Christina is passionate about narrative storytelling as an engine of social awareness. She has been with Girl Rising since its inception. Christina is responsible for the strategy and execution of Girl Rising’s expanding work around the globe, currently with campaigns in India, Nigeria and The Democratic Republic of the Congo and launching in Latin America and the Middle East in 2017. Her portfolio includes the production of new Girl Rising-branded media, implementation of GR’s global programs and ongoing engagement with public and private sector partners, foundations, media partners, educators, and grassroots supporters. The efforts of Christina and her team have yielded a global campaign with broad and deep impact and a brand which is now synonymous with girls’ empowerment. Prior to becoming CEO, Christina was Girl Rising’s Managing Director and the Supervising Producer of the original Girl Rising film. Her passion for storytelling is founded upon decades of experience in documentary film and television, having contributed to, produced and overseen films for CNN, ABC, CNN, Bill Moyers, Martin Scorsese and Robert Deniro, among many others. She holds a B.A. in Comparative Literature from Brown University and a Masters in International Community Planning from the University of Texas, Austin. She lives in New York’s Hudson River Valley with her husband and three children.
Chief Creative Officer
Martha Adams is an award-winning storyteller who produced the film at the center of the Girl Rising campaign. Forbes Magazine named the Girl Rising movement the #1 Most Dynamic Social Initiative of 2012, Newsweek/Daily Beast named Adams as one of “125 Women of Impact,” and today, acting as Girl Rising’s Chief Creative Officer, Adams continues to produce stories to fuel girls empowerment advocacy around the world. Most recently she traveled with Girl Rising Ambassador Meryl Streep to Africa to produce the CNN Films TV special We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the World; now the highest rated CNN Film of all time. Adams is also a Senior Fellow at The University of Southern California’s Marshall Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab which recognizes leadership at the intersection of business and social impact, she serves as a Film Expert for the U.S. Department of State diplomacy program American Film Showcase, and in 2015 Novus awarded her “Humanitarian of the Year.”
ENGAGE Project Director
As the ENGAGE Project Director, Carla oversees and manages all aspects of the Girl Rising ENGAGE project. Carla is certain that not all who wander are lost - not in the least. In 2003, she left the practice of law to join the Peace Corps and never looked back. Carla brings a wide range of experience, including the management of USG funded projects - working to building awareness and influence policy across a range of critical development issues. Her experience includes the use of innovative media initiatives and community engagement to influence strategic policy, engage the private sector and empower communities and local leaders. Carla has lived and worked in Macedonia, Nepal, Chile and El Salvador. She loves adventure and firmly believes that there is no development tool more potent than the empowerment of women and girls.
Kayce Freed Jennings
Senior Producer, Girl Rising
Before co-founding The Documentary Group, Kayce was a producer at ABC, based in London, Atlanta and New York. She covered international and national news events for virtually every news division broadcast and was on the staffs of Nightline, World News Tonight and 20/20. Kayce is vice chair of the board of Win, an agency that serves homeless families, and is on the advisory boards of SOLA - School of Leadership Afghanistan and the Bridgehampton Child Care Center. She was co-creator of The Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution and co-editor of Peter Jennings: A Reporter’s Life. Kayce is a graduate of Brown University, and studied government at the London School of Economics.
Director of Finance and Compliance
Purnima has more than 15 years of experience in accounting and finance, working with donors and international non-profit organisations including USAID/India, European Commission and FMSF. Purnima grew up in New Delhi, India and received her Bachelor’s in Commerce from the University of Delhi before becoming a Chartered Accountant in 2001. Her areas of expertise are grant accounting, donor compliance, budgeting, audits, pre-award surveys, evaluations and capacity building. She previously worked as Assistant Deputy Controller with USAID India, leading the audit, pre-award survey and financial review plans. She currently lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children.
Jill Miller is currently leading Girl Rising’s transition to a nonprofit 501c3 and is advising on organizational strategy and structure, board development, and fundraising.
She has more than 20 years of experience in leadership roles in the international nonprofit arena. For over a decade, Jill was Managing Director of the Sundance Institute. In this capacity she was integral in shaping the organization’s growth, sustainability and impact. She spearheaded the organization’s strategic planning, communications and branding efforts, led the development of new programs and revenue-generating projects, directed the financial and administrative aspects of the $30+ million organization, and oversaw program operations for the artist labs and the world-renown Sundance Film Festival. She collaborated with a diverse array of funders and other entities in the private and public sector to build strategic partnerships and launch new initiatives. While at Sundance, Jill also established an international touring film program in collaboration with U.S. federal cultural agencies designed to build bridges between cultures through storytelling, and worked with organizations on the ground in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and South America to reach underserved communities.
