Our Founding Director

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Jessica R. Dreistadt is an educator, writer, advocate, and community leader. Her career in the nonprofit sector happened almost by accident. While a student in the ACCESS program at DeSales University, another student shared that she was looking into MBA programs. Since that sounded like fun, Jessica also started researching MBA programs. It was then that she discovered a burgeoning field – nonprofit management – which sounded like even more fun! She enrolled in a program at Eastern University, launching a 20-year career during which she has served communities with dedication, creativity, and passion.

Having worked in the for-profit sector for about four years, Jessica transitioned into the nonprofit sector by working at a Philadelphia shelter for women and children while a graduate student. Since then, her work in the nonprofit sector has included advocacy, outreach, program development, public relations, fundraising, accounting, and administration. Most notably, she served as executive director of Family Connection of Easton for six years. Jessica founded The Fruition Coalition in March 2001 to support grassroots nonprofit organizations through education and consulting.

Jessica’s first book, The People Pages: Resources for Social Change, was published in 2003. Since then, she has written and published numerous books about personal, organizational, and social transformation. Jessica is a Huffington Post contributor and her work has been published at College Central, PsychCentral, and elephant journal. She also regularly contributes to two blogs: The Activist’s Muse and Jesstopia.

A lifelong learner, Jessica is currently working on a doctorate in organizational leadership at Eastern University. Her dissertation will use portraiture to explore women’s experiences of solidarity across difference in progressive social movement organizations and how these experiences transform and reinforce personal and collective identities. Jessica has a master’s degree in sociology from Lehigh University, a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Eastern University, a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from DeSales University, and an associate’s degree in management and marketing from the now defunct Allentown Business School. In addition, she has traveled across the United States to participate in conferences to further and enhance her education.

Jessica is also devoted to supporting others as they learn. She has been an adjunct lecturer in the Division of Business at DeSales University since 2008. Because she is a graduate of this program, Jessica is particularly passionate about teaching non-traditional, adult students. Prior to teaching at DeSales, Jessica was a volunteer instructor in the Pan African Studies Community Education Program at Temple University where she taught entrepreneurship. Jessica has also taught many community-based and online workshops and has presented at local, regional, and international conferences.

In addition to teaching, Jessica has been involved in many research projects over the years. She has support others’ work as a research assistant, participated in student research teams, and was a field researcher for the Sociology Department at Temple University. In the community, Jessica has organized surveys, focus groups, and community events to gather input and ideas to inform multiple organizational and neighborhood plans.

For more information about Jessica, you can download her CV or visit Jesstopia.com.

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