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Our Team



The Girls Action Foundation is made up of a dynamic team of energetic, creative, and motivated young women who are passionate about changing the world, especially the world of girls!

The organization has been steadily growing over the years – have a look through the team bios to get a sense of the people who make Girls Action what it is!

Rachel Zellars, Executive Director | rachel@girlsactionfoundation.ca
Rachel Zellars is an attorney and PhD candidate in Education at McGill University. For the last 20 years, she has worked as a popular educator and social justice advocate. She has dedicated most of her community work to empowering young people and women. She co-founded the Third Eye Collective, the first organization in Montreal to support Black women who have experienced gendered violence. Rachel’s research focuses on the histories of slavery, public schooling in Canada, critical race theory, and gendered violence within Black communities in North America. She has taught courses at the Institute for Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies and the Department of Integrated Studies in Education at McGill University. Originally a farm girl from upstate New York, she attended Howard, Georgetown, and Cornell Universities before completing law school in Los Angeles and working as both a transactional attorney and litigator. Rachel has made Montreal her home for the last decade. She is, most importantly, mother to Ade, Zora, and Sade.

Jocelyne Bassa, Deputy Director | jocelyne@girlsactionfoundation.ca
Jocelyne joined Girls Action in November 2016. She holds a graduate certificate in Banking and Finance and a master’s in Business Administration. She has more than 25 years of experience in complex project management, finance, and managing public debt. She ended her career in her country of origin, Benin, as Vice General Manager of the Caisse Autonome d'Amortissement and immigrated to Canada in 2013.  Jocelyne brings her tremendous work experience and heart to Girls Action Foundation. She deeply believes in the integration, support, and enhancement of Black women immigrating to Canada.

Administration, Systems, AND NATIONAL NETWORK

Jessica O'Doherty, Administrative Coordinator | jessica@girlsactionfoundation.ca

Jessica joined Girls Action after working in the corporate sector for a few years. She received a DEP in Accounting in 2010 and through life's challenges landed at Girls Action Foundation. She is an adventurous and outgoing person, who is always looking for new challenges.​

Naïri Jakmadjian, National Network and logistics Coordinator | nairi@girlsactionfoundation.ca

Caroline Chenail, Accountant | caroline@girlsactionfoundation.ca

Fabiola Mizero Mgorabaware, Fundraising Coordinator | fabiola@girlsactionfoundation.ca
After growing up between Kenya and Belgium, Fabiola moved to Montreal to study Political Science. During these academic years, she has lead several student movements and community initiatives, including the International Affairs Committee and the Association of African Students at the University of Montreal. A fervent believer in social justice, Fabiola is committed to several social justice organizations such as Afrikawaly and Chef and Mains, leading social and community economic development projects. Today, Fabiola is mainly responsible for funding Girls Action Foundation’s programs and strengthening our financial and network partnerships.


Alia Hassan-Cournol, Communication Coordinator | alia@girlsactionfoundation.ca
Alia has just completed a master's in International Studies from University of Montreal and seeks to complete a PhD in Political Science. During her fieldwork, she researched social movements and political opposition in the Tunisian and Egyptian Diaspora from a community-led perspective. Her research interests are deeply rooted in her personal values, so her academic work focuses on transnational social movements, immigration & diaspora studies and intersectionality. Alia was the Coordinator of the summer schools of Center for Research and International Studies at the University of Montreal (CÉRIUM), Project Coordinator for the French-American Global Forum, and campaigned against racism and discrimination in France, Canada, and Egypt throughout the last 10 years. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Fondation Paroles de Femmes.


Oumalker Idil Kalif, Programs Coordinator idil@girlsactionfoundation.ca
Having family and community building as her main priorities, Idil is particularly passionate about reinforcing marginalized groups. As a professional that has dedicated 10 years of her career to community service, in her personal and professional life, her goal has always been to break some of the many social and economical barriers raised by race, class, and gender. With the strong intention of always keeping in mind the most stigmatized of our society, on all occasions, she is ready to seriously rethink, update, and custom-make projects and programs in order to uplift and cater to all girls and women. She has a Major in Sociology, a certificate in International development, and is currently pursuing her master’s in Sociology. Idil is also a very proud Montrealer born in Djibouti who loves travelling and meeting special souls. For free, she'll gladly share a smile.

Sumaya Ugas, Programs Coordinator | sumaya@girlsactionfoundation.ca
Sumaya Ugas is a full time Programs Coordinator at Girls Action Foundation and is currently completing her BA in History and African Studies. Born and raised in Montreal, she is a storyteller studying histories of displacement and black diasporas. Sumaya’s academic areas of interest include Black diaspora and identity making in the arts, the realities and representations of Black migrants and the intersections of Islamophobia, anti-blackness, and gender. Her organizing work focuses mainly on marginalized women and girls through community workshops of various themes and formats-- from zine making workshops to facilitating conversations on Blackness, Islam, and gender through an intersectional lens.

Sarah Gaham, Programs Coordinator | sarah.gaham@girlsactionfoundation.ca
Sarah loves youth, and still has a child’s heart. Accordingly, she has been volunteering and working with youth for the past five years, within different local organizations and projects. With a Bachelor’s in psychology and a series of experiences in management positions, she is skilled in psychosocial intervention and community organizing, and she happily practices both as a program coordinator locally at Girls Action. Her life mission includes promoting agency and solidarity among women of color, in all life fields. Her self-care and passions include dancing, singing, meditating, writing, and spending quality time with friends and family.