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Executive Director 
Athena Award Recipient 2024

Julie Chapus is a licensed Master Social Worker, 2001. She has worked in the Rochester Psychiatric Center, Park Ridge Chemical Dependency Unit, and Westfall Associates as the Dual Diagnostic Therapist treating chemically dependent and mental health diagnoses. Julie is currently a Tending the Roots Trauma Informed Trainer with Trauma Informed Network and Resource Center under the Office of Mental Health.

She saw a need for human trafficked survivors to have a stable and lucrative income through state licensure. She went to cosmetology school in 2016 in order to open up Miss Julie’s School of Beauty.  And in 2021 gained her cosmetology instructor license.

Julie has taken her knowledge from the social work field and blended it with her training in cosmetology to create an in-depth class for a wide variety of professionals covering what trafficking is, what it looks like in our area, and what we can do about it and how to engage with victims.  


Julie’s training was reviewed by a multi-disciplinary panel of experts including some from FBI child exploitation task force and domestic violence experts Stop Abuse Campaign, coalitions against trafficking, the medical field and has been given the green light across the board. In addition to training local salon professionals, Julie has provided training to the Global Public Health Association at RIT,  and at Nazareth college to psychology students, social workers, and  nurses.

Additionally, Julie is working to combine resources across the county to support victims and create a permanent means of escape from trafficking through the first school of its kind in the USA.


Motivational Speaker, Show Host, Entrepreneur

During the past 25 years, David has started seven businesses from scratch and now uses those experiences to help others with their entrepreneurial dreams.

David is a three-time Inc. Magazine 5000 Growth Company winner, a two time TEDx speaker, an adjunct professor at the University of Rochester, and the author of business and college planning books.

David is a graduate of the University at Buffalo and of the MIT Entrepreneurial Master’s Program, an executive education program offered through the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO).

David is also a board member for the Western NY Make-A-Wish Foundation and a local board member for Junior Achievement.

His most recent book “Crash and Learn: Lessons in Business” quickly rose to the top of the Amazon best seller lists. Other books include “Make Love in the Workplace” and “101 Things You Can Do to Become an Outstanding Young Adult.”

He has been a podcaster since 2016 and my impressive guest list includes Grant Cardone, Sharon Lechter, Mark Victor Hansen, Ellen Latham, Kevin Harrington, Verne Harnish, Ed Mylett and many more!



President of Goldwell, NY

Steven Neumaier is President and Founder of Goldwell of NY, Inc. a professional beauty products wholesaler headquartered in Rochester, New York. Steven along with his parents Hans and Erika Neumaier started the business in 1976 and have since grown the company to be one of the largest, independently-owned distributorships in the Northeast.

Since 2007, Steven has also served on the Board of the Professional Beauty Association, the beauty industry trade association uniting manufacturers, distributors and salons for the purpose of industry growth. Steven has also worked as an advisor for Junior Achievement, working with high schools students to better their understanding of business.

Steven holds an MBA in Finance from Rochester Institute of Technology and a BS in Management from St John Fisher College.



Director of Finance, EWASTE+
Owner, Richard J. Doe, Esq.
Tax & Legal Services

Rick is the Director of Finance for the Victor, NY-based electronics recycling company. The company is a leading provider of end-of-life electronics recycling and asset management services throughout New
York State. He is also the owner of Richard J. Doe, Esq. Tax & Legal Services, specializing in small to mid-size personal and corporate tax return preparation, estate planning and general legal services.

Rick has .a BS in Finance from SUNY Polytechnic Institute and a JD from Suffolk Law School in Boston, MA. He is also a licensed NYS attorney. Since 2019, Rick has also served on the Board of the Rochester Chapter of Financial Executive Institute (FEI).



Over a forty-year career, Ralph has developed a broad-based background and record of accomplishment in international banking and finance. Ralph has served as guest lecturer on the subject of international trade for various trade organizations and has authored several articles on this subject that were published in local, regional, and national publications.

In his present position at Valley National Bank, he is responsible for sales and business development the C&I, retail and international banking industry. With career accomplishments in product development and sales team building, Ralph fosters external relationships to develop key accounts, expand market reach, and maximize performance and profitability, achieving organizational objectives and customer satisfaction.


Key areas of skill include:
Sales • Training and Development • Key Account Management • Product Development • Trade Shows • Business Development • Market Research • Client Relationship Management • Portfolio Management • Effective Communication • Collaboration • Negotiation


Co-Owner Need Salon + Spa

During the past 12 years Jordan has developed a voice in the small-business circle of Upstate New York. She is a licensed cosmetologist, entrepreneur, educator, and street-level community advocate. She has traveled internationally volunteering in the cosmetology industry, as well as community development and education.


With a focus on empowering women to find their voice in business,  Jordan looks forward to growing and building with Miss Julie’s School of Beauty. She sits on the visionary board with Rochester's Bossy, a group for women and non-binary business owners and is a public speaker inspiring harmony between business and life for entrepreneurs and management professionals.


