CEO - Amy Antonelli

As the first Executive Director of Rising Star Outreach, Amy Antonelli spent seven years working in rural India helping those afflicted with leprosy.  

Prior to her work in India, Amy acted as a spokesperson for Apple's executive officers, including CEO Steve Jobs, and was instrumental in building PowerSchool, Inc., leading up to its acquisition by Apple in 2002.  In 2014, she led an initiative with the leadership at Facebook to develop a more mission-driven community, and another initiative with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to develop a global self-reliance mentoring strategy. In 2016 she became the CEO of  Deseret Network International, the parent organization of Humanitarian Experience for Youth (HEFY), Youth Summit Jerusalem (YSJ), and the Youth Refugee Coalition (YRC). 

A Center for Social Innovation fellow at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Amy received a B.A. Brigham Young University and a Master’s degree from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.  She also served as a missionary in Italy and Malta. 

Amy is a one-time marathon runner, a calligrapher, an explorer of ideas, and the author of the blog Kadalmangalam Road.  She considers Palo Alto, California home, where she can often be found hiking the Stanford hills with her friends and family.


Chief of Staff - Jacob Curtis

Jacob, a Colorado native, is a Junior studying Public Relations at BYU. He served a mission in Rosario, Argentina from 2015-2017 where he developed a great love for the people of Latin America. Jacob has worked for 3 years as a Digital Media Specialist for the BYU Athletics Department and recently returned from a study abroad program at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies.

He is involved with various clubs on campus including ALPHA, where he oversees various ACT and college preparation courses aimed at helping local high school students pursue their goals of obtaining higher education. He was introduced to HEFY at the end of 2017 and is grateful for the awesome experience he had as a trip leader in Argentina this summer. Jacob found great purpose through his service with HEFY and cherished his time in Argentina with the builders.






Director of Operations - Catherine Holding Didier

Catherine grew up in Salt Lake City but usually claims Montana or Wyoming as home. She has been raised to love the wide open spaces of the west while hiking, skiing, biking, and backpacking.

However, Catherine took a slight hiatus from the majestic mountains to attend Stanford University where she received her B.S. in Management, Science, and Engineering. Catherine cherishes the opportunities she’s had to meet and hear stories of people from all over the globe. She served a mission in Quebec, completed an internship for CHOICE Humanitarian in Kenya, and has been a trip leader for HEFY in both Fiji and Tonga. Catherine would probably claim climbing Mount Kilimanjaro as one of her greatest accomplishments. She loves learning, spending time with her family, traveling, and the gospel.






Worldwide Head of Programs - Kelsi Christensen

Kelsi grew up in Colorado, got her associate's degree at BYU-Hawaii, and served a mission in São Paulo, Brazil.  After her mission, she studied abroad at ISCTE Business school in Portugal. During the summers, she worked in Brazil, interning as a business mentor and volunteering at the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 FIFA World Cup.  Kelsi got involved with HEFY as a trip leader on the first expedition to Brazil in 2014, just before graduating from BYU. 
Kelsi majored in marketing at the BYU Marriott School of Management with a minor in Portuguese. At BYU, she was a member of the Portuguese Honors Society, an international student mentor, received the Global Management Certificate, and interned with BYU Athletics Marketing. Kelsi is passionate about finding meaningful projects and loves serving the youth as they strengthen their love of the gospel through service and cultural immersion.



Program Manager - Emily Reneer

Emily Reneer was born and raised in Provo, Utah, She graduated from Timpview High School in 2015 on the Honor Roll and has continued her education at Utah Valley University. Emily served a mission in Cape Verde where she learned both Portuguese and Cape Verdean creole. Her time spent in Cape Verde has impacted her in a way that has inspired her to study international relations and continue to look for ways she can serve and strengthen those around her. She loves the opportunities that HEFY provides to serve on both a global and more local scale as well. Emily also appreciates music and has sung at many events. Emily’s love for the outdoors is reflected in how she spends her free time. She loves skiing and hiking and takes any opportunity to travel and experience new things.





Program Manager - Preston Hughes

Preston was born and raised in Salt Lake City and is on the verge of graduating from BYU in Political Science. He served his mission in the Philippines Tacloban Mission where he survived two Super Typhoons, learned his mom’s native language, and learned how to cook something besides ramen and frozen burritos. Aside from the Philippines, he’s spent semester-long study abroads in London (where he perfected his English Accent) and in Jerusalem (where he developed a love for the Middle East). Other interests include singing in his car, babysitting his wild adorable twin nieces, and eating. His favorite part about traveling is seeing that everywhere in the world, there are good people whose light deserves to shine. He loves HEFY because it provides huge opportunities for God’s love and light to manifest in the lives of the people serving and the community being served.





