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).
Joanna Poz-Molesky, Creative & Executive Director
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.
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.
Catherine Van Ness, Board Member
Catherine is a Massachusetts native, but has enjoyed living in Washington, DC for the past four years. She first began performing with JUNTOS in 2011 as a sophomore 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 trip to Guatemala. She continues to dance in the DC metro area and works full-time at an advocacy nonprofit focused on early childhood and education policy. Catherine worked as JUNTOSAmbassador Program Director from 2014-2018 and joined the Board of Directors in 2018.
Rachel Humphreys Paluska, Board Member
Rachel is primarily involved in programs related to youth, immigration, and education, and underserved populations. She has worked with various nonprofits including Youth At Risk, Canal Alliance, Project Avary, and multiple Waldorf schools, raising funds and organizing events.