Kata Issari is named Executive Director of Praxis International. Ms. Issari brings 35 years of expertise to the position, and is poised to lead Praxis International through her innovative vision. According to Ms. Issari:
“Praxis is a powerful catalyst for social justice and I am incredibly honored to be selected as Executive Director. Eliminating gender-based violence is a challenging but achievable goal. It takes bold action, dedicated advocacy, speaking out, community engagement and – most importantly – working collectively with survivors and communities to promote broad-based transformation. I’m extremely hopeful about all that we can accomplish together.”
Ms. Issari’s 35 years of experience began as an advocate and activist. Through the years she has held other positions as therapist, clinician and as administrator for grassroots, campus and national sexual assault and domestic violence organizations. Ms. Issari established the first clinical program, including a 24-hour rape crisis line, at the University of Michigan’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center. She is a founding member of INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, and has served as a board member of the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Advocates for Abused and Battered Lesbians (now the Northwest Network of Bisexual, Transgendered, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse), and the Women’s Funding Alliance in Seattle.
Originally from Iran, Ms. Issari immigrated to the U.S. as a child and grew up in California and Michigan. Today she and her family live in Seattle, Washington, following a recent move from Honolulu where they lived for 19 years. While in Hawaiʻi, Ms. Issari served as Program Director of Parents and Children Together Family Peace Center for 12 years where she was instrumental in the design and implementation of Namelehuapono, the only Hawaiian culturally-based, gender-based violence intervention for Native Hawaiian and Polynesian survivors and offenders in Hawaii. She also provided key leadership for Keiki Safe, an innovative school-based counseling and community response service for children exposed to domestic violence, as well as the design of a group counseling program for battered women and their children that was funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Safe Start Promising Practices initiative.
Ms. Issari most recently served as the Executive Director, Hawai’i Region, of the Joyful Heart Foundation where she provided local and national leadership on Joyful Heart’s innovative programming to address sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse policy, education, and intervention. She led a statewide collaborative of nonprofits, government agencies and private sector entities in the implementation of Hawaiʻi Says NO MORE, an unprecedented local effort to engage communities in ending sexual assault and domestic violence. She also led the design and implementation of Heal the Healers Hawaiʻi, a locally-based model to address compassion fatigue in advocates and counselors at sexual/domestic violence, trafficking and/or child abuse organizations as well as worked closely with state legislators to pass landmark Hawaiʻi legislation addressing the state’s backlog of untested sexual assault evidence kits.
“Kata has a unique ability to capture the strength of survivors and communities, and uses this strength to transform programs, services and organizations. We are excited to partner with Kata to support her philosophy, and see how it will broaden Praxis International’s spheres of influence and impact.” Board of Director Co-Chairs, Sandra Pilgrim-Lewis and Umi Hankins
The Board of Directors and staff of Praxis are excited to partner and grow with Ms. Issari’s leadership. We are honored to work with someone of her professional caliber and experience. Kata will assume her role as Executive Director on July 10, 2017.