Sassy, classy, and always on point. Bernie, Danielle, Kristin, and Anna started Women SPEAK with the hopes to give young women the confidence to discuss difficult issues that women face today, build a support network, and become changemakers. After all, the team was merely a group of 19/20 year olds when Women SPEAK started!

After a few weeks of discussing issues of gender, identity, and social justice in a coffee shop, the colorful display of Post-it® notes against the stark white wall would later be the pillars of Women SPEAK: building positive body image, deconstructing gender media stereotypes, establishing healthy relationships, and being leaders of change in the community.  

Meet the founding team of Women SPEAK.


Bernadette Lim
executive director

Bernadette Lim is currently a medical student at the Joint Medical Program under the UC San Francisco School of Medicine and UC Berkeley School of Public Health earning both her MD and MSc. degrees. She is a Harvard University graduate in human biology and global health and a 2016-17 Fulbright Scholar to India concentrating on the intersections of health equity, entrepreneurship and gender equality. At Harvard, she co-founded the school’s Asian American Women’s Association and traveled to Kenya and the United Kingdom on full scholarships to pursue global health work and promote health and hygiene education for girls. Lim, who is the primary author and editor of the 2015 Report on the Status of Women and Girls in Boston, has received numerous honors, including being named one of the 2016 Glamour Magazine College Women of the Year, Business Insider 19 Most Impressive at Harvard, and HerCampus 22 Under 22 Most Inspiring College Women. In her free time, she loves shoe shopping, meditation, yoga, and traveling.



Danielle cooney
Director of program development

Danielle Cooney graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arizona Honors College with her Bachelors in both English and Creative Writing, and thematic minor on the topic of the Neuropsychology of Language Development. She completed an Honors creative thesis exploring the harmony between the arts and sciences, was published in Persona, the University of Arizona undergraduate literary magazine, and has recently accepted a full-time position as an Early Childhood Specialist in Tucson, Arizona. She took most of her graduation photos at In-N-Out, and hopes to pursue a law degree focusing on education and health policies as well as a Masters in Fine Arts in the coming years. Her work with Women SPEAK has honed her interests as a writer and educator, as well as solidified her opinion that snacks are essential at any gathering. 









Kristin Jones is a graduating senior at Howard University pursuing a bachelor of architecture degree in Washington, DC. She was abroad in Barcelona, Spain studying architecture and planning. As a student at Howard, she has served on the College Council and is a member of the American Institute of Architects and the National Organization of Minority Architects. As a fourth year, she was inducted into Tau Sigma Delta Architecture and Allied Arts Honors Society and is a member of Alpha Rho Chi, a Professional Architecture Fraternity. She is currently interning with MCN Build in Washington DC on the preconstruction team. She has volunteered for United Way, CampFire USA, and Foothill Family Shelter and hopes to help girls find a voice in their communities. She will become a licensed architect, real estate developer, and professor. Kristin also enjoys reading, traveling, photography, and yoga. 





Anna Sugiura
Director of Communications

Anna Sugiura is an alumna of Loyola Marymount University graduating magna cum laude with a degree in communication studies and an English minor in journalism. As a student, she pursued her passion for philanthropic work as a member of Sursum Corda, former Rains Research assistant that created community-based programs in a developing Skid Row shelter and participant of an immersion trip to El Salvador to research poverty, education and women’s rights. She formerly studied abroad at the Queen's College in Oxford University, wrote for LMU’s newspaper as the assistant news editor and interned at Fox Entertainment Studios. She is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, an honor society of Jesuit institutions of higher education. Currently, she is the sales and marketing coordinator for Bishamon Industries Corporation. In the coming years, she hopes to continue volunteering, writing and traveling the world.