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Meet Kristen Lohser

We want to take this opportunity to showcase key people who have been essential in the development of Harboring Hearts. Without the help of our amazing board members, volunteers and interns, we would not be where we are today.

Forward by Yuki Kotani

I met Kristen through Michelle at the beginning stages of Harboring Hearts.  She immediately extended her support to our cause and has continued to support us to this day.  She recently hosted a Brooks Brothers shopping event at a Long Island, NY mall where a percentage of the purchased goods were donated to Harboring Hearts.  Kristen’s giving nature is always on full display as she finds creative ways to help Harboring Hearts fulfill the mission of helping heart patients and their families.

Please read about our amazing volunteer, Kristen Lohser.  We thank you for believing in our organization and our mission.

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Name – Kristen Lohser

Current Occupation – Physician Assistant at North Shore Long Island Jewish

How and why did you get involved with Harboring Hearts? – The co-founder, Michelle Javian has been my best friend since college. One day Michelle and I met for lunch and she told me about the idea and I knew with her heart and work ethic it would be successful. Knowing her desire for the charity to thrive was so motivating to me.

How do you balance your career and giving back so successfully? – It can be busy but with a career in healthcare helping the charity seems like an extension of my everyday and is very fulfilling.

Who or what have been your greatest inspirations in your life, your career, and your volunteer experience?  – I believe having multiple spine surgeries has been very influential. It has shaped me into a kind and compassionate health care provider. The struggles have taught me not to take anything too serious in life and to help those that are struggling with even bigger healthcare issues.

What are your favorite memories about Harboring Hearts? – My favorite memory was one of the golf outings. It was such a beautiful day and at the event everyone has so happy and having so much fun!  It was an opportunity to be with both my family and friends to help spread awareness of such an important mission.

Kristen’s Favorites:

  • Favorite City? Washington dc
  • Favorite Food? Pizza
  • Favorite Activity? Baking
  • Favorite Music? Coldplay
  • Favorite Museum? Smithsonian, The American History Museum
  • Favorite Travel Destination? Zermatt, Switzerland
  • Favorite Movie? Love Actually

Meet Erica Lynn Young

We want to take this opportunity to showcase key people who have been essential in the development of Harboring Hearts. Without the help of our amazing board members, volunteers and interns, we would not be where we are today.

I have known Erica Young since our high school days of running 4x200s on our track & field team.  Since relocating to NYC, our bond has grown stronger as we connected over stories about our lives as an entrepreneur!

She has inspired me with her passion for her company/industry and her remarkable business acumen.  She has brought the same level of commitment to Harboring Hearts from creating the fundamental structure of our social media strategy to assisting with numerous events.

Thank you Erica for your continued support and for dedicating your time to Harboring Hearts.  Read below to learn more about our fabulous volunteer.

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Name – Erica Lynn Young

Current Occupation – Social Media and Higher Education Consultant and Founder of the soon to launch TruthandFashion.com

How and why did you get involved with Harboring Hearts? – The Co-founder of HH, Yuki Kotani, has been a personal friend of mine before we both relocated to New York City.  When I heard about HH’s mission (to provide affordable, temporary housing for cardiac patients during a time of need) and the founder’s personal stories of dealing with heart disease, I knew I had to help.

How do you balance your career and giving back so successfully? – It is definitely not always easy.  Now that I am launching my second startup and my consulting work is starting to really take off, it seems to get harder and harder to find a balance.  The life of a NYC entrepreneur though means that you are incredibly motivated to accomplish your goals; it becomes almost an insatiable hunger.  There are certain time periods that are slower in consulting; I try to fill that time by giving back.  It is, in a way, how I say thank you for all of the blessings that I have had in my life.

Who or what have been your greatest inspirations in your life, your career, and your volunteer experience? – It is so hard to pick one person for this. I believe different stages of my life have been greatly inspired by different people, not solely one constant as life is always evolving and, especially in NYC, moves faster and faster.  I have been fortunate to have some great mentors and friends that have inspired me in so many ways.

I would say that my greatest inspiration is an idea; the idea that anything is achievable.  It is what keeps me dreaming, keeps me moving, keeps me thinking, keep me loving.  I am inspired by what people can do when they really put their minds to it.  I love reading stories about how people championed adversity in their own lives.  If you want a change, as Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

What are your favorite memories about Harboring Hearts? – I have helped Harboring Hearts with their Masquerade Ball, Theory and Jessie James Shopping Events, and the Harboring Hearts Summer Fete.  I love looking back at these successful events knowing that are work has directly helped to support heart patients and their families in need.  Also, all of the HH volunteers are so ambitious and inspiring. They are a wonderful group of people to work with and really make planning these events such a joy.

