Our History


Spark was established in 2004 by Maya Garcia Lahham, Spark’s Founding President, after she read an article about Sanaa Abu Bhkeet, a young Palestinian runner who overcame incredible adversities to qualify for the Olympics. It was Sanaa’s story of determination and courage that inspired Maya to find ways to support women in the global community. Along with co-founders Nealan Afsari, Rohini Gupta, Karen Hennessy, Fiona Hsu, Kathleen Kelly Janus and Mona Motwani, Maya envisioned an organization that would empower young professionals in local communities to address social, political and economic issues that women face globally, by creating a strong local network that worked with grassroots women’s groups worldwide. The Spark founders also wanted to provide young people the opportunity to channel their energy toward becoming involved in both their local and global communities.

It started with seven women. It has grown to over 11,000 women and men around the world.


The Founders (Pictured from Left to Right): Rohini Gupta, Kathleen Kelly Janus, Mona Motwani, Fiona Hsu, Nealan Afsari, Karen Hennessy and Maya Garcia Lahham.