Meet the Team Recycling JOY
The Re:JOY Team
Founder & President
I am the owner and CEO of a manufacturing company started by my father-in-law over 30 years ago. After finding out he was terminally ill and receiving three “no’s” from his children in response to asking if they wanted the business, my father-in-law inquired if I had any interest. While I hadn’t ever envisioned working in a manufacturing facility, I had thought about owning a business. Foremost, I had an interest in saving my father-in-law from the heartache of locking the doors to his legacy and laying off his employees. I took the job.
I had to teach myself organic chemistry, thermodynamics, Quickbooks, and the intricacies of human resources and employment law. Quickly I learned that not only did I own a business, but I owned the responsibility of keeping a team of people safe in a workplace with any number of potential hazards. I learned the names of the spouses and children that would be financially impacted if I couldn’t keep their loved ones employed. In the early days after my father-in-law passed away, I was completely overwhelmed and questioning my decision. I was cognizant of the statistic that only 30% of second generation family businesses survive. Would I be the next casualty? I am proud to say that 10 years later, I have defied those odds.
Despite success, I have been wanting to apply my skill set to more than business and after my friend Jeff passed away in December 2020, I felt like it was time. Jeff was such a kind and charitable person, I felt an immediate need to pick up the reins where he had left them. I just didn't know in which direction to go.
I have always been bothered by the "throw away" society in which we live and waste of any kind makes my head hurt. I come from a long line of people who will screech to a halt at the end of a stranger's driveway to claim someone else's trash, bring it home, and refurbish it. On the flip side, I am always looking for creative ways to purge my things, for alternatives to leaving my trash at the end of my own driveway. When Jeff's father said at a "Celebration of Life" event in April that "the J in Jeff's name was for Joy", I finally had my mission and it's name ......... and The Re:JOY Project was born.
I have been a Project Manager leading clinical trials in Oncology research for the last 17 years. While the job is often emotionally taxing, I find reward in the potential to turn the devastating cancer diagnosis around for even one patient. I have always found joy in the opportunity to make a positive impact on someone’s life and have volunteered with the Make a Wish Foundation and the Glass Slipper Project in the past.
I am the mother to three young children and I make it my goal to be present, loving, and adventurous with them and to influence them to live their best lives. I have been looking for ways to get them involved in helping others and am so excited to now have The Re:JOY Project offering children the opportunity to do just that!
I am an owner and president of Fabric Renewal, a leading, restoration services provider based out of New Jersey. Fabric Renewal is a purpose-driven business that helps families recover their possessions after a home fire or similar catastrophe.
The Re:JOY mission is perfectly aligned with that of Fabric Renewal and my national network of Renewal Claim Solutions partners. It gives me great pride to serve this amazing team and cause. I will bring 25 years of small business experience and my passion for the recycle, reuse, renewal, and Re:JOY movement.
I find joy in life’s timeless treasures like friends, family, food, nature, health, sport and building today’s ideas into tomorrow’s reality.
Megan Smith, DrPH, MPH
I am Senior Director of Community Health Transformation at the Connecticut Hospital Association where I partner with hospitals and healthcare institutions to advance community health. Previously, I was an Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry & the Child Study Center at the Yale School of Medicine and in Social & Behavioral Sciences in the Yale School of Public Health At Yale, I founded and directed the MOMS Partnership, a program now being replicated nationally, and the Elevate Policy Lab focused on improving mental health as a pathway to economic and social mobility. I am passionate about advancing issues of health equity and economic opportunity for families and also serve on the board of The National Diaper Bank Network.
Living on the Connecticut shoreline, I am lucky to frequent the beach with my husband, two daughters and dog, Lola. In my life, joy comes from connecting to what matters, my family, and a sense of purpose to spread joy with an open heart and mind for “she who gives most, gives with joy.” – Mother Teresa
I spent over a decade working for the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. In various capacities, I worked to ensure that the Department met the needs of all New Yorkers by providing clean and accessible open space and recreational programming. Through partnerships with elected officials, nonprofits and community groups, we sought to build a sustainable and equitable park system.
I find joy in spending quality time with friends and family but when I can find a moment or two to be alone, I especially love to curl up with a good book. I used my love of reading to forge a new career path and currently work for Roxanne Coady, the owner of RJ Julia Booksellers, an award-winning independent bookstore in Madison, CT. I look forward to working with The Re:JOY Project to bring items to those in need while helping the children in our community discover a love of giving to others.
I am the Office Manager for a woman-owned small business where, in addition to seeing that the day-to-day functions go smoothly, I was tasked with heading up the company initiative of giving back to the community. Proudly, I can say I have been able to expand the company’s reach by collaborating with other small businesses to widen our local impact.
Previously, I spent 18 years as an early childhood educator at Temple Beth Tikvah where I continue to teach Sunday School. As a teacher, I find joy in those moments when an unsure child has a small achievement and comes to realize their own potential. It brings me a great deal of satisfaction to watch a child grow in confidence from one year to the next. I am excited to be a part of The Re:JOY Project where it is my goal to continue to enrich children’s lives.
“Anyone who does anything to help a child is a hero to me” - Fred Rogers