Julia Valentine

Founder and CEO of Joy Compass Julia Valentine After Julia Valentine’s grandparents went through years of debilitating illness and emotional meltdown before their deaths, she began to think about the process of growing older and how people could live better lives as they pass from youth and young adulthood into older adulthood. She recalled people she had met in the Himalayas, Machu Picchu and Italy. They were alive, vibrant, joyful, fulfilled. In other words, age had no power over them. And so she embarked on a journey to observe, analyze and research the main themes of Joy Compass. She is passionate about figuring out life strategies that work, then sharing them with people in a simple and practical way. An avid world traveler, Julia has connected with people from all walks of life in India, China, Cambodia, Thailand, Russia, Peru, Costa Rica, Brazil and Western Europe. This exposure to many cultures coupled with growing up in Europe gave Julia an awareness of the wide range of values and beliefs in respect to well-being, aging and life satisfaction. Julia Valentine’s intention is to create amazing value in the lives of people who want to thrive at any age by providing resources, including her book, and a home base, in the form of an Internet community, for anyone who is interested in tapping into the legacy of her role models and the collective intelligence of people who want the second half of their life to be even better than the first. Julia honed her research and analytical skills developing new businesses and products for an international Fortune 500 company. She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in finance and economics from New York University, and she holds an executive MBA from Columbia University.

Mayra Reyes

Joy Compass is privileged to have Mayra Reyes as an expert blogger on the subject of mentoring . Mayra Reyes Mayra Reyes is the Associate Director of Administration for the Eugene Lang Entrepreneurship Center and The Media Program at Columbia Business School. Mayra’s professional experience includes strategic planning, print/radio/television media, staffing, marketing, development, and operations management. Prior to joining Columbia University, Mayra worked for the Center for Creative Leadership as a client liaison in support of its well-known leadership and creativity programs. Her dual role at Columbia primarily focuses on communications and administration of various programs, events, and services including the Columbia Mentorship Program for Entrepreneurs, the Columbia Family Business Network, Columbia Business School Entrepreneurs Network, Women Entrepreneurs Network, the Annual Media Forum, the Entrepreneurial Greenhouse Program Master Class, the Media Mentoring Breakfast Series, the Entrepreneurial Sounding Board and the A. Lorne Weil Outrageous Business Plan Competition. She serves as an information resource to prospective students, current students and alumni. Mayra develops text and video content for each Program’s website, for the Lang Center’s LinkedIn, Twitter and FaceBook page, and is a writer, contributing editor, and producer of the Entrepreneurship Update electronic and print newsletters which are published three times a year. Mayra holds a BA from Emmanuel College and an MS from Columbia University. Mayra’s hobbies include experimenting with food recipes from across Latin-America, collecting independent films and interior decorating. She happily lives in Brooklyn Heights, New York with her little dog, Bobbi. Life Credo: Conscious thought creates reality

Bingyu Vivian Sheng, Marketing Director

As a marketing director, Vivian Sheng introduces Joy Compass to a wide audience through social media and public relations efforts. Vivian brings her experience in Studio Art and journalism to the development of the company's marketing communications. Vivian has used her experience in helping seniors through a senior help organization in her work. Her grandparents are active elders who watch streaming of local news and go out with photography enthusiasts they meet online. Her parents are reflecting on the shift to older adulthood. She is surrounded by the very group of people she is trying to help through her work at Joy Compass. By witnessing the transformation of her family, Vivian observed what it is like to live just as well, if not better, as one grows old. She believes in creating a great quality of life through retirement planning. Vivian uses her digital-designing skills and aesthetic sense to pave a pleasing journey to a great retirement lifestyle.

Margarita Volfson, Creative Director

Margarita Volfson is a graphic designer, artist, photographer and film maker with a wide range of creative skills. She is excited to utilize her creative expertise to develop scripts, direct, film and edit video for Joy Compass. She is happy to be a part of the Joy Compass team as she is truly inspired by its powerful and unique message. Her close relationship with her own grandparents and the experience with caring for them when they were ill had a profound impact on her life. To keep their bright and shining memory alive, she was inspired to make her first professional documentary called In Heaven And In Our Hearts broadcast on a Russian Television Network program "Contact" in January, 2010. It was the second time she was invited to be a subject for this one hour live program and to present her creative achievements.

Margarita's love for art and music developed at an early age. She became fascinated with painting, writing, filmmaking and editing in college. Her passion for photography was inspired by her grandfather, who was a talented professional photographer. Margarita's photos were featured at the Jacob Javits Center PDN Expo in 2007. Film score composition was Margarita's most recent creative realization: she wrote a musical score for an independent film in 2009. Her later creative successes included painting, professional theatre acting, public speaking, directing plays, screenwriting, filmmaking and editing. Margarita finds that these creative outlets contribute tremendously to her success in graphic design, web design, animation and film projects. 

Margarita holds a B.F.A in Acting and Theatre from Pace University, a Certificate in Film Production from Lights Film School and a Certificate of Graphic Design and Animation from CUNY. Her work samples can be viewed at www.margaritavolfsonarts.com.

Marketing and Research Associates

Simon Liao

Simon Liao used his research and marketing skills to create the Resource Center and work on special projects. Simon thinks that if wisdom comes with age, the older adult population must constitute the most valuable asset of our society. This is why he decided to join JoyCompass: to help foster the cycle of life.

Viktoria Lysenko

Viktoria Lysenko is a photographer, a marketing specialist and a life coach. She is the founder of Lotus Frog Photography. Viktoria contributed her research and marketing skills to many Joy Compass projects. Viktoria's curiosity led her to discover her many interests. She is fascinated with how things work, whether it is the universe or the human mind. Photography is her way of capturing things that amazed her and sharing them with the world. But what lead her to JoyCompass was the beginning of her conscious life, prompted by the search for meaning. She realized that there is no right or wrong answer to anything in life. The meaning of life is to be happy and to do it in harmony with the world around us. For Viktoria, it means moving others and bringing them happiness through good deeds, guidance, and her photography. JoyCompass is one of Viktoria's ways to inspire you to live the life you want.

Rithu Raman

Rithu Raman used her research and writing skills to create a widely used, efficient resource center. This task was extremely important to her because she cares for the quality of life of her elders. Aside from the Joy Compass Resource Center, Rithu contributed to several of the Joy Compass e-books. During her free time, Rithu enjoys theatre, volunteering, exploring New York City, and discovering new music.