Jessica provides a wealth of experience and research in human trafficking prevention education, social sustainability, programmatic and non-profit management. Jessica has worked with RJI since its infancy while supporting multiple anti-trafficking projects locally and nationally. She joined as RJI’s second full-time staff member in 2013 to manage the organization’s budding prevention education efforts and in early 2016 was elected to lead the organization. Through Jessica’s leadership, RJI’s signature and award-winning prevention education curriculum, the Prevention Project™ program, has expanded from a high school pilot project to a national, fully developed, interactive curriculum reaching students in schools, churches, and after-school programs in eight states. RJI’s two additional highly-rated programs were developed under her stewardship including the in-depth training program as well as the new Middle School Prevention Project curriculum. She loves building relationships with advocates throughout the United States through sharing how each person can make a difference, partnering together, and equipping others to ultimately reach teens and adult leaders with anti-trafficking prevention education.
Jessica is a dynamic public speaker who has addressed groups at national and state-wide conferences, schools and universities, churches, and professional associations on leadership development, prevention education, social responsibility, and other anti-trafficking topics.
Joell Maisano Denison
Director of Programs and Training
Joell Denison serves as the Director of Programs and Training at RJI. She’s been involved in anti-trafficking efforts since 2012 when she joined the team as one of RJI’s first interns while at the University of Richmond. After graduation, she spent a year in Zambia working with International Justice Mission in a field office internship. There she worked in Communications, experienced cross-cultural life, and grew an understanding of unjust systems and harsh power dynamics- further solidifying her personal conviction to fight human rights abuses. After her overseas assignment, she rejoined RJI in September 2015.
Joell leads public speaking engagements to Universities, churches, schools, Rotaries, and other passionate community groups. She has personally trained over 100 individuals to either teach the Prevention Project curriculum or propose it to new schools/organizations, and she has reached hundreds of youth workers with in-depth training so they have the tools to properly identify and bring safety to students affected by trafficking. She was responsible for the expansion of the Prevention Project program to three new states, and oversaw the development of the middle school edition of the Prevention Project curriculum. It is her biggest joy to see students emboldened as leaders in their community, using the Prevention Project education to catalyze their actions in mending the fabrics of justice rather than contributing to the problem. She longs to see the younger generation participating in the fight against human trafficking, caring for their fellow neighbor and using their voice to promote change.
Director of Development
Heather develops strategies and systems for engaging the community both locally and nationally in the fight to end human trafficking. She is the power behind our fundraising development, expressing her creativity and passion through campaigns to fund the work she believes in.
She started out as a RJI volunteer in 2014, coming on staff in January 2017. Heather trained as a nurse, graduating with her BSN from Virginia Commonwealth University. She worked with Bon Secours Health System from 2012-2017. In 2016 she was honored with the distinguished Annual Bon Secours Dedicated Service Award. She has been instrumental in raising awareness of human trafficking in the healthcare system through presentations and providing in-services to healthcare professionals. In 2015 she spent three months in Thessaloniki, Greece with the A21 Campaign serving survivors of trafficking in a safe house and working with refugees from the middle east.
Photographs courtesy of Chelsea Diane Photography