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BOARD OF ADVISORS

Be part of the movement for equity and access to the outdoors for youth of color and of low-income backgrounds. Involvement at the board level gives you a bigger picture perspective on BAWT as an organization, and offers significant opportunities for personal and professional expansion. BAWT is entering a significant period of strategic impact and capacity building. We need leaders like you to help guide us!

Board of Advisors – Executive Committee

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Sarah E. E. Burt, Chair

I live in Oakland with my spouse Stephen and our labrador-mix dogs Ezekiel Jacques Cousteau and Zoe Kathleen Hanna. We all hike and backpack, and the humans are burgeoning and humble climbers.

BAWT works at the intersection of several social and environmental issues deeply resonant with me. What are the dominant narratives in the outdoors space? Why? How might I leverage my position to support diversity of access to these spaces, and enable people with less access than me to have and tell their own experiences of them?

I currently work in Engineering at Mailchimp (based in Atlanta, GA.) Before the tech industry (>10 years ago,) I worked in various non-profit, service, and social advocacy-oriented capacities. I have a BA in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College.

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Melissa Lim, Vice Chair

I am a native Singaporean and currently live in San Francisco with my partner Cory. We are both huge fans of long hikes and enjoy the fresh air that comes with being outdoors. Before moving to California, I had been a part of my corporate rowing team and served on the board of my university’s not-for-profit sports club in my undergrad days. 

When I first heard about BAWT and its mission statement, I jumped at the opportunity to apply for the board. The way BAWT is set up truly makes it one of a kind – its train-the-trainer model and extensive gear library give organizations the necessary fire power to successfully create equitable access to outdoor experiences for youth of color and low-income youth. I am excited and humbled to be a part of a team that focuses on bringing such social and environmental change.

I am currently a manager in the Deals (Transaction Services) Group at PwC San Francisco, CA. Previously, I spent over 6 years in the audit practice in California and Singapore, mainly focusing on the financial services/fintech industry. I have a degree in Accounting from Nanyang Technological University and am a dual licensed Certified Public Accountant in California and in Singapore.

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Gil Riojas, Treasurer

I live in the East Bay with my wife and two kids. Coming from the Sacramento area, we have embraced the cool summers and mild winters of the bay area. Our family has enjoyed hiking and camping at the local regional and state parks. We are also active in our church and volunteer our time as teachers in the church’s “Adventures” program where we help teach children the importance of nature and being good stewards of the environment.

Growing up I was in close proximity to nature but not in nature. In elementary school, I had an opportunity to go on an overnight trip in the mountains. Sleeping in a cabin, telling stories around a campfire, hiking in the forest were all new experiences for me and I loved them all! My hope is that I can support the organization from a financial reporting and operational perspective, building on what the staff and board members have already created and in doing so help get more kids outside to have their own experiences with nature.

 

I am the Chief Financial Officer of Alameda Alliance for Health, a non-profit health plan providing health insurance for 260,000 people in Alameda County.

 

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Adrienne Johnson, Secretary

Adrienne joined the BAWT Advisory Board in June 2018, and currently serves as the Secretary and on the DEIEJ Committee. When she discovered BAWT, she was thrilled to have found an organization that aligns her passions for social justice and the outdoors. Although she has loved hiking and camping from a young age, she has always been painfully aware of the systems of oppression that keep other people of color from these meaningful experiences. She is driven to prioritize equity in the organizational practices and programs at BAWT. Prior to joining BAWT, Adrienne’s non-profit experience includes leading an all-woman team of engineers to design and build the Parkwood Tech Centre, a Net Positive Energy community center at a primary school in an underserved community in Cape Town. By day, Adrienne is a mechanical engineer at Point Energy Innovations in San Francisco, an engineering design and sustainability consulting firm that focuses on high-performance and Zero Net Energy buildings. She joined Point Energy after earning a BS and MS degree from Stanford University in Civil Engineering.

Board of Advisors 

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Bryant Cannon

I first learned about BAWT when a good friend teaching at a Bay Area high school started an outdoors skills and camping class with her students. I had managed to accumulate a modest amount of gear over the years from my various outdoor pursuits and she would regularly borrow whatever I had to outfit her classes. At one point, with seven sleeping bags, six backpacks, four tents and 10 compasses on loan to her (and that still not being enough for her class’s needs), I realized there had to be a better way. A quick online search led me to BAWT and I joined the Board in 2016.   

Not only does BAWT’s unique model of training teachers, providing gear, and facilitating trips fit the need that I was seeing in my community, but my personal and professional experiences have made me deeply invested in BAWT’s mission. Prior to becoming an environmental lawyer, I worked in several capacities to teach children and young adults about environmental issues and promote their engagement with the outdoors. 

I’ve lived in the Bay Area for nearly a decade and now live in Berkeley with my wife, Chelsea, and our young son. I still am able to find some time for kayaking, biking, climbing, and trail running and if not at play in one of those pursuits, I can be found at home, or being reminded of my mortality through soccer, ultimate, or basketball. Otherwise, I’m usually at work as a Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice where I represent a broad array of the state’s environmental agencies in litigation and I have had the opportunity to work across a broad array of environmental areas including air, energy, climate, water, forestry, wildfire, endangered/threatened species, recycling, agriculture, pesticides, and more. 

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Kevin Cheng

I have always been grateful to my parents, who, despite being hardworking first-generation immigrants, somehow had the time, will, and resources to make sure I was raised with plenty of outdoor experiences. Almost all of our family vacations were spent hiking and camping in parks around the country, fostering a love of the outdoors that has always been core to me.  

