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Executive Board



Cary Heise, Founder and Director

Cary is married to her biggest encourager Rob and Mom to Ashlin and Carver who attend Lufkin Road Middle School.  Cary grew up in Myrtle Beach, SC and has lived most of her adult life in Raleigh. She’s a Clemson Tiger at heart where she attended early in college, but graduated from Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina. Her family attends Hope Community Church’s Raleigh Campus and have for over 10 years. Cary’s international mission experience working with women’s artisan co-ops in Central America and Africa inspired the birth of Designed For Joy. Cary is also Founder and Leader of Vend Raleigh. She’s a big believer in encouraging women to pursue their passion.

 Kristen Sydow, Co-Founder and Designer

A native New Yorker, Kristen is a city girl who is most comfortable among skyscrapers, concrete sidewalks, and lots of people.  A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, textiles is her love language. After working at Liz Claiborne for years, the palm trees of San Diego called her name and she lived there until meeting her NC State alum husband Shawn. Now Raleigh is her happily ever after. Proud parents to three loud kids; Jack who attends middle school at Wake Christian Academy, Eli who attends  Holly Ridge Elementary, and Stella who attends Yates Mill Elementary. They are blessed to have adopted one of their children internationally as adoption holds a special place in Kristen’s heart. Serving women locally through Designed For Joy, as well as internationally through mission trips, gives Kristen the opportunity to be the church that Jesus calls us to be. You can find Kristen worshiping on Sundays at Hope Community Church.



Linda Wishart 

Linda is a wife of 25 years to her husband Scott and mother to two children.  Daughter Ella attends Apex Friendship High school and son Dax attends University of South Carolina. Linda & her family attend Hope Community Church and live in Cary. Linda enjoys cooking, entertaining, the arts, and traveling. She has found her passion for women through international mission trips over the past three years. Linda is passionate about DFJ and has been volunteering since the beginning working alongside our artisans.

Linda heads our Fundraising Community.


Meredith college Alan Buck

 Alan Buck

As an assistant professor within Meredith College’s Communication Department, Alan Buck enjoys working in an environment empowering women. With that mindset, it’s a natural transition for him to join our board and mission at DFJ.

Alan began his career in television broadcasting, which included roles as a news videographer, a promotions director and video producer. He is currently working on producing a network television pilot.

In addition to teaching, Alan is the Director of the Post-Baccalaureate Program in Digital Communication at Meredith. He previously taught at Campbell University and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
He enjoys spending time with his wife, Lauren; his daughter, Taylor; and his son, Hudson. Alan is also active in his community on the Town of Apex Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Advisory Commission and attends Apex Baptist Church.

Alan leads our Communication Team.