Director of Strategic Growth & Sustainability - Becca Hatch

Becca was raised in San Jose, California and moved to Bountiful, Utah in high school. She graduated from BYU with a B.A. in Studio Art and a minor in Environmental Science, with plans to work in architecture design and sustainability for humanitarian purposes. She served a Spanish-speaking mission in San Diego, California where she also served in the Mormon Battalion Historic Site and San Diego temple grounds.
Becca has since been involved in various organizations helping bring local and refugee communities together through the arts. She has served as a trip leader in Belize, the Yucatan Peninsula and Peru and treasures the friendships she formed. She is passionate about the HEFY program because it combines her love for working with youth, humanitarian service, travel, and sharing the gospel. 




Trip Leader Director - Jordan Murray

Jordan is a Provo native. She majored in journalism at BYU with a minor in creative writing as well as writing and rhetoric. She has studied abroad in Jerusalem, London, Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Portugal. Jordan finished her senior year at BYU in Washington D.C. where she was an intern for NBC. She spent two summers working for a non-profit in Fiji as a volunteer and Country Coordinator. She has also spent time volunteering in the Philippines and Africa, and most recently as a trip leader for HEFY in Samoa. Jordan served a mission for her church in Kansas and has heard every version of "You're not in Kansas anymore" jokes, but still loves the Heartland of America. She loves Utah for the skiing in the winters and the wake surfing in the summers, learning random facts, and discussing conspiracy theories.







Trip Leader Coordinator - Maddie Weller

Maddie Weller was born and raised in Utah. She graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor of Arts in International Business and Marketing with minors in Entrepreneurship and French. While attending Utah State, Maddie was involved in a variety of organizations. She was the Student Body Service Vice President, a member of the A-Team mentoring freshmen, a Jon M. Huntsman School of Business Scholar and the Center for Entrepreneurship Vice President.

Maddie loves traveling and experiencing new cultures. One of her favorite experiences was an internship in Ghana, Africa teaching business development classes and giving out micro loans to people who wanted to start or expand a business. She also spent a summer studying abroad in South America. She served a french speaking mission in St. George, Utah at the Temple Visitors’ Center and surrounding areas. Maddie has served with HEFY for two summers in Tonga.






Accountant - Casey Pappas

Casey grew up the small town of Seaside on the Oregon coast. Upon returning home from her mission to El Salvador and Belize, she earned a Masters of Accounting from Idaho State University. Casey spent the first two and a half years of her career with Ernst & Young as a tax technologist in New York City where she earned her CPA. While in the city, Casey spent all of her free time exploring the city, serving in her community, eating delicious food, traveling the world, and watching as many Broadway musicals as possible.

Casey feels blessed to have had the opportunity to serve as a trip leader with HEFY since 2014 in Peru and Ecuador. She loves seeing the hand of the Lord guide each trip according to the unique needs of His children and watching as the builders step outside of themselves as they grow in love for the Savior Jesus Christ, and those they are serving.






Program Coordinator - Kassi Hartle

Kassi is from Lehi, Utah and graduated from BYU with a B.S. in Exercise and Wellness and a Minor in Nonprofit Management. Kassi served in the Arkansas Little Rock Mission where she developed a deep love for the South and for the beautiful message of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. She learned that joy comes from serving others and helping them find true happiness within the Gospel. She loves to travel and meet new people from different cultures. After her mission, Kassi attended BYU Jerusalem and visited the holy sites of Israel, Jordan and Turkey. Some of her most memorable adventures include riding camels in Petra, running the Saint George Marathon, and skydiving in Hawaii. Kassi feels very fortunate to be involved with HEFY and seeing God's hand in the everyday miracles. She served as a trip leader in Tonga last summer and is looking forward to serve in Tonga again this summer!






Program Coordinator - Tessa Hamilton

Tessa Hamilton is from Holladay, Utah. She attended Olympus High School and now is a junior at the University of Utah studying human development with an emphasis on child life and early education. During high school Tessa worked as a florist and completed several internships, including working with 2nd graders at Cottonwood elementary. Other internships provided the opportunity for Tessa to learn and serve at a therapeutic preschool, as well as, a low income daycare.

Tessa enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and is an avid reader. Tessa is grateful for the role the gospel plays in her life and for her deep testimony of the joy that the gospel brings to her life each day. Tessa was first introduced to HEFY when she served as a builder in Brazil in 2015. Loving the experience and wanting to continue serving others Tessa joined HEFY, first as an intern, and now thoroughly enjoys her role on the HEFY team.



Project Manager - Davis Johnson

Davis grew up in Holladay Utah and graduated from The Olympus High School. At the age of 17 he signed up to be a builder on the HEFY Fiji Nadi trip. This trip was a life changing experience for him. Being a builder on an HEFY trip helped Davis make the decision to serve a mission, and the next year Davis was called on a mission back to Fiji. Since his mission Davis has returned to Fiji on several occasions for different reasons, one of them being an HEFY trip leader in 2017. He is currently studying health society and policy at the University of Utah and hopes to go to medical school after he finishes his undergraduate studies. Davis loves working at HEFY because he hopes that he can help all the upcoming builders have the same life changing and testimony building experience that he had as a young man..









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307 W 200 S
Suite 5002
Salt Lake City, UT 84101

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