Jessica Breemen, MSW, PSM — Chief Growth & Impact Officer
Jessica (she/ella) is a versatile practitioner with over 15 years of experience coaching creative strategies and solutions to complex problems with individuals, teams, and communities. She was awarded her Master of Social Work degree in May of 2020, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice & Criminology, and is a certified Scrum Master. Jessica’s journey with DanceSafe started during her 2017-2018 school year with an MSW field placement (but really as a supporter with lived experience since her early teenage years). During the field placement, Jessica revamped the DanceSafe Training Program, orchestrated the first Chapter Health Assessment, designed and hosted Test It! Drug Checking webinars, provided substantial amounts of outreach, and shared her expertise in Agile practices/methodologies.
In January of 2019, Jessica was invited to serve on the Board of Directors. During her tenure on the Board, she worked closely with leadership to continue reimagining the dynamic systems, culture, and health of DanceSafe until her transition off the Board onto the Executive Team in October 2021. Jessica is passionate about her new role supporting DanceSafe in fulfilling its purpose and catalyzing opportunities through value-impact optimization, innovation, growth, and sustainability. Some of her major projects will include honing DanceSafe’s non-profit business/program models, relationship building & fundraising (including donor community cultivation), advising on digital strategy, data driven learning, outreach, and comprehensive capacity building.
Jessica originally had dreams of becoming an attorney, with special interests in the Innocence Project, defending those being persecuted for drug crimes, and harm reduction. Her plans shifted when she was offered a rare opportunity to be mentored in bankruptcy law by a semi-retired attorney, an inspirational woman, while completing her undergraduate degree. She said yes.
From 2006 – 2013 (spanning the Great Recession), Jessica excelled as an independent bankruptcy paralegal advocating for Fresh Starts under the U.S Bankruptcy Code for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 clients (and their attorneys). She eventually founded Pleiades Paralegal Group in Chicago, IL. Jessica believes bankruptcy is a healing law, and through it she truly internalized the value of driving impact by influencing the social determinants of health on the entire micro-to-macro spectrum. Jessica made the decision to pivot away from law school and instead dive into the expansive opportunities that social work offered.
After retiring from bankruptcy practice in 2013, Jessica’s intersecting efforts have specialized in social entrepreneurship, organizational culture and health, criminal justice and drug policy reform, full spectrum harm/risk reduction, benefit maximization, and integrative drug-assisted care. Her work has included: Community nonprofits that build efficacy and self-sustainability with folx experiencing diverse personal and familial crises; financial and operations administration at the University of Chicago’s world-class research center; moving, shaking, and coaching in the tech industry as a Scrum Master for product development teams; serving as a course assistant and in various faculty roles for ketamine, psilocybin, and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy practice training programs; and co-founding Grapefruit Collective, LLC with Kristin Karas (DanceSafe’s Chief Operating Officer) offering immersive leadership and scalable organizational health consulting services.
Before joining DanceSafe full time, Jessica’s last position was as a senior project leader for Accelerate Change, a social justice non-profit dedicated to incubating and supporting social ventures focused on cultural narrative change, equity, digital media, and progressive civic engagement with vulnerable, low income, and communities of color.
Jessica was born in Denver, Colorado – the traditional territory and stolen ancestral homelands of the hinono’eino’ biito’owu’ (Arapaho), Tséstho’e (Cheyenne), Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute), and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ Peoples — where she remains living, working, and playing. She enjoys exploring the world, riding her motorcycle through the mountains, attending shows, collecting records, dancing, appreciating art and food, and playing with her doggo, Arya.