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Mira Manickam-shirley, executive director, co-Founder & Lead surf instructor

Mira Manickam-Shirley is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Brown Girl Surf.  She is a long time environmental educator and artist in the San Francisco Bay area, former Youth Program Coordinator at NatureBridge, and a recipient of an Open Circle artist grant, and an Audobon Toyota TogetherGreen fellowship for her innovative work with youth in nature.  She holds a degree in Environmental Studies from Brown University and a Master of Environmental Science from the Yale School of Forestry.  She is the author of the book Just Enough, available through the University of Washington press. 

Melissa rosa Morazan, Director of operations

Melissa Morazán is Director of Operations of Brown Girl Surf.  Prior to joining Brown Girl Surf she was Director of Learning and Impact at Humanity United where she oversaw all monitoring, evaluation and learning components of grantmaking and the integration of learning into strategy development and execution.  She has also worked extensively in direct service nonprofits in the Bay Area and abroad including at the Homeless Prenatal Program in San Francisco and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras. She is a graduate of Boston University and received her Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.



Coco Peila, surf instructor



Farhana Huq, founder

Farhana is an award-winning, visionary, social entrepreneur and professional coach.  She’s done everything from being a member of the U.S. National Karate team in her youth, to creating educational soap operas to help low-income immigrant women start their own businesses in America. She began volunteering when she was 14, and eventually worked on issues of homelessness and housing, dance arts programs for youth and anti-war activism for Congo.

At the age of 24, she founded C.E.O. Women, a non-profit dedicated to helping low-income immigrant and refugee women become entrepreneurs. Farhana ran the organization for 11 years and helped over 2,000 women in the process.  In 2008 she founded Bay Area Friends of the Congo, an all volunteer group led currently by Congolese-American activists, dedicated to raising awareness and ending the mineral conflict in Congo.   She went on to start Brown Girl Surf in 2011.  Currently she runs Surf Life Executive Coaching TM, where she coaches game changing leaders and entrepreneurs towards a business and life they love using a creative mix of applied neuroscience, surfing, walking and coaching.  In early 2016 she stepped away from being Executive Director ofBrown Girl Surf and now acts as an advisor and volunteer for the organization.    

 Farhana loves to dance and drum, and is trained in the North Indian classical and Tahitian Ori traditions. She also has a natural wanderlust, and has traveled to almost 40 countries.  Her travels, commitment to the empowerment of women and girls, and her love for surf, art, dance and the planet inspired the vision for Brown Girl Surf TM.  Farhana resides in Oakland, California and enjoys surfing all types of waves on California’s Northern and Central coasts.  To learn more about Farhana and her other work, visit her personal website:  www.farhanahuq.com.