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Khushbu Shah
Editor in Chief

Khushbu Shah is the Editor in Chief of The Fuller Project, overseeing and implementing the editorial agenda and the newsroom’s groundbreaking reporting on women to expose injustice and spur accountability. She also leads partnerships with a myriad of prestigious U.S. and international outlets.

Khushbu brings deep expertise on the interconnected issues impacting women and their communities to the Editor in Chief role, where she upholds the highest standards of The Fuller Project’s unbiased, non-partisan, rigorous journalism.

In 2016 Khushbu was the producer for CNN Correspondent Ed Lavandera covering the Charlotte, North Carolina protests after police shot a Black man sitting in his car, reporting which won the  Murrow Award in 2017. As the sole producer on site  for the investigative team  reporting on the undercounted deaths and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria in 2017, her team won the 2018 Murrow Award, and was  nominated for the Peabody award. She was editor and producer for three CNN Emmy-nominated teams for breaking news coverage in Ukraine in 2014, Typhoon Haiyan in 2015 and network-wide Hurricane coverage in 2018.

Khushbu reports on the intersection of race, politics and social justice, writing regularly for outlets such as The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Lily, Pacific Standard and Columbia Journalism Review, amongst others. Her in-depth reporting on police brutality in the U.S. has brought light to the stories of families and mothers of Black men and women killed by police. In her reported series on the killing of Ahmaud Arbery for The Guardian, she obtained 911 calls and the resignation letter of a district attorney assigned to the case, and examined in-depth the breakdown of the criminal justice system following Arbery’s death  in Brunswick, Georgia.

Her reporting exposes injustices impacting women, ranging from abortion access in the South to and immigration and inequality across Latin America. She spent months after the November 2016 election crisscrossing the United States interviewing Americans who had voted for President Trump from Washington to Wyoming for CNN. In 2018, Khushbu profiled a pregnant mother and her children and the transgender women making their way to the U.S. amid the migrant caravan traveling via Tijuana on the border with Mexico.

Prior to joining The Fuller Project, Khushbu spent over a decade at prominent media outlets including CNN, BBC, NPR/PBS-licensed stations and multiple networks. She began her career as an editor at age 24 in Afghanistan where she led a team of 25 researchers for Moby Group, a news and entertainment group that now reaches 300 million. A member of both the South American Journalists Association and the Asian American Journalists Association, she has worked from Afghanistan, India, the West Bank, Venezuela, Mexico and across the United States and now resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She is a grantee of The International Women’s Media Fund for reporting on undocumented South Asian female immigrants in the U.S.

Khushbu speaks Spanish, Gujarati and basic Arabic. She has a B.A. from The University of California, Berkeley and was awarded a Masters of Science from The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

Recent reporting by Khushbu:

Mothers of Black Americans killed by police speak out – The Guardian

Reported series on police brutality and Ahmaud Arbery – The Guardian

Our dad is dead: the families left behind after police shootings – The Guardian

Motel Industry Turmoil Blocks Indian-American Path to Prosperity – Bloomberg Businessweek

How racism and poverty made Detroit a new coronavirus hot spot – Vox

When Your Family Spreads Misinformation – The Atlantic

Kimberly Abbott
Chief Communications Officer

Kimberly Abbott is the Chief Communications Officer of The Fuller Project, where she amplifies the organization’s strategic priorities including public relations and events, ensuring the newsroom’s groundbreaking reporting on women reaches diverse audiences worldwide.  

Kimberly draws on her deep experience of expanding the impact of mission-driven organizations. She has 25 years of success overseeing global communications, media training, public relations, foreign policy, and journalism with a particular focus on underreported humanitarian issues in post-conflict situations.

Kimberly started her career as a broadcast journalist and has worked as a booker, writer, producer and reporter. During Kimberly’s seven-year tenure at CNN, she covered breaking news around the country from  the 2000 Presidential Election and recount to 9/11, and was an on-air reporter for “CNN Newsroom”, filing stories from D.C., Bosnia, and Germany. Her first job was reporting for local radio covering education and government. Her journalism has also included France 3 television, Radio France, and BFM Radio in Paris. 

