Chief executive officer
Christina is passionate about narrative storytelling as an engine of social awareness. In 2009, she helped found Girl Rising, serving as its Managing Director and in 2017 led its transition from a film production company to a non-profit. Christina is responsible for the strategy and execution of Girl Rising’s expanding work around the globe including the production of new films and other media, implementation of GR’s on the ground programs and ongoing engagement with public and private sector partners, foundations, media partners, educators, and grassroots supporters. Her passion for storytelling is founded upon decades of experience in documentary film and television, having contributed to and/or produced films for CNN, ABC, Bill Moyers, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, 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, an award-winning storyteller who produced the film Girl Rising, continues to produce stories to fuel girls' empowerment around the world. Most recently she traveled with Girl Rising Ambassador Meryl Streep 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.”
Chief Development Officer
For over 15 years, Catherine has worked to support social justice causes. She currently oversees Girl Rising’s fundraising efforts. Most recently, she served as the Director of External Affairs for Learning Leaders, a NYC public school family engagement organization. Previously, Catherine was the Director of Development for Equality Now, an international women’s rights organization. Prior development positions include: Helen Keller International, Columbia University Medical Center, and the San Francisco Boys & Girls Club. Catherine holds an M.A. in Modern European Studies from Columbia University and a B.A. in English from the University of Vermont. She currently resides with her family in NYC.
Kayce Freed Jennings
Senior Producer/Director, Girl Rising Educators
Kayce has been with Girl Rising since its inception as part of The Documentary Group, which she co-founded. Before that she was a producer for ABC News, covering international and national news while based in London, Atlanta and New York. She produced for virtually every ABC News broadcast and was on the staffs of Nightline, World News Tonight and 20/20. Kayce currently serves on the board of Win, NYC’s largest provider of shelter to homeless families, and the advisory boards of SOLA - School of Leadership, Afghanistan, the Jimbere Fund, and the Bridgehampton Child Care Center. She’s a graduate of Brown University and studied government at the London School of Economics.
Chief program and administrativE Officer
Jill is leading Girl Rising’s transition to a nonprofit 501c3 and advises on organizational strategy and structure. For over a decade, Jill was Managing Director of the Sundance Institute, where she spearheaded strategic planning, communications and branding efforts, led the development of new programs and revenue-generation, and oversaw program operations for the artist labs and the Sundance Film Festival. Jill has advised on programs throughout the world, including initiatives to reduce child malnutrition in India and to increase the number of girls attending middle school in Mali. 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.
Girl Rising India
As a trained lawyer, Nidhi brings an unwavering commitment to social justice in her role with Girl Rising. With nearly 20 years of experience, she has brought together the art of storytelling and powerful advocacy to positively impact marginalized populations. Nidhi has worked with Lawyers Collective, Heroes Project - Richard Gere Foundation, and 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 advocacy and communications. In her spare time, Nidhi enjoys traveling and spending time with her daughter.
Senior Project Manager
Lauren joins Girl Rising with a passion for storytelling, mentorship, education, and international affairs. At Girl Rising, she has built both online and offline communities to inspire change for girls – most recently focused on GR's international programming and partner engagement. 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 in journalism from Northwestern University and is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Policy at the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy, where she is a Fellow with the Pearson Institute for the Study and Resolution of Global Conflict.
Guatemala Country Manager
María José Aldana Asturias (Majo) is a Guatemalan, applied anthropologist, passionate about sexual and reproductive health. Most of her career, she has been an independent consultant, working for different local and grassroots organizations, international NGO’s and for government institutions, in health and education issues. She began working in public health with WASH and child health, transitioning into maternal health, and then landing on sexual and reproductive rights and health with women, youth and members of the LGBTQIA community. She studied International Development and Global Health at the Korbel School of International Studies and has worked in Guatemala and abroad in the United States, Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, and India, both in rural and urban contexts, doing applied research. She enjoys building relationships with people and finding better ways of working together to build more and more spaces where people can access their rights and empower themselves.
Media & Communications Officer
Girl Rising India
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 set up its media and communications department and create robust communication models to spread awareness about women’s empowerment and girls’ access to education. She progressed to join a start-up, Indus Action, where she built an expansive campaign to bridge information gaps regarding a provision under Right to Education Act. She holds a Masters in Development Studies from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies.
Finance and Administration Manager
Cristina's experience includes working for over 6 years at Pro Mujer, a women's development, health and Microfinance nonprofit that provides its clients with a set of integrated services. Her latest position was as Finance and Grants Manager. Previously, she had worked as a Business Development Trainee at Citibank. She has also served as a PTA Treasurer at P.S. 89 in New York City. Cristina holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Universidad Federico Santa Maria and a Master in Marketing from Universidad Pontificia Comillas, ICADE. She is also fluent in Spanish and lives in New York City with her husband and two daughters.
Co-Director, Girl Rising-Global Education Fund
Kathy has been working in the field of International Education and Development for over 30 years. She currently works as Co-Director of the Girl Rising-Global Education Fund, a venture philanthropy fund. Previously she was the Executive Director of Global Education Fund (GEF) which provided small grants to local NGOs focused on quality learning in Guatemala, Kenya and India. Before that, Kathy worked with the Aga Khan Foundation’s Education Program across 15 countries as Co-Director of Education. She currently is on the board for TeachUNITED, an NGO improving quality of teaching and learning in rural schools. She has authored and co-authored a range of articles and reports related to education and early childhood development. She has a Master’s and Ph.D in Education from the University of Iowa.
Khuzama Rizwan Khan
Khuzama holds over fourteen years of experience working in the development sector in and outside of Pakistan on issues related to child protection, development education and women's economic empowerment. Program management and partnerships development are her greatest strengths that have helped her design and deliver various programs in development and humanitarian settings. She identifies as a trainer, a feminist, and a child rights activist. During her professional career, she has trained many teachers on life skills based education, positive disciplining, pedagogical skills and para-counseling skills. Her extensive work with educational institutions allowed her to successfully manage the implementation of Girl Rising's pilot program in Pakistan in 2018 as an in-country consultant. She holds a Master of Psychology from the University of Punjab, Pakistan and an MA in Development Studies from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Khuzama is a food-lover and a nature enthusiast: two traits that bring her peace and motivate her to work towards achieving an equitable world where all people can sleep on a full stomach and hold respect in their hearts for nature and life.
Annie came to Girl Rising with a background in film production and human rights. After earning a dual bachelor’s degrees in Creative Producing and Political Science from Chapman University, Annie went on to teach English in Thailand where she developed a passion for girl’s education. She went on to pursue her master’s in Global Affairs at Columbia University, emphasizing in documentary and its role in human rights activism. Annie then joined Girl Rising to align her interests and support the creative team. She acts as the coordinator for the Los Angeles office, assisting in the film and campaign development, administration, and partnership management.
Anahid has nearly 20 years of administrative experience in a variety of industries ranging from education and travel to entertainment and technology. She’s served on the board of a women’s shelter, been a Big Sister and STEM presenter for middle school girls, volunteered for several food pantries, and has been a hotline foster home. Anahid holds a BA in Communications from Michigan State University and lives in western Massachusetts with her husband and two children.