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meet us

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Staff

Jennifer Berger, Executive Director
 Jennifer’s eyes were opened to the ways media messages affect women’s self-esteem and body image while sitting in a University of Michigan lecture hall watching Jean Kilbourne’s film Still Killing Us Softly. Filled with fire about this issue, she immediately went on a search for a way to take action and help solve the problem. After working as an intern and managing editor at HUES magazine (a national publication for young women of all cultures, shapes, and sizes) she read an article in Bitch magazine about About-Face’s activism and started attending meetings in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she was born and raised.

Jennifer went on to write her senior thesis on the topic of men’s body image in relation to media messages, and graduated in 1998 with a B.A. in Communication Studies with High Honors from U of M and a secondary focus in Women’s Studies. Her piece about experiences with food allergies and body image was published in Body Outlaws (also published as Adios, Barbie), edited by Ophira Edut (Seal Press, 2004). Inspired by the great Sassy magazine, and with the goal of starting a magazine for teen girls that raised, not lowered, their self-esteem, Jennifer went off to have a career as an magazine editor for 10 years, rising through the ranks at InfoWorld and Macworld magazines. During that time, she had been passed the baton to become the volunteer executive director of About-Face (in 2001).

Jennifer transformed About-Face from an all-volunteer group into a small organization with a paid staff in 2008. In 2014, she was the first recipient of the American Association of University Women (AAUW)-San Francisco Sarah Dix Hamlin Leadership Award. She believes that action — not just awareness — is necessary for creating long-lasting, systemic change for girls and women. 

Tanya Beat, Program Coordinator
Tanya brings her experience in youth leadership, STEM advocacy, volunteerism, and coaching first-generation professionals to her work with girls and women through her business, Tanya Beat Coaching. She has worked with groups such as AmeriCorps, Girls Inc., Girls For A Change, SACNAS, and SUREFIRE Girls Conference to influence youth leadership and empower young women to create change in their community, which, in turn, changes their lives. Tanya’s belief that young people are the key to a better future now drives her passion for working with youth and women. Learn more about Tanya via tanyabeat.com.

Board of Directors

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(We are accepting applications for our Board of Directors on an ongoing basis. See our application information on our Work With Us page.)

Dan Dworkin, Lee Ann Bird, Shailushi Ritchie, Jennifer Berger, Janet Hohbach at Board Match, 2014.

Board of Directors (l to r): Dan Dworkin, Lee Ann Bird, Shailushi Ritchie, Jennifer Berger, and Janet Hohbach at Board Match 2014.

Shailushi Ritchie (President), California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom
Shailushi Baxi Ritchie is a lifelong advocate for women and girls. She received a MPH from University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and a BA from Illinois Wesleyan University with a dual major in Biology and Philosophy. Her professional background includes positions with the Illinois Department of Public Health, Planned Parenthood, Access Women’s Health Justice, and the Women’s Foundation of California. She is currently the Director of the California Coalition for Reproductive Freedom. Shailushi lives in Richmond, CA with her husband, two energetic kids, and one cat who thinks she is a dog. In her ‘spare’ time, she likes cooking, cycling, and running.
Dan Dworkin (Treasurer), The Hamlin School
Dan Dworkin works for The Hamlin School as the Director of Safety. Dan’s work at Hamlin has evolved, starting as the sixth grade Humanities teacher, then the middle school technology integration specialist, and then moving into administration as the Director of Technology and Safety. Prior to teaching at Hamlin, Dan worked at The Langley School in McLean, Virginia, where he taught 7th grade English and 6th through 8th grade Drama. Before working in private schools, Dan taught at a community center in Spain, and a public high school in northern California.

Dan grew up amongst the political landscape of Los Angeles during the 1970s and 1980s, with parents actively involved in the Civil Rights movement, specifically the rights of women and homosexuals. Dan left LA for college to attend Humboldt State University, where he received a B.A. in English and continued his education there to receive his California Secondary Teaching Credential. More recently, Dan completed his M.A. in Education with a focus on Instructional Technologies at San Francisco State University.