Prior to joining The Fuller Project, Kimberly was Vice President of Marketing and Communications for World Learning, a global development, exchange and education nonprofit. There, Kimberly established a rigorous digital media strategy that included the overhaul of multiple websites and the tripling of social media traffic to drive business growth. She also conducted media training for women around the world and created journalism fellowship programs in South Africa and India that enabled young journalists to gain international reporting experience.   

At World Learning, Kimberly launched a communications department and led a team of 18 to drive brand awareness and elevate the importance of individual programs, including that of The Fulbright Specialist. Her work drove recognition of a range of development programs, from teaching Syrian refugees in Lebanon to STEM education in Egypt. She produced professional videos that won several awards, including four Gold, one Silver, and three Bronze Telly Awards. Her robust content production resulted in earned media placements in PBS NewsHour, Christian Science Monitor, Inside Higher Ed, US News & World Report, AARP, and many local outlets.

While Communications Director for North America at the International Crisis Group, an independent, nongovernmental organization, Kimberly was responsible for developing strategic approaches for communicating its policy prescriptions. This included partnering to create news reports with legacy media outlets such as “60 Minutes”, “Nightline” and “PBS NewsHour” to cover underreported stories in Darfur, DRC and Northern Uganda, and producing multimedia that enhanced the visibility of the organization as a highly recognized, go-to source for news and analysis on conflict situations.  Her podcasts and stories about Crisis Group reports appeared in Foreign Policy, The Christian Science Monitor, CNN Global Public Square and Huffington Post. She produced over a dozen documentaries about Crisis Group’s impact, including “Crisis Group On the Frontlines”, which was a finalist for the CINE Golden Eagle Award, and interviewed global leaders including U.S. President Bill Clinton, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, and U.S. General Colin Powell.

At InterAction, an alliance of international development and humanitarian NGOs, Kimberly served as Acting Communications Director and successfully brought attention to lesser known humanitarian and development stories, while collaborating with InterAction’s 160 member organizations to develop media and advocacy campaigns on collective humanitarian and development priorities. 

She has been a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is the recipient of numerous fellowships in journalism and international affairs, from the Radio Television News Directors Foundation, German Marshall Fund, Atlantik-Brucke German-American Foundation, French American Foundation, and others. Her career has also included time on Capitol Hill, in U.S. presidential politics, and as an envoy and translator for the Centennial Olympic Games.

A French speaker, Kimberly earned a Bachelor of Science in broadcast journalism from Boston University and studied French media at the Ecole Française des Attachés de Presse in Paris. She now lives in Maryland with her husband and son.

Lilian Tan
Chief Operating Officer

Lilian Tan is the Chief Operating Officer of The Fuller Project — focused on strategy, operations, institution building and culture —  ensuring the organization’s groundbreaking reporting on women reaches diverse audiences around the world. Lilian collaborates closely with the internal Fuller team, along with editors and partners working on women and journalism to boost the success and impact of our reporting.

Lilian is an experienced strategy and operations professional with a focus on socially conscious organizations. She has worked across Fortune 500 companies, Forbes 100 largest non-profits, high growth startups, Corporate Social Responsibility departments, and educational institutions to help them grow in a financially sustainable manner and support their missions.  

Before joining The Fuller Project, Lilian worked as a management consultant for Grant Thornton’s Not-for-Profit & Higher Education Advisory practice, one of the largest in the country. There, she advised a range of organizations focused on humanitarian needs, social services, foundations, health, and education as they sought to revise their long-term strategies to ensure maximum impact. She also directed them in how to best evaluate investments in new programs and services to meet their beneficiaries’ needs and assess and improve their fundraising, operations, human relations, finance, and technology practices to promote sustainable and effective growth.

Most recently, Lilian lived and worked in Kampala, Uganda for an organization focused on providing renewable energy and financially inclusive products to more than 600,000 low-income rural households in Uganda, Zambia, Nigeria, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, and Mozambique. She has worked with organizations including USAID, Save the Children, Open Society Foundation, Rotary International, National Marrow Donor Program, World Bank, Signify Foundation, and UNICEF.

