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 (she/her) currently serves as the Co-Chair of the Coalition for Adolescent Girls (CAG), where she directs the organization’s strategy, serves as a spokesperson, and leads a Steering Committee who oversee the work of the Coalition. Under her leadership, the CAG has developed an ambitious strategic plan, elected an expert leadership team, recruited new members from the Global South, and advanced its financial sustainability.
Julia Fan also serves as the Senior Manager for Youth Engagement at Women Deliver. She is an advocate for gender equality and human rights, with a focus on the meaningful engagement of girls and young people. She believes in bringing together leaders and organizations across borders, sectors, languages, and identities to create transformative solutions to advance gender and racial justice. She approaches her work from a feminist, rights-based lens, and centers the experience and knowledge of those most impacted by an issue.
Prior to joining Women Deliver, Julia designed, launched, and managed WomenStrong International’s Learning Lab, a knowledge-sharing community of local, women-led organizations working to improve the lives of women and girls. Earlier in her career, Julia worked at Human Rights in China, the Clinton Foundation, UNFPA (Beijing), and The Hunger Project. Julia holds a Masters in Public Administration with a focus on gender and development from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies from Vassar College. She is fluent in English and Mandarin, and is conversational in French.
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.
Maria Antonia Deziderio, Coordinator
Maria Antonia Deziderio (she/her) is an afro latina from Salvador, Brazil. She is a rising sophomore in the Law School of University of São Paulo. She is a young leader at Women Deliver, One Young World Ambassador and really interested in researching and advocating for girls rights, including sexual and reproductive rights specially for black women and girls in Brazil and Latin America. She worked as communications intern for VidaAfrolatina, an emerging international women’s fund that mobilizes resources and connects them with Afro-descendant women-led organizations in Latin America that address sexual violence. Also, she enjoys photography, podcasts, Bahia´s local music, drawing and digital content creation.
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.
Sushmita Mukherjee , Networking Lead
As the Director Gender and Adolescent Girls with Project Concern International (PCI) in India, Sushmita provides technical leadership for gender integration across all projects and programs of PCI. Sushmita is also member of the senior leadership of the organization and provides strategic inputs in program quality and technical expertise in program design and implementation. Sushmita has more than 22 years of experience in the development sector working with youth and adolescents and women’s empowerment across domains of reproductive and sexual health & rights, women and girls’ leadership, economic empowerment, violence against women. Sushmita has worked in multiple countries across Asia and Africa in addition having deeply worked with marginalized population of women and girls in India. Gender equality is core principle to her work and passionately works towards a rightful and dignified living and life of women and girls.
Martha Brady, Program Lead
Advancing women’s rights and improving the health and well-being of women and girls is the thread that runs throughout Martha’ s professional life. In a career spanning more than two decades, Martha has worked across sectors and geographies with NGOs, governments, donors, and private sector entities to develop innovative and impactful products and programs for women and adolescent girls. She has served in a variety of capacities as a strategist, innovator, technical advisor, and evaluator of women and girls’ programs and initiatives. Her technical expertise encompasses sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV prevention, self-care, health literacy, product development and introduction. Martha began her career at the Population Council where she was Senior Associate focusing on adolescent girls’ programs, policy, and research. She led pioneering work on girls’ sports, safe spaces and asset-building, and co-directed 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. She 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.