Staff

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Albia Cruz, Administrative and Development Assistant

During middle school, Albia first experienced the wonders and freedom of nature. Her participation in a Leadership Development and College Preparatory Program in Southern California sparked her passion for outdoor adventure and helped her find her voice as a leader. As the first in her family to leave home and attend college, Albia attended San Francisco State University to pursue a career in the Recreation, Parks, and Tourism department, focusing on the nonprofit sector. During her four years of undergraduate studies, she completed over 600 hours working with diverse nonprofit organizations that promote social justice and equity, including Environmental Traveling Companions, Real Options for City Kids, and Because Justice Matters. She is passionate about providing opportunities for youth to connect to the outdoors.

Inspired by her own opportunities, Albia is dedicated to sharing the power and beauty nature provides to all. She is Wilderness First Responder Certified (WFR), and a member of Youth Outdoors’ Outdoor Educator Institute (OEI), Fall 2017 Cohort. Outside of work, she loves practicing yoga, hula-hooping, soaking up the sun, running on the beach, and enjoying a cup of coffee.

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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.

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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.

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Emily Teitsworth, Executive Director

Emily grew up in Oregon surrounded by opportunities to learn from the natural world.  After living in South India, France, Guatemala, and seven US states, and working as a horse wrangler, roofer’s assistant, communications consultant and translator, she found home in the Bay Area. Emily is passionate about ensuring that all girls have the opportunity to discover their strengths and experience the transformative power of the wilderness, and strives to bring respect, empathy, humility and humor to her work.

Emily holds a Master’s in Sustainable International Development from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, and graduated magna cum laude from Wesleyan University with a degree in Philosophy and Psychology. Prior to joining GirlVentures, Emily co-founded and scaled Rise Up, an Oakland-based organization that has become a globally recognized model for girl-centered advocacy.  Emily also volunteers as the Director of Project Aruna, a grassroots initiative that facilitates collaboration between young leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area and Guatemala, and is a published poet and an active advocate for Lyme disease research and treatment. Emily spends her spare time seeking out California’s best swimming holes, dive bars, and taquerias.

 

Olivia Bronson, Program Manager

Olivia believes in the power of the wilderness. As a little one growing up in the Bay Area, she could be found anywhere from the foothills of Mount Tamalpais to the tidepools of Point Reyes to the marshlands near her house where she spent hours playing hot lava monster and scavenging for rollipollis. Over the years, Olivia has turned to the outdoors not only as her source of adventure, but also for her greatest healing and self-discovery.

Olivia comes to GirlVentures with vast personal and professional experience in the outdoors. While receiving her undergraduate degree at UC Berkeley, she lead countless backcountry trips throughout Northern California and along the Eastern seaboard. Since graduating in 2013, she expanded her skill set by working with at-risk adolescent girls as a wilderness therapy field guide in the eastern pockets of the Utah desert and the San Juan National Forest of Colorado.

Inspired by her experiences in the wilderness, Olivia is committed to challenging and ultimately dismantling barriers that prevent people from accessing the outdoor spaces that she’s had the privilege of exploring. To this end, she is learning how to be a better ally through anti-oppression and generative somatics training. Olivia is stoked to serve on the GirlVentures team and have the chance to combine her passions of social justice, women’s empowerment, and outdoor education.

Victoria Gomez, Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator

Victoria believes in the endless capabilities of women and girls, and has worked with girls and youth in various capacities during her career. Victoria spent three years as a science and social studies middle school teacher in Berkeley, and also spent five summers returning to her alma mater, St. Ignatius College Preparatory, as a teacher for underserved students as part of the Magis Program. Prior to teaching, she served as a youth leadership coordinator for a non-profit organization, the Youth Leadership Institute in Marin County. As an educator, Victoria primarily focused on inspiring youth to become change makers, and she strives to continue advocating for women and girls.

Victoria is the first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree, graduating from San Jose State University with a degree in Sociology. As a young girl growing up in San Francisco, Victoria was not exposed to the possibilities of the natural world. After traveling in Latin America in her early adulthood, she discovered her passion for spending time disconnecting from her daily routines in the outdoors. Victoria also volunteers with the Radical Monarchs in Oakland.