Watch our video /
/ Join our Community Flickr Icon YouTube Icon Vimeo Icon Tumblr Icon Twitter Icon Facebook Icon



“Music is universal. Education should be too.” 

GIRLS WHO ROCK was founded by Cynthia Hellen of simpliCT Lab and Tammy Tibbetts of She’s the First, with the support and partnership of Internet Week New York. GIRLS WHO ROCK is an annual concert in NYC connecting entertainment, technology and design communities to advocate for girls and education worldwide, while mentoring local student volunteers to be leaders. GIRLS WHO ROCK has been featured on, The New York Daily News, The Huffington Post,, NBC New York, among other major media outlets, and has the honor of partnering with Internet Week New York.

Cynthia Hellen, Co-Founder  Twitter Icon

Cynthia Hellen is Founder/CEO of simpliCT Lab,  Co-Founder and Executive Director, of GIRLS WHO ROCK. Cynthia’s priority is to set a positive, creative culture, strategic vision and mission. As a passionately curious, socially oriented entrepreneur, collaborating to create positive, environmental and social change she is currently exploring the future of Business.


Tammy Tibbetts, Co-Founder  Twitter Icon

Tammy is the Founder / President of She’s the First,  Co-Founder and Executive Director, of GIRLS WHO ROCK. After graduating as a journalist from The College of New Jersey, she was as a web editor with Seventeen, CosmoGIRL, and Teen, launched, and then reached millions of teens as the social media editor of Seventeen.  She’s proud to be a professional teenager, left-handed, and a Jersey girl.


Opal Vadhan, Executive Producer Twitter Icon

Opal serves as Executive Producer at GIRLS WHO ROCK. Opal is one of the youngest member on the GIRLS WHO ROCK team  and is responsible for concept development, and monitoring team daily actions and deployment. She graduated from Archbishop Molloy High School. She is the president of the Student Activities Committee and an active member in Marist Youth Retreat Leader, Model U.N., Students Against Destructive Decisions, and Campus Ministry. 


Business Development


 Trinh Nguyen, Project Manager  Twitter Icon 

Trinh serves as a Project Manager for GIRLS WHO ROCK.  She graduated from Yale University, where she studied the role of cultural competency in the delivery of healthcare services.  She currently holds a position in higher education administration, and has previously worked in community-based organizations, academic medical centers, and municipal government.


Anita Colby, Chief Marketing Officer  Twitter Icon

Anita fuses her passions for social change and marketing strategy by developing partnerships for GIRLS WHO ROCK. At age 20, Anita founded Bronx Underground; a social enterprise that provides live music, alcohol free events, and opportunities to change the world to Bronx teens.  She rocks the role of Chief Enthusiasm Officer. By day, she provides strategic consumer insight to clients as the Director of Analysis at Ipsos UU.  She loves to travel, and to recreate those experiences through food adventures around NYC.  


Colleen Gilmore, Marketing Communications Manager

 Colleen, serves as Marketing Communication Manager at GIRLS WHO ROCK. She attended Fashion Institute of Technology majoring in Advertising and Marketing Communications. She turned her love for music into a career path when she started her own event production company in New Jersey back in 2004. Upon graduating from FIT, Colleen began working at SPIN Media, where she worked her way up to Integrated Marketing Manager and combined her passion for bands + brands. Since taking an other world civilization elective in college, she has had an interest in women’s development and was a weekly contributor to FXB International’s Women’s Empowerment Blog in 2010-11.


Shante Skyers, Marketing Director  Twitter Icon

Shante serves as Marketing Director for GIRLS WHO ROCK, she is currently serving a year in AmeriCorps, working at CFY, an digital educational nonprofit in NYC. She has always loved music and during and after college interned and worked for entertainment giants such as Warner Music Group, BET and Universal Motown Republic. This 2010 SUNY Purchase Arts Management graduate quickly discovered her love of the nonprofit field and decided to find a way to combine her love of music and helping others. 


Media / Creative

Anna Schilawski, Communications Director Twitter Icon

Anna is thrilled to join the Communication team at GIRLS WHO ROCK, and serve as Communications Director. She works in Brand Communications & Events at Victoria’s Secret. She is a Midwestern girl who graduated with a degree in Communications and Certificate in Journalism from Indiana University. She is a member of Cosmetic Executive Women, New York Road Runners and on the host committee for GlamourGals’ annual event, Glamour in the City.


Aishwarya Bhake, Media Relations Manager

Aishwarya  serves as the Media Relations Manager at GIRLS WHO ROCK. She graduated in 2009 from the Huntsman Program in International Studies and Business at the University of Pennsylvania where she received degrees in Finance and International Studies. She made full use of the Finance degree through her professional roles in  Investment Banking and Corporate Strategy but felt she wanted to bridge the gap and apply her International Studies knowledge. She was particularly interested in the education and professional development of women and girls around the world. That’s how she stumbled upon She’s the First and became the researcher covering Shanti Bhavan, the school benefiting from the 2012 GIRLS WHO ROCK concert. 

