She’s a first-generation college student with a passion for health, wellness and advocacy. Rogers State University alumna Jody Reiss (’05 and ’15), Safenet Services new executive director, is a perfect fit to carry on a legacy of love and care for abused women and their children.
Safenet Services is a safe and supportive environment for women and families healing from the consequences of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. Safenet’s mission spoke to Reiss’s heart before a permanent door was open for her.
“I first came to Safenet as a client. As I worked through my trauma and began to open myself up to others, I found that there are so many people right in our community that suffer in silence. As a community leader, not many people knew or would have ever guessed what I was going through,” Reiss said.
Safenet founder Donna Grabow retired in December after 30 years of selfless service. She made a way of hope for the women of Rogers and Mayes county.
It all began with one shelter, 3 bedrooms and 12 beds in 1991 to now serving more than 3,400 women since its inception. The 2020 Progressive Citizen of the Year’s vision and future will be carried on through Reiss.
“This is a safe haven for women to cope, face challenges, bolster their strengths, and learn new skills to heal, thrive, and achieve their goals of breaking the cycle of violence,” Reiss said. “I hope to continue the current services offered and look forward to expansion as we better serve our clients.”
Christi Mackey, the 2021 chair of the board of directors, was a part of the transition coordinating committee that recommended Reiss for hire.
“Jody embodies the mission of Safenet Services. She brings a variety of strengths and talents to the organization as an established community member,” Mackey said. “She is known for her collaborative leadership skills and empowering others. She will carry on Donna’s legacy with integrity and passion.”
Safenet’s services include a shelter where women and children can stay, counseling services, court advocates for protective orders, an empowerment educator, housing case manager, supervised visitation program, and the CHANGES program, a batter intervention program to help break the cycle of abuse.
In addition to this new role, Reiss currently serves on the Rogers County Salvation Army Board, Claremore Collective Leadership team and The City of Claremore Love Day Committee.
She received her associates of arts in accounting, a bachelor’s degree in sport management and a minor in business administration from RSU. She also serves as the alumni association director. She assists with the alumni endowment funds and provides networking opportunities through alumni events.
Reiss’s RSU journey wasn’t an easy one. While working as an admissions counselor, she was taking classes to work toward her bachelor’s degree. RSU’s compassionate professors were committed to helping her cross the finish line, no matter the challenges.
“My professors were very accommodating as working fulltime did not provide the best flexibility. I had to take many classes as independent study courses, which created more work for them in many cases, but they were committed to doing what was needed to get me to graduation,” Reiss said.
The providential journey to make a better life for herself led Reiss to Safenet’s door, and her story of hope and redemption will resonate with the women who themselves seek refuge at a place where love is. And Jody Reiss is love.