Catherine is a Massachusetts native, but has enjoyed living in Washington, DC for the past five years. She first began performing with JUNTOS in 2011 as a student at The Ailey School/Fordham University. After participating in three JUNTOSAbroad trips, Catherine was able to provide further support by organizing local outreach as the New York Intern during her senior year. Catherine graduated from Fordham with a B.F.A. in dance and Spanish studies, a double major inspired by her first JUNTOS trip to Guatemala. Catherine worked as the inaugural JUNTOSAmbassador Program Director from 2014-2018, fostering leadership development for dance volunteers. She continues to dance in the DC metro area and works full-time as a state policy Deputy Director at an advocacy nonprofit focused on early childhood and after-school education. In 2020, Catherine graduated from The George Washington University with a Master of Arts in Education Policy Studies. She joined the Board of Directors in 2018 and was voted on as Board President in 2019.
Catherine Van Ness, Board President
Sean O'Connell, Board Treasurer
Sean O’Connell is a California native and has worked in online marketing for the past five years. An online marketer and data analyst, Sean seeks to understand what motivates niche demographic segments and find new ways to drive outcomes through inbound marketing and direct response campaigns. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Management Economics from the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Master Certification in Web Analytics from Market Motive. Prior to that, he was a Digital Content Curator and Social Strategy Coordinator at Guerilla PR. Sean began working with JUNTOS in 2013 and is excited to be a part of the collective’s online presentation as well as serving on the board.
Rachel Higbee, Board Secretary
Rachel is from Walnut Creek, California where she trained at Contra Costa Ballet Centre and later Moving Arts Dance Center. Rachel trained at the Diablo Ballet Apprentice Program, The Ailey School, the Paul Taylor School, and at the San Francisco Conservatory under the direction of Summer Lee Rhatigan. She graduated cum laude from Fordham University earning a BFA in dance from the Ailey/Fordham dance program and a minor in Psychology. Rachel has performed works by Francesca Harper, Darrell Moultrie, Jennifer Muller, Camille A. Brown, Alvin Ailey, Ohad Naharin, Robert Moses, Alex Ketley, Christian Burns, Joyce Trisler, Thang Dao, Robert Battle and Loni Landon. Rachel has had the privilege of performing internationally with JUNTOS beginning in March 2011. She currently dances with AATMA Performing Arts. Rachel acted as JUNTOSAbroad Program Director from 2012-2016, when she transitioned to joining the Board of Directors. She is currently working in Oakland with Teach for America.
Daniel Glaser, Board Member
Dan grew up in New Jersey and is arguably the worst dancer on the JUNTOS board. He is currently a co-founder and Chief Investment Officer at ResiShares, a company which seeks to lower the barriers to investment in residential real estate. He holds a degree in mathematics from Harvard University. While a new Bay Area resident himself, his family has an artistic heritage in San Francisco through his aunt’s decades-long career as a fine-arts photographer. Dan lives in Berkeley with his partner and his two sons, all equally big JUNTOS fans.
Willard (Will) Mariano, Board Member
Will Mariano was raised in Mountain View, California and received his B.S. in Business from the University of California, Berkeley. He started his career as an accountant at Bechtel Corporation, an international construction management firm, then honed his IT skills at Sutter Home Winery, where he then applied IT security and process improvement skills as a risk management consultant at KPMG. For the past 14 years, he has been compliance manager at Apple, Inc. Will loves going to concerts because of the energy and movement music brings. After learning about JUNTOS’ mission and vision from founder Joanna Poz-Molesky, Will began supporting JUNTOS and attending celebration and dance events. With a passion for travel, he joined JUNTOS’ Immersion Mexico trip in January 2020. He was able to absorb and see JUNTOS’ impact on communities, which boosted his pride for the organization, and reinvigorated his commitment and support. Will is excited to share his wide experiences with the Board and greater organization.
Joanna Poz-Molesky, Founder
Joanna, born in Berkeley, California, began dancing at Berkeley Ballet Theater in 1991. She co-founded En Pointe Youth Dance Company in 1999, initiated and organized its Mexico summer immersion trip in 2005, and directed the company through 2006. In 2008, she founded JUNTOS, and in 2009, directed and organized the first JUNTOS trip to Mexico, collaborating with New York and Mexican artists for performance and intercultural exchange. Joanna graduated from The Ailey School/Fordham University’s BFA dance program, minoring in both Latin American/Latino Studies and Theology. In January 2014, Joanna was the youngest person recognized for all her work as Distinguished Visitor of Xelajú, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala’s second largest city – an honor similar to receiving the key to the city. She has been awarded with several special recognitions for her community outreach and leadership (Prospect-Sierra Alumni Action Award, 2014; Hitachi National Award, 2006-07; Guardian Girl’s Going Places Award, 2006; Berkeley Community Fund for Leadership and Community Service, 2006; City of Berkeley Mayor’s Award, 2006).