She co-owns Need + Co. in Downtown Rochester. Need + Co offers education to help providers create successful businesses in authentic harmony with their lifestyles. Learning with Need is a choice to be part of a growing community that’s invested in cultivating good energy in the styling chair and the overall beauty industry. +Co cultivates a cooperative style business structure merging the beauty industry with education, local makers, and artists.


Director of Admissions and
Accreditation Policies

Melissa Hartwig is a microscope scientist, mold department manager, and assistant laboratory manager at EMSL Analytical. Melissa is applying her skillset and passion to help others by coordinating our volunteers and setting policies and procedures in place by streamlining an accreditation standard and process for our school. 


Volunteer work

Previously the Fundraising Chair at QUEST Horsemanship


Survivor Leader & Expert in HT

Alexandra is an expert on survivor leadership and trauma-informed practices. She also works closely with Brightstar Community and holds a monitor position at Project Haven, helping women on their road to healing.

Alexandra has offered invaluable insight on our cosmetology program development, as well as reviewing our awareness training program. She enjoys spending her time with her daughter and family, as well as reading and learning skills she can use to better her community. Alexandra's current personal goal is to master public speaking so she can educate global audiences on the issues of sex trafficking and substance addiction.

Lisa Ireland

Development Committee Chair

Accomplished non-profit executive with strong, multi-disciplinary business sense running enterprises with as  much as $10M in accountability. A confident & capable working leader with strategic agility in running human  service enterprises like a business. Masterful at driving the mission imperative in service-intensive environments. An innovator and skilled transformational leader adept at galvanizing commitment, ensuring operational excellence and instituting a disciplined approach to organizational success in complex operating environments—aligning people, processes and systems to realize fiscal accountability and growth. A visionary,  inspiring leader with strong connections to global partners, decisionmakers and funders. 

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Maisha Beard

Director of Communictions

Maisha evolved into an inspirational entrepreneur, poet, speaker, author, and influencer of women despite being a shy, bullied girl who grew up in a poverty-stricken home with domestic violence. Maisha proudly proclaims, “the most joyous aspect of who I AM is being a Black Woman.”

Maisha Beard is a Rochester pillar. Born and raised in the Flower City, she is an accomplished and published Author and dynamic motivational speaker who has graced live and virtual stages as a keynote or panelist speaker for:

●      Rochester Black Nurses Association

●      UPrep Charter School

●      Black Business Roc 2021 and 2022 Black Tie Gala

●      Black Male Achieve and more.

If that’s not impressive enough, she is also a four-time published author, devout mother, ‘GaGa,’ and passionate mentor. Her written works can be found in SUNY Brockport’s Jigsaw Literary Magazine, Rochester Women Online and in the books "Journey of a Teenage Mother" and "See no Evil,” a collection of essays written by survivors of domestic violence.


A retired cosmetologist and beauty business entrepreneur coach with nearly three decades of hair care and styling experience under her belt, Maisha has helped countless aspiring cosmetologists build their brands and enhance their businesses. During her time as a stylist, Maisha was well known for servicing professional women and community members including former Mayor Lovely A. Warren, internationally known vocalist Dannielle Ponder, and Cynthia Bailey of Real Housewives of Atlanta for an event in Rochester. 

Maisha has since laid her magic hands to rest when it comes to styling hair. However, she kicked off a career with the City of Rochester  as an Urban Fellow/Graduate Intern in the Mayor’s Office of Special Projects and Education Initiatives.

She was then promoted to Associate Communications Assistant for the City of Rochester’s Bureau of Communications and on August 1, 2022, she transitioned to the role of Coordinator of Business and Asset Development in the Mayor's Office of Financial Empowerment. Mayor Malik D. Evans personally tapped Maisha to fulfill this new role. The promotion is a testament to her excellence and determination.


Maisha, who loves a challenge, is currently a candidate for a Master of Arts in English/Creative Writing at The College at Brockport, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in English/Creative Writing in 2018.


Maisha is an advocate for breast cancer and domestic violence awareness. As a child who lived in a household fueled with domestic violence and a mother who recently lost her fight against breast cancer, she taps into her personal experiences to serve on the developmental committee at Willow Domestic Violence Center. Her love for working with youth is evident in her mentorship with students of color in the Cheryl Speranza Mentorship Program at Our Lady of Mercy High School, a board member of Touch the Sky Inc. and a Pillar of Hope for the City of Rochester, serving schools within the RCSD.


Her core passions include prevention and intervention of domestic violence, and breast cancer awareness. She has been a keynote speaker for over twenty events in Rochester.

Her authenticity and vulnerability make her a profound speaker who impacts so many across our community. She is not afraid to talk about her trauma, she knows her story is worth telling, and she knows that her story will motivate, inspire, and encourage others to overcome adversities. 

Finally, yet, most importantly, Maisha’s love for her children, grandchildren, family, and humanity is the driving force of her life.

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