The GGE Community

Our Founder - HerStory

Joanne N. Smith, Founder and Executive Director, moves Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) closer to its mission through strategic advocacy, development, and leadership cultivation. Ms. Smith is a Haitian-American social worker born in NY. A staunch human rights advocate, Joanne co-chaired the nation’s first Young Women’s Initiative for girls of color in NYC, is a steering committee member of Black Girl Movement, and a Movement Maker with Move to End Violence-a 10-year initiative designed to strengthen the collective capacity to end gender based violence in the United States.  Joanne is an alumna of Hunter Graduate School of Social Work and Columbia Institute for Nonprofit Management. She has co-authored Hey Shorty: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Public Schools and on the Streets. Girls for Gender Equity’s work to combat sexual harassment in schools is featured in the 2014 documentary Anita: Speak Truth to Power. Joanne has received many awards including the Ms. Foundation 2018 Gloria Award as a Woman of Vision, a Commendation from NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies - Local Women Leading Change award. Joanne resides in Brooklyn, NY.

Joanne N. Smith- Founder

“We must cause strategic disruption that changes society’s moral compass around trafficking, sexual assault, violence against girls, women and gender nonconforming people of color. This commitment to ending gender based violence and the devaluing of human rights is life long and I’m honored to fight with survivors, allies, and friends as we say NO MORE.”

Our Board

Sandra Park, Esq, Board Chair



Naomi Abraham, Board Secretary



Mary Ferry, Board Treasurer

Fund Manager of Benefits Fund of Wardrobe 764


Afua Addo, MHC

Center for Court Innovation


Monica Dennis

Epifani Enterprises, Inc

Dr. Pei Desrosiers

NYC Administration for Children’s Services/

Division of Financial Service, NY


Rovika Rajkishun

The New York Immigration Coalition


Cynthia Steele



Joanne N. Smith

Girls for Gender Equity (GGE)

Our staff

Executive Team

Joanne N. Smith, President & Chief Executive Officer | | 718-857-1393 ext. 106

Tiffany Williams, Chief Operating Officer | | 718-857-1393 ext.104

Michelle Grier, LMSW, Chief Programs Officer | | 718-857-1393 ext.115

Development & Institutional Advancement

Shakira O’Kane, Esq., Senior Director of Institutional Advancement |

Peggy Hupcey, Director of Development | | 718-857-1393 ext. 103

Tiffany Lee, Development & Operations Liaison |


Onika Williams, Deputy Director of Operations | | 718-857-1393 ext. 118

Anisha Jessop, Accountant |

Katie Healy, Finance Coordinator |

Marketing & Storytelling

Diana Walker, Manager of Graphic Design & Visual Content | | 718.857.1393 ext. 119

Tess Weiner, Manager of Marketing & Storytelling |

Symone Jackson, Marketing & Media Management Associate |

Ashley Nickens, Copywriter |


Programs and Social Work

Vanne Paige Padgett, Director of Programs | | 646-377-2812

Hollisha Liverpool, YWAC Programs Manager |

Shelly Strothers, GGE Program Manager |

Erika Chambers, JustUs Program Manager |

Maya Guttman-Slater, Executive & Program Operations Manager |

Georgina Pierre-Louis, Program Liaison, A.L.L. |

Chelsea O’Neill, SIS Program Liaison |

Ella Grace Downs, Policy Liaison |

Aaliyah Thomas, Program Liaison, JustUs |

Nia Oden, Program Liaison, NABG |

Policy & Organizing

Quadira Coles, Deputy Director of Policy  | | 718-857-1393 ext.119

Toni Wilson, Director of National Organizing | | 718-857-1393 ext. 113

Breya Johnson, Deputy Director of Organizing |

Damala Denny, Organizing Manager |

Interns & Fellows

Dastina Myers, Youth Fellow, Vera Institute of Justice |

Tyahija Martin, JD, Legal Fellow, Equal Justice Works |

Eman Gad, Organizing & Policy Fellow |

Our Partners, Fundraisers, And Donors