Joel Gackle

Director of Alumni Relations

Joel is responsible for cultivating relationships with alumni and increasing their involvement with the university, both in giving and in participation. He supervises the management of the alumni online community and alumni communication, and also contributes to the Vanguard magazine.

While serving the Vanguard community, Joel has had the privilege of interacting with a various components of its community. He served as Resident Director of Balboa and Newport Halls (in fact, this was the first home he shared as a newlywed with his wife, Kristin). He attained his MBA from Vanguard, and worked with Vanguard’s School for Professional Studies, coordinating the business students.

These past years of service have allowed Joel to experience many facets of the vibrant community that is Vanguard University.  He is passionate about making the alumni office a transformative department for alumni and current students alike.

Email Joel at

Heather (Rachels ’02) Clements

Assistant Director of Alumni Relations

Heather’s experience in the Alumni Relations office makes her feel even more proud of her education. She graduated in 2002 with a degree in Communication.

After graduation, she spent a year working in Vienna, Austria. After coming home she married Caleb Clements ’02. They are happily married and have a home in Costa Mesa with daughter Emily Ruth and son Charles “Charlie” Timothy.

With Heather’s favorite word being “Accomplish,” it is sometimes hard for her to sit and relax. Lately, that stillness discipline is something she is tackling. Some things that help are: great meals with friends, Starbucks, Nashville, any sort of chocolate, fun conversation, hot french fries, Diet Coke, and her husband when he has had one too many Swedish fish candies.

Email Heather at


Lauren Francis ’10

Alumni Relations Coordinator IMG_8227_edit

Lauren is glad to be back “home” at Vanguard. She graduated with a degree in Communication in 2010 and worked in the marketing department of a major “One For One” shoe company post-grad. Lauren then continued her education and received her MA in Christian Education at Talbot School of Theology. While she was in seminary, she worked in the communication department at a local church and was also involved on the worship team.

She is passionate about higher education, and that passion drives her desire to see alumni stay engaged with their alma mater. It is her hope that many (especially young alumni) would feel a strong connection to the university that played a role in transforming their lives, and in turn, would continue to support Vanguard in the years to come.

It is an absolute thrill for Lauren to be in the Alumni Department because that means she gets to connect with old friends and hear story after story of how Vanguard has truly made a difference in so many lives.

Email Lauren at


Niki Trueb

Alumni Relations Intern IMG_8131_edit

Niki is a Vanguard Junior, studying Business with an emphasis in Marketing. Niki is from Seattle, WA so needless to say is enjoying every second of the weather in SoCal! This is her third year working in the Alumni Relations Office, and she loves every minute of it. Niki’s favorite Alumni Relations events from last year include: Homecoming, Celebration of the Arts and Grad Fest.

After graduation, Niki hopes to travel the world either on business or doing Global Outreach.