Staff and Leadership | Playworks

Playworks for every kid

Staff and Leadership

Jo Bender
Executive Director

Jo Bender, a native Hoosier, began her professional career as an AmeriCorps member with City Year. Her 13 years of nonprofit experience includes service in both local and national education and health-related organizations, where she has focused on organizational development, fundraising, volunteer cultivation, and event management. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in cultural anthropology.

Audrey Hall
Program Director

Audrey joins us with experience as a youth leader, caseworker for refugees, and social worker for individuals and families in crisis. Audrey most recently served the Boys & Girls Club of Bloomington, Indiana for eight years as their Program Director, Camp Director, and Volunteer & Grant Coordinator. Audrey started her youth work career in summer resident camps, and her passion lies in the social and emotional development of youth. Audrey has a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Valparaiso University and a Master of Social Work degree with a leadership concentration from Indiana University. In her free time, Audrey loves camping, hiking, and kayaking!

Christine McConnell
Development Manager

Christine joined the Playworks Indiana team in the summer of 2014 and is excited to be a part of a movement that will transform the educational environment in the state.  She brings significant experience in the development and implementation of capital campaigns, specifically for high-need communities around the country. Christine holds an undergraduate degree from DePauw University and an MPA from Indiana University. When not exciting donors about the power of play, she is busy spending time with her family, logging miles on our public greenway, or spending time in her vegetable garden.

Josh Rice
Program Manager

Josh is a super cool dude who first joined Playworks as an AmeriCorps program coordinator serving Greenbriar Elementary. Before joining the power of play movement, he worked as a special needs camp counselor in California and a youth sports camp director here in Indianapolis. As a native of Indy, he is excited to use his experience to further propel the youth in his home town. Josh is an avid Green Bay Packers fan—GO PACK GO—and enjoys playing in various rec leagues around the city. Your best bet to find Josh on the playground is to check out kickball!

Mystica O'Connor
Program Associate

Mystica joined the Playworks team as a Public Allies Alumni serving the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art as the Community Outreach Coordinator. Mystica is proud to be apart of the Playworks movement and she is passionate about helping our youth succeed and having fun while doing it! She lives in downtown Indianapolis with her daughter Marley. In her free time she enjoys painting, trying new foods and spending her time with Marley!

Dwanesha Wilson
Site Coordinator

Dwanesha has her Bachelor's degree in Economics of Administration from the University of California, Riverside. She started as a site coordinator with THINK Together, an after school provider, working and collaborating with the school district's common core standards to implement in alignment with the school day during the after school hours. She continued her growth into individual care as a behavior specialist working with children with autism to build social and typical development skills.