Jessica serves as CEO of RJI and has been involved with RJI since its infancy. Jessica provides a wealth of expertise in human trafficking prevention education, social sustainability, programmatic and non-profit leadership.
Jessica volunteered with RJI during its early beginning while also partnering with anti-trafficking projects locally and nationally. She was hired 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 unanimously by the board 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 grant-funded pilot project in one high school to a fully developed, interactive, nationally-renowned curriculum reaching students in schools, churches, and after-school programs across the nation. RJI’s two additional highly-rated programs were developed under her stewardship including the In-Depth Training program as well as the 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 solutions.
Jessica is a dynamic keynote public speaker who has trained groups at national and state-wide conferences, schools and universities, churches, professional associations and has been featured in interviews and articles 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 our 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 multiple 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 RJI’s 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 graduated with her BSN from Virginia Commonwealth University and worked as an RN with Bon Secours Health System from 2012-2017. In 2016 she was honored with the distinguished Annual Bon Secours Dedicated Service Award. 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.
Heather is a proud member of the Virginia Association of Fundraising Executives and earned her certificate in Fund Development from the University of Richmond in 2019.
Photographs courtesy of Chelsea Diane Photography