Jill has advised on programs throughout the world, addressing issues with populations most in need including an initiative to reduce child malnutrition in rural India and a pilot program in southern Mali to increase the number of girls attending middle school. She has supported global gender equity research and has worked with Utah’s diverse refugee community in facilitating local integration.
She holds an MPH in Global Health from the University of Utah, an MBA in International Business from The American University, and a BA in International Relations from the University of Utah.
Program Coordinator, Girl Rising Nigeria
Maryam was born and brought up in Kano State Nigeria and holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Biochemistry from Bayero University Kano. Before joining Girl Rising, she was a project associate community action mobilizer with Discovery Learning Alliance where she led training, monitoring and mentoring of participants from outreach communities on the importance of girls' education.
Junior Art Director
Passionate about empowering women and girls, Sydney Banta works to make the Girl Rising brand identity as fierce at its mission. With over 5 years experience in graphic design, branding, marketing, and creative problem solving, Sydney has worked with various clients in the entertainment and beauty industries, as well as other non-profit organizations. Sydney currently assists in developing GR creative from our Los Angeles office.
Maryam Tafida Bello
Country Director, Girl Rising Nigeria
Maryam Tafida Bello leads the Girl Rising ENGAGE team in Kano, Nigeria. Maryam is passionate about the importance of girls’ education and gender equality. Born in Tarauni LGA of Kano Nigeria, she earned her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Business Administration and Management from Bayero University Kano. Maryam is a communications and public relations professional with an impressive track record in the telecom industry in northern Nigeria where she managed several dynamic campaigns. She is a seasoned manager and has worked successfully with a wide range of stakeholders, including trade partners, retailers and a 60 plus person sales team. As a recognized and trusted radio voice and personality, she served as the “communication bridge” between the community and the companies she represented. Maryam is a lover of nature and music with a big and hopeful heart. With a dauntless and unbreakable spirit, Maryam is passionate about making a difference. She is a wife and mother of four - two boys and two girls. She believes that in her own “little” way she can affect humanity positively. Maryam is excited about using her experiences in the corporate sector to advance a future in which all girls in northern Nigeria have the chance to go to school, stay in school, and become healthy, productive members of their communities.
Creative Content and Operations Coordinator
Cate Browning grew up in Kailua, a tiny beach town located on the beautiful island of Oahu. Like many who grew up in Hawai’i, Cate rode dolphins, surfed to school, and loves SPAM. She moved to the “mainland” to pursue a degree in Peace and Conflict Studies at Chapman University. After graduating, Cate was honored to join the Girl Rising team. She is in charge of coordinating creative content for Girl Rising and daily operations in the Los Angeles office.
Senior Development Manager
Reilly joined Girl Rising in 2015 with a passion for education and gender equality. Originally from Connecticut, she received her B.A. in Philosophy and Faith, Peace & Justice from Boston College. Her experiences include working at the nation’s first women’s homeless shelter and teaching at an after school program for Sudanese refugees. Reilly is currently leading business development initiatives at Girl Rising, helping to shape the organization’s growth and sustainability.
Country Director, Girl Rising India
As a trained lawyer, Nidhi brings an unwavering commitment to social justice in her role as the India Country Director for Girl Rising. With over 18 years of experience, she has brought together the art of storytelling and powerful advoacy to positively impact marginalized populations. Nidhi has worked with Lawyers Collective, Heroes Project - Richard Gere Foundation, Johns Hopkins University - Centre for Communications Program to fight discrimination against those living with HIV using advocacy strategies, mass media campaigns and the influence of celebrities. Most recently, Nidhi served as the Vice President of Global Health Strategies where she focused on improving access to new child health interventions through a confluence of advocacy and communications. In her spare time, Nidhi enjoys traveling and spending time with her daughter.
Colleen comes to Girl Rising with a lifelong interest in women’s issues. Since 2011, she has been a member of Planned Parenthood of New York City Action Fund’s Activist Council and currently co-chairs the Political Action Group (PAG). PAG supports PPNYC Votes' efforts to elect pro-choice candidates and pass pro-choice legislation in New York City and State.
Colleen received her B.A. from The New School, where she studied writing with a concentration in fiction and journalism. In her day-to-day role at Girl Rising, Colleen provides administrative support to the organization’s senior leadership and helps manage the educator program. She is thrilled to be part of the smart, creative, and passionate team that is changing the way the world sees the girl.
