Meet Our Advisory Council
HEAD OF IMPACT, THE METEOR, USA
Tara began her work in girls’ education and women’s empowerment as the president and deputy director of Girl Rising. Prior to her current job at The Meteor, Tara served as a managing director at Arabella Advisors, as interim managing director of VOW, an initiative working to end child marriage around the world, and as executive director of The Girl Project at Glamour. Tara is also the board chair at She’s The First, a global girls’ rights organization that reaches 150,000 girls around the world every year. Tara served as founding director of the Maverick Capital Foundation, as a strategy consultant at The Bridgespan Group, and as a managing director at Acelero Learning. She has advised a variety of leading girls- and women-focused initiatives, from Girls Who Code and International Center for Research on Women to The Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance.
EDUCATION EQUITY ADVOCATE, US
Dr. Bartlett led and worked with International Education and Development programs for over 35 years. She was the Director of a $1 million venture philanthropy fund under Girl Rising. The fund supported ‘early stage’ NGOs in India, Kenya, and Guatemala focused on gender/girls’ education and improving the quality of learning including through leadership and life skills training. Prior to Girl Rising, she was the Executive Director of Global Education Fund (GEF) and oversaw the implementation of a similar pilot Innovation Fund that worked with education entrepreneurs and their organizations in Guatemala, Kenya, and India. Kathy worked with the Aga Khan Foundation for 20 years managing and leading their Education portfolio where she provided strategic, technical, and mentoring support to 13 AKF country offices and education programs in Africa, South and Central Asia, the Middle East, and Portugal. The education program grew from ~3 million to over $30 million during her time with AKF. She has served on the Board of Directors for TeachUnited and other education-related programs. Previously, she served as Co-Director and Board member of the international Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development.
PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER,
Shabana Basij-Rasikh is the co-founder and president of the School of Leadership, Afghanistan (SOLA), a nonprofit organisation dedicated to giving young Afghan women access to quality education in Afghanistan and abroad. Born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan, she completed high school in the U.S. through the State Department’s Youth Exchange Studies program. She went on to attend Middlebury College in Vermont, graduating magna cum laude in International Studies and Women & Gender Studies in 2011. Shabana was named one of CNN International's Leading Women of 2014 and one of National Geographic's 2014 Emerging Explorers. In 2018, Shabana was awarded the Malalai Medal, one of Afghanistan's highest national honors, for her work in promoting girls' access to education. In 2019, she was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list in the social entrepreneurship sector.
Angel Del Valle
GUATEMALA COUNTRY REPRESENTATIVE,POPULATION COUNCIL, GUATEMALA
Angel del Valle is the country representative of the Population Council’s Guatemala office and senior research officer. He joined the Council in 2010 as the monitoring and evaluation specialist for the Abriendo Oportunidades program, focused on improving the lives of indigenous girls in Guatemala. Del Valle specializes in anthropological approaches to social research and has led experimental and qualitative evaluations of programs designed to empower girls in Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, El Salvador and Mexico. del Valle holds a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and a Master of Arts in Social Sciences from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, where he teaches courses on qualitative and participatory methods in social research.
Kayce Freed Jennings
SENIOR ADVISORY & DIRECTOR OF THE US EDUCATOR PROGRAM
Kayce developed Girl Rising’s US Educator program and was until recently its director. She had been with Girl Rising since the organization’s inception as part of The Documentary Group, which she co-founded. Before that Kayce 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. She serves on the boards of Win, NYC’s largest provider of shelter to homeless families, and SOLA - School of Leadership, Afghanistan, and is on the advisory board of the Bridgehampton Child Care Center.
