Jessica Manning


Jessica is an independent philanthropist with a professional background in the video game industry. She is the founder and president of The JEM Project, a foundation dedicated to uplifting its causes through impact investing and charitable giving.

Prior to establishing the foundation, Jessica was the co-founder of Psyonix, a video game studio which created the hit game Rocket League. She is based in San Diego, CA.

Leah Burroughs

Executive Director

Leah is the Executive Director of The JEM Project and was instrumental in the startup of the Foundation since September 2019. Before her current role, she was project manager and consultant for a nonprofit Healthcare System, Atrium Health, with a focus on Teammate Experience and Recognition Strategy. Prior to joining Atrium Health, Leah was the Senior Development Manager for the American Cancer Society in Charlotte, NC.

Leah attended Appalachian State University and graduated with a degree in English Literature from East Carolina University. She lives in Fort Mill, SC with her husband their three daughters. As a mother of three, she brings a unique perspective to the juggling act women face balancing motherhood and professional lives. She is a passionate advocate for cancer research in remembrance of her parents who battled Multiple Myeloma and Lung Cancer.

Valerie Williams, PhD

Environmental Program Manager

Valerie is the Environmental Program Manager of The JEM Project. She attended North Carolina State University for her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Zoology and Biotechnology.

Before joining the JEM Project, Valerie was a Breeding Coordinator at the Center for Aquaculture Technology directing programs related to the genetic improvement for multiple fish species. Within the same company, she first started as a postdoctoral fellow working in the R&D group using CRISPR-Cas9 biotechnology to implement gene-editing into finfish species. Her first professional job was helping build and manage a fish hatchery for Pacifico Aquaculture, producing the first ever ocean farm-raised Striped bass. Valerie enjoys all things fish, hiking, and is passionate about wildlife conservation.

Priscilla Castro

Women’s Empowerment Program Manager

Priscilla is the Women’s Empowerment Program Manager of The JEM Project. She attended The Art Institute of California, San Diego, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Advertising. 

Some of her professional experiences include working for Sony Playstation, Charlotte Russe and FOX Broadcasting Company. Priscilla is passionate about mentoring and the education of young, minority women. As a latina, she understands the value of a college education as she was the first person in her family to attend and graduate from college. She is very excited to be working with The JEM Project and the opportunity it provides to serve women in the community. 

Stephanie Cone, MD


Stephanie Cone is an MD and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and a B.A. in Spanish Literature from the University of Arizona. She earned her MD from the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, AZ and trained in Pediatrics at the University of California Irvine and Children’s Hospital Orange County (CHOC).

Since 2014 she has been living and working in San Diego as an outpatient pediatrician in a private practice clinic seeing children from age 0-18, and in select Sharp and Scripps hospitals seeing newborns. She is fluent in Spanish.

When not working, Stephanie stays busy by caring for her two young sons, playing in a women’s soccer league, relaxing with crochet or needlepoint projects, or decorating cakes. Dr. Cone offers her expertise both as a physician and a mom to support The JEM Project’s mission to improve the welfare of women and children.

Rachel Shocket


Rachel is the Director of Operations at The JEM Project in San Diego, CA. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and graduated with a double major in English and Communication Studies. Her professional background encompasses various roles specializing in website design and digital marketing. Rachel was first introduced to the nonprofit world working as a designer and copywriter at web agencies.