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Joy Messinger's life and career have been guided by a commitment to social justice, health and wellness, and leadership development. She is a skilled and sought-after facilitator, leadership coach, consultant, resource mobilizer, speaker and educator with a background in nonprofit management, social justice philanthropy, LGBTQ and Asian American community building, prison industrial complex (P.I.C.) abolition, sexuality education, youth development, adoptee issues, and racial, gender, disability, reproductive, and birth justice.

She holds a BSW from Nazareth College of Rochester, an MPH in Health Behavior and Health Education and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of North Carolina, and an MSW in Community Health and Urban Development from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Joy is also certified as a Master Professional & Life Coach by the Certified Life Coach Institute.

In November 2015, Joy began as Program Officer for Third Wave Fund, a national feminist foundation supporting the vision and leadership of young women, low-income communities, and transgender, gender non-conforming, intersex, non-binary, and queer youth. In her role, Joy oversees Third Wave's grantmaking programs and supports fundraising, communications, and philanthropic advocacy. She is also an adjunct instructor, currently teaching intersectional social work practice with LGBTQIA individuals and communities at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.

Most recently, she was the Deputy Director of the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH), where she oversaw the organization's education and youth development programming, managed evaluation, supported internal operations, represented ICAH on multiple local & statewide committees, and provided education & capacity building to adults who support the sexual health, rights, and identities of youth in Illinois.
Joy started her career in Rochester, New York in the fields of HIV/AIDS, youth development, and higher education administration. She continued working in service-learning, student development, health communications research, and sexual assault policy analysis in Central North Carolina. Now living in Chicago, Joy works with a variety of local, state, and national organizations. Joy serves as a Core Member of Invisible to Invincible: Asian Pacific Islander Pride of Chicago (i2i), a pan-Asian LGBTQ group dedicated to education, community building, and social support and a co-chair of the Chicago Foundation for Women LBTQ Giving Council. Previously, she has been a member of the Board of Directors of the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA), the Building Bridges Advisory Council of Affinity Community Services, the National Asian Pacific American Womens Forum Chicago Core, and the HIV Counseling and Testing Team of the Student Health Action Coalition.
From 2002 - 2006, Joy was a published poet and spoken word artist, touring with the Evolutionary Girls Club artist collective and performing at Pride Celebrations, Dyke Marches, colleges, and community events throughout Western New York. She has been published in several Evolutionary Girls Club anthologies, Le Mot Juste: The Just Poets Anthology (Foothills Publishing), Pinnacle Hill Review: The Rochester Poets Anthology, Common Intuitions: A Poetry Anthology of Women Celebrating Women (Palettes and Quills), and is the winner of SLAMTractor at Juna's Coffeehouse in Ithaca, NY. Currently, she writes online about reproductive justice, adoption, intersectionality, LGBTQ and Asian American identity, love, community, and activism.
Joy holds an MSW in Community Health and Urban Development from the UIC Jane Addams College of Social Work, an MPH in Health Behavior and Health Education from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership from the UNC College of Social Work. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), an alumna of the Leadership Center for Asian Pacific Americans (LCAPA) Community Leadership Program, and a member of the inaugural cohort of the IGNITE Fellowship for Women of Color in the Social Sector at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
In her free time, Joy likes to bake and cook, bike, knit, tap dance, read, cheer for her favorite basketball teams, and enjoy Chicago's short but beautiful summers. Joy identifies as a bisexual and queer Asian American cisgender femme woman of color, 1.5 generation immigrant, and transnational adoptee.
- 2015: Leader in Action Awardee, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy
- 2013: "30 Under 30" Awardee, Windy City Times
- 2013: Civic Engagement, Community Service, and Community Organizing Award, UIC Women and Gender Studies Department
- 2012: Breaking Barriers Award (Health and Healthcare), Chicago Foundation for Women Asian American Leadership Council
- 2010 & 2011: Dean's Award, UIC Jane Addams College of Social Work
- 2009: Lucy Morgan Fellowship Award, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Health Behavior and Health Education Department
- 2004: Campus Compact Award for Service to Nazareth College and Rochester, New York
Selected Writing:
- Featured Column on LGBTQ Issues & Identities (Gazillion Voices)
- "I've Never Had an Abortion, But I Should Have Been One" (Lost Daughters)
- "When Coming Out Doesn't Always Feel Like Letting People In: Bisexual Adoptee Identity in Asian American Activism" (Gazillion Voices | AACRE Blog
- "#CancelColbert is About More Than a Joke" (Daily Dot)
Media Features, Appearances, and Quotes:
UNC LGBTQ Center Featured Alumni Profile
- May 2016: Passion and Pride (Nazareth College Alumni Magazine)
- Oct. 2015: A Conversation with AAPIP's 25 Leaders in Action (AAPIP Blog)
- Apr. 2015: #BornPerfect Event Raises Awareness of Conversion Therapy (Windy City Times)
- Feb. 2015: Chicago Foundation for Women Panel Talks Race, Feminism (Windy City Times)
- Nov. 2014: #FlipTheScript Movement Educates on Adoption (Fox32 Chicago News)
- Aug. 2014: Chicago Department of Public Health in the Process of Developing and STD Testing Locator App (ChicagoTalks)
- Apr. 2014: Qwearly Dashing Week 6: Queer Activists and Chicago Designers (Qwear)
- June 2013: Windy City Times Presents "30 Under 30" Awards (Windy City Times)
- May 2013: Illinois Senate May Vote on Comprehensive Sex Ed This Week (Progress Illinois)
- Apr. 2013: People of Color Want More Inclusiveness in Gay Marriage Battle (WBEZ Chicago)
- Sept. 2012: Chicago Foundation for Women: Activism That Extends to the Boardroom (CFW)
- July 2012: Hump Day Hero (The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health)
- June 2012: Featured Profile (I Am Korean American)

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