A CALL TO MEN and on the Executive Committee of NO MORE. She is a recipient of Women’s e-News’s 21 Leaders for the 21st Century and the Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner’s Child Advocacy Awards. Her personal story as a survivor is detailed in the 2009 anthology Note to Self by Andrea Buchanan available from Simon & Schuster.

 

Sarah Haacke Byrd, Managing Director

“The Joyful Heart Foundation is breaking through and changing the way we think about and protect victims of abuse.  We are moving closer to the day when sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse are no more. It is a privilege to be a member of this team and to help lead this transformation.”

In her role as Managing Director, Sarah Haacke Byrd works directly with the CEO to drive day-to-day operations, including Joyful Heart’s national effort to eliminate the backlog of hundreds of thousands of unprocessed rape kits across the United States.

For more than 15 years, Sarah has been building, guiding and leading non-profit organizations in Boston, Washington, D.C. and New York. She joined Joyful Heart after a successful tenure as Director of Operations for the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture. Before joining NYU, She worked for Facing History and Ourselves, as Director Choosing to Participate, that organization's key national outreach program. Sarah began her career as Director of Leadership Development at the Anti-Defamation League in Boston.

Sarah is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and holds a Masters in Positive Organizational Development and Change Management from Weatherhead Institute at Case Western Reserve University.  

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 – 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 last 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.” 

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 21 years in the field of domestic and sexual violence intervention and prevention, with the last ten years focused in management and development work. 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 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.
 

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.

 

 

Morgan Soloski, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager

“I am honored to be part of the Joyful Heart Foundation, and to help turn up the volume on the urgent issues of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. Joyful Heart’s innovative program model addresses these injustices on the community and policy level, by supporting survivors on their healing journey and by changing the way our society responds to these issues. I am proud to work for an organization that has survivors at its heart and truly lives its values.”

Morgan Soloski is a non-profit communications professional with a strong background in international development. She previously worked for American Jewish World Service, a leading human rights organization, developing communications and marketing strategies to promote fundraising, advocacy and campaigns, and providing strategic guidance on branding, messaging and audience engagement. Morgan is passionate about social justice and women’s rights. Prior to transitioning into the non-profit sector, she worked in marketing for publishing and television. Morgan holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and an MPA in Public and Non-Profit Management and Policy from NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. 

 

 

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 NYU’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.  

 

 

 

Wendi Hauser,  Program & Operations Manager

"Joyful Heart Foundation is a beacon of hope in the journey to end domestic violence and abuse. The Foundation’s mission and vision are leading to meaningful, impactful change and I feel honored to be part of a team committed to such transformative work."

Ever since she was a child, Wendi has found herself drawn to the world of public service. She and her family would regularly attend mission trips, participate in various fundraising campaigns and volunteer with differently-abled children. This work fanned her passion for helping others and eventually led her to pursue a degree in Child Development and Education. After teaching in the Atlanta-area for several years she and her husband relocated to California, where she refocused her talents on the entertainment industry. After 10 years working on a variety of highly rated television shows, Wendi is thrilled to transition back to her public service roots. With Joyful Heart Foundation, she has found a home where she can utilize her skills while being fulfilled, knowing she is contributing to Joyful Heart’s vision to heal, educate and empower survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse.  

 

 

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 NYC 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.  

 

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 B.A. 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 8 years of experience working in the nonprofit 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. 

Brie Arnolde, Development Associate, Hawai‘i

“I am so proud and honored to be part of the Joyful Heart Foundation and to be able to witness daily the compassion, joy and possibility that is deeply embedded in our work. I truly believe that by changing society's views and stereotypes surrounding violence, we will find ourselves living in a more peaceful world."

Brianna Arnolde joined the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2014 while completing her education at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. There, Brianna focused her studies on energy harnessing devices that aimed to empower children of impoverished communities. Brianna currently holds a BA of Communications with an emphasis on Information and Communication Technologies.

Ingrained with curiosity and adventure, Brianna left her hometown of Chicago seven years ago and has been exploring the islands of Hawai‘i ever since.  When she is not working, you can find her painting, hiking or practicing her best yogi headstand. She is passionate about art, culture and creating a world of social justice and inclusion. 

 

Nicole D'Avino, External Affairs Associate

“I am honored to join the Joyful Heart Foundation at such an imperative time in the fight to end domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. I am inspired by the organization's guiding principles of joy, community and possibility, and believe these to be crucial in the healing process. I am excited to be part of such a vital movement, and hope we soon see a day where survivors are heard and perpetrators are held accountable for their actions.” 

Nicole has many years of experience volunteering in the field of sexual assault and domestic violence.  As an undergraduate student at Binghamton University, she served as a NYS Certified Rape Crisis Advocate for the Crime Victim's Assistance Center of Broome County, and she also worked closely with the Women’s Student Union to promote healthy relationships on campus. After graduating with her Master's degree in Social Work from Hunter College, 

Nicole spent three months in Kathmandu, Nepal volunteering for an organization dedicated to empowering widows. She has also served as volunteer co-coordinator of Youth Voices Network at Day One NY, a group of former dating violence survivors who use their personal stories to educate the New York City community.

 

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 5 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 ten 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, from 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.  

 

Vilma Holland, Administrative Assistant, Hawai‘i

The Joyful Heart Foundation is doing extraordinary work to bring healing and justice to survivors. I believe that every child, woman, and man should feel safe in their homes and communities. It is imperative to speak up to change the stereotypes surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault.  I am proud to be a part of this transformative movement."

Vilma joined the Joyful Heart Foundation after working in the corporate retail industry for ten years in Atlanta. She attained her administrative talents by gaining experience in financial management, administrative support, and customer service roles. In addition to her daytime job, she spent several years volunteering with a local nonprofit where she assisted with volunteer recruitment, event planning, and fundraising. Making a new start in Hawai‘i, she decided to switch to the nonprofit sector and pursue her passion for advocacy and social justice. 

 Vilma obtained her degree from Lithuanian Sports University before immigrating to the United States. In her spare time she loves to explore the island by hiking, sailing, kayaking, and scoping out Honolulu's live music scene with her husband. 

 

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. 

 

Julie Van, Research Assistant

"I am beyond grateful to become involved with the Joyful Heart Foundation's ongoing mission to put an end to domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. The organization's survivor-centric approach serves as a constant reminder to focus on those affected by the trauma, all the while addressing the existing issues at hand. Joyful Heart's vision inspires me, and I am excited to be apart of this lasting movement."

Julie is a recent entrant into the non-profit sector. After receiving her Bachelor's degree from California State University, Fullerton in business marketing and advertising, she studied art direction and creative advertising at the Chicago Portfolio School in Illinois. Following the completion of her post-graduate studies, Julie worked as a designer for digital agencies and marketing firms. She made the transition to pursuing graduate school in the psychology field in hopes to make a bigger difference and impact. Julie is currently assisting with two ongoing studies, focusing on the topics of negative mood regulation expectancies (NMRE) and juror bias. In her spare time, she volunteers as a child advocate for CAST, a division of the Child Abuse Prevention Center, and helps with weekend cleanups for Trash Free Earth.

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