Sami Carroll, Colorado Outreach Manager Since she was very young, Sami has proclaimed that she would be good at two things – Being a Mom and being an actress. One out of two isn’t too bad. Women’s and girls advocacy has always been a part of Sami’s volunteer life, with marketing consulting as her professional focus. Sami now happily brings both passions together in her role with GLI. Sami holds a BS in Education from Northern Arizona University and includes Pittsburgh as one of her most favorite places that she has lived. Pittsburgh didn’t hold quite the same appeal as Colorado did when Sami and her family fulfilled a dream and moved west in 2008. Sami’s daughters are both GLI Alum and her son and husband are GLI practitioners by proxy. In her "spare" time, Sami loves road biking, running, swimming, yoga and volunteering at her kids’ school.
Alana Garcia, Administrative Associate Alana has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years, and graduated in May 2011 from San Francisco State University Cum Laude with a B.A. in English Literature. Prior to joining the GLI team, Alana worked at two libraries and volunteered at the Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek for over four years. She has a passion for being involved with organizations which inspire and educate the public, and is thrilled to have celebrated her one year anniversary with GLI in April. Alana currently resides in Oakland, and in her free time loves to cook, read, run around Lake Merritt, and explore the Bay Area.
Osy Harrison, New York Outreach Manager Osy Harrison spent the first part of her career in Financial Services, primarily focused on global operational risk sales, marketing, and project management for large corporate accounts. After spending fifteen years in Finance, Osy shifted her focus to the not-for-profit world where she worked part-time as the Business Manager for iRobinHood, Inc., an internet company whose mission is to create the world’s largest online giving community. Most recently, Osy focused her energy on volunteering at her daughters’ school in various leadership capacities, and introduced GLI’s programs to the parent body. She is proud to bring GLI’s mission to “inspire girls to be true to themselves” not only to her school, but to New York City’s parent community. In her free time, Osy enjoys biking, weight training, reading and spending time with her family and friends. Osy is married and lives with her husband and three children in New York City. She holds an M.B.A from Fordham Graduate School and a B.A. from the University of Miami.
Amie Herman, New Jersey Outreach Manager Amie Herman has spent much of her 20 year career in marketing and organizational development. After beginning her career in international banking, she founded her own independent consultancy practice working with a diverse group of corporate clients, with a focus on creating and facilitating training to address organizational change management challenges, build leadership communication skills, and improve employee effectiveness. Amie is also a professional potter and ceramic artist. She has merged her passion for visual art and her skills as a teacher by instructing world art to grade school children in her community. Amie is a single mother of two daughters -- an elementary school student, Hannah, and a high school student, Emily, who give her inspiration and make her laugh every day. Amie holds Bachelor’s Degree in East Asian Studies from the University of Virginia.
Kiku Johnson, Director of Programs Kiku has 20+ years of nonprofit experience with a youth development approach model rooted from her past work with the High/Scope Education Research Foundation. Sixteen of these years have been centered with girls! She is a dynamic facilitator and educator with a strong passion for working with girls and young women to build their confidence, capacity and persistence in learning and life. Studying drawing and photography at the University of Michigan, Kiku developed a love for inspiring youth through project-based learning from Michigan to Massachusetts, Maine, West Virginia and California. She brings a diverse background in grant writing, program development and curriculum design and implementation. Previously, she invested eight years managing STEM (science, tech, engineering & math) focused college and career preparation programs for middle and high school girls with Girls Incorporated of Alameda County. Though the Bay Area of Northern California is home to Kiku and her partner today, her soul is of Midwest roots hailing from Michigan. Additionally, she has a flair for "hands on" and "minds on" creative expression having built houses and loves stained glass and mosaics.
Kendra Kelsey, Communications Intern Kendra is a born-and-raised California girl and has lived in the beautiful Bay Area for the past 12 years. She is currently studying at San Francisco State University where she is pursuing a Bachelors degree in Cinema with an emphasis in Media and Culture. During her studies and previous internships, Kendra gained experience in the areas of marketing, communications, and social media; she is thrilled to be a part of the GLI team where she can use those skills to educate and empower girls! Kendra is also an artist, mainly focusing on portraiture. In her spare time, she loves singing, cooking, baking, and reading.
JenMarie Landig, Director of Operations and Finance Jennifer Marie (JenMarie) holds a Master’s in Global Affairs from New York University, and a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley. JenMarie’s passion lies in using her business skills for social good. Post graduation she worked in Spain and France in women’s development and international education. After nearly two years in Europe, JenMarie joined the team at a cultural exchange organization in San Francisco, until she moved to New York to study Global Affairs. While at NYU, JenMarie evaluated European Union funding for women’s empowerment projects in Turkey, and her article was published in Women’s Studies International Forum. Prior to joining the Girls Leadership Institute she consulted at the United Nations Population Fund in New York, and is now thrilled to be back in her native California.
