GENerous, GENuine Thanks

Happy Holidays! We wanted to share some of the things we’re grateful for with you all this holiday season. We hope you know how grateful we are for you, our supporters, and that our gratitudes help you continue to get to know our growing staff. We wish you all a season full of warmth and kindness!


Alex Cogan, Program Coordinator

  • My decision to move to Austin, which would eventually lead to an amazing job at The Girls Empowerment Network!

  • The opportunity to go back to school to earn my Masters in Social Work so I can better serve those in need.

  • Puppies for their unwavering ability to give others love, affection, and snuggles!


Ally Miller, Program Manager

  • I’m thankful for the inspiring and hardworking new staff at GEN.

  • The technology that has brought us Netflix.

  • Girls who open their hearts in our programs to support other girls and help them grow.


Ami Kane, Development Director

  • Houston—for welcoming the WAG event there!

  • Donors who invest in a bright future for girls.

  • Our beautiful, huge new office space. With a kitchen! And a Conference Room!


Blair Stirek, Project Manager

  • Being able to scholarship over 60% of the attendees to We Are Girls and making this an obtainable event for all young girls in our community.

  • Thankful to have a healthy family of puppies and people

  • Thankful for Justin Timberlake getting better and better!

  • Thankful for meeting Betty White!


Brittany Yelverton, Community Engagement and Volunteer Manager

  • I am grateful for GEN’s volunteers. Their commitment, enthusiasm, and advocacy impact our agency and the community in profoundly wonderful ways.

  • Elastic waistbands. All pants can feel like pajamas.

  • Our staff. It’s wonderful to work alongside people you trust, admire, and consider friends.


Caroline Crawford, Program Director

  • I am grateful for my amazing new position at the Girls Empowerment Network.

  • I am grateful that my city encourages me to stay weird.

  • I am grateful for the HAIRBO company and their incredible selection of gummies and candies


Chelsea Dean, Program Coordinator

  • This holiday season I am grateful for all the passionate, intelligent, compassionate, and empowered women in my life. It is those women who keep me invigorated and inspired!


Claudia Arellano, Program Coordinator

  • The growth of the Girls Empowerment Network! Including, new colleagues, new offices, and the new areas we are serving girls.

  • My girls that are in all my groups, and their constant laughs that make my job even more fun than people think. Not to forget the relationships and bonds they are forming with each other.

  • I’m thankful for my new independence and all the new  beginnings I am a part of. Ex: first apartment, first WAG in Houston


Claudia Garate, Program Coordinator

  • Thankful for the strong and supportive people this work has allowed me to cross paths with

  • Thankful for my family

  • Thankful for the healing power of music


Daniela Campuzano, Project Management Intern

  • Having family and friends that support me.

  • My GEN internship and the amazing people I have met here!

  • Tacos and Salsa (SPICY!!)


Elena Carey, Development Coordinator

  • Podcasts, big and small

  • Words that bring me clarity, comfort, and an enlivened spirit

  • My job at GEN, which brings me such happiness and fulfillment


Estefania Romero, Program Coordinator

  • That I can see my sister over the holidays. She lives in London and I don’t get to see her as often as I would like.

  • The summer weather in Miami this Holiday and I can enjoy the beach while everyone else around the country is freezing.

  • To enjoy traditional Venezuelan food for Christmas made by my mom!!


Jana Collins, Operations Director

  • I am grateful that I work for an organization whose leaders value me as a person.

  • I am thankful for friends and family who share life’s challenges and joys with me.


Julia Cuba Lewis, Executive Director

  • I am grateful for the staff members who show up every day to empower girls, laugh together, educate their communities about girls issues, and generally just be the most awesome people with whom I could spend my days.

  • I am grateful for the donors who want so badly for girls to be empowered that they make significant financial contributions to help us directly change the lives of girls.  Without them, we would not exist.


Leslie Williams, Houston Conference Coordinator

  • I am grateful for the success of the first We Are Girls Conference in Houston.

  • I am grateful for a daughter who amazes me everyday and for a loving and supportive husband.

  • I am grateful for faith and hope because life would be tough without them.


Mandi Melendez, Williamson County Program Manager

  • Collaboration with passionate and committed parents, schools, and community leaders who see the value in our work and help us to connect with girls.

  • Colleagues who love a good laugh and respect a good cry.

  • Hot coffee on cold mornings, and the accompanying surge of productivity.


Natalia Ornelas, Program Manager

  • I’m grateful for the opportunity work with such an amazing a passionate team!

  • This holiday season I’m grateful for good health, love, and family.


Renese Johnson, Williamson County Program Coordinator

  • My family because they are supportive, encouraging and they keep me grounded.

  • The ability to do work I love and to contribute positively in girls lives.

  • The opportunity for growth and change.


Savannah Yurick, Project Management Intern

  • The warm-hearted, dedicated and genuine staff that I got the pleasure to work alongside and get to know!

  • All of the incredible volunteers who support our programs to give girls amazing opportunities everyday and put a smile on their faces!

  • Santa, because he’s a cool dude and with a happy heart.


Sidney Kenley, Operations and Program Coordinator

  • New beginnings – a new home and being able to call Austin my true home, and new babies being born into the family

  • Growth! –

– The expansion of GEN,

– growth of the girls in our programs into confident young women who aren’t afraid to embrace their passions and who they are

  • The best job ever where I am surrounded by amazing like-minded women and where I can feel empowered to make a difference.

Vanessa Wright