Women and Girls Initiative

The Los Angeles County Women and Girls Initiative (WGI) was established on December 13, 2016, by the Board of Supervisors. The motion aimed to create a gender equity agenda for Los Angeles County and unify departments in examining the systemic issues that lead to inequitable gender outcomes. The WGI is committed to enhancing equity and justice, increasing leadership opportunities and capacity, and creating innovative pathways and partnerships. Read the full motion here.

“This critical initiative will address a longstanding blind spot in our policies and services to better address the real-life needs and barriers faced by women and girls” – Former Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Third District

Who We Are

The mission of the Women and Girls Initiative is to establish Los Angeles County as a leader in creating opportunities and improving outcomes for all women and girls. The WGI is here to listen to the women and girls of Los Angeles County and ensure access to the resources necessary to attain their definition of success. The overarching goal of the WGI is to provide countywide sustainability for gender equity.  By adopting and implementing best practices, the County drives the permanent culture shifts necessary to improve how we serve women and girls.

Women of Los Angeles County tell us exactly what they need to be successful.

Photo taken by McCall Cadenas

Our Team

Women are the most resilient people on earth. They know exactly what they need to thrive. It is simply our job as government to listen and enact what they know will help them succeed”- Chanel Smith, WGI Executive Director

Chanel Smith

Alisa Williams

Andrea Clark-Nicholas

Jasmine Campbell

Caroline Torén

Hayley W. Sayrs, MPH

Chanel Smith

Executive Director

Chanel Smith has spent the last 15 years working to enhance the services available for marginalized and vulnerable populations. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the County of Los Angeles’ Women & Girls Initiative. Prior to that Chanel worked with the City of Los Angeles’ Community Investment for Families Department, where she managed the City’s comprehensive programming for survivors of Interpersonal Violence, including programs to address the intersection of domestic violence and homelessness. In her previous role as Policy Director for Domestic Violence and Vulnerable Populations at the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, she oversaw the City of Los Angeles’ gender-based violence initiatives, which include the Domestic Abuse & Sexual Assault Response Teams and Family Justice Centers, as well as other City-based strategies for ensuring the safety of some of our most vulnerable residents. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mrs. Smith oversaw Project Safe Haven, the largest comprehensive response to domestic violence during the pandemic in the world. Mrs. Smith was the 2020 Recipient of the County of Los Angeles’ Excellence in Public Service Award, the 2020 California Partnership to End Domestic Violence Award, and the 2021 Woman of Distinction award, from California Assembly member Patrick O’Donnell, for her work with the Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking populations.

Alisa Williams

Policy Development & Program Implementation

Alisa began her County career with the Probation Department where she conducted strategic planning sessions with the Executive Leadership Team and managed the department-wide performance management system. It was there that she was first introduced to the process of applying a gender lens to examine the impact of the criminal justice system on girls in confinement and to increase awareness of the differences in risk and needs based on gender so that Probation could usher in the implementation of gender specific, trauma-informed training and programming. Since leaving the Probation Department, Alisa has been with the Chief Executive Office where she has been involved in countywide strategic planning and performance management efforts. She has served on several special projects, including the establishment of the non-profit corporation for the new Martin Luther King, Jr., Hospital, in Probation reform efforts, on the Covid related Food Security Task Force, and is now serving in the Women and Girls Initiative. In her current role, she assists in policy development and program implementation that support the unique needs of women and girls.

Andrea Clark-Nicholas

Administration

Andrea Clark-Nicholas reports to the Executive Director of the County of Los Angeles’ Women & Girls Initiative and is responsible for providing administrative support to management and staff. Andrea has provided over 20 years of service to the County of Los Angeles in the Chief Executive Office’s Intergovernmental Affairs, Office of Workplace Programs, Unincorporated Area Services, Community Services and Capital Programs, and the Economic Development and Affordable Housing Division; the Department of Public Social Services’ Human Resources Division, Exams Unit; and the Office of the Assessors’ Exemption Services and Ownership Division. She strives to be resourceful and provide reliable assistance in support of her team.

