Joyal Mulheron is a Washington, DC, public policy expert with more than twenty-five years of service to the nation’s governors, The White House, and nonprofit organizations. She has worked with both Republican and Democratic lawmakers as well as with corporate executives and policy advocates in order to bring national attention to the devastating effects of bereavement. Like millions of Americans, she has experienced tragic loss: her terminally ill infant daughter died in 2010, and her father, a veteran, died during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2013, Joyal left her position as chief strategy officer with Partnership for a Healthier America, a nonprofit organization chaired by former First Lady Michelle Obama, to begin understanding grief in America. She started her education by walking the streets of Washington, DC, meeting with families and professionals, each of whom had experienced tragic deaths. Soon thereafter, her work grew substantially as families from all walks of life welcomed her into their homes, places of worship, and community centers to share their heartfelt stories of love and loss. During these conversations, Joyal began to uncover chronic and persistent systemic injustices that children and families face in the aftermath of grief. Trained as a scientist, Joyal began aligning personal stories of loss with evidence-based literature and realized that bereavement is a medical, social, and economic crisis hiding in plain sight. To address these concerns, she founded Evermore, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of bereaved children and families. Her work with the organization has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, USA Today, NBC News, Good Morning America, and many other media outlets.
Prior to her work advising the Obama White House, Joyal spent several years at the National Governors Association, where she advised former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee during his chairmanship. She also managed the population health portfolio, raising millions of dollars from key federal government agencies and foundations, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and W. K. Kellogg Foundation
Joyal started her career at the American Cancer Society in Washington, DC, researching emerging science and trends, building its genetics portfolio, and coordinating legislative priorities. During this time, she translated Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) reports into plain language for state legislators, taught basic biology at community colleges, and earned her master’s degree in biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University. Joyal is a graduate of Virginia Tech (go, Hokies!) with degrees in biochemistry and English, a minor in chemistry, and concentrations in World War II and Black American literature. She’s married to her college sweetheart of thirty years, has four children (including a superhero, a biochemist, an activist, and a milkatarian), is dedicated to Pilates reformer practice, jogs (to make others look fast), and loves to cook dairy-free, gluten-free meals for her family (which they are more than enthusiastic about).