Lilian received her Master of Business Administration from New York University, where she was a Forté Foundation Fellow, and her Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Business Administration from The University of Texas at Austin. She is now based at The Fuller Project headquarters in Washington, D.C., and, when not working, Lilian enjoys hiking, camping, running, and relaxing behind her piano or a good book. 

Sophia Jones
Global Editor

Sophia Jones is the Global Editor for The Fuller Project, leading a global team of reporters dedicated to investigative and groundbreaking journalism on issues impacting women and their communities, raising awareness on under-reported stories, exposing injustice and sparking action. She is also the founding reporter on The Fuller Project team and plays a central and driving role in building the newsroom. 

Sophia is an award-winning journalist and editor who has reported extensively across the Middle East, South Asia, Africa, Europe, and the United States. Through Sophia’s reporting on the role of women in peace and conflict, she has explored how gender dynamics shape our world today.

In 2019, Sophia received an award from the Military Reporters and Editors Association for her reporting in The New York Times Magazine on Afghan women in the security forces, examining the complicated, expensive, and controversial U.S.-led NATO effort to recruit, train and keep them alive. This reporting spurred the Afghan Ministry of Interior Affairs and the Ministry of Defense to advance their sexual harassment policies, and the NATO-led Resolute Support mission announced it was reassessing its recruitment approach of Afghan women to ensure their safety.

Sophia’s journalism routinely breaks new ground in media coverage, highlighting critical gender dimensions, from how climate change in Afghanistan is leading to child marriage and threatening future prospects for peace, to the lack of justice for the wives of ISIS fighters and their children in Iraq. 

Sophia’s four-part series on sham virginity testing in the U.S. and globally for Marie Claire, which included a New York doctor admitting on record to performing the abusive practice despite there being no medical basis, led to immediate impact. The week after her investigation, the rapper T.I. addressed the issue on a podcast, saying he forced his daughter to undergo virginity tests. Sophia’s rigorous reporting underpinned subsequent coverage by dozens of news outlets, and contributed to a reckoning in social media and within the medical community. In response, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology published a first-ever statement about the sham practices, and New York State and California introduced legislation to ban hymen exams. Shortly after publication, medical professionals in the Philippines told The Fuller Project they officially halted the practice of hymen exams, an invasive procedure that previously allowed doctors in government-funded clinics to issue phony virginity cards to women in the sex trade so pimps could charge more.

She conceived and edited a multi-award winning series in 2018 with ELLE UK on women fighting for rights around the world. One of the articles she edited focused on a squad of policewomen in India investigating and responding to rape. Following publication, the police chief running the program petitioned for more funding and the program expanded to several other Indian states, reportedly employing some 400 policewomen.  

Sophia’s reporting from Afghanistan was shortlisted for the Biedler Prize for Cancer Journalism and the South Asian Journalists Association’s Daniel Pearl Award for outstanding reporting from South Asia. She was a 2017 grantee of the Fund for Investigative Journalism, European Journalism Centre, and Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, and a 2019 grantee with the National Geographic Society. 

Sophia has written and reported for The New York Times Magazine, Marie Claire Magazine, Politico, Foreign Policy, TIME, Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, NPR, Public Radio International, Elle, Glamour Magazine, SIERRA Magazine, The Christian Science Monitor, The Daily Beast, The New Republic, Reuters, and others. Prior to joining The Fuller Project in 2017, Sophia served as HuffPost’s Middle East correspondent from 2013-2016. Before that, she worked as a freelance journalist. 

Sophia is certified in battlefield medical aid and trained to safely and responsibly report from conflict zones. She has reported from Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, South Africa, Ghana, Greece, Russia, Macedonia, Serbia, Hungary, Germany, and the United States.

She currently lives in Barcelona with her husband and their rescue dog, Carmelo.

