SPARK’s leadership team creates the scaffolding for SPARK girls’ activism, working closely with the SPARKteam to develop and carry out activist campaigns.
Dana Edell, PhD. Executive Director, SPARK Dana is an activist-scholar-artist and has been the executive director of SPARK since May 2011. From 2002-2012, she was co-founder/executive director of viBe Theater Experience. Since 1998, Dana has produced and co-directed more than 60 plays, 7 CDs of original music, 8 music videos and 3 radio episodes all written and performed by girls. She has over 15 years of experience as a teacher and leader in arts and advocacy programs with teenage girls. Before moving to New York City, she co-founded and directed Inside/Out Performing Arts, a theater-making program for girls affected by the juvenile justice system in San Francisco and worked for three years as a theater artist-in-residence in NYC public elementary and middle schools. She is also the Co-Chair of the Girls’ Participation Task Force in the Working Group on Girls at the United Nations. She has spoken as an expert on girls’ issues on ABC’s 20/20, Al Jazeera, Fox News, Fox & Friends, BBC and NPR. Dana teaches education, qualitative research methods, and theater and social change courses at New York University and the City University of New York. She has a BA with honors in Classics/Ancient Greek from Brown University, an MFA in Theater Directing from Columbia University and a PhD in Educational Theater from NYU.
Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D. is a community activist, professor, and SPARK co-founder. She is co-author, with Carol Gilligan, of Meeting at the Crossroads: Women’s Psychology and Girl’s Development, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year that helped spark an international debate the lives of girls and redefined our understanding of female development. Lyn has written four other books in which she investigates the relationship between girls’ anger and social class, examines the cultural phenomenon of “girlfighting,” and critiques the messages that media and marketers direct at both girls and boys. Her most recent work focuses on scaffolding girls’ resistance and activism. She co-founded Hardy Girls Healthy Women, a nonprofit that educates about and supports girls as social change agents, and in collaboration with HGHW’s Girls Advisory Board, created Powered By Girl (PBG), a media activism website for teen girls. Lyn received her doctorate from Harvard University in Human Development and Psychology and was a founding member of the Harvard Project on Women’s Psychology and Girl’s Development. She is Professor of Education at Colby College in Maine. She’s super proud that her daughter, Maya, is a SPARKTeam blogger.
Leadership Team (along with Dana, Melissa, Deb & Lyn)
Shareeza Bhola is a communications manager at Change.org, the world’s largest petition platform, and has been working at Change.org since May 2011. Using creative and innovative press strategies, she helps petition starters share their compelling stories with the media. Prior to Change.org, she served as Associate Director of Messaging at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, working on research-based messaging and media advocacy. She earned her MA from New York University with a concentration in LGBT History, law, and culture.