We are pleased to welcome Jahna Orzano, our new Chief Program Officer, to the team. Jahna brings valuable nonprofit leadership experience and a passion for education and sleep to the role. As we continue to scale our programs for growth, Jahna will lead strategy and oversee our programming.
Learn more about Jahna below.
(It’s not goodbye just yet for former Chief Program Officer, Carol Ripple, who has transitioned to a new role as Senior Advisor.)
Tell us about yourself. What are a few things that you would like the Pajama Program community to know about you?
I’m originally from Ballston Lake, New York, a town that sits right between Albany and Saratoga. The daughter of two educators, I developed an early and lasting passion for education, and grew up appreciating holistic approaches to learning at various stages in life. I have spent the bulk of my career exploring different strategies that address socio-economic inequities across education, workforce development, and healthcare.
A fun fact about me – one of my New Year’s resolutions is to be more involved in the arts in my life outside of work – I’m actually dusting off an old play I wrote (over a decade ago) about the power of memory in our daily lives! I am also constantly seeing shows around the city, and am always trying to find time to take acting or dance classes.
What is your connection to the mission of Pajama Program?
As someone who needs A LOT of quality sleep to be able to function in my life, I am acutely aware of how sleep has a significant effect on quality of life. When I learned about the great work Pajama Program does to support children, caregivers, and educators, I was truly impressed. I think there is an incredible opportunity here to address equity through sleep education, caring connections, and bedtime essentials. From our children’s cognitive development, to social emotional learning, to physical and mental health, this work is absolutely critical if we want all children to thrive.
When thinking about the opportunities that lie ahead, what are you most excited about?
I am most excited about getting to work with our Good Night Advisory Council – an entire group of leaders and experts in the field of sleep. I also can’t wait to expand and deepen the reach of this quality programming. I’m truly grateful to have the opportunity to apply my experience in designing, overseeing, and evaluating programmatic impact to this organization’s great work.
What’s in your bedtime routine?
I usually start my “screen off” time by cuddling my golden retriever, much to his dismay because he likes to go to sleep earlier than I do, and this usually interrupts his slumber. Once it’s abundantly clear my dog has had enough, I brush my teeth, wash my face, take out my contacts, and change into my pajamas. Most nights, I journal a bit before bed, or do a short meditation. I make sure my room is cool and dark, and sometimes use a sound machine so that the city streets don’t interrupt my sleep. Right before I drift off to sleep, I try to picture three things I’m grateful for, and let my gratitude be the last thing I focus on for the night.
What do you remember most from bedtime when you were a child?
I am very lucky to have enjoyed a lifetime of sleep privilege. My favorite part of my childhood bedtime routine was when my dad would tell me a bedtime story. He was incredibly creative, and told stories in a way that would engage my imagination and take me to far away places with a wonderful cast of imaginary friends. Even though I never wanted the stories to end, endings precipitated deep quality sleep, and I remember feeling peaceful, safe, and loved – something I truly want for all children.