NONRESIDENT FELLOW, CENTER FOR UNIVERSAL EDUCATION, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION, US
Christina is a social scientist with a current interdisciplinary focus on education for climate action. She is an expert on girls’ education in developing countries, 21st century skills and youth empowerment, sport for development, and the intersections of gender, education, and climate change. Christina is a co-author (with Gene Sperling and Rebecca Winthrop) of "What Works in Girls’ Education: Evidence for the World’s Best Investment," and has published numerous policy papers and academic articles on topics in climate change education, gender, health, and international development and education. She previously led the Echidna Global Scholars Program at Brookings.
ACTOR, PRODUCER, US
David Oyelowo is a critically acclaimed actor and producer. Oyelowo rose to prominence for portraying Martin Luther King Jr. in the biographical drama film Selma (2014) and Peter Snowdin in the HBO film Nightingale (2014), both of which garnered him critical acclaim. He also achieved praise for his roles as Louis Gaines in The Butler (2013), which earned him a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, Seretse Khama in A United Kingdom (2016) and Robert Katende in Queen of Katwe (2016). His accolades include a Critics' Choice Award, two Golden Globe Award nominations, and two Primetime Emmy Award nominations. In 2016, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to drama.
CO-FOUNDER, SYDNEY TEDONE MEMORIAL FUND, US
An activist for girls’ education and gender equality, Dana has worked with Girl Rising since 2017. Her efforts led to the release of the fifth edition of the Girl Rising film, with updates to the vital statistics included and new information about the girls featured; that version of the film is still being used globally. Continuing the work of her daughter, Sydney, a fierce advocate for girls’ education who passed away at the age of eighteen, Dana was instrumental in creating and growing the Sydney Tedone Memorial Fund, which supports Girl Rising’s partners in India, Kenya, and Guatemala and provides invaluable resources that give girls around the world the chance to go to school, complete their education, and define their own destiny. In addition to her work with Girl Rising, Dana is also a cofounder of Team Tedone, a network of women that works with the Canadian Harambee Education Society to support girls’ education on the ground in Kenya. Prior to her involvement with Girl Rising, Dana had a successful career in media, working in senior positions across various platforms at Disney ABC and NBCUniversal.
2021 FUTURE RISING FELLOW
Ayomide Solanke is a graphic artist and activist based in Lagos, Nigeria; her comic books and blog are focused on the intercessions between climate change and gender-based violence. The target of her comic books is to inform, educate and help girls at risk; her recent novel ‘Heroes of Hope’ is sponsored by Girl rising and features the journey of girls locked in practices of child marriage; other stories explore the issues of kidnapping in schools and domestic violence against girls. She has spoken on platforms such as NGO CSW, COP26 and BIG series, relating to her work as an artist and the opportunity to educate funding organisations of pressure points for the girl child within the Nigerian society.
SEQUOIA CAPITAL, INDIA
Rajan Anandan is an Indian businessman, who served as the Vice President of Google India. His took up the role of Managing Director of Google across India and South East Asia in August, 2011. He co-founded the first seed fund of Sri Lanka. Currently, he serves as the Managing Director of Sequoia Capital India. Prior to all these, he also held leadership roles with the well known firms Microsoft and Dell. Rajan was also a partner with McKinsey & Co. He is also an Angel Investor in early stage startups.
YOUNG ACTIVIST, US
Maya Angulo is a human rights and gender equality advocate based in Washington, DC. She was the Lead Student Coordinator for the 2019 UN Week of Gender, Sexuality & Collective Action at Occidental College, where received her BA in Diplomacy & World Affairs, with a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies. During her role as the Student Coordinator, Maya exhibited a first of its kind, student-centered photo project, “TAKING UP SPACE: A Photo Collection Celebrating Resiliency," highlighting over 50 women/queer community members on the Occidental College campus. Prior to her new role as the Communications Support Officer at the British Embassy Washington, she served as a member of the CHANGE-LA Gender Equity Task Force at the Los Angeles Mayor's Office of Public Engagement.
