Taara Hoffman, Executive Director
A summer road trip from New York to California more than 20 years ago turned into a permanent move to the Bay Area for our Executive Director, Taara Hoffman. Taara’s professional background includes two decades in corporate and nonprofit management with a focus on brand development, communications and fundraising. She held positions with Elektra Records, Alexander/Ogilvy, Edelman Worldwide, and Wired Ventures before moving to the nonprofit sector.
Prior to joining GirlVentures in 2010, Taara was the Executive Director of Coastside Children’s Programs, the leading nonprofit childcare and development agency on the San Mateo County Coast. She also served as a Commissioner with First 5 San Mateo County and a Board member for Thrive, the Alliance of San Mateo Nonprofits. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Children’s Council of San Francisco and the Executive Committee of the Alliance for Girls.
Taara graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and attended the graduate program at UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism. Taara believes that every child deserves respect, individual attention and the opportunity to build and give voice to her/his unique inner strengths. Though a piece of her heart will always remain in New York, Taara loves living in San Francisco with her husband and two daughters.
Cori Coccia, Program Director
Due to the support of high school teachers and college professors as well as having a mother who deeply valued nature, Cori was given opportunities to experience wilderness and fell in love with it at a young age. She soon recognized nature as the place where she feels most safe and at home. She became passionate about the effect of the natural world on her own growth and healing and soon became engaged in sharing that opportunity with others. As a child raised by a single parent, Cori grew up experiencing the challenges of being in a low-income family surrounded by a wealthier community and understands firsthand how important it is to create access for all to wild places. As an undergrad, Cori studied Social and Behavioral Science, Wilderness Leadership, Non-profit Administration and graduated from San Francisco State in 2000 with a BA in Recreation and an emphasis in Outdoor Program Leadership. After college Cori managed a gear rental center and instructed backpacking, river rafting and sea kayaking trips for a program formerly known as Outdoors Unlimited. In 2004, she earned her MS in Environmental Education from an expeditionary learning program in which, for two years, she lived outdoors on a renovated school bus in intentional project-based learning communities, and traveled through multiple bioregions of North America and abroad learning directly from local communities and the land itself. After re-rooting in the Bay Area, Cori went on to teach environmental science at the Headlands Institute (now NatureBridge) for 4 years, then to direct an outdoor program at Mission Graduates. She has worked as a staff trainer and instructor for Outward Bound California and a guide for numerous other outfitters and organizations. Cori has worked for GirlVentures since 2003 in a variety of roles as a logistician, instructor, course director, program manager and became the Program Director in 2015. In addition to her commitment to outdoor programs and social justice work with GirlVentures, Cori is also a certified massage therapist and has a private, part time healing practice in San Francisco. When not working or venturing through nature, Cori enjoys taking classes in art and music, planning her next trip, reading Sci-Fi, and cycling.
Brice Lovell, Director of Development and Marketing
Growing up in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains, Brice spent her childhood exploring creeks and hiking mountains with her father, fostering a deep appreciation for the natural world. After years of working in development in the non-profit sector, she joined the GirlVentures team in August 2014 to share this passion and help provide girls with life-changing opportunities to explore the outdoors.
Prior to joining GirlVentures, Brice served as the full-time development Bay Area staff member at Jumpstart for Young Children, a national non-profit working to close the academic achievement gap . There, she managed the donor portfolio for foundation and corporate supporters, created and implemented an outreach calendar and strategy, and oversaw the successful growth of the regional Young Professionals Board.
Before moving to the Bay Area, she worked at P.S. ARTS in Los Angeles, a regional non-profit that provides arts education to underserved public schools, where she managed the donor database, wrote grant proposals and reports, and helped manage the membership program. Prior to moving to the west coast, she was based in Washington, DC, working at the United Nations Foundation in first finance and grants, before joining their development team. Brice is originally from Virginia, where she received her Bachelor of Arts from Radford University.
Mackenzie Brady, Program Manager
M. Mackenzie Lopes Brady joined GirlVentures in April 2016 and loves living in the Bay Area! She received her M.Ed. in Outdoor Education Administration where she focused her work on women and girls in the outdoors with her Master’s Project coming to fruition as theSocial-Psychology of Gender Role Conformity: Influences on Participation in Adventure Activities. With the heavy amount of research and field time she experienced in working with this project, she came to understand even more how women and girls thoroughly need and deserve uninhibited experiences and spaces in which to perform. Growing from this, she realized the intersectionality that exists between the outdoors and social justice. With this in mind, she believes that all individuals should have access to our natural environment and now works to help historically underrepresented populations get excited about the outdoors through her position on the Board of Directors with the Association for Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE).
Before moving back to the Bay Area to work with GirlVentures, Mackenzie oversaw the outdoor adventure program at The College of William & Mary. She has worked in a variety of other outdoor settings as well including REI Outdoor School (Berkeley), California State University – Stanislaus, Fort Carson Adventure Programs and Education, The Expedition School, and as a raft guide on multiple rivers in Colorado and the Southeast. Mackenzie is currently an American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) Single Pitch Instructor and Wilderness First Responder (WFR). In her free time, she can be found exploring antique shops, growing fruits and veggies, cooking, or going on adventures with her wife, lively hound dog, and calico kitty.
Sahar Navid, Office and Volunteer Manager
Sahar joined the GirlVentures team in April of 2016. Her work is fueled by a deep personal commitment to creating social change and empowering young girls and women. Growing up in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains, Sahar has grown a deep appreciation for the positive effects of nature and the confidence outdoor discovery can bring. Hiking and camping are integral components of Sahar’s own self care and she strives to share that experience with others.
Before joining the non-profit sector, Sahar worked and studied in the field of interior architecture and design. This work experience cultivated a creative problem solving approach that she believes can be applied to a variety of work challenges. During her time working at various design firms she not only created construction and design drawings, but also played a key role in office management.
Outside of her work with GirlVentures, Sahar considers herself an activist for women’s rights. She currently volunteers as a peer counselor and medical advocate for San Francisco Women Against Rape. This work has only fueled Sahar’s passion to instill strength and a sense of community in young women. In her free time, Sahar enjoys painting, drawing, photography, experimenting in the kitchen, writing and travel.