The CAG’s Steering Committee guides the coalition’s activities and objectives. Each member donates their time and expertise in an effort to build a safer, healthier world for adolescent girls.
Julia Fan, Co-Chair
Julia is the Knowledge and Program Manager at WomenStrong International, where she works to share knowledge of what works in the women’s empowerment and international development community by convening WomenStrong’s Learning Lab. The Learning Lab brings together local, women-led organizations develop, test, sharpen, and share their solutions, which focus on girls’ education and empowerment, women’s health, violence prevention, and economic opportunity. She is also the co-founder of SAFER: NYC, a non-profit dedicated to engaging men in the movement to end street harassment. Julia has worked at Human Rights in China, the Clinton Foundation, UNFPA (Beijing), and The Hunger Project. Fluent in Mandarin, she studied Chinese Women’s Political Empowerment on a Fulbright Fellowship.
Julia has a Master in Public Administration, focusing on gender and development, from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chinese and International Studies from Vassar College. She is based in New York City.
Karen Scriven, Co-Chair
Gender equality and social inclusion are important areas of Karen’s work and focus, ensuring that feminist principles of understanding and sharing power, honoring agency and the autonomy of every individual and encouraging diversity are core to any program or operational process she is engaged in. Karen has been working on adolescent girl programming, thought leadership, fundraising, organizational change processes and partnership development for the past 25+ years and am passionate about giving young women and girls the resources to lead and manage their own initiatives, tackling harmful norms that perpetuate inequality, and building the evidence around what works to build their resilience at the individual, household and community levels. She has spent 18 years with Mercy Corps over the past two decades or so and also worked with Plan International USA, Save the Children and InterAction. Karen holds a Masters degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland College Park and a bachelor’s degree in Eastern European Politics from Wheaton College in MA. Karen lives in Rhode Island.
Tara Abularrage, Coordinator
Tara is a senior at Barnard College, Columbia University double majoring in Sociology and Human Rights and minoring in Spanish and Latin American Cultures. She is also part of the Athena Scholars Program through Barnard’s Athena Center for Leadership Studies. Tara’s research experience includes: interning with the Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy; working as a research and writing assistant to Dr. Corinne Kirchner at Columbia’s Institute for Social and Economic Reasoning; conducting public health research through the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at the University of Granada; and participating in the Historical Memory Fellowship Program through the Consortium for Advanced Studies Abroad (CASA) during her semester in Granada, Spain. Tara also works as a peer tutor through Barnard’s Academic Assistance Program where she provides supplementary academic instruction and support to fellow undergraduates in Spanish language classes. In addition to her work with the CAG, Tara is also collaborating with the Adolescent Girls Investment Plan (AGIP) on an evidence review project promoting adolescent girls’ health and well-being in low-resource settings in the era of COVID-19.
Christina Misunas, Research Lead
Christina is a staff associate with the Poverty, Gender and Youth (PGY) program as well as the Population Council’s Girl Innovation, Research and Learning (GIRL) Center. Her current research is focused on child marriage, adolescent childbearing, women’s economic empowerment, intimate partner violence and the measurement of social norms. She also serves as the point person for the GIRL Center’s Adolescent Data Hub, the largest catalog of open access data sources on adolescents living in low and middle-income countries. Before joining the Council, she served as a statistics officer in UNICEF’s Data Analysis Unit where she focused on a range of issues related to child protection and adolescents. She has also worked as a research consultant for Columbia University’s Care and Protection of Children (CPC) Learning Network and the Malawi Epidemiology and Intervention Research Unit. Prior to working in research, Christina spent several years in Washington, DC working on advocacy and programming related to women and girls with Marie Stopes International-US and the Open Society Foundations. Christina earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from American University and received her Master of Science in Demography from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Aissata Sall, Networking Lead
Aissata is a multilingual professional who has devoted her career to young people, adolescent girls, and women. She is currently the Program Director for Adolescent Girls’ Rights at the Global Fund for Women. She brings extensive experience in program/project management and her areas of technical expertise include adolescent girls programming, gender-based violence (GBV)/violence against women and girls (VAWG), advocacy, and movement building. Prior to joining Global Fund for Women, Aissata was the Women and Girls’ Protection and Empowerment Program Coordinator with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Sierra Leone. Prior to that, Aissata worked for Girl Hub as an Associate Manager/Adolescent Girls Specialist, for Population Services International (PSI) and for the Ministry of Youth of the Government of Rwanda. Aissata holds an M.Sc. in Project Management and a BA in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from the University of Quebec in Canada as well as a BA in International Business from Kedge Business School in France. She has lived and worked in multi-cultural settings in Europe, North America, and East and West Africa. In this role Aissata hopes to bring on board other feminist social justice funders and girl-centered grassroots groups seeking to deepen their support to and for adolescent girls. Most importantly, Aissata hopes for more girl-led grassroots groups to join the coalition and bring the voice of adolescent girls to the CAG.
