Named by Newsweek/Daily Beast as one of “125 Women of Impact,” Martha Adams is an award-winning storyteller and global strategist who served as the Chief Creative Officer of Girl Rising —one of the first global non-profits to focus on the transformative power of girls education.
Adams, whose tenure at Girl Rising spanned from 2012 to 2019, led the marketing, communications, and production team, but more significantly, she built and grew the Girl Rising brand, working directly with world leaders and celebrities across all platforms — film, TV, game apps, radio, fashion, curriculum, street-art — to expand Girl Rising's reach to 5 billion+ media impressions in more than 125 countries. The GR movement became "a social media marketing phenomenon" (The Daily Beast), anchoring social-impact campaigns aimed at solving some of the biggest global problems of our time.
As part of this strategic campaign, Adams produced several films to fuel girls’ education around the world. She produced the original Girl Rising film, collaborated with Meryl Streep to produce We Will Rise: Michelle Obama’s Mission to Educate Girls Around the World — the highest rated CNN Film of all time — and in 2019 co-directed and co-produced the short film Brave Girl Rising written by poet laureate Warsan Shire and voiced by actors Tessa Thompson and David Oyelowo, which was made in support of International Women’s Day.
During Adams’ tenure, Participant Media awarded Girl Rising a 98/100 for social impact, Fast Company honored the organization in their “World Changing Ideas of 2019,” and Forbes Magazine named the movement the #1 Most Dynamic Social Initiative. In 2015 Novus awarded Adams “Humanitarian of the Year.”
Adams is currently a Senior Fellow at USC’s Marshall Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab which recognizes leadership at the intersection of business and social impact. She also serves as a film expert for the U.S. Department of State diplomacy program — American Film Showcase. She is a frequent speaker on girls' empowerment, radical change, and the critical role of storytelling, appearing on television and at national conferences such as the Social Innovation Summit and the American Marketing Association.
Prior to Girl Rising, Adams enjoyed a career as both a photographer and filmmaker, working five years at Discovery Channel in production and programming, before co-founding Arcwelder Films where she executive produced a wide array of films, including four series and eight specials (Inside the Kill Box, Citizen Soldier, Robots Rising and Spies Above) that won multiple awards including a National Emmy, Worldfest Houston prizes, New York Film Medals and Cine Awards. Audiences can enjoy her documentaries in more than 188 countries on networks like Discovery, National Geographic, and BBC.
In her free time, Martha divides her family’s time between Los Angeles and Cortes Island where you can usually find her paddle-boarding with whales and pondering all things lovely and outrageous.