Your Favorites:

  • Favorite city : New York for work, Paris for love, and Istanbul for adventure
  • Favorite food : Levain Cookies
  • Favorite activity: Playing Volleyball
  • Favorite music: My Florence and The Machine channel on Pandora
  • Favorite museum: MoMa
  • Favorite travel destination: The place I have not been.
  • Favorite book: Hard to pick one, but I have always loved “A Moveable Feast” by Earnest Hemingway as I read it at such poignant time.

Meet Tamara Jerardo!

We want to take this opportunity to showcase key people who have been essential in the development of Harboring Hearts.  Without the help of our amazing volunteers and interns, we would not be where we are today.

I have known Tamara “Tam Tam” Jerardo since our college days at the University of Virginia and I have always been in awe of her artistic talent and vision.  When Michelle and I started Harboring Hearts, we knew we needed help with our logo and brand.  I immediately thought of Tamara and asked for her creative input.  We met at a coffee shop in Soho, NYC to discuss our preliminary ideas for our brand. (See below for our first logo!)

We have revised our logo since those formidable days of working in coffee shops (with wi-fi!) but the essence of the first logo is still evident in our logo and brand today.

Tamara has continued to support Harboring Hearts in various ways from creating event invitations, taking photos at events, volunteering at community events and co-hosting fundraising events on behalf of Harboring Hearts.  Learn more about our “Super Volunteer”, Tamara! – Yuki Kotani

  1. Name: Tamara Eve Jerardo (I often go by “Tam” or…”Tam-Tam”)
  2. Current Occupation:  Freelance Graphic Designer and Visual Design Intern at Blenderbox, Inc.
  3. How and why did you get involved with Harboring Hearts?:  I met Yuki when we were both students at the University of Virginia, and we’ve remained friends into our years as NYC-dwelling twenty-somethings. Yuki explained her idea for Harboring Hearts to me in a Soho coffee shop in 2008, and I instantly wanted to be a part of this touching cause. I had a vision for the branding, and how this broad idea could be summed up visually. It wasn’t a question for me – to be able to do something I love to serve the greater good was an obvious opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
  4. How do you balance your career and giving back so successfully?:  When I started volunteering with Harboring Hearts, I was working as a project manager for a start-up company. I blocked out time after work or during weekends to work on projects for Harboring Hearts. It’s a commitment, but if you really care, you can make time for these things.
  5. Who or what have been your greatest inspirations in your life, your career, and your volunteer experience?:  The people who have inspired me most have one thing in common: fearlessness. There are so many dimensions of fear, and to take action in spite of possible negative outcomes is a risk, but you have to know that you can recover from failure if that becomes the case. Once fear is eliminated as an obstacle, possibilities abound. This form of boldness doesn’t come without work, however. I think the best risk-takers are also well-informed and dedicate a lot of time to knowledge acquisition.
  6. What are your favorite memories about Harboring Hearts?: I would have to say volunteering at the Children’s Hospital uptown teaching the kids arts and crafts. I would do that any day. It was heartbreaking to learn of what some of those kids were going through, but you’d never know; they were so bright-eyed, cheerful and eager to learn. To see the smiles and sense of accomplishment the children felt from creating things was an extremely rewarding experience. That in and of itself was an inspiration. Such simple gestures can make a huge difference. It’s up to the rest of us to take the opportunities to do these things as they come.
  7. Tam’s Favorites
    • Favorite City? Can’t choose just one. San Francisco, New York City, Paris, Florence. The almost palpable sense of ambition and culture in SF and NYC is what attracts me to these cities, and the sense of history to European cities.
    • Favorite Food? Again, undecided. But I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of Vietnamese food. Healthy, fresh and delicious.
    • Favorite Activity? Exploring, in many senses of the word. Making art and music, reading, biking, conversing and traveling are at the top of my list.
    • Favorite Music? Mood-dependent. Old jazz standards and their modern interpretations, 90s alt rock, motown, female r&b vocalists are among my favorites.
    • Favorite Museum? A tie between Musee d’ Orsay in Paris, The Tate in London, and MoMa. I have a love affair with modern art because I feel like much of it is a harmonious marriage between art and graphic design, and I’m a big fan of conceptual work.
    • Favorite Travel Destination? Pacific Northwest/West Virginia. I’m quite fond of adventure sports and the great outdoors. Yosemite in CA and the Gauley River in WV are the origins of great memories for me. Both places are mindblowingly beautiful.
    • Favorite Book? A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry is one of my favorites in the fiction realm – it’s just one of those books that forces you to age intellectually, in a good way. For entertainment purposes, I enjoy the anecdotal memoirs of the sardonic, self-deprecating type authors: Sedaris, Sloane Crosley, Augusten Burroughs, etc. I willingly suffer the consequences of embarrassing hysterical laughter on the subway.
    • Favorite Movie? The Before Sunrise/Before Sunset series. The introspection, the sense of adventure and spontaneity. I googled Before Sunset and read all this literature on it after watching the movie. Highly recommend. I also love all the hilarious Judd Apatow movies.

A couple of examples of her work. She is available for freelance work too!

Her design portfolio is available here.