Origins and

Origins and
Our Team


The Pad Project’s mission is to create and cultivate local and global partnerships to end period stigma and to empower women and all menstruators worldwide.


The Pad Project’s pad machines and washable cloth pad programs utilize a social enterprise model. Instead of simply distributing products, these programs employ women to run their own businesses by making and selling menstrual pads. Our programs also involve implementing menstrual hygiene management workshops, all of which are created and run by our nonprofit partners to fit the needs of their community members.


The Pad Project isn’t alone in the fight for menstrual equity. We partner with domestic and international nonprofits to make sure our programs fit the individual menstrual hygiene needs of each community where we work. We also founded the Ambassador Program to connect and engage menstrual equity activists around the globe.


The Pad Project believes that educating people about menstruation is a necessary part of the menstrual equity movement. We created the documentary Period. End of Sentence. to raise awareness about period poverty, and we’ve included menstrual hygiene management education as a key component in all of our international programs. We are also committed to using education to debunk myths about menstruation and combat menstrual stigma around the world.


Lack of access to affordable and hygienic menstrual products is a global problem. The Pad Project learns from our NGO partners and then funds a variety of programming to meet the access needs of different individuals and communities. Our goal is to help each community provide adequate menstrual health to menstruators, which, according to Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters, requires “complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in relation to the menstrual cycle.”


Not all women menstruate, and not all menstruators are women. At The Pad Project, we are dedicated to supporting all menstruators, and we want to make sure our fight for menstrual equity is gender inclusive. We use the term “menstruators” to refer to all people who experience menstruation, including cisgender, transgender, nonbinary, and genderfluid individuals. However, we as an organization are still learning and growing, and we welcome all feedback. If you see a way for us to be more inclusive, let us know at info@thepadproject.org!

Hands making pad for girls


The Pad Project was started in 2013 by a youth-driven community of students and educators convinced that menstruation matters for everyone. What began as a documentary film project highlighting a single village has expanded to an organization with global reach. In 2019, that documentary film, Period. End of Sentence., won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short, and since then, The Pad Project has continued to grow.

We’ve placed 9 pad machines in 2 countries and are working to place 7 more pad machines in 4 countries. We’ve launched 8 washable pad programs in 6 countries and are working to launch another washable pad program soon! In the U.S., we’ve started two programs to combat period poverty: Pads for All and Pads for Schools. So far, we’ve partnered with 10 NGOs and grassroots organizations in 8 states and 5 schools and school districts in 4 states to provide menstrual products to those in need. We also launched The Pad Project’s Ambassador Program, which is designed to unite menstrual equity activists around the world!

Meet the team

behind the movement


Melissa Berton thumb image

Melissa Berton

Co-Founder/Executive Director
Los Angeles, CA

Sorelle Cohen

Sr. Director of Development, Marketing & Communications
Los Angeles, CA

Tanya Mahajan image thumbnail

Tanya Mahajan

Strategy Specialist, International Programs

New Delhi, India

Payal Tiwari

International Programs Coordinator
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India

Nicolette Harutunian image thumb

Nicolette Harutunian

Director of U.S. Programs
Los Angeles, CA

Rachel Gingold

Fundraising Strategist
Los Angeles, CA

Jayna Gandhi

Marketing Coordinator
Toronto, Canada

Chloe Azorksy

Marketing and Brand Strategist
Kansas City, Missouri


Melissa Berton

Executive Director

English Teacher, Writer, Speaker

Anissa Siegel

Board Chair

Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Artist

Bonnie Abaunza

General Board Member

Social Impact Producer, Human Rights Activist

Michaela Carter

General Board Member


Bria Gadsden

General Board Member

Menstrual Equity Advocate & Social Impact Strategist

Candace Clark Trinchieri

General Board Member


Nicole Jain

General Board Member

Education Policy Advocate and Advisor

Stacey Sher

General Board Member

Film Producer

Anjana Sivakumar


HR Advisor, Apollo Global Management

Lisa Taback

General Board Member

Vice President of Awards & Talent Relations, Netflix

Rayka Zehtabchi

General Board Member

Film Director


E. Jackson Allison, Jr.

MD/MPH, Emergency Medicine & Public Health Physician

Laurie Arent

Writer/Executive Producer, Creative Business Consultant, Origin Story Consultant

Chloe Azorsky

Marketing and Brand Strategist, The Pad Project

Karnit Braun

Co-Founder & Partner, Braun Law Group

Jodie Chan

VP Global Marketing and Communications at Carolina Herrera

Gohar Chichian

Senior Manager of Content Marketing, Catchafire

Jessica Cohen

Director, Office of Research Affairs, PATH

Sarah Ellis

Vice President – Client Advisor, Curated Wealth Partners

Cat Ferrier

Creative Producer, The Very Creative Firm

Supriya Garikipati

Professor in Sustainable Development, UCD

Samantha Moray Grossman


Andrea Gruber


Elise Hausman

Senior Associate – Processes & Customer Systems, Bombas

Dr. Sarah Haynes

Founder and CEO of Coach Era

Nitha Jada-Goldberg

Associate Creative Director

Allison Krause

Banker at J.P. Morgan Private Bank

Sajji Lazarus

Snap Research Fellow, LACMA

Hannah Lebowitz-Lockard

Production and Development Manager, Best Case Studios

Victoria Lerner


Jordan Levine

Global health expert

Abby Maxam

Community Leader

Sheila Minton

President & Chief Executive Officer at TAGNOS

Nancy Muller

Independent Consultant

Cara Familian Natterson, M.D.

Pediatriation, Author, Co-Founder, OOMLA

Diana Nelson

Global Advocacy Director, Days for Girls

Anna Nickerson

Growth at Column

Kate Rademacher

Independent Consultant

Julie Rajan

Associate Prof. Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Sarena Ravi


Raquel Richter

Founder, Resolution Parent

Bharathi Sethumadhavan

Senior Philanthropic Advisor, Unboxed Philanthropy

Nishita Shah

Marketing Consultant, Non Profits

Pavita Singh

Executive Director, Girls Health Ed

Ashley Steimer-King

Senior Program Director, Girls Learn International

Jeremy Tepper

Growth Equity at Spectrum Equity | Software, Internet, and Data Investors

Phu Tranchi

Director of Community Engagement and Experiential Learning

Sateria Venable

Executive Director, Fibroid Foundation

Nancy Leptuch Virrey

Director of Advancement, Oakwood School

Lena Rose Winters

Director, Learning & Development


Sophie Aschiem

Strategic Partnerships Coordinator, Yale University ’23

Carly Gatto

University of Michigan ’22

Alden Sabah

Scripps College ’22

Ruby Schiff

Kenyon College ’21

Avery Siegel

Community Outreach Coordinator, Tulane University ’21

Charlotte Silverman

Brown University ’22

Claire Sliney

Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator, University of Pennsylvania ’21

Helen Yenser

Scripps ‘17, University of Southern California MFA ‘19, Cinematic Arts

YOUTH ADVISORY BOARD: Oakwood High School Alumnae

Dorothea ‘21, Lila ’21, Maia ‘21, Mason ‘21, Alex ‘21, Emma ‘22, Maggie ‘22, Naomi L. ‘22, Naomi Z.’22