Katie Miller, Chief Special Project  Twitter Icon   

Katie serves as Chief Special Projects at GIRLS WHO ROCK. She is responsible for developing, planning, organizing, implementing, and coordinating a variety of activities and special projects. The Chief Special Projects is responsible for daily oversight of project activities including close monitoring and coordination with project partners.

Nicki Shamel, Special Project Coordinator  Twitter Icon   

Nicki serves as Special Project Coordinator at GIRLS WHO ROCK. She spends her days doing international marketing for some of the biggest bands in the world, and outside of her full-time job, Nicki consults with independent artists on their social media and web properties. She is passionate about girls’ empowerment around the world and is particularly ecstatic to combine her love of music with such a cause so important to her.



Ashly Priest, Creative Director Twitter Icon

 At GIRLS WHO ROCK, Ashly is the Creative Director managing branding, design, and event logistics. When she is not designing, she is organizing outings, annual parties for her weekly newsletter, The A-List, which covers fun and mostly free/inexpensive activities in New York City. Ashly earned her BFA in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design and currently designs private label lingerie for Victoria’s Secret and Dilliards. 

Jasmine Paul, Graphic Designer  Twitter Icon

Jasmine Paul serves as a designer for GIRLS WHO ROCK. She is also 2011 Communications Graduate from High Point University. With a passion for the entertainment industry, she has interned for Ladies of Hip-Hop Festival, Philadelphia International Airport and many more. She is well versed in social media, film and graphic design and offers these talents to the public.  She is currently completing graduate work in Entrepreneurship at Eastern Michigan University. In her spare time, Jasmine likes to write poetry, volunteer, crochet, hang out with her sorority sisters and create DIY projects.



Alissa Fajek, Director of Tech  
Twitter Icon

Alissa is currently finishing up her freshman year at Fordham University Lincoln Center. She is studying journalism and social media, which lead her to GIRLS WHO ROCK. Alissa is currently serves as Director of Tech for GIRLS WHO ROCK, combining her passion for social media and music. If you can’t find her, she’s probably at a concert. 

Isabel Rutherfurd, Content Manager  Twitter Icon

Isabel is eager to using her technical and creative talents for a cause she believes in. Isabel serves as Content Manager and communication strategy at GIRLS WHO ROCK. She graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University in 2011 with a B.A. in Government and Studio Art. After graduating, Isabel’s passion for international development pulled her to rural South India where she had the opportunity to work with Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project– this year’s GIRLS WHO ROCK beneficiaries. Apart from India, Isabel has also spent time living in Vietnam and Cambodia where she focused on studying the intersection between politics and the welfare of a nation’s population. 

Stephanie Rushford, Editorial Writer Twitter Icon

Stephanie is a writer at GIRLS WHO ROCK, where she focuses on content creation. Stephanie is a producer and freelance writer, currently writing for The and A St. John’s English graduate she combines her passions for justice and journalism which lead her to find GIRLS WHO ROCK. 


Shalee Forney, Editorial Writer

Shalee serves as Writer at GIRLS WHO ROCK. She is a budding youth activist from North Carolina. At the young age of 20, after witnessing firsthand the need for leaders amongst our youth, she decided that encouraging and uplifting them was her calling.  Now at the ripe age of 24, she dedicates her life’s work to empowering the youth through her website, mentoring, community service, and speaking engagements. She is a graduate of UNC Greensboro with a BA in Sociology and Criminology and a minor in African American Studies.  She is a freelance writer for Differences Magazine and a columnist for CORE Magazine


Social Media

 MaryBeth Bognar, Chief Digital Engagement  Twitter Icon

Marybeth serves as Chief Digital Engagement at GIRLS WHO ROCK. She studied communication-public advocacy, international politics, and political communication at Ohio University. She is fully involved with human rights and promoting cultural understanding. She is the media manager for Young Professional Amnesty International (YPAI), mentor to a recent immigrant from China through Tagai, and mentee in a Peace Through Mentorship program. 


Shelley Tibbets, Digital  Engagement  Officer  Twitter Icon     

Shelley graduated in 2009 with a degree in Public Relations. During the Summer of 2008 she interned at Universal Music as a Promotions Intern. At GIRLS WHO ROCK Shelley is the Digital Engagement Officer and is part of the team that helps manage the social media presence for the concert. She is a born and raised Jersey girl and in her spare time can be found browsing the Princeton Record Exchange or guest blogging for

  • email
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • MySpace
  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Print