As someone whose fondest childhood memories are from those experiences, I feel strongly about increasing accessibility to the outdoors, especially for those not afforded the same opportunities. I benefited tremendously from the outdoors and youth of all backgrounds deserve to as well. I am a firm believer in BAWT’s mission, and I joined BAWT’s Advisory Board in 2020.  

I currently live in San Francisco, and I work at Route One Investment Company, a hedge fund that invests in assets globally. Before my current role, I was in the investment banking division at Goldman Sachs, where I advised companies in the technology industry. I received a BA in Economics and Computer Science from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, and I grew up in Louisiana and Maryland.

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Lily Cheng Zedler
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Meagan Hanbury

I am a New England transplant who has called California home since 2006. As a child, I was lucky to have parents and family friends who prioritized time spent outdoors.  Some of my fondest memories from my teenage years were from canoe camping trips through the Adirondacks. These trips, as well as other outdoor adventures as a child, were critical to my development as a person.  I gained important life skills such as courage, perseverance, and cooperation as well as a deep appreciation for the environment.  I’ve seen the same trend carry through with my own children and would love to help other kids have this opportunity as well, which is why I joined the BAWT Board of Advisors in 2020.   

I currently live in Oakland with my husband Peter, two daughters Violet and Catherine, and dog, Abby.  Our favorite activities as a family are hiking, skiing, kayaking, and camping. I recently left my position as a research economist at UC Davis to spend more time with my children.  My research focuses on child and immigrant health, safety net programs, and behavioral interventions. Prior to becoming an economist, I worked in environmental policy. I have a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from UC Davis and an A.B. in Economics and Environmental Studies from Dartmouth College. 

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Andrea Hecht

 

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John Ingersoll

 

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Annicia Jones

 

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Javier Omar Melendez

I live in Oakland, California, but am originally from Southwest Texas at a border town called Del Rio. Growing up I spent most of my time outdoors with friends under the hot sun. We would explore and find secret areas around our neighborhood, hang out at a nearby park, or search for a tall hill to ride our bikes down. I enjoyed being outside. I enjoyed hearing the doves cooing and the cicadas clicking. I enjoyed the hot sun and sitting under shady trees. Those experiences were crucial to my development as a child and as a human being. 

I currently work at a Behavioral Health Clinician at La Clinica de la Raza, providing therapy for youth and young adults. My dream is to incorporate the outdoors into my therapeutic practice so that I may collaborate with nature in order to help bring emotional healing and well-being to my clients. I believe the experiences I had outdoors as a child and over my lifetime have helped me cope and grow through the many challenges that I have come to face. BAWT’s mission is one I wholeheartedly agree with. I find it so important for kids to be able to spend more time outdoors, however, some kids don’t have easy access to the same experiences I had as a child. I believe that is injustice, which is why I’m so glad to be a part of an organization who prioritizes getting youth outdoors.

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Frederick Mesa
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Lily Ruiz

 

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Eden Slezin
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Tyrell Thompson
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Eileen Trieu

I joined the BAWT board in August 2020. Growing up as a child of two VIetnamese immigrants in the suburbs of Chicago, I wasn’t really exposed to getting outdoors during my childhood. I spent a lot of time at local parks and playing tennis but I never went camping or hiking. After I graduated college, I took a trip of a lifetime to Iceland where I “discovered” the magic of the outdoors. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with a number of outdoor activities including hiking, camping, backpacking, skiing, and biking. My favorite way to spend my time is doing something outdoors with friends and family.

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the barriers to entry in many outdoor activities including resources to learn outdoor skills and the ability to obtain the gear to get outside safely and responsibly. That’s why I was so excited to find BAWT and learn about their mission to help get more youth to experience nature and the outdoors. I feel honored to be able to join the board and get more involved in making the outdoors more diverse, equitable, and accessible to all communities. 

I currently live in San Francisco and work in product marketing at Coursera, an educational technology company that aims to provide access to high quality online education to anyone, anywhere.

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Daniel Wade

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a household that valued getting outside and was able to do so. I had the benefit of parents who themselves were outdoor enthusiasts and could take me camping and backpacking growing up. My fondest childhood experiences were family trips to the Redwoods, the desert southwest, and the Sierra Nevada mountains. As an adult I reignited my passion for the outdoors working in a mountain shop during college with other outdoor enthusiasts. There I met my wife and many of my best friends. Now I am an avid rock climber, cyclist, trail runner, and mountaineer. 

When I heard about BAWT I was immediately drawn to the mission. I fully realize from my own experience that having outdoor mentors in my life and the resources to afford the gear and the trip costs is what enabled me to get outside. BAWT removes the barriers that exist for so many in our community by providing the gear and training to future outdoor leaders. Having worked for a nonprofit and seeing the value of a dedicated Board, I decided to apply for the BAWT Board. I was fortunate enough to be asked to join and I am proudly serving my second two-year term. I focus mainly on fundraising and event planning.

Professionally, I am a consumer protection attorney working for the California Department of Insurance focused mainly on wildfire issues. I live in Richmond (right up against Wildcat Canyon Regional Park!) with my wife Katie, who works in brand marketing at Clif Bar. She is also a big supporter of BAWT and helps organize BAWT the Happy Camper Hour. I am from San Diego originally and went to undergrad and law school there. But I call the Bay Area home now. We are fortunate to have world-class recreation in our backyard and BAWT is working to enable youth in our community to get out and experience it.

Join the board

BAWT is currently accepting applications for its Board of Advisors. We seek passionate and energetic people with resources and connections to serve. This is an opportunity for professional growth, leadership development, community engagement, and service. Click below to learn more.