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 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.

Administration & Systems

Nairi Jakmakdjian, Administrative Coordinator |
Nairi joined Girls Action Foundation February 2012. Her tasks involve assisting the Girls Action team in day to day workflow and working on optimizing internal procedures. Nairi worked for Medisys Health Group for 4 years, first as a Customer Service Representative and then as Projects Coordinator. She was involved in the coordination and documentation of many IT projects. With a background in Project Management and currently in Continuing Education to complete certificates in Human Resources and Public Relations, she brings good knowledge from the corporate world as well as insight on ever evolving business methods. Nairi believes that everyone has the power to make a positive change and to accomplish what they want and sometimes the key is encouragement and empowerment to take a leap forward. Nairi has a passion for sports. It keeps her energized and establishes balance in her life. She is very spontaneous so you never know if she will be skiing on the mountain one week or organizing an event with friends the next.

Communications and national network

Myriam Zaidi, Communications and National Nework Coordinator |
Myriam joined Girls Action in January, 2014. She’s an activist with an extensive knowledge in campaigns. Having worked in different student associations, and as a political aide, she brings with her a comprehensive knowledge of communications tools. She likes to strategize and especially to geek-out! She likes all things progressive and innovative. She holds a B.A. from McGill University and is currently pursuing her graduate studies at Concordia University. Myriam is definitely a girl of action!

Dahlia Eldaly, Communications Officer |
Dahlia has been working for Girls Action since November 2014. She coordinates, a blog for young feminists to share their stories, views, and reflections on social justice. She worked previously for Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle during the summer of 2014. She has a bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies and International Development Studies. Dahlia loves reading, writing, and photography. She also loves to dance and give hugs to her two lovely cats.

National Programs

Jillian Kilfoil, National Programs Coordinator |                        Jillian Kilfoil joined the Girls Action team in November 2012 as National programs coordinator.  She is an activist and facilitator originally from PEI. Jillian has studied political science, gender studies and adult education at Saint Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia. Previous to Girls Action she worked with Katimavik, a national youth volunteer service program from 2007 to 2012 and during that time she developed and coordinated projects throughout the Atlantic and Quebec region.  Jillian strongly believes in collaborative approaches to learning and discovery to increase critical thinking in the hopes of creating systems change in society.  She is an organizer and feminist who strongly believes in the popular education and anti-oppression approaches utilized by Girls Action.

Diahara Traoré, Programs Coordinator |
Diahara joined the Girls Action Foundation team in May 2015. As Programs Coordinator, she is responsible for the Girls’ Health and Wellness project, all the while collaborating on other projects of the national team. With a PhD in sociology/women’s studies from UQAM, and an MA from McGill University, she is passionate about women’s issues, knowledge, and feminist praxis. She has worked as a lecturer and instructor of anthropology and sociology courses at UQAM, as co-Coordinator of the Table des groupes de femmes de Montréal, as a Project Coordinator at Relais-femmes, and finally as a postdoctoral researcher in clinical sociology in mental health. She loves historical novels, writing poetry and playing the guitar. And eating dessert… even for breakfast!

Janine Guerra Rocha, National Programs Manager |
Janine has over 10 years of experience working in the sector and has been a passionate member of the Girls Action team since 2010. At Girls Action she is responsible for leading the amazing National programs team and for overseeing the implementation of all the national programs and special projects. She has a Bachelor of International Relations, a certificate in Social Projects Management and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration/International Administration. Throughout her career she has worked with youth and women in different NGOs and grassroots organizations in Pernambuco, her home province in Brazil. Outside work, Janine loves spending time with her friends and family, visiting new places, singing and dancing, especially during the carnival in her home city, Recife.

Local Programs

Simone Viger, Programs Coordinator |
Simone has been with Girls Action since 2012, developing and facilitating programs for girls in partnership with schools and community organizations. She is passionate about the power of media projects and designing engaging programs with youth for social change. For over 10 years, she has led creative community initiatives with youth-serving organisations such as Les YMCA du Québec, Concordia University, McGill University, Dawson College, iD Visual Arts Academy, and The Segal Center for Performing Arts. She is pursuing a Masters of Education in Counselling Psychology and possesses a Diploma in Digital technologies in the design arts practice, with an educational background in Communication Studies and Video Production. She is also an experimental documentary filmmaker.

Andréane Brillant-Poirier, Local Programs Coordinator │
Andréane is a dynamic girl who is fully committed to her work. In fact, it was at a volunteering gig in 2010 where she first heard about Girls Action! She completed her Bachelor of Social Work at UQAM, and did her internship in collective action, as she firmly believes that together, we can create social change. She believes it is crucial that we mobilize for causes such as the environment, social justice, and in awakening young people to the world they live in and the power they hold. Andréane is particularly interested in the realities faced by cultural communities here in Montreal, and around the world.  After working as a counsellor at overnight camps and day camps for 8 summers, facilitation has become one of her passions! She loves traveling, the outdoors, river kayaking, and animated films. In other words, she is an extremely active girl!

Karima Kadmiri, Local Programs Manager | 
Karima joined the Girls Action team as Local Programs Coordinator in 2007. She has years of experience working with girls and young women, specifically immigrant girls. She has worked with the organisation Petites-Mains, an organisation supporting the social and professional integration of immigrant women. She has also worked with the organisation les Scientifines, a group that teaches life skills to girls 9 to 12 years old through science. Karima has also been involved in the professional integration of youth 16 to 30 years old seeking employment reintegration. In 2010, Karima was offered an interim position as director of a youth centre. Strengthened by this experience, she returned to Girls Action in 2012.

Marcelle Partouche, Local Programs Facilitator |
Marcelle is a community worker and engaged artist, committed to girl’s empowerment and social justice. She has gained experience in community work, volunteering and working in Haiti with Oxfam Quebec in 2010, and ever since immersed herself in multiple community organizations. She is finishing her B.A at McGill University majoring in Anthropology, with a minor in Educational Psychology, and a special focus in music. She has gained experience at Head & Hands’ youth drop in center- Jeunesse 2000. There, she was given opportunities to thoroughly engage in artistic projects fighting oppressive systemic issues. She believes that creative expression, compassion, kindness, mentorship, and a well-organized agenda can truly bring effective change to the world. Her interests and work experience have engaged with critical race theory, gender policies, LGBTQ rights, youth in care, sexual justice, intergenerational spaces, and art. She is thrilled to be part of the Girls Action Foundation team! Marcelle also participated to the life changing Amplify training and is a Leadership Capacity Grant recipient currently implementing a girl’s program at Jeunesse 2000.