Strategic Adviser, Middle East
In addition to serving as Middle East Strategic Adviser for Girl Rising, Nicolla has served as an adviser to HRH The Prince of Wales for his “Turquoise Mountain” Foundation for the preservation of Islamic art and economic empowerment in Afghanistan; Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Unite; and the Vital Voices Global Partnership. She spent over 25 years as an award-winning US network news producer - working on programs such as “Today” and “60 Minutes” and producing interviews for ABC, CBS and NBC with Presidents, Heads of State, and high profile individuals. Miss Hewitt holds a BA in Broadcast Journalism from Pepperdine University, and was a media fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute. She served on the board of UN Women for Peace, and volunteers her time to Stand up to Cancer and the Entertainment Industry Foundation in the United States. She has lived in New York, London, Los Angeles, Jordan, and currently resides in Egypt.
Media & Communications Officer, Girl Rising India
Richa Hingorani has over 5 years of work experience with a Master’s degree in Development Studies from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. Beginning her career with a leading news channel NDTV, Richa soon became one of its youngest producers. Keen to work with marginalized communities directly, she made a switch to the nonprofit sector, and joined a civil society organization called Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), where she was tasked with the job of setting up its media and communications department and create robust communication models to spread awareness about women’s empowerment, and marginalized girls’ access to education. She progressed to join a start-up, Indus Action, wherein she built an expansive campaign to bridge information gap regarding a provision under Right to Education Act. For therapeutic unwinding, she likes to travel, write and spend time with friends and family.
Producer, Girl Rising India
Tess Joseph began her journey as a Casting Director (India) on Mira Nair’s ‘Namesake’ and went on to work with many international directors including Wes Anderson, Jeffrey Brown, Ang Lee, Doug Liman and mostly recently, Garth Davis’ LION where she found Sunny Pawar. This year she was honoured by the Academy Awards committee for outstanding contribution to a Best Picture Nominee. Tess is one of the co-producers on “Girl Rising,” and the lead producer of the India version of the film created with the support of some of the strongest actors of India cinema - Priyanka Chopra, Alia Bhatt, Parineeti, Kareena Kapoor, Nandita Das, Farhan Akhtar & Amitabh Bachchan among others. Alongside, she continues to run a program called CHILDWISE which believes that children have innate wisdom and potential which adults need to learn from. She is also Director of Kommune, a collaborative arts collective in India that funds and seeds ideas to actuality.
Program Associate, Girl Rising India
Prior to joining Girl Rising, Smriti worked as SAARC-SAIEVAC’s Program Support Manager India to the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) where she provided advocacy, technical support to the Government and represented the Bureau in several events. She has worked with UNICEF in varying capacities for issues related to Child Sexual Abuse in India; protection of children affected by HIV and/or AIDS among others. Passionate about gender sensitisation, Smriti has also taught a Seminar Course on ‘Law, Society and the Queer’ in National Law University, Delhi. She has also spearheaded initiatives to combat child sexual abuse through robust behaviour change communication and advocacy strategies. Her efforts pertaining to child rights were recognised and appreciated by the then President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. She holds a Masters Degree in Law with a specialization in Human Rights from National Law School of India University, Bangalore. She is trained in Indian Kathak dance, loves to sing and is also an ardent street photographer.
Senior Manager, Communications and Community Engagement
Lauren joins Girl Rising with a passion for storytelling, education and social change and a deep interest in international affairs. She leads Girl Rising’s community engagement initiatives - building online and offline communities to inspire change for girls. She has researched and reported across four continents and pursued projects including curriculum development for students, implementing grassroots economic justice campaigns, content production on post-conflict reconstruction and digital storytelling for an education and service learning non-profit. She holds a degree from Northwestern University and a passion for mentorship, hashtags and compelling narratives and is thrilled to be part of a growing movement for girls' empowerment.
Administrative Manager, Girl Rising India
Deepak, a seasoned professional, has over 15 years of work experience in successful delivery of Administrative Solutions, Policy Development, and Procurement Procedures. His key strength lies in building communications with key stakeholders, vendors and technical staff for effective delivery of processes. Prior to joining Girl Rising, Deepak worked with various international organizations including USAID supported projects in India HIV/AIDS Alliance, MCHIP and FHI360, focusing on Operations and Procurement. He holds a Masters in Human Resource Development. In his spare time, Deepak enjoys traveling, photography, sketching, writing poetry and singing