Having previously worked in retail management, Gannon Gillespie joined Tostan in 2004 as a volunteer in Dakar, Senegal. There he coordinated Tostan's volunteer program, grant writing, communications, and fundraising. He also studied the large scale abandonment of female genital cutting (FGC) and child marriage taking place through Tostan's programs with Dr. Gerry Mackie. In 2005, Gannon became Tostan's first full-time US representative based in Washington, DC, and has since helped to establish and grow Tostan's US base of supporters while overseeing new business development and strategic partnerships. Accomplishments of Tostan’s DC office under his leadership include the successful nomination of Tostan to the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, as well as, the securing of several large institutional grants. Gannon has a BA in Creative Writing from Nebraska Wesleyan University, and has been a writing consultant to UNICEF NY and a guest lecturer for several leading universities.