Monday, August 27, 2007

Girls Write Now kicks off new Board of Directors

I'm proud to be a part of the Board at Girls Write Now-- they have a smart program, dedicated volunteers, and the girls are learning valuable skills while creating a relationship with their mentor. My time so far with Girls Write Now has been inspirational and I'm looking forward to a great year. Please support us! Follow the link to Girls Write Now

"This is the start of an amazing new phase for Girls Write Now," said Maya Nussbaum, Co-founder and Executive Director of GWN. "Our new Board of Directors and Program Committee will work together to make Girls Write Now truly sustainable by building outstanding programming and aggressively pursue new funding opportunities." Maya will remain Executive Director of Girls Write Now and serve on the Board of Directors and the Program Committee.

The new board consists of women leaders from the worlds of nonprofit development, journalism, publishing, and education, including veteran Girls Write Now mentors, and will focus on the organization's fiscal health and development. The Program Committee consists entirely of veteran mentors and is dedicated to programming, curriculum development and membership.

"I am excited to be a part of an organization that is laser-focused on giving girls a voice in this world," said Vanessa Bush, Executive Editor of Essence magazine and new Girls Write Now board member. "When young women learn to express themselves with passion and authority, nothing can be more empowering."


Patti Binder is the Chair of the Board of Directors, and committed to girls and young women's leadership both in her day job and through volunteering with NYC girls organizations including Girls Write Now. Currently Patti is the Senior Director of Strategic Planning and Operations at Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS). Stepping into the world of writing, Patti started the blog What's Good for Girls as one way to promote the important work that girls' organizations are doing. Greatly inspired by all the young women and mentors who are a part of Girls Write Now, Patti is thrilled to be deepening her role in this community of women and girls.

Timikal Bobo works as a Programming Strategy Coordinator at Oxygen Media, where she oversees the strategic planning of programming and scheduling for alternative media platforms. She received two BA degrees from University of Cincinnati in Social Science and English Literature, as well as a Writing Certificate. Recently she completed a graduate degree in Media Studies and Certificate in Media Management from The New School University.

Vanessa Bush is Executive Editor of Essence magazine. Previously, she was senior parenting and features editor at Essence, where her duties included writing and editing the parenting columns, in addition to editing and writing center-of-book feature stories with topics ranging from education to personal growth. She also assigns and edits the "Making Love Work" column, top edits Essence's fashion and beauty columns and is a contributing writer for Essence's "Mind/Body" column. Prior to joining the magazine, she served in a variety of editorial capacities at publications such as Life Magazine and Glamour. Vanessa was awarded a 2003 Journalism Fellowship in Child and Family Policy by the University of Maryland's Phillip Merrill College of Journalism. Vanessa received her BA in English and American Literature from Harvard University, and her MS in magazine concentration from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She also received a certificate in book and magazine publishing from the New York University Summer Publishing Institute. She is the coauthor of the book Tyra Banks Beauty Inside & Out.

Lauren Cerand is an independent public relations representative and consultant in New York. Her clients are a purposefully eclectic mix of creative professionals, and she specializes in generating initial buzz and building sustained attention for projects and individuals. The Village Voice included her in its "Best of New York" issue. A graduate of Cornell University, Lauren compiles "The Smart Set," a weekly round-up of cultural happenings for premier lit-blog, and writes about art, politics and style at

Annie J. Howell is a documentary and fiction filmmaker, and currently directs the Graduate Certificate in Documentary Media Studies at The New School in New York City. Her award-winning films have been exhibited at festivals worldwide and have screened on PBS, The Sundance Channel and the Independent Film Channel. At The New School, she has directed a large undergraduate curriculum in Media Studies; served as Assistant Professor, teaching courses in screenwriting, directing, and documentary.

Maya Nussbaum, Co-founder and Executive Director of Girls Write Now, has grown the organization from a loose association into a dynamic community for New York City women writers as diverse as the city itself. Maya has a background in writing and the visual arts. A former director of Von Lintel Gallery and Ash Fine Art, she has degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing from Columbia University. During her nearly 10 years with Girls Write Now, Maya has created and produced all programs and curricula, and trained and managed over 600 professional women writers and emerging teen authors in mentoring and creative writing.

Natasha Reilly-Moynihan is Development Director at Creative Arts Workshops (CAW). CAW is a nonprofit organization that utilizes the visual and performing arts to teach life skills to children and teens while enriching communities. CAW develops Saturday, after-school, and summer art programs that empower youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to improve their leadership and public speaking skills, build self-confidence and deepen the relationship between art and community.

Terry Selucky is a freelance writer, playwright and screenwriter whose work has been seen onstage in New York City and Chicago. She's been a contributor to such publications as Time Out New York, Not for Tourists travel guides and Hundreds of Heads books, and has also been a writer and editor for online travel content. Through Project: Philanthropy, she has helped to develop and write marketing and publicity for several non-for-profit organizations and she is an artistic associate of Chicago's Sansculottes Theater Company, where she was founding artistic director for nearly three years. This is her second season with Girls Write Now.

