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.






Jessica Thomas Jessica is beyond grateful to get to spend her time working within the DFJ mission. Her heart is privileged to hold her husband Wesley, who is in heaven, and her 4-year-old daughter, who loves to sing, dance, and run around outdoors. Family plays a vital role in her life, and she’s a proud aunt to four nephews + two nieces. Jessica attends Hope Community Church and Summit Church, and loves to sing with the worship team. Hands down, one of the best decisions she’s ever made was in joining Iron Tribe Fitness in downtown Cary, as the motivation and camaraderie found within that community are beyond compare. Jessica lives in Harnett County, and loves to write and spend time cooking, fishing, hunting, hanging out with family, and playing outside with her daughter. She lives to serve the broken and rejected, and she is positive that she already loves you. Her intention is to live for God’s glory, for her husband’s legacy, and for her daughter’s heart.

Jessica serves as DFJ Secretary.