Jasmine Campbell

Strategic Partnerships and Engagement

Jasmine began her career with Los Angeles County in 2013, working to implement environmental affairs programs by managing various outreach media campaigns, and community engagement efforts to educate Los Angeles County residents on departmental resources and initiatives. In her current role, Jasmine manages strategic partnerships and programs for WGI that assist our most vulnerable residents with gaining access to gender inclusive resources. Jasmine is committed to ensuring that WGI engages the community we serve in all project development. She has worked with executive management on systems accountability, and grant programs focused on workforce and economic development serving justice-involved and underserved populations to provide access to sustainable career pathways for the future. Outside of work, Jasmine has volunteered her time developing curriculum and teaching in prison facilities, both locally and abroad. She has traveled to Uganda, England, and Scotland to teach classes including career development, life skills, business entrepreneurship, and forgiveness and healing, as part of the overall rehabilitation efforts to help lower recidivism rates. In Southern California, she has worked with the Norco Prison, and the Santa Fe Springs Women’s Facility teaching classes to help those involved in the criminal justice system with reintegration. In addition to the vast experience working with diverse groups, Jasmine holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Marketing from CSU, Fullerton, and a Master of Public Administration from CSU, Long Beach.

Caroline Torén

Gender Impact Assessment

Caroline is a consultant with WGI overseeing the County-wide Gender Impact Assessment. Caroline has a decade of experience developing and implementing gender-responsive policies and programs for the Swedish Defense and State Department, the City of Los Angeles, and as a consultant. She started her career overseeing the European Union’s Civilian and Military Crisis Management Missions and advocating for the implementation of the Women, Peace & Security Agenda in the European Union’s External Relations. After leading policy development processes at the European Correspondent’s Office and the United Nations Policy Department in Sweden, Caroline helped lead the work of the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women, where she continued to work in the areas of workforce development, public transportation, and housing and community investment in partnership with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, City Council, City Departments, and service providers. Caroline has worked as a consultant since 2019, helping organizations design, implement, and evaluate gender-responsive policies, programs, and initiatives to advance gender equity and equality, and achieve systems change. Caroline holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Crisis Management from Uppsala University, Sweden, and a Master of Arts in Conflict, Security, and Development from King’s College, United Kingdom.

Hayley W. Sayrs, MPH

Public Relations & Communications

Hayley is an independent contractor with WGI, managing public relations, content development, and communications across all of our WGI platforms. As Founder of HWS Consulting, she brings more than seven years of experience leading multi-stakeholder projects and public health community engagement programs. HWS Consulting offers development and capacity building for social impact organizations and small businesses. In Texas, Hayley launched an educational farmers market and co-developed an evidence-based program that educates students and communities on how to grow their own food. In California, she worked with the Los Angeles County Youth at Work Partner Program to uplift and empower student entrepreneurs and families in East and South Los Angeles, and served as the Research and Grants Manager for the Violence Intervention Program Community Mental Health Center. In 2020, Hayley was recognized for her commitment to mentorship and service in youth development programming by the Mixed Roots Foundation’s Joseph L. White Pioneering the Way Mentoring Scholarship. Hayley is a graduate of Trinity University and earned her Master’s in Public Health Policy from Keck School of Medicine USC.

Our Team

Women are the most resilient people on earth. They know exactly what they need to thrive. It is simply our job as government to listen and enact what they know will help them succeed”- Chanel Smith, WGI Executive Director

Chanel Smith

Alisa Williams

Andrea Clark-Nicholas

Jasmine Campbell

Caroline Torén

Hayley W. Sayrs, MPH

Chanel Smith

Executive Director

Chanel Smith has spent the last 15 years working to enhance the services available for marginalized and vulnerable populations. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the County of Los Angeles’ Women & Girls Initiative. Prior to that Chanel worked with the City of Los Angeles’ Community Investment for Families Department, where she managed the City’s comprehensive programming for survivors of Interpersonal Violence, including programs to address the intersection of domestic violence and homelessness. In her previous role as Policy Director for Domestic Violence and Vulnerable Populations at the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, she oversaw the City of Los Angeles’ gender-based violence initiatives, which include the Domestic Abuse & Sexual Assault Response Teams and Family Justice Centers, as well as other City-based strategies for ensuring the safety of some of our most vulnerable residents. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mrs. Smith oversaw Project Safe Haven, the largest comprehensive response to domestic violence during the pandemic in the world. Mrs. Smith was the 2020 Recipient of the County of Los Angeles’ Excellence in Public Service Award, the 2020 California Partnership to End Domestic Violence Award, and the 2021 Woman of Distinction award, from California Assembly member Patrick O’Donnell, for her work with the Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking populations.