Janet Hohbach (Secretary), UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital

Janet has been a high-risk labor and delivery registered nurse at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital for 16 years. This experience has given her the opportunity to work with women of all different ages and backgrounds. She has witnessed first-hand how women can overcome incredible obstacles to reach their goals.

Prior to working in Obstetrics, Janet worked in Oncology/Hematology at UCSF and Evanston Hospital in Illinois.

After college, Janet worked at PharmaMar, a Spanish biopharmaceutical company in Madrid, Spain. Using a biotechnology program, PharmaMar is finding new marine-based drugs for advancing cancer treatment. Her time at PharmaMar, as a public relations liaison, helped her tap into her passion for pathophysiology, cancer treatment and later, women’s health.

Janet received a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Arizona in Tucson and a B.S. in Nursing from North Park University in Chicago, Illinois.

Janet is married and the mother of two children, a teenage daughter and a 10-year-old son.

Jennifer Berger, About-Face
 Jennifer’s eyes were opened to the ways media messages affect women’s self-esteem and body image while sitting in a University of Michigan lecture hall watching Jean Kilbourne’s film Still Killing Us Softly. Filled with fire about this issue, she immediately went on a search for a way to take action and help solve the problem. After working as an intern and managing editor at HUES magazine (a national publication for young women of all cultures, shapes, and sizes) she read an article in Bitch magazine about About-Face’s activism and started attending meetings in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she had been born and raised.

Jennifer went on to write her senior thesis on the topic of men’s body image in relation to media messages, and graduated in 1998 with a B.A. in Communication Studies with High Honors from U of M and a secondary focus in Women’s Studies. Her piece about experiences with food allergies and body image was published in Body Outlaws (also published as Adios, Barbie), edited by Ophira Edut (Seal Press, 2004). Inspired by the great Sassy magazine, and with the goal of starting a magazine for teen girls that raised, not lowered, their self-esteem, Jennifer went off to have a career as an magazine editor for 10 years, rising through the ranks at InfoWorld and Macworld magazines. During that time, she had been passed the baton to become the volunteer executive director of About-Face (in 2001).

Jennifer transformed About-Face from an all-volunteer group into a small organization with a paid staff in 2008. In 2014, she was the first recipient of the American Association of University Women (AAUW)-San Francisco Sarah Dix Hamlin Leadership Award. She believes that action — not just awareness — is necessary for creating long-lasting, systemic change for girls and women. 

Julie Barton, PhD, Raising a Reader Bay Area
Julie recently moved back to the Bay Area after 10 years in London and Boston. She has over six years of development and non-profit management experience, working for the Harry Potter Alliance, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Design Museum. With a PhD in Literature and a MA in Children’s Literature, she has been published in The Journal of Children’s Literature Studies and in the book “Crossing Textual Boundaries in International Children’s Literature,” and has taught undergraduate courses at the University of East Anglia. She has previously served on the Board of the International Board on Books for Young People (UK) and is passionate about the power of media to enact positive social change and gender equality.
Kelly Allen, W. Haywood Burns Institute
Kelly Allen has a research background in human rights and believes that media is a powerful tool for education as well as for oppression. She currently works with the W. Haywood Burns Institute to analyze and address racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system, including the impact of implicit bias. Previously, she studied the socio-political identity of persons with albinism in Uganda and in Panama in order to find ways to address the dehumanizing perceptions of the condition around the world. Kelly is dedicated to learning how social and political identities affect the lives of individuals, and the best ways of enabling people to respect and inhabit their own bodies. Kelly grew up in Louisville, Kentucky and graduated with an International Relations degree from Beloit College.
Jane Ahlering, Atkins
Jane Ahlering has functioned in multifaceted roles including marketing communications, corporate responsibility, and research. She completed a joint MSc/MA degree program in Global Media and Communications at London School of Economics and University of Southern California. In her graduate studies on media theory, Jane investigated the false and/or negative messages disseminated by television, movies, music, the news, and the Internet and how these messages affected people’s views of themselves and the world. She firmly believes media messages are a major issue in our society that need to be addressed and changed. Jane is based in San Francisco, where she works in marketing at Atkins, a civil engineering firm. In her spare time, she enjoys camping, crafting, and cooking.
Prachi Parvin, Lookout Mobile Security
Prachi is Customer Marketing Manager at Lookout Mobile Security. Previously, she was a marketing manager at Snapfish by HP. In 2011, she completed her MBA from the University of San Francisco with a dual focus on Marketing and Finance. During her MBA program, she was on the board of Challenge for Charity. Prachi holds a B.A. in Political Science and Global Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her senior thesis was on the importance of education in the empowerment of women in India.
Peggy Orenstein and About-Face board

