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 thumb

Sorelle Cohen

Sr. Director of Development, Marketing & Communications

Los Angeles, CA

Tanya Mahajan image thumbnail

Tanya Mahajan

Director of International Programs

New Delhi, India

Nicolette Harutunian image thumb

Nicolette Harutunian

Education Programs Manager

Los Angeles, CA

Barret Helms

Interim Director of Domestic Programs

Los Angeles, CA


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


Dr. Tamyra Comeaux

General Board Member


Bria Gadsden

General Board Member

Menstrual Equity Advocate & Social Impact Strategist

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

Candace Clark Trinchieri

General Board Member



Jodie Chan

Jodie Chan LinkedIn
Fashion Marketing Executive

Mia Glass

Community Leader

Dr. Sarah Haynes

Dr. Sarah Haynes LinkedIn

Elise Hausman

Dr. Sarah Haynes LinkedIn
Customer Happiness Associate at Bombas

Beth Laski

Beth Laski LinkedIn
Partner at Pastime Productions

Sajji Lazarus

Sajji Lazarus LinkedIn
Director’s Office, LACMA

Jordan Levine

Jordan Levine LinekdIn
Epidemiologist at Youth Development Labs

Dr. Cara Natterson

Cara Familian Natterson LinkedIn
Founder + CEO, Order of Magnitude

Anna Nickerson

Anna Nickerson LinkedIn
Growth Equity Investor at Spectrum Equity

Abby Maxam

Abby Maxam LinkedIn
VP Meno Enterprises and Owner/Partner SKS Management

Sheila Minton

President & Chief Executive Officer at TAGNOS

Kate Radeamacher

Kate Radeamacher LinkedIn

Nancy Muller

Nancy Muller LinkedIn
Independent Consultant

Professor Julie Rajan

Professor Julie Rajan LinkedIn
Associate Teaching Professor, Rutgers University
Adjunct: Columbia University

Dr. Sarena Ravi-Toellner MD


Nishita Shah

Nishita Shah LinkedIn
Head of Marketing, Koita Foods

Pavita Singh

Pavita Singh LinkedIn
MPH, Executive Director, Girls Health Education

Susan Stover

SUsan Stover LinkedIn
Marketing Lead Hyivy Health

Jeremy Tepper

Jeremy Tepper LinkedIn
Growth Equity Investor at Spectrum Equity

Phu Tranchi

Phu Tranchi LinkedIn
Director of Community Engagement & Experiential Learning, Oakwood School

Sarah Waxman

Sarah Waxman
Founder + Executive Director At The Well

Sateria Venable

Sateria Venable LinkedIn
Founder & CEO at The Fibroid Foundation

Lena Winters

Lena Winters LinkedIn
Community Care Lead at Modern Health


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