Recent reporting by Sophia:

In Afghanistan, Climate Change Threatens Future Prospects for Peace – National Geographic

A Test With No Answer – Marie Claire

Xanthe Scharff, PhD
Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Scharff is the CEO and Cofounder of The Fuller Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to groundbreaking reporting on women worldwide that raises awareness, exposes injustice and spurs accountability.

Under her leadership, The Fuller Project has evolved from a grassroots start-up to the global newsroom dedicated to reporting on women and publishing with leading outlets. Since its cofounding in 2015 from Turkey, The Fuller Project newsroom has won various accolades including the Military Reporters & Editors Award, the One World Media Award, the Amnesty International Media Award, the Milwaukee Press Club Silver Award; reporting has also been shortlisted for the Biedler Prize for Cancer Journalism, One World Media Award, South Asia Journalism Association Daniel Pearl Award, and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists Award. 

At The Fuller Project, Xanthe heads an organization that includes several dozen editors, reporters, global contributors, and senior business leaders. The team’s reporting has spurred the introduction of new legislation to protect women and girls in the U.S., the hiring of hundreds of policewomen in India, the banning of virginity testing in state hospitals in The Philippines, and much more. She has raised nearly $25 million for The Fuller Project and other nonprofits that raise the voices of women and girls, and she has led The Fuller Project through year-on growth, more than tripling organizational resources between 2019 and 2020. In 2021, Xanthe was awarded the Helen Gurley Brown Genius Grant for her visionary leadership in bringing to light groundbreaking stories affecting women.

Xanthe is an award-winning nonprofit founder and journalist whose reporting has been featured in Newsweek, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, and beyond. During the coronavirus pandemic, she was among the first to write about the disproportionate impact of the economic crisis on women in a major U.S. news outlet (TIME). Xanthe then called for a federal release of data to better inform policies in The Boston Globe. She and her team reported based on exclusive statistics received from 17 state agencies to show women as the majority of unemployment seekers in all states. Over a dozen journalism outlets including The New York Times sourced The Fuller Project’s data reporting, which led the national news cycle three weeks ahead of federal data releases.

In 2019, Xanthe was named among the top 40 under 40 by the Leadership Center for Excellence for outstanding public service. Xanthe is the Founder and Board Chair Emeritus of Advancing Girls’ Education in Africa, a thriving nonprofit in East Africa which has served 3,000 girls with secondary school opportunities. The UN gave AGE Africa a good practice award, and Michelle Obama endorsed the organization’s work. CBS’s The Early Show, Voice of AmericaThe Christian Science Monitor, and several African media outlets. The nonprofit named the Xanthe Scharff Workplace Experience project in her honor.  

Formerly, Xanthe was the Associate Director at the Center for Universal Education at Brookings where she led research and programming on girls’ education. There, she published extensively and edited a volume on girls’ education, built a partnership with Brookings India, and facilitated a network of 60 global foundations. She was an Education Pioneers Fellow and a Peace Scholar at the United States Institute of Peace during her investigation into government and donor failures to support the survivors of a devastating 20-year war in Northern Uganda.

The Fletcher School awarded Xanthe her doctorate in International Relations for research on post-conflict education, during which she was named Minear Fellow, Earhart Fellow, Henry Leir Fellow, and was an Active Citizenship Fellow. She was also a D.C. Education Fellow and worked at the District of Columbia Public Schools. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and she has worked with organizations including The World Bank, United Nations, Arabella Advisors, CARE, and Save the Children. Xanthe graduated with honors from New York University and completed executive education courses at Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School at Harvard.  

Xanthe serves on the Board of Advisors of The War Horse, an award-winning nonprofit newsroom that supports military spouses and educates the public on military service, having herself been a military spouse during numerous 9/11 deployments. Having lived in Argentina and Peru, Xanthe speaks Spanish. She has also lived and worked in Turkey, Uganda, Sudan, and Malawi and now leads The Fuller Project’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., where she lives with her two children. If not working, you can find her running, reading, or heading to the woods. 

Recent Reporting by Xanthe:

Federal Government Needs to Change How it Releases Unemployment Data – Boston Globe

Why the Coronavirus Outbreak Could Hit Women Hardest – TIME

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