Author Peggy Orenstein (center) and members of the About-Face board, May 2012 (l to r): Daniel Dworkin, Susan Kimberlin, Jennifer Berger, Elizabeth Nartker, Yonnie Leung, Peggy Yu

Associate Board

Anisa Ali

”Stephanie
Stephanie Clowdus is a graduate student at Smith College pursuing a Master’s in Social Work. She seeks to bring her work with About-Face as a workshop leader (since 2011) to her career in clinical social work.
Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards is an attorney currently working mainly with indigent prisoners on civil rights issues.  After completing his Juris Doctor in 2009 at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, he relocated to the bay area and joined the About-Face Associate Board as part of his dedication to social justice.
Kendra Hyett
Kendra Hyett is a girls’ and women’s advocate who is thrilled to be part About-Face as a strong believer in giving girls the tools to create their own empowerment. After five years at a successful entertainment startup, she shifted to nonprofit work. She currently works in grant writing, development, grantmaking, and volunteer recruitment at local nonprofits focusing on girls and women’s empowerment, literacy, international education, and health. Before moving to San Francisco, Kendra grew up in the Chicagoland area where she earned a BA in English Writing with a minor in Gender and Women’s Studies at North Central College.

Marisa Kim

Chalyna Lazo

Danielle Riendeau

Lauren Santo Domingo

Haley Zovickian
Haley is a sophomore at Columbia University in New York City. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Haley has been passionate about the body-positive movement since she was in high school. She hopes to pursue a career in media literacy education and mental health care reform.

Board of Founders

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Kathy Bruin, Founder
Kathy has long been frustrated with the limited and limiting ways women are depicted in popular culture. She believes that our culture’s focus on physical appearance and consumerism has far-reaching negative implications for our society. She is also convinced that there is a profound relationship between our culture’s obsession with physical perfection and the decline in girls’ self-esteem as they reach puberty. It breaks her heart that at the moment girls develop the true characteristics of womanhood — hips, breasts, and rounded bottoms — they begin to hate their bodies. In the summer of 1995, she decided to do what she could to change that.

Using an image from a Calvin Klein ad, she created a spoof poster reading “Emaciation Stinks” and plastered it around San Francisco. About-Face was born. Her single act has grown well beyond what she could have imagined. For more than a decade About-Face, has been a leading voice in body-image issues — issues it helped bring to light. She is particularly proud that About-Face encourages women and girls to voice their own disenchantment, to make changes in their own lives, and to launch their own rebellions.

Kathy’s involvement with About-Face has been profoundly gratifying for her, and perhaps most importantly, it has taught her that all of us, as individuals, have the power to make significant societal change.

Margaret Banda

Shannon Brueckner

Jean H. de Buren

Elisabeth Dittrich, PhD

Beth Gregory

Katharine Handler

Miftah J. Leath

Marcella Raimondo, PhD, MPH, Media Literacy Consultant
Marcella Raimondo, PhD, MPH, is a passionate and spirited clinical trainer who speak on a topic that comes from her heart — multicultural issues in eating disorders. She has delivered over 100 clinical and community trainings at colleges and universities, mental and public health agencies, and professional eating disorder conferences since 1995.

