Nicole Hmielewski
Executive Director

Maria Socorro Santos
Program Manager

Girls Rising is seeking a part-time Program Event Coordinator!  Please see this posting for details.


Board of Directors

Meghan Hogrefe – President

Meghan joined the Board in February 2017.  Meghan had previously volunteered for several years with the San Diego Rescue Mission working to help the women return into the workforce. She has always remained a champion of volunteerism with an emphasis on helping girls and women achieve their goals.  In addition to volunteering, over the last 10 years Meghan has worked primarily in area of Human Resource outsourcing and staffing. She has specialty in helping companies operate stronger by working to find options to streamline resources as it relates to being an employer.

Originally from the North East, at the end of 2008 she was transferred to San Diego in her Branch Manager role within a large staffing firm. Most recently, at the end of 2016, Meghan and her husband started H2 Productions, LLC which focuses on multiple investment projects including Real Estate investments in Sandusky, Ohio as well as launching a clothing line.  Meghan grew up in a small town in Rhode Island and graduated from Harvard University. In her spare time she enjoys running, surfing and most importantly, spending time with her husband.



Nicole Marquel – Vice President

Nicole Celeste Marquel joined the Board of Girls Rising in October 2017. Originally from New York, she moved to San Diego in 2013. She is the Director of Development for Wesley House, a nonprofit providing affordable housing and wraparound services for at-risk college students in San Diego. As a former educator working in high needs urban areas, Nicole is a passionate advocate for student populations and empowering girls in particular. Nicole holds a BA in Psychology from Washington University in St. Louis, an MA in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Adelphi University, and an MA in Education from Pepperdine University.




Terri Denning – Treasurer

Terri Denning joined the Board of Directors of Girls Rising in June, 2018. Originally from England, Terri moved to Charlottesville, VA in 1997 where she received her MBA in Business and Finance from the Darden School at the University of Virginia. Terri works in the renewable energy field in finance and business development. She is proud to promote energy which is 100% sustainable and has her own consulting company in the same field. Terri is also the Treasurer for San Diego Surf Ladies, and is a keen surfer. She lives in Encinitas.





Open Board Seat – Secretary

Girls Rising is seeking a Board Secretary.  See this posting for details.








Erin Callaghan Huffman

Erin Callaghan Huffman joined the board of directors for Girls Rising in 2018. She has always felt it is important to give back to your community, thus is passionate about volunteering her time to good causes. Erin is an active member of the Junior League of San Diego where she serves as a fundraising event treasurer. She was previously a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for a foster child and also volunteered as part of the Disaster Services’ feeding leadership team with the San Diego/Imperial County Chapter of the American Red Cross for many years.

When not working for free, Erin is a freelance Instructional Designer and has created both online and instructor-led training courses for organizations such as the US Navy and Texas Education Agency. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Media Arts & Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA and her master’s degree in Learning Design and Technology from San Diego State University.

Erin grew up in New Jersey and Virginia, but has called California home for over 15 years. She lives in Mission Hills with her husband, two stepdaughters, brand new baby daughter, and kitty cat.




Brittany Malowney

Brittany joined the Board of Directors of Girls Rising in April 2020. She currently works in Regulatory Affairs in San Diego. Previously she has worked in procurement, government consulting, and for a San Diego non-profit. Brittany holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a specialization in Organizational Leadership, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership. Brittany is a native San Diegan and is passionate about helping her community. She volunteers for several non-profits and is dedicated to helping local youth enrich their lives. In her free time, Brittany enjoys spending the day outdoors with her husband and son. She currently lives in Little Italy and enjoys dining at all of the great restaurants in the neighborhood. 





Madison Majeed

Madison is a marketing and business development professional with a bachelor’s degree in Business and Organizational Leadership and a Master’s in Computer Science and Business Analytics. Madison is the founder of Madison Nicole & Co., an agency that provides web design, marketing, and business insight to female entrepreneurs, and STEM à la Femme, a community for Women in STEM to connect, learn, and share their experiences. Madison grew up in the Pacific Northwest, but she is a die-hard fan of the California sunshine, traveling the world, and exploring San Diego. Madison has a passion for helping women and girls thrive through opportunity and education and is excited to be able to give back to her community through Girls Rising.




Jessica Watrous

Jessica joined the board in 2020. She is a clinical health psychologist who currently runs a research division focused on understanding the relationships between physical and mental health with the ultimate goal of helping to improve healthcare so people can live their best lives. Jessica is from Reno originally, received her PhD from the University of Memphis, and moved to San Diego in 2011 to complete her clinical internship and never left. Jessica is passionate about pursuing equity in health, education, and access, and hopes to support the mission of Girls Rising with that passion. She lives in North PB with her husband, step-son, and their two dogs, and in her free time enjoys Pilates, swimming, reading, and spending time with her family and friends.





Ashley Harper

Ashley joined the Board of Directors in October 2020.  With over a decade in the United States Army, Ashley knows first hand what it means to serve and be committed to a greater cause beyond herself. She is a proven leader, who takes pride in the work she has been called to.

Ashley’s leadership model is centered around empowering, motivating, and helping others realize their full potential.  Her passion and dedication to seeing others develop is something she hopes to employ in her role with Girls Rising.  Women’s growth and transformation is where her heart is. 

Ashley holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Management, from American International College Springfield, MA.  After a 16month assignment in Stuttgart, Germany, Ashley now resides in San Diego CA, with her husband Reiss and daughter Zoey.  She’s excited about Girls Rising, and is looking forward to creating lasting impact.