Founder and Executive Director
Executive Board Member
Executive Board Member
Executive Board Member
Executive Board Member
Michelle's passion and dedication to humanitarian work began in 2004 when she was introduced to Airline Ambassadors and realized that she could use her travel benefits as an American Airlines' flight attendant to participate in relief efforts around the globe.
Having been adopted at the age of three after living in numerous foster homes, Michelle vowed to be a voice for children, especially orphans in impoverished areas.
Michelle's experience includes disaster relief travel to Sri Lanka, Thailand, Haiti and New Orleans and humanitarian work in Mexico and Kenya. In 2005, she traveled with Patch Adams to Sri Lanka, after the devastating tsunami, delivering aid to and visiting refugee camps and hospitals. In 2006, Michelle's role as a Mission Coordinator with Airline Ambassadors allowed her to lead a team of volunteers to Kenya, where they installed a playground, set up a feeding program, delivered supplies and worked with orphans at the Caroline Wambui Mungai Home. Michelle most recently worked in Calais, France working with the refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan in the "Calais Jungle” refugee camp.
In addition to relief travel, Michelle has used her fundraising and event planning skills to benefit the causes she loves. In 2007, Michelle was the coordinator for "Celebrate Hope," a fundraiser benefiting children in Ambo, Ethiopia. In 2008 Michelle was the coordinator of the Starlight Foundation "Winter Wonderland" event, a spectacular holiday event for terminally ill children based in the United States. She has also been a "top fundraiser" for Dignity U Wear, which provides new clothing to families and children in need around the United States. Michelle has assisted at a number of events at The United Nations, including the Millennium Development Goals Awards with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
In 2012 Michelle journeyed back to Kenya, where she would meet the community in Anjech village. Seeing their desperate situation and how most of these smaller villages in rural areas do not receive much assistance or aid, Michelle made it her mission to go back there and help set up a project that would be sustainable and empower the women and children of their community.
With over 17 years of experience in non-profit management, including as an executive director and board member, Genelle possesses a wealth of knowledge and skills in the areas of board development, communications coaching, public relations, strategic planning, developing strategic partnerships, and more. Genelle’s career highlights include helping launch the National Center for Mentoring Youth with Disabilities in 2005, co-authoring “Best Practices for Mentoring Youth withDisabilities,” and traveling throughout the United States presenting on issues related to mentoring, youth development, and transition.
She currently serves on the Board of Directors for ElderSource, which provides services for older adults within 7 Florida counties. She also serves as the National Center Director for Partners for Youth with Disabilities, where she trains organizations to expand engagement and inclusion of youth with disabilities. She holds a B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Educational Psychology from University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Harvard University. Genelle was chosen as one of the Top 20 “Women of Influence” in 2011 and “40 Under 40” in 2012 by the Jacksonville Business Journal.
Jessica joins The Pillowcase Project Board with over 10 years of experience in education. She has taught grades second through fifth and uses hands-on lessons to engage students of all abilities and backgrounds. She has taught primarily in areas of significant need, including environments with primarily students from low-income backgrounds. Her love of teaching about environmental friendliness has earned her much recognition, including Duval County Schools Green Champion 2012 and 2013, Environmental Champion for the city of Jacksonville in 2013, Keep Jacksonville Beautiful award winner for her previous school Ruth N. Upson, and top three Green Schools finalist in the state of Florida 2013, as well as Manatee Academy 2018-2019 Teacher of the Year! She is currently teaching ESL adult education classes. She loves getting the opportunity to work with students from all over the world.
Her experience in international humanitarian work includes leading a project with her fourth grade students after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Her students collected 36 boxes of aid as well as the money to ship the aid and donate to an orphanage. Jessica spent her spring break that year in Haiti teaching English to the children in the Orphanage.
Jessica has also worked to serve the community in which she resides. She spent three years on the Riverside Relay for Life committee, as survivor chair, co-chairman, and chairman, working with others dedicated to the American Cancer Society.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
Alejandra joined The Pillowcase Project’s Boards of Director in January 2015. Even though Alejandra had a rewarding career in the banking industry for over 10 years, her passion has always been fashion, especially the skill of sewing. Therefore, when the opportunity became available, Alejandra pursued her dream and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Marketing and Merchandising from The Art Institute of Jacksonville.
Alejandra believes women should be economically empowered to improve their lives and the lives of the people they love. Education and learning a skill is the key to earning an honorable living. Therefore, when Alejandra learned about The Pillowcase Project, she immediately became involved with the organization. The Pillowcase Project represents both of Alejandra’s passions – sewing and empowering women.
Currently Alejandra serves as the Office Manager for ElderSource, as well as developing Riomar Designs, a brand of travel organizers with the purpose to set aside a percentage of the sales to help in the community and The Pillowcase Project.
In her free time, Alejandra enjoys going to the beach with her husband and daughter. Alejandra also enjoys sewing, designing, photography, cooking, traveling, and spending time with family and friends.
Dave has extensive experience in the education field, having been a teacher for many years, as well as working in the Social Work sector. Living in Texas, Dave is a rancher and has a vast knowledge of farming and agriculture. Dave is an avid traveler and has seen many parts of the world. He is passionate about learning other cultures and visiting new places.
Dave’s experience in education and ranching has been beneficial to the organization and those we work with. He has taught the community of Anjech about agriculture, helped them grow their own produce, and recently taught them about and how to use solar ovens.
“I’m really proud to be a part of The Pillowcase Project. My travels with The Pillowcase Project have been amazing and rewarding. Our trips to Kenya have 100% improved the lives of many people and I’m grateful to have made life long friendships with those in the village and other surrounding communities.”
Eunice was born and raised in western Kenya. As a mother and wife, she is devoted to her family and those in her community. She lives in Anjech village and is the Director of our project in Kenya. Eunice has extensive experience in sewing and has been leading the way in teaching the women in her village as well as surrounding communities, how to sew and create their own business.