We take pride in celebrating the individuals who strengthen the bonds within our remarkable community, uniting us in our shared mission.

In this month’s feature, we highlight Azisti Y. Dembowski, Director of Finance, Dr. Claudia Garcia-Rojas, Director of Advancement, LaQuita Hearn-Quinn, Advancement Coordinator, and Dr. Jennifer Zale, Events & Special Projects Manager.

Dive into our exclusive interview below to gain insight from these new team members. Learn what inspired them to join Resilience, their aspirations for the future of the organization, and much more.

What drew you to Resilience and your role specifically?

AD: I am excited about helping the organization achieve its goals and missions. I look at my role as supporting the fund management of the organization. Having a sound budget and financial plans allows us to guide the organization and achieve its long-term goals. I believe that I can help and add value to the organization using my financial skills and can make an impact on the organization.

CGR: Resilience stands as a beacon of hope and healing in the lives of survivors, illuminating their path to recovery. Without Resilience, the journey of survivors would be fraught with even greater challenges. For this reason, I look forward to using my expertise in communications fundraising, grant writing and management to strengthen Resilience’s mission and reach, so that we can continue creating safe spaces for survivors to heal, be heard, and find the strength to reclaim their lives.

LHQ: I was drawn to my role at Resilience because of my deep admiration for the organization’s mission and the invaluable support it provides to survivors. With a background in fundraising, event planning, and donor cultivation, I saw an opportunity to contribute my expertise to ensure Resilience can continue its vital work.

JZ: I first came to Resilience in 2019 when I was looking for an organization where I could train and serve survivors as a sexual assault crisis counselor/medical advocate. Later that year I became an inaugural member of the Associate Board since I wanted to work to support and fundraise the important work that Resilience does every day. After serving as the Fundraising Committee Chair and EOI Silent Auction Chair, I wanted to make a larger impact in the area of advancement and the Events and Special Projects Manager was the perfect opportunity.

What are your hopes and dreams for Resilience? What are you looking forward to?

AD: I have dedicated the last decade of my career to supporting education, health and advocacy programs in the academic and non-profit world. I believe Resilience’s mission and work have enlightened me more about the importance of social responsibility.

CGR: I dream of a day when organizations like Resilience are obsolete, a relic of the past that future generations look back on with bewilderment. I believe this is possible but to manifest this vision, we must heed the wisdom of poet Maya Angelou who reminds us that “Nobody, but nobody, can make it out here alone.” We need each other, our friends, communities, supporters, and, of course, our donors, to step forward and help us turn this dream into a beautiful reality.

LQH: My hope is to witness Resilience’s continued growth and its ability to make even more impactful strides within our communities. I’m eager to share the incredible work we do with potential, current, and former donors, and highlight the transformative impact we have on the lives of survivors. While our work is driven by crisis, the positive change we facilitate is truly extraordinary.

JZ: I would love for Resilience to increase its presence in Chicago and become a household name in the city. I want every Chicagoan to be aware of the services Resilience offers for survivors, as well as the many volunteers, donors, and employment opportunities. I’m really looking forward to leading and participating in our 50th Anniversary in 2024!

What’s one fun fact about yourself?

AD: Spending time with my family, taking a long nature walk, and visiting the art/craft fairs in the summer as much as possible.

CGR: I took professional roller-skating classes at Rainbo Roller Rink in Chicago (IYKYK) when I was a younger.

LQH: One fun fact about me is that I absolutely love to shop, travel, and indulge in watching all those entertaining and sometimes over-the-top reality TV shows. It’s my way of unwinding and enjoying some guilty pleasures!

JZ: I’ve spent a good part of my life living and traveling abroad, including living in Moscow, Russia for four years and Kyiv, Ukraine for two. I speak Russian fluently and have knowledge of Ukrainian. Last year I had the opportunity to return to Ukraine to volunteer at a shelter for Ukrainians displaced due to the war.

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