Trudy Stallings is Development Director at Figure Skating in Harlem. Trudy's professional and volunteer experiences with non-profit organizations date back 12 years. Before joining Figure Skating in Harlem, Trudy held the principal responsibility for government and foundation fundraising at The Harlem School of the Arts, and was the director of development and administration at the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center, both Harlem-based organizations.

Michele Thomas works as the Assistant Managing Editor at The French Culinary Institute. Her diverse work experience includes covering health and nutrition as a freelance writer, working as the managing editor of a nationally syndicated newspaper distribution service, and writing and editing K-12 textbooks and teaching materials for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill, Harcourt School Publishers, Pearson Education, and Houghton-Mifflin. This is her third season with Girls Write Now.

Jessica Valenti is the Founder and Executive Editor of She also blogs at UN Dispatch and is a contributor to the Daou Report. Jessica is a co-founder of the REAL hot 100, a national campaign that aims to change the perception of younger women in the media, and a contributing author to We Don't Need Another Wave: Young Feminist Writers Speak Out (Seal Press). Her writing has appeared in Alternet, Salon, The Guardian and Guernica magazine. Her newest book, Full Frontal Feminism : A Young Women's Guide to Why Feminism Matters (Seal Press), was published in Spring 2007.

Aleksandra Wagner
, presently a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at CUNY Graduate Center and a member-in-training at the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis, has completed her BA in musicology and BA in comparative literature and philosophy at the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Her interests, and a dissertation theme, are in connections between sociology and psychoanalysis, particularly in the realms of method (ethnography, biography, case study) and social history. Before coming to The New School, she taught sociology at the College of Staten Island, and Hunter College (CUNY). She is a member of Editorial Staff of The Psychoanalytic Review, member of the Editorial Board of The Discourse of Sociological Practice, and a practicing psychotherapist.


Allison Heiny, Enrollment Director, recruits and enrolls Girls Write Now's mentees--NYC's talented emerging teen authors--and the sophisticated team of professional women writers who mentor them. Allison is the Foreign Rights Manager and Managing Editor for Alloy Entertainment, the teen novel packager that developed both The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series and the Gossip Girl series. She holds a BA in Journalism and Women's Studies from The University of Wisconsin-Madison, and enjoys working on her own fiction and non-fiction writing. Allison has been with Girls Write Now since 2002.

Pooja Makhijani, Curriculum Director, oversees the content of Girls Write Now's one-of-a-kind curriculum and workshops. Pooja is the editor of Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America, an anthology of essays by women that explores the complex ways in which race shapes American lives and families, and Mama's Saris, her first picture book. She has been with Girls Write Now since 2005.

Maya Nussbaum, Co-Founder and Executive Director, has served as director since the organization's formal incorporation as a nonprofit and public charity in 2005.

Maggie Pouncey, Talent Director, focuses on mentor and mentee writing development and relationship support. Maggie is pursuing a MFA in creative writing at Columbia University, where she teaches undergraduate writing. She is at work on a collection of stories and a novel. This is her second season mentoring with Girls Write Now.

Sarah Robbins, New Programs & Events Director, coordinates Girls Write Now's college prep events, field trips, and special programs including Girls Life Adventure, Ladies Write Now - the organization's mentor-only writing group - and the Freelancer's Support Circle. Sarah is a fomer senior writer for Shape Magazine and a contributing writer at TimeOut New York Kids . Her work has appeared in American Book Review, ArtNews, Glamour, Men's Journal, Newsday, and UsWeekly. Sarah has an MFA in fiction writing from the New School and dual bachelor's degrees in journalism and English writing from Northwestern University.This is her second year with Girls Write Now.

Terry Selucky, Development Director, focuses on fundraising through Girls Write Now's active membership and alumni. She first joined the organization as a mentor in 2006 after moving to New York City from Chicago.

Michele Thomas, Communications Director and Program Chair, manages media outreach and production of Girls Write Now publications and informational materials, including and the annual Girls Write Now anthology. This is Michele's third season mentoring with the organization.


Founded in 1998, Girls Write Now Inc. (GWN) provides a safe and supportive environment where girls can expand their natural writing talents, develop independent creative voices, and build confidence in making healthy choices in school, career and life. GWN is the only East Coast nonprofit that combines mentoring and creative writing training within the context of all-girl programming. GWN gives at-risk high school girls with emerging writing talent the unique opportunity to be custom matched with a professional woman writer who serves as her individual mentor and writing coach, meeting with her weekly for one entire school year, and for up to four years. GWN also enrolls each student in a vibrant writing community and professional network: all mentees and mentors gather monthly for genre-based workshops conducted at Teachers & Writers Collaborative -- the home of the oldest writers-in-the-schools program in the country -- in midtown Manhattan. The year is punctuated by three public readings, college and career prep seminars, a social awarareness program, field trips to cultural events, and endless opportunities for scholarships and publication. The magic of the program is reflected in a solid nine-year track record, a 65-percent member retention rate, a 100-percent college acceptance rate, an annual anthology of original writing, and the seven-genre portfolios each student emerges equipped with each season.


Girls Write Now, Inc.
Founded: 1998
Headquarters: 520 Eighth Avenue, Suite 2020, New York, NY 10018
Co-Founder and Executive Director: Maya Nussbaum

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