Title