Our Team

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My Reason to Build

"We need space and each other to center, affirm and amplify love and acceptance of ourselves.”

Photographer, Stewart Allen

Angela Patton

Founder of Camp Diva Leadership Academy
CEO of Girls For A Change

Angela Patton is the CEO of Girls For A Change, a nonprofit whose mission is to prepare Black girls for the world and the world for Black girls. Based in Richmond, Virginia, she has been fighting for systemic and cultural change on a national scale for 25 years. Her TED talk has been viewed over one million times and her co-authored book, Finding Her Voice, has helped thousands of Black girls to navigate and thrive in diverse environments. The documentary she co-directed, Daughters, premiered and won the Festival Favorite and Audience Favorite: U.S. Documentary awards at the Sundance Film Festival in 2024, and will premiere on Netflix this summer. Angela is a seasoned speaker, community activist, and uncompromising advocate for listening to Black girls’ brilliant ideas about how their lives and communities can be made more just and beautiful and making it happen.

A Message from the CEO

Black women are often portrayed as too much. We do too much, we are too much, and we take up too much space. Because of these societal beliefs, when Black girls and women decide to speak up for themselves, it’s construed as loud, sassy, and negative. This feeling of always having to be aware of one’s own behavior to make others comfortable can create feelings of anxiety, low self-esteem, and unhealthy choices.

Navigating the world with a mindset that you cannot take up space robs you of the ability to be yourself, love yourself, or do for yourself. As a leader, organizer, and activator for Black girls, I want to offer a space for girls to be bold, to be loud, and most importantly to be seen. Girls For A Change encourages girls to be honest and respected, and love themselves and others.

It's about time we had a sacred and brave space where we can gather and be free from the mainstream stereotypes and marginalization that permeate every other societal space we occupy. Within our four walls, we work on and address cultural issues that others would not understand or feel comfortable discussing. We have to have the space to work through issues like colorism, racism, sexism - all the isms - because a lot of times Black girls don’t get that chance. Not in their schools, communities, and for some not even at home. It is important to find communities for Black women and girls while we are on our personal development journey because the ultimate purpose of personal growth is to ripple through the collective and raise consciousness.

quote

At Girls For A Change, we are preparing Black girls for the world, and the world for Black girls.

– Angela Patton, Chief Executive Officer

Girls For A Change Staff Members

Headshots by Jay Paul Photography

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Na'Kera Richardson
Director of Operations

My Reason to Build
“Every girl deserves a space that is beautiful, safe, and feels like home.”

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Coach Nickey McMullen 
Girl Action Team National Trainer

My Reason to Build
“sing the song of her possibilities
sing a righteous gospel
let her be born
& handled warmly."

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Danielle Brown
Elevating LeadHers Development Fellow

My Reason to Build
“When we own space specifically designated to celebrate and build up Black girl excellence, that excellence pours out into and contributes to our entire community.”

Support Staff

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Freida Ann Mcneil
Field Instructor and Grant Writer

My Reason to Build
"When a Black Girl is loved, watered and nourished, the world benefits greatly."

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Ashley Ray
Communications Director

My Reason to Build
"Because we understand it is imperative to teach Black Girls that they have the right to take up space, be heard, and respected in all spaces."

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Jen Fell
Building & Property Strategist

My Reason to Build
"Because Black girls belong in beautiful spaces."

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Nadia Fraser
8th Grade
Peer Advisor

My Reason to Build
"The new space is important because it will provide a place for young black girls to learn and grow, while being constantly reminded that there is a place for them. It will teach them about themselves, their history, and the impact they can have on the community."

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Asani Ka-Re
9th Grade
Peer Advisor

My Reason to Build
"Black females can blossom and always gain new information at Girls For A Change. Donating to our building is important so that Black girls and other girls of color can expand their networks and have access to greater opportunities."

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Kileya Johnson
10th Grade
Peer Advisor 

My Reason to Build
"Having a new space is beneficial to our community as it gives more space for more girls and more activities within our programs. There are many programs that we have and with a new space we can  have more material specific them and do multiple of them at a time."

Jolinda Smithson, Web Designer

Photo by S. Helena Photography

Jolinda Anderson
Website Designer

My Reason to Build
"Black girls are amazing and deserve the opportunity to own their own space where they can learn, grow, thrive and build identity-affirming community."

If you are interested in working with Girls For A Change,
visit our Careers Opportunities page to check for open positions.