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Josie Everett, Executive Director
1998–present

“I serve as the nexus – the connector and coordinator – of Heart to Heart’s diverse constituencies: medical volunteers, Russian colleagues, U.S.-based foundations and corporate sponsors, individual donors, and Board members. We all share the common goal of developing heart centers to save as many children as possible from heart disease.”

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Josie Everett’s introduction to Heart to Heart was linguistic. In 1995, Heart to Heart needed a business interpreter to negotiate with the Ministry of Public Health on behalf of a hospital program in St. Petersburg and asked her to volunteer for the job. On the ground in Russia, Josie’s first assignment was to interpret at a meeting between Drs. Nilas Young and Alexander Zorin, Chief Cardiac Surgeon of St. Petersburg. At the meeting’s conclusion, the doctors asked Josie to provide interpreting services in the operating room. In her first OR experience, much of the eight-hour surgery was narrated for her. Awed by the complexity of the procedure and the intricacy of the teamwork, Josie wondered whether interpreting for Heart to Heart might be the “best and highest” use of her language and communications skills.

In 1998, Josie joined Heart to Heart as its third executive director. She has provided administrative leadership on more than 35 site assessment and surgical-educational missions to Russia and Peru. She serves as chief interpreter in the operating room, coordinating the OR interpreting team and overall communication. Since assuming her position at Heart to Heart, she has helped launch and develop five new pediatric sites in Russia and launched Heart to Heart’s programs in Peru. She has secured nearly $8 million in foundation grants and individual donations, and close to $20 million in in-kind support.

Josie has 25 years of professional non-profit experience. Her pre-Heart to Heart travel to Russia includes a six-month language program in Moscow, living with a Russian family and studying translation at the Maurice Thorez Language Institute (1990); and a summer program at the Pushkin Language Institute in Leningrad (1987). Josie completed two years of graduate work at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, specializing in Russian/English translation. She holds a B.A. in History from the University of California at Berkeley, with a minor in Russian Language and Literature. She attended Berkeley on a running scholarship, and thinks that her years of middle- and long-distance running have helped her with pacing for life’s marathon efforts and gearing up for its inevitable sprints. She is fluent in Russian and Spanish and describes her French as functionally polite.