Alisa Williams

Policy Development & Program Implementation

Alisa began her County career with the Probation Department where she conducted strategic planning sessions with the Executive Leadership Team and managed the department-wide performance management system. It was there that she was first introduced to the process of applying a gender lens to examine the impact of the criminal justice system on girls in confinement and to increase awareness of the differences in risk and needs based on gender so that Probation could usher in the implementation of gender specific, trauma-informed training and programming. Since leaving the Probation Department, Alisa has been with the Chief Executive Office where she has been involved in countywide strategic planning and performance management efforts. She has served on several special projects, including the establishment of the non-profit corporation for the new Martin Luther King, Jr., Hospital, in Probation reform efforts, on the Covid related Food Security Task Force, and is now serving in the Women and Girls Initiative. In her current role, she assists in policy development and program implementation that support the unique needs of women and girls.

Andrea Clark-Nicholas

Administration

Andrea Clark-Nicholas reports to the Executive Director of the County of Los Angeles’ Women & Girls Initiative and is responsible for providing administrative support to management and staff. Andrea has provided over 20 years of service to the County of Los Angeles in the Chief Executive Office’s Intergovernmental Affairs, Office of Workplace Programs, Unincorporated Area Services, Community Services and Capital Programs, and the Economic Development and Affordable Housing Division; the Department of Public Social Services’ Human Resources Division, Exams Unit; and the Office of the Assessors’ Exemption Services and Ownership Division. She strives to be resourceful and provide reliable assistance in support of her team.

Jasmine Campbell

Strategic Partnerships and Engagement

Jasmine began her career with Los Angeles County in 2013, working to implement environmental affairs programs by managing various outreach media campaigns, and community engagement efforts to educate Los Angeles County residents on departmental resources and initiatives. In her current role, Jasmine manages strategic partnerships and programs for WGI that assist our most vulnerable residents with gaining access to gender inclusive resources. Jasmine is committed to ensuring that WGI engages the community we serve in all project development. She has worked with executive management on systems accountability, and grant programs focused on workforce and economic development serving justice-involved and underserved populations to provide access to sustainable career pathways for the future. Outside of work, Jasmine has volunteered her time developing curriculum and teaching in prison facilities, both locally and abroad. She has traveled to Uganda, England, and Scotland to teach classes including career development, life skills, business entrepreneurship, and forgiveness and healing, as part of the overall rehabilitation efforts to help lower recidivism rates. In Southern California, she has worked with the Norco Prison, and the Santa Fe Springs Women’s Facility teaching classes to help those involved in the criminal justice system with reintegration. In addition to the vast experience working with diverse groups, Jasmine holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Marketing from CSU, Fullerton, and a Master of Public Administration from CSU, Long Beach.

Caroline Torén

Gender Impact Assessment

Caroline is a consultant with WGI overseeing the County-wide Gender Impact Assessment. Caroline has a decade of experience developing and implementing gender-responsive policies and programs for the Swedish Defense and State Department, the City of Los Angeles, and as a consultant. She started her career overseeing the European Union’s Civilian and Military Crisis Management Missions and advocating for the implementation of the Women, Peace & Security Agenda in the European Union’s External Relations. After leading policy development processes at the European Correspondent’s Office and the United Nations Policy Department in Sweden, Caroline helped lead the work of the Los Angeles City Commission on the Status of Women, where she continued to work in the areas of workforce development, public transportation, and housing and community investment in partnership with the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office, City Council, City Departments, and service providers. Caroline has worked as a consultant since 2019, helping organizations design, implement, and evaluate gender-responsive policies, programs, and initiatives to advance gender equity and equality, and achieve systems change. Caroline holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Crisis Management from Uppsala University, Sweden, and a Master of Arts in Conflict, Security, and Development from King’s College, United Kingdom.

Hayley W. Sayrs, MPH

Public Relations & Communications

Hayley is an independent contractor with WGI, managing public relations, content development, and communications across all of our WGI platforms. As Founder of HWS Consulting, she brings more than seven years of experience leading multi-stakeholder projects and public health community engagement programs. HWS Consulting offers development and capacity building for social impact organizations and small businesses. In Texas, Hayley launched an educational farmers market and co-developed an evidence-based program that educates students and communities on how to grow their own food. In California, she worked with the Los Angeles County Youth at Work Partner Program to uplift and empower student entrepreneurs and families in East and South Los Angeles, and served as the Research and Grants Manager for the Violence Intervention Program Community Mental Health Center. In 2020, Hayley was recognized for her commitment to mentorship and service in youth development programming by the Mixed Roots Foundation’s Joseph L. White Pioneering the Way Mentoring Scholarship. Hayley is a graduate of Trinity University and earned her Master’s in Public Health Policy from Keck School of Medicine USC.

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