Martha Brady, Program Lead
Martha Brady is the Director of Sexual and Reproductive Health at PATH, where she leads a global program aimed at improving sexual and reproductive health by harnessing the power of innovation. Ms. Brady has extensive experience working along the value chain from product development to health system integration of contraceptive, cervical cancer, HIV, and multi-purpose prevention technologies. Her current work focusses on the power of self-care practices for women and girls.
In a career spanning more than two decades, Ms. Brady has worked with NGOs, governments, multilaterals, and donors to design and evaluate programs aimed at improving the health and well-being of women and girls globally. Prior to joining PATH in 2017, Ms. Brady was Senior Associate at the Population Council where her work focused on the intersection of poverty, gender, and youth. Martha led pioneering work on girls and sports, developing the first-of-its kind programs in low income settings. She also co-led a global implementation science research program on adolescent girls. Martha has published and presented widely, and is co-author of Investing When it Counts: Reviewing the Evidence and Charting a Course of Research and Action for Young Adolescents.
Ms. Brady holds a master’s degree in nutrition and public health from Columbia University.
Sophie Soares, Secretary
Sophie Soares is a dedicated girls’ rights advocate who focuses, in her work, how to utilize evidence-based tools and best practices to innovate and establish girl-centered programming on the ground globally, particularly around girls’ education, health, and economic justice. She serves, among her other roles, as a Staff Associate at the Population Council where she co-leads the Council’s Adolescent Girls’ Programming Community of Practice, building the capacity of a wide portfolio of partners who are bringing thoughtful programs to scale among the hardest-to-reach populations. Her work extends to sub-Saharan and West Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia. Sophie is also committed to girls’ health, literacy, and advanced education in low-income communities of New York City.
Concepcion Gaxiola, Treasurer
Concepcion is Advancing Girls’ Education in Africa’s (AGE Africa) Executive Director, where she is responsible for leading AGE Africa’s vision, mission, strategy, and fundraising efforts. Concepcion brings over twenty years of combined private and nonprofit administrative experience, both domestically and internationally. Her passion for girls’ education stems from her grandfather’s refusal to pay for her mother’s education beyond the sixth grade and her grandmother, who was orphaned and unable to attend school. Prior to joining AGE Africa, Concepcion served as Women Thrive Worldwide’s Director of Development and as Director of Organizational Advancement at United to End Genocide. In a previous life, Concepcion worked at Troxler and Associates, Inc., a private real estate finance firm in Southern California.
Emily Heimsoth, Policy Lead
Emily is the Gender Policy and Advocacy Specialist at Save the Children US, where she develops and executes advocacy strategies to advance gender equality in childhood and empower girls globally. She helps drive efforts to make U.S. Government foreign assistance more responsive and accountable to girls, and lobbies for legislation on girls’ civic and political leadership. She also project manages a multi-country advocacy initiative on investing in girls and ending child marriage, which leverages the Generation Equality process and UN forums to push for financial and policy commitments to girls. As part of this work, she coordinates the participation of adolescent girls in policy spaces so that they can speak directly to policymakers and share their perspectives. Prior to her role at Save the Children, Emily supported a network of feminist grassroots organizations in the Global South at the Women’s Learning Partnership, and completed a fellowship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with the All Women’s Action Society, a non-profit organization that does advocacy on GBV issues and provides services for survivors. Before that, Emily was a teacher in Spain and in Taiwan. She holds a master’s degree in International Affairs with concentrations in Global Gender Policy and International Security Issues from George Washington University, and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Spanish from the University of Maryland College Park. Emily is based in Washington D.C.