Marcella has a professional background in developing public health programs for Kaiser Permanente. She was also a key member of About-Face, where she was part of the infrastructure building. She also directed the media-literacy workshop program. Her educational pursuits all focused on eating disorders and body image. Marcella herself recovered from anorexia nervosa over 15 years ago. Her personal road to recovery along with her martial arts training of over 11 years has inspired a dedication to body nurturance and celebration.

Advisors and Consultants

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Suzannah Tipermas Neufeld, MFT, Curriculum Development Consultant and Workshop Leader
Suzannah Tipermas Neufeld, M.A., MFT, has been a psychotherapist for women, girls, and families recovering from eating disorders and substance abuse since 2003. She received her B.A. with honors and distinction in Drama and Psychology from Stanford University in 2000. She went on to earn her M.A. in Counseling Psychology/Expressive Arts Therapy from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Suzannah is also a certified yoga instructor and loves incorporating body and breath awareness into a creative and strength-based therapy approach with recovering people. You can learn more about her work at www.suzannahneufeld.com.

Kjerstin Gruys, PhD, Program Evaluation Consultant and Workshop Leader
Kjerstin Gruys, PhD, M.A., earned her undergraduate degree in Sociology, with a Certificate in the Study of Women and Gender, at Princeton University, where she wrote a senior thesis examining how sorority membership impacts women’s body image, body weight, and self-esteem. After a two-year stint working in the glamorous-but-scary fashion industry, Kjerstin returned to academia with a renewed commitment to making a (positive) difference in women’s and girl’s lives.

Today, Kjerstin is a Thinking Matters Fellow at Stanford University, and the author of the book Mirror, Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body by Not Looking at It for a Year. Her academic research broadly examines how cultural ideas about gender, race, class, and body size relate to social inequality. Kjerstin’s scholarly writing has been published by the UCLA Center for the Study of Women, and in the scholarly journals Social Problems and Social Science & Medicine. You can learn more about her research and teaching at www.kjerstingruys.com.

Marcella Raimondo, PhD, MPH, Media Literacy Consultant
Marcella Raimondo, PhD, MPH, is a passionate and spirited clinical trainer who speak on a topic that comes from her heart — multicultural issues in eating disorders. She has delivered over 100 clinical and community trainings at colleges and universities, mental and public health agencies, and professional eating disorder conferences since 1995.

Marcella has a professional background in developing public health programs for Kaiser Permanente. She was also a key member of About-Face, where she was part of the infrastructure building. She also directed the media-literacy workshop program. Her educational pursuits all focused on eating disorders and body image. Marcella herself recovered from anorexia nervosa over 15 years ago. Her personal road to recovery along with her martial arts training of over 11 years has inspired a dedication to body nurturance and celebration.

Workshop Leaders

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Anisa Ali 

Carina Chiodo

Cassarah Chu

Stephanie Clowdus
Stephanie Clowdus is a graduate student at Smith College pursuing a Master’s in Social Work. She seeks to bring her work with About-Face listening to young people and supporting them in developing critical thinking skills to her career in clinical social work. A product of MTV, Stephanie is keen on pop culture’s influence on self-esteem in young women and men. She’s proud to be an About-Face Associate Board member and workshop leader because of the direct advocacy and community conversation with varied groups of youths and adults in the Bay Area. She enjoys sunshine and, per Netflix, “Comedies Featuring a Strong Female Lead.”

Cecile Cukurs

Liz Dayton

Rebecca Friedberg 

Kimberly Howell

Michelle Konstantinovsky 

Ida Mojadad

Karuna Patel 

Leilani Serafin

Kim Tran 

Diana Yip

Haley Zovickian 

 

Blog Contributors

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Sasha Albert

Sasha Albert holds a Master’s degree in Gender and Sexuality from the University of Amsterdam, and participates in reproductive health and justice activism in the Boston area.

