THE PROFILE: ALL ABOUT JOHANNA OSBURN who was appointed the Executive Director of DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS in 2013.  

    Johanna works with a diverse Board of Trustees representing all aspect of the design community, she is responsible for overseeing the mission, vision and execution of the DIFFA‘s National chapters and partners across the country, including Dallas, San Francisco, Kansas City, Chicago, Las Vegas and Seattle.

    And let’s not forget ‘Gift for Life‘, our partners in the gift industry.  Funds raised through various DIFFA initiatives are granted to organizations in the US fighting HIV/AIDS through education, prevention and treatment.

    DIFFA’s annual DINING BY DESIGN New York will be held March 17-21, 2016 at Pier 92, with 30,000 square feet for design, creativity, and innovation, all in support of DIFFA. The event is co-located with the Architectural Digest Design Show, which attracts over 40,000 visitors each year.  Johanna leads her loyal team and hundreds of design professionals to make this event one of the most anticipated and noteworthy each year.


      Johanna Osburn

      Executive Director, DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS

      Tell me about a project or accomplishment that you consider significant in your career

      DIFFA’s core mission is to fight HIV/AIDS through by providing grants to organizations across the country. Each year, we host  Our amazing events and receive contributions from our generous donors  that support our efforts.

        In 2015 we granted funds to one of our largest and most diverse groups of agencies nonprofits in recent memory.  We supported organizations that do things such as provide direct health services for teens and elders,  help HIV+ individuals who have trouble accessing housing or employment and offer prevention services that make a huge difference in the fight. Their stories were among the most inspiring I’ve heard in my tenure and it’s motivating to do even more as we see our grants put into action.

        What are the rewards from your work

        Our cause is serious and impacts so many – it’s an honor to be
        part of such a special organization. We have such a creative and dedicated group of supporters and volunteers.  Our events and programs are by far some of the most unique among charities anywhere in the country!  

        All together, they make my job fun and challenge me to do even more.

        If there was a movie produced about your life – who would play you?

        Amy Poehler would be amazing –or Helen Mirren for my serious days.

            Which philanthropic organizations have you been connected to

            For almost a decade I worked at Empire State Pride Agenda and donate to numerous women’s, LGBTQ, and HIV/AIDS organizations as well as a few dog rescues.

            Can you share your motto or mantra

            It started as a joke between some former colleagues but “Upwards and onwards” has actually become a great rallying cry.

            What book are you currently reading

            I just finished “An Untamed State” (Roxane Gay) & “How to Build a Girl” (Caitlin Moran) and I also just downloaded “The War on Alcohol: Prohibition & the  “Rise of the American State” – I like having e the option of something heavy, something light and something non-fiction depending on my mood.

              Who is your secret celebrity crush

              Paul Rudd – 
              he is adorable, funny and somehow doesn’t age at all!

                  What is your favorite time of day


                  Do you know your heritage

                  Half Polish & Lithuanian – Half unknown.

                  Are you fluent in other languages

                  I can speak & understand a bit of Russian and French.

                  Do you follow astrology – What is your zodiac sign

                  No, but I was born on the cusp of Virgo/Libra

                  What would your DJ Name be

                  DJ J-Rock

                  Do you have a favorite number

                  Nope but I do prefer odd numbers

                  Do you have a favorite fashion magazine

                  Nope! Sadly no!

                  What is your “go-to” fashion brand

                  Basic tops’s, sweaters and jeans is from UNIQLO and I received my first Oscar de la Renta dress as a gift last year and wore Halston Heritage for my wedding so both would be my “reach” go-tos.

                  If we were to peek in your closet, what is the dominant color

                  Black & gray – evenly split.

                  What is your present state of mind

                  A bit stressed but also excited – we open the doors to DINING BY DESIGN New York in just a few days and this year’s installations look amazing.

                  It’s 6pm at your favorite bar or restaurant, what drink  do you order

                  Manhattan (up) or wine if it’s work-related.

                    Do you awake with or without an alarm

                    I wake prior to the alarm during the week; on the weekend the dog ensures that I’m up.

                    Do you have a favorite social media outlet

                    If you could be a background singer, dancer or musician – which entertainer (living or dead) would you choose as the star

                    Oh – Tina, Cher & Madonna!  Could we all perform together?

                        What is the last photo you took with your cell phone

                        Something of the dog, Wally. – He’s much more popular on Instagram than I am, although I do help him with captions as his paws are unwieldy on the keyboard.

                          One of the best lessons my parents taught me is to

                          To always be true to myself and treat others as I want to be treated – with respect and compassion.

                          What is your favorite work of art

                          I love Polish posters – it is such a unique form of art and expression that was dictated (and subverted in response to) the state and reflects the beauty, creativity, brilliance and steadfastness of Poland.


                              What is your favorite building in Manhattan

                              The Flatiron.

                                Prior to joining DIFFA, Johanna served as Director of Development for Empire State Pride Agenda, New York’s statewide LGBT civil rights and advocacy group.  A member of the senior management team, Johanna directed their fundraising strategies and worked on a number of advocacy issues, including the successful fight for marriage equality for same-sex couples.  She and her husband live in Brooklyn with their energetic cocker spaniel, Wally.

                                #DIFFA #diningbydesign #nottobemissed #eventoftheseason #party #respect #compasion 

                                Rio Hamilton

                                Rio Hamilton is a business development professional with vast marketing and sales experience.He specializes in brand promotion for the luxury interior design and lifestyle industries. Rio works with companies, individuals and groups on concentrated brand identity and elevation. He has a popular website that chronicles "the who's who" at design and fashion events throughout greater New York.

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