Our Team

Girl Develop It is overseen by a board of directors, and run day-to-day by a small, but mighty staff.

Board Members

Jessica Dene Earley-Cha

Board Member

Jessica Dene Earley-Cha (she/her) is from a small border town by Mexico and received her bachelor’s in Sociology, Education: Applied Psychology from UCSB. She spent almost a decade working with at-risk youth with mental health challenges in disadvantaged areas. She decided to follow her passion of coding and graduated from a software Boot Camp.  Currently, Jessica is a Developer Relations Engineer for Google Assistant. She loves to connect with developers and future developers. Jessica is @WomenInVoice Advocate, former @WomenTechmakers & @gdg lead, former @girldevelopit & @Hackbright teacher. You’ll find her either spending time with her dog, collecting strawberry knick knack or biking around town.

Board member - Erkeda DeRouen

Erkeda DeRouen

Board Member

Erkeda DeRouen is a physician that is Board-Certified in both Family Medicine and Lifestyle Medicine living in the Washington, DC Metro Area. She currently works as an Associate Medical Director of 98point6, a telemedicine company, serving as a thought leader in healthcare innovation. Dr. DeRouen is passionate about merging the humanistic aspect of medicine with the new field of emerging technology. Mentorship and self empowerment are important to her. She has continued to advise medical students for over a decade, and currently hosts a podcast focusing on hot topics in medicine geared towards pre-meds and medical students called "The Prospective Doctor." Erkeda loves to help people, especially women, overcome obstacles, network, and grow. This is why Girl Develop It, Inc is important to her. There is so little representation of women and non-binary people in tech and we need to work to change that.

Natasha Gines

Board Member

Bio coming soon.

Tess Manning 

Board Member

Tess Manning is a tech sales executive with a passion for the education technology space and adult learning. She holds an M.B.A. from Stanford and a B.A. in International Relations from New York University. Tess is the Head of Sales at Ethena, a modern compliance training start-up driving inclusive culture and ethics at global enterprises. Tess previously grew sales teams at EdTech unicorns Pluralsight and Andela. She also had a stint in venture capital at GSV Ventures, investing in early-stage EdTech start-ups. Tess lives in Park City, Utah where she spends her free time skiing, hiking, and camping. She has a background in dance and dance education and taught children in homeless shelters across NYC for 10 years with the non-profit House of the Roses, where she still serves on the board today.


Nicole Magnus

Board Member

Nicole Magnus is an international speaker, Certified High Performance Coach, and senior technical program manager for an innovation company. Nicole’s love of technology has fueled her 30+ year career in Tech. She spearheads multiple networking communities focused on serving and supporting women in numerous locations worldwide. In addition, she has been a dedicated mentor in the STEM community, including empowering women and the underrepresented by creating online communities. Nicole is focused on helping people develop their courage, innovation, communication, organization, and leadership skills because these are the game changers to playing bigger in the world.  "I'm living my dream - coaching people toward better outcomes so the world can win!" Nicole enjoys many hobbies, including outdoor activities with her spouse when not fueling her passions.

Geraldine Rojales

Bio coming soon.. 


Board member - Erynn Peterson

Erynn Peterson

Board Member

Erynn Petersen, who is a returning board member, was formerly the Executive Director of the Outercurve Foundation. Petersen is a longtime product and engineering executive, having spent time in her career leading teams at Time, Inc., Microsoft, and Amazon. Petersen said: “There’s an urgent need for the creators of technology to reflect the people who are consuming that technology. I am deeply committed to increasing the ranks of women and non-binary adults in technical careers.”

Board member - Rebecca Sadwick Shaddix

Rebecca Sadwick Shaddix

Board Member

Rebecca Sadwick Shaddix has a background in marketing leadership, software entrepreneurship, go-to-market strategy, and tech policy research. She is the Founder and Managing Partner of Strategica Partners, which develops go-to-market and brand positioning strategies for tech companies that have been recognized by Inc., Forbes, TechCrunch, and others as some of the fastest-growing in their sector. She previously served as Director of Marketing at GoGuardian, Inc. 500’s fastest-growing education company in U.S. history. Follow Rebecca on twitter @RebeccaSadwick 

Board member - Jeseekia Vaughn

Jeseekia Vaughn

Board Member

Jeseekia is a Software Engineer for Autonomic's IoT team where she specializes in MQTT-connected vehicles. She is very active in the Detroit tech community where she has been a Chapter Leader for 3 years and is also a co-founder of the Detroit Black Tech group and the trainX.ai program. She co-hosts SheTooSTEM, a podcast and community that highlights the experiences of Black women and their various career-paths in STEM.

Staff Members

Girl Develop It is overseen by a board of directors, and run day-to-day by a small, but mighty staff.

Tinuola Awopetu - Content Producer

Tinuola Awopetu

Training Director

Tinuola “Tinu" Awopetu is a Software Engineer with many incarnations in Tech: Content Producer-Writer, Marketing Manager, Community Evangelist, Blogger, Podcaster, and Women’s Leadership Advocate. She “stumbled” into a coding bootcamp one day and discovered a new creative sweet spot. Learning about and working with front-end technology excites her constantly. By teaching and sharing her experiences, she hopes to encourage and support other Women and BIPOC to claim their place in Tech. When not coding (or troubleshooting CSS), she’s on a yoga mat; or catching up on her favorite podcasts and streaming shows; or reading fiction.

Katie Franco - Executive Director

Katie Franco

Executive Director

Katie started her career over 20 years ago in the non-profit sector and has pursued her passion for social change throughout her career leading various efforts on the local and national levels. Before starting at GDI, Katie served as the Vice President of Mission and Expansion at Best Buddies International and the Vice President of Regional Initiatives at the Tampa Bay Partnership. Katie has a Masters in Public Administration and currently lives in Vermont with her husband and two girls.


GDI is always looking to build our board and team. If you have an interest in supporting our work please email Katie Franco

Katie Brydon - Educator

Katie Brydon

Community Director

Katie is a creative educator, brand developer, community builder, and content creator always looking for ways to bring together her passions for inclusion, accessibility, and the natural world. Over the past 15 years, she has designed equitable programming and education for people with disabilities at Best Buddies, and served as the Creative Director for True North, a Maine-made brand committed to eco-friendly, natural, and sustainable products. At GDI, she supports students and instructors to build a community of learners who connect, develop confidence, and build a foundation for their dream careers. When not bouncing between passions on the phone and computer, she is forcing her three small children to enjoy the woods of Maine with her partner or eating tacos.


Alex Vaughn

Program & Operations Coordinator 

Alexandra Vaughn is a Detroit native who stumbled into coding while pursuing a degree in Business. She joined the GDI community in 2015. After attending several classes, she entered the Grand Circus Detroit Frontend Bootcamp. She graduated and started freelance work right away while still finding time to volunteer as a TA for various GDI classes. She has worked for Fully Developed building and maintaining websites and apps for small business and nonprofits. She loves to learn new skills and encourage others in their development. She mentored youth in high school and college. While participating in the Disney College Program, she was mentored in business management and rewarded for her strong leadership and organizational skills. Outside of development and tech, she also loves music, anime, movies, and video games. Her newest hobby though is tabletop games.