SR. ASSOCIATE & POLICY ANALYST,POPULATION COUNCIL, US
Through policy analysis, evidence-based intervention design, advocacy, and capacity building, Bruce has changed the way the world thinks about quality of care from the client’s perspective and about the power and potential of the poorest, most excluded girls. Bruce leads the Council’s efforts to develop programs that protect the health and well-being and expand the opportunities of the poorest adolescent girls in the poorest communities. The programs often include social support, mentoring, and meaningful educational opportunities including financial literacy, livelihoods skills and savings, and health information and access. Her work engages grassroots organizations, governments, nongovernmental organizations, and donors in a multi-country effort to place adolescent girls at the center of the global health and development agenda.
PRESIDENT, NASSCOM, INDIA
Debjani Ghosh is the President of the National Association of Software & Services Companies (NASSCOM) since April 2018. A veteran of the technology industry, she is the fifth president of NASSCOM and the first women at the helm in three-decade history.
She is a firm believer in the power of technology in enhancing lives and livelihoods, leveraging it for societal good. She was instrumental in developing ‘Think Digital, Think India’ strategy aimed at establishing India as a hub for digital talent and innovation. Debjani strongly believes technology will have the most impact on humankind when it’s used as an enabler of inclusive growth and that India must lead in the digital era with focus on the responsible build and use of tech as an accelerator and equalizer.
DR. Winnie Kiiru
ELEPHANT PROTECTION INITIATIVE FOUNDATION, AFRICAN ELEPHANT SPECIALIST GROUP, KENYA
Dr. Winnie Kiiru is a Senior Technical Adviser to the Elephant Protection Initiative Foundation (EPIF). Dr. Kiiru holds a PhD in Biodiversity Management with a focus on elephant conservation and management. Dr. Kiiru is a member of the African Elephant Specialist Group. Winnie is a Trustee of the Kenya Wildlife Research Training Institute and the Amboseli Trust for Elephants. She is a founder member of Women for the Environment, Africa (WE Africa).
FOUNDER & CEO, SHOFCO, KENYA
Kennedy is one of Africa’s best- known community organizers and social entrepreneurs. Kennedy lived for twenty- three of his thirty-three years in the Kibera Slum, the largest slum in Africa, where he experienced the devastating realities of life in extreme poverty first hand. The oldest of eight children, he became a street-child at the age of ten. Still, he dreamed about changing his community. In 2004 he had a job in a factory earning $1 for ten hours of work. He saved 20 cents and used this to buy a soccer ball and start Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO). Kennedy received a full scholarship to Wesleyan University, becoming one of Kibera’s first to receive an education from an American liberal arts institution. In 2010, he was awarded the Echoing Green Fellowship and was named to FORBES “30 under 30 lists” for top Social Entrepreneurs in 2014. He is also a New York Times Bestselling co-author of the book Find Me Unafraid: Love, Loss, and Hope in African Slum, which he wrote with his wife and business partner, Jessica.
Tsehaitu ‘Tubi’ Retta
DEPUTY DIRECTOR, GIRLS’ OPPORTUNITY ALLIANCE, US
Tubi is Deputy Director of the Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance, former First Lady Michelle Obama’s program to empower adolescent girls around the world. Previously, Tubi served as Associate Policy Director in the Office of the First Lady at the White House where she helped to lead Let Girls Learn. Prior to joining the Obama Foundation, Tubi served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of State, where she advised on gender equity and inclusion policy. Tubi is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law. She currently resides in Washington, DC with her husband and son.
PRESIDENT, THEGUARDIAN.ORG, EVP, PHILANTHROPIC & STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS, THE GUARDIAN
Prior to joining the Guardian, she served as executive vice president and interim president of the Washington D.C.-based, journalism-centered think tank New America Foundation. Working across media, policy, government, the private sector, and philanthropy, she led the organization in advancing new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States, and launched New America NYC and New America Live. From 1995 to 2005, Rachel worked for the World Wildlife Fund where she launched programs in San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Houston, and played a central and lead role on the Living Planet Campaign.