Maile M. Zambuto, Chief Executive Officer

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 joined the Joyful Heart Foundation as its Executive Director in 2008 and was named Chief Executive Officer in 2011. Joyful Heart was founded by Mariska Hargitay in 2004 out of her desire to help survivors of sexual assault heal and reclaim their lives. The mission of the Joyful Heart Foundation is to heal, educate and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues.

Since 2004, more than 15,000 survivors and the healers that work with them have participated in Joyful Heart’s pioneering retreat and wellness programs, tens of thousands more have taken that first important step to break the silence and get help, and the organization’s participation in national educational, media awareness and advocacy campaigns has planted the seeds of a changed awareness in the lives of millions. 

Under Maile’s leadership, Joyful Heart has also launched its Heal the Healers program. The program sheds light on how healing professionals can be affected by witnessing and responding to the suffering of others and helps healers explore their own trauma exposure response and provides self-care tools and practices—all in an effort to create a sustainable movement. 

In 2010, Joyful Heart began its work to eliminate the backlog of untested rape kits across the United States. Federal agencies estimate that hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits sit untested in police and crime lab storage facilities—each representing a lost opportunity for justice and healing for survivors. Joyful Heart launched its ENDTHEBACKLOG initiative nationwide and staff members have participated extensively in resolving local backlogs in Los Angeles, Detroit and Connecticut while advocating for change at the federal level.

Since 2011, Maile has been a member of the Executive Committee of NO MORE, a movement to unite our entire society—advocates, companies, legislators, survivors and the public—around the commitment to end domestic violence and sexual assault. In that capacity, she directed the launch of the campaign during NO MORE Day in March 2013 that included the involvement of Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder. She is the Executive Producer of the NO MORE PSA campaign, spearheaded by Joyful Heart in partnership with NO MORE and directed by Mariska Hargitay. The PSA campaign brings together an unprecedented number of celebrities and public figures coming together to challenge bystanders to NO MORE to domestic violence and sexual assault.

Maile’s current focus is driving the sustainable growth of Joyful Heart’s expanded program portfolio in three areas: Healing & Wellness, Education & Awareness and Policy & Advocacy

Maile came 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. In addition to her role on NO MORE’s Executive Committee, she serves on the National Advisory Committee for Los Angeles-based Peace Over Violence. 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.

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