Executive Director – Lisa Mattis
Lisa joins BCM from New York, where she started most days sea kayaking on the Hudson before trotting to work fundraising and running scholarship programs for Outward Bound. She’s excited to get back to Colorado, to work with BCM’s under-resourced urban youth, and to scale mountains with a big smile. And, this winter, as her Columbia grad school diploma hangs collecting dust, you’ll find Lisa ripping up Vail’s double-black diamonds on shiny new K2s.
Summit for Someone Manager – Darin Fearday
Darin has been a team leader for BCM since 2008, leading trips in both California and Colorado. He joined BCM full time as the Summit for Someone Manager in January of 2011 after four years working as the Lead Admissions Advisor for Outward Bound. Originally from Effingham, Illinois, he began climbing and backpacking in college before working as a crew leader in New Hampshire for the Student Conservation Association and as a lead instructor for Second Nature Wilderness Therapy in Southern Utah. He is passionate about working with teens and helping them realize their potential through wilderness experiences. He is also passionate about breakfast burritos and live music, having spent thousands of dollars on each in the past couple years.
Accountant/HR – Joy Walsh
Originally from New Hampshire (Go Red Sox!), Joy joined BCM in February 2010 with over 10 years’ experience working with Denver area non-profit organizations. During her first 10 years “in the business” she successfully ran the fundraising operations for Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado, Up with People and Leaders Challenge, but eventually realized that she is a numbers geek at heart! Gleefully throwing herself into spreadsheets, Joy now manages the accounting and human resources functions at Big City Mountaineers! Joy holds a Master’s in Non-Profit Management and a Bachelors in Accountancy. Joy is thrilled to be a part of the BCM team.
CPA – Dana Miller
Dana Miller, CPA, is our newest addition as our outsourced CFO. She has 10 years experience in non-profit financial management as both interim CFO and as treasurer for several state and local organizations. She works at both the board and staff level focusing on incorporating best business practices to help organizations improve their margins to successfully meet their missions. When not whipping finances into shape Dana can be found playing drums, listening to heavy metal music, running, biking, hiking and ice climbing.
Staffing and Volunteer Manager – Mary Jackson
Mary, originally from Virginia, has called Colorado home for nearly 7 years. She has a diverse background of field experience beginning as a NOLS semester student while studying Fine Arts at Virginia Commonwealth University. Mary has a Master of Arts from Prescott College in Adventure Education with a focus on sustainability and women’s empowerment. She conducted her thesis research at an NGO in Nepal on the experience of empowerment for a group of Nepalese women training to be mountain guides. Mary has worked for the Colorado Outward Bound School out of Denver and Leadville, and internationally for UK based World Challenge Expeditions, which has taken her around the world guiding teenagers up mountains and through jungles. Her most memorable experiences include swimming in the Amazon with pink dolphins, drinking goat’s blood with the Maasai during a traditional slaughter in Tanzania, and befriending Buddhist monks in the Himalaya. Her favorite pastimes include beating herself up on high-altitude peaks, excruciatingly long bus rides through foreign countries, and reading a good Vonnegut novel. When she isn’t busy adventuring she rides bikes through Golden with her son, telemark skis, and is working on mastering the art of grain-free baking (it’s not going so well).
Rocky Mountain Program Director – Elizabeth Williams
Elizabeth joined the BCM team in October of 2008 as a marketing and development intern. After receiving the “Intern of the Month” award for six months straight, she realized that fundraising wasn’t for her and took over the Regional Program Director position. Prior to BCM, Elizabeth worked with the adventure program at a small camp in Colorado and spent time exploring and teaching English in India and Nepal. She is convinced that Colorado will always be home and she spends as much time as possible skiing, snowboarding, climbing, and finding new adventures. Elizabeth loves working at BCM, especially when they eat ice cream for lunch and when she gets to be the first to hear the teens’ and volunteers’ stories when the get home from their expeditions.
Program Coordinator – Sherry Manning
Sherry joined the BCM team as a full-time member in January 2013, after she ran our overnight camp programs in 2012. Sherry has worked and traveled extensively, serving as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines from 2006-2008 where she dedicated her service to helping her indigenous host family develop their ancestral land ENCA Farm, into an organic farming training center, youth environmental education facility, and sustainable eco-tourism destination. She holds a Master’s Degree in Environmental and Natural Resource Law from the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law. She is passionate about sharing her commitment to the natural world with BCM kids drawing upon her transformative outdoor experiences during her NOLS expedition in 2003. She loves working with young kids and is always ready to lead an ice breaker or roaring song of “Baby Shark.” Outside of the office, Sherry enjoys hiking, supporting the local food movement, and continuing her on-going work in the Philippines as Founder and Executive Director of Friends of ENCA Farm.
Regional Program Staff
Interim Director of Programs & Safety / PNW Program Director – Chris Lowry
After receiving a degree in Outdoor Recreation with a concentration in Experiential Education, Chris left North Carolina for the wild west. Being a big wall climber, he was drawn to the walls of Yosemite, so he worked two seasons with Yosemite Search and Rescue. The following nine years he worked with Outward Bound from leading wilderness expeditions to administrative management. Craving a change, Chris moved to White Salmon, WA and worked as the Field Team Coordinator for Northwest Service Academy, an Americorp funded program. When the opportunity presented for working with BCM, Chris jumped at it. With his personal beliefs and values aligned with BCM’s mission, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity. When he’s not working hard for BCM, he is either mountain biking on the hills around White Salmon or found in his wood shop building furniture.
CA Program Director – Anders Fristedt
Anders joined the BCM team in February of 2012 to serve as the California Program Director. He started his career in Outdoor Education in 2003 and has worked for numerous organizations. He spent several summers hiking and sea kayaking above the Arctic Circle in Norway working for The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). You might run into Anders next time you take a Wilderness First Aid course, as he is still a current Instructor for the Wilderness Medicine Institute (WMI). Daydreams take him either to making bottom turns at one of the seven sisters in Baja Mexico or dropping some mad vert. on ripened sierra corn.
Midwest Program Director – Bernie Rupe
Bernie started with BCM as a volunteer in 2002. Having more than 10 years experience taking at-risk youth on outdoor adventures and professional work with a whitewater river outfitter, BCM was a natural fit for him — combining his love of the outdoors with his commitment to building youth. Bernie recently left the corporate world and got his Master’s in Community Counseling to focus on youth work. He joined BCM part time as the Chicago Regional Program Manager in 2007 and holds down the Midwest fort and BCM’s paddling program. When not working for BCM, Bernie runs an experiential education program for a local youth agency and counsels kids. In his free time he explores the great outdoors by boat and foot.
Minneapolis Program Manager – Nicole Blaser
Nicole Blaser personally and professionally spends time touring the world, guiding wilderness expeditions, instructing dance, yoga, snowboarding, mountaineering, leadership and a myriad of other outdoor ed skills. She has enjoyed over 15 years of experience with NOLS, the Adaptive Sports Center of Crested Butte, and other organizations. She started with BCM fundraising for the Summit for Someone event in 2007 and was quickly inspired to bring her skills to urban youth as an instructor. Experiencing first hand how urban teens light up so fully during these expeditions, Nicole is now really grateful to be supporting the BCM mission in a program management and development position. When finding still moments in her active life, Nicole is likely sitting in meditation still wondering “world peace?” or “why did I get on a 30ft sailboat crossing the Pacific Ocean?” or “take my amazing dog Leo to the park or for a ski?”