Katie Boyer

Katie Boyer is a blogger and social media expert living in Oakland, CA. Katie spends her free time analyzing the media, reading, writing, bicycling, and playing with her pet rabbit.

Audrey Brashich

Audrey D. Brashich is the author of All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty, a body image guide for teens.

Gretchen Edwards-Bodmer

Gretchen Edwards-Bodmer is a curvy grrrl from Virginia with a Master’s degree in Humanities and Women’s Studies. You can find her musings about raising two boys in this crazy world at www.grrrlwithboys.blogspot.com and follow her on Twitter @GrrrlWithBoys.

Elizabeth Frankel

Elizabeth Frankel is a Minnesotan who loves psychology, theatre, and anything related to horses. She seeks to understand why the world is the way it is through critical thinking, and when that fails, she just employs sarcasm.

Kaity Gee

Kaity Gee is a high school junior at The Harker School in San Jose. She is currently multimedia editor of her school paper, The Winged Post. Kaity has won multiple awards for her journalistic works, including CSPA’s Gold Circle award for Broadcast and Graphic Design; Honorable Mention and 2nd place nationally, respectively. She has also been awarded 2nd place in the National Federation of Press Women’s prestigious Feature Category for her piece on eating disorders.

Caitlin Lansing

Caitlin Lansing is a 2014 graduate of Princeton University, where an adamant belief that “freak shows turned into beauty pageants” propelled her to write a 90-page history thesis about it. A former dancer and college cheerleader, she is no stranger to body scrutiny, and seeks to challenge the idea that one’s worth is intimately tied to appearance.

Sarah Liming

Sarah Liming is currently a junior at the University of Dayton. She is a psychology major and is currently involved with an organization on campus called Active Minds which focuses on reducing the negative stigma associated with mental health and mental illness. After she finishes her undergrad education, Sarah plans to work at a clinic helping people recover from eating disorders.

Tessa Needham Synnott

Tessa Needham Synnott discovered About-Face while completing her PhD in Performing Arts at the University of Western Sydney (Australia) in 2008. Her thesis explored the potential of performance to provoke change, and part of her research was Bodily, a solo theatrical performance about body image. She loves technology and the creative arts, and is passionate about the different cultural forces affecting the body image of girls and women. She is a freelance graphic designer, photographer, and WordPress developer: tessaneedham.com.

Siri Nybakk

Siri Nybakk is a Norwegian journalist currently working with enormous amounts of media, doing quality control of movies and TV for a tech company. As a feminist, she is especially passionate about how female sexuality is represented and the awesomeness of Swedish feminist cartoons.

Sara Omary

Sara Omary is a semi-recent grad from UC Berkeley in Marine Science and Environmental Politics who loves very little more than she loves pizza and the company of her cats.

Stacey Speer

Stacey is a bookworm who loves nature and making people happy. She enjoys utilizing the tools she gained from her Women and Gender Studies degree to critique media and the world around her from a feminist perspective.

Kinga Vasicsek

Kinga was born in Hungary and has lived in the Bay Area since age 10. She is a currently in college studying Political Science and Communications. She is an actress and also spends much of her free time writing.

 

Other Contributors

We want to thank these folks, who have helped us so much along the way:

Sharon AdamJaimie BaxterLee Ann BirdAndrea Davids

Kelly Greenwood

Jennifer Eames Huff

Alyza Jehangir

Mara Kassoff

Susan Kimberlin

Michelle Konstantinovsky

Marcella LeathAnnice OrmistonKelly RedanzNikki Roddy

Shauna Rowland

Kristen Law Sagafi

Courtney Sims

Giovanna Vance

Mary Jane Weatherbee

Peggy Yu