Julia Loonin, Camp Director and Educator Julia joined GLI in 2008 and has since worn many hats in the organization, starting at summer camp as the Director of Recreation and Health, to a Teaching Counselor and Co-Director, and now as Camp Director! Before her work at GLI she was the Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach at Wellesley College and also worked as program assistant for Tenacity Inc., a youth development organization whose mission is to build resiliency and life-skills in inner city youth. Julia graduated from Bowdoin College where she received the President Award and was a Sarah and James Bowdoin scholar. She is from New York, and after stints in California and Colorado, she has returned to live in Brooklyn, NY.
Simone Marean, Co-Founder and Executive Director Simone taught GLI programs and presented on girls across the country and internationally, including the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls and the American School in Dubai. Simone has a Masters degree in Educational Theatre from NYU and taught at many New York City schools including The Young Women’s Leadership School, and The Brearley School. She has appeared on the Today Show and KQED’s Forum. Simone sits on the board of directors of the Julia Morgan School for Girls in Oakland. Simone grew up on the north shore of Boston and graduated from Bryn Mawr College Magna Cum Laude. She now lives in Berkeley, CA.
Adriana Solís López, Director of Development Adriana is originally from South East Los Angeles and relocated to the Bay Area to complete her B.A. in History focusing on Latin America at the University of California, Berkeley. She has over ten years of for-profit and public service experience in the areas of project management, administration, development and communications, and is also trained in conflict resolution and community mediation. She is passionate about leadership development and is proud to be part of a team that focuses on empowering girls. At GLI, Adriana will manage resource development for the organization and work with various stakeholders to strengthen the organization’s reach. In her spare time, she enjoys the natural beauty of the Bay Area, engages with local and international organizations, and spends time with her family.
Olivia Tang-Kong, Communications Intern After growing up in the South Bay, Olivia made the incredibly brief journey to Berkeley, CA to pursue her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently aiming to complete a double major in Business Administration and Media Studies, with an eye on a career in Marketing. After taking active roles in community service organizations on campus, Olivia realized that her passions for marketing and social media were best paired with groups which promoted education and empowerment - which led her straight to Girls Leadership Institute! In her free time, Olivia enjoys digital photography, baking, and adventuring in the city.
Carolyn Uno (Tigris), Staff Accountant Tigris comes to GLI with a varied background in publishing, arts, public relations, marketing, and accounting. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of California, Berkeley, earned a certificate from New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute, and ran her own business in production management and copyediting for a dozen years. Tigris is a dancer, musician, writer, and ritualist. Her passion is authentic embodiment and self-knowledge through movement. She is a certified teacher on the staff of Core Connexion transformational arts—a practice that incorporates elements of dance, visual art, somatic psychology, and meditation—and a core member of Spark Collective, a community that facilitates transformational rituals fueled by improvisations in drumming, movement, song, and spoken word. Her love of the arts and other cultures has led her to study Arabic language, dances and music of the Middle East and Central Asia, Balinese gamelan, classical piano, Antero Alli’s paratheatre, eclectic spiritual practices, and graphic design. Her favored indulgences include improvisation, long conversations, bookstore sojourns, hiking, chocolate, loud Neil Young music, and dreams of being an awesome surfer.
Marissa Viray, California Outreach Manager Marissa joins GLI with over 12 years of experience in marketing and advertising across public and corporate accounts. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration & Marketing from San Francisco State University. Marissa began her career at Y&R Advertising, where she worked on everything from technology to tourism to healthcare. As a Senior Strategist she discovered her passion for building socially responsible brands and cause-related marketing campaigns. One of her greatest accomplishments was launching the “Fuel Your School” pilot program to further K-12 education in Alameda & Contra Costa County. This campaign went on to raise nearly $5 million in school supplies for STEM programs across the U.S. and proved that businesses and nonprofits can share value and values. In 2010, Marissa began consulting for organizations that focus on youth education and gender equality. She was an active Board Member for the Tall Ship Education Academy, helping high school girls build their leadership skills and earn credits on semesters-at-sea. Most recently she was the Marketing & Development Associate for a nonprofit that empowers adolescent girls through outdoor adventure. Marissa is thrilled to be a part of the GLI family and to continue her work empowering girls. Outside of the office, this San Francisco native can be found tending to her community garden, backpacking in the mountains, or sailing on the Bay.
Photography courtesy of Kathleen Mason, kathleenmasonphotography.zenfolio.com.