Michelle Javian

Michelle Javian is the Founder of Harboring Hearts. She started the organization in honor of her father, who lost his battle to heart disease after a heart transplant in 2008. During the time she spent by her father’s side in the hospital, Michelle witnessed firsthand the need for refuge and community support for heart patients and their families. It was from this realization, and devotion to her father’s memory, that Michelle and Yuki Kotani co-founded Harboring Hearts in April of 2009.

Michelle is also active in several other charities, including a Board member of New Leaders at New York Presbyterian Hospital, heart advocate and volunteer at American Heart Association, and a Founding Member of Friends of Best Buddies, at Manhattan chapter. She was awarded the 2009 Maurice Gurin Memorial Scholarship by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, was a semi-finalist in SELF Magazine’s 2009 “Women Doing Good” contest, and chosen as a Rosewood Hotel and Resorts “30 Under 30” winner in 2010. Michelle holds a B.A. from Georgetown University in Healthcare Management and is a contributing blogger for The Huffington Post under the “Impact” vertical.

Yuki Kotani

Yuki Kotani is a Co-founder of Harboring Hearts. Though she is a congenital heart defect survivor herself, her main inspiration for starting this organization comes from her father who is a heart attack survivor, LVAD, and a heart transplant recipient. As one of her father’s primary caretakers, she experienced first-hand the emotional strain that can be placed on families and loved ones throughout this life-changing procedure. During this trying time, she realized the importance of emotional support through a network of people who can empathize with the struggles that heart patients and their families face. Michelle and Yuki hope that Harboring Hearts will provide them with the necessary support. Yuki is active on the American Heart Association’s Young Professional Board. She was a panelist in 2011 for High Water Women’s Young Women and Careers in Philanthropy Discussion and was chosen as an American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women national spokesperson and a Heart of New York’s spokesperson in 2010. She was awarded Rosewood Hotel and Resorts “30 under 30” winner in 2010. Yuki holds a B.A. from the University of Virginia in Art History and East Asian Interdisciplinary Studies. In her free time, she enjoys running, biking, rock climbing, and playing field hockey.


Jessica Melore

Jessica was a Founding Member of Harboring Hearts and served on the Board of Directors
until she sadly passed away in 2019. Jessica was a heart attack survivor, a transplant recipient, a speaker, a writer, and a patient ambassador. Jessica’s incredible heart and unyielding spirit will live on in all of our work.
Jessica was our true Wonder Woman.

Russell Tisman

Partner, Co-Chair Litigation Department, Forchelli, Deegan, Terrana LLP

Sheila McCaffrey

Principal Turas Coaching

Sergio Lagunes

CoFounder and Chief Investment Officer Toro Partners LLC

Ryan Melkonian

Board Chair Managing Partner and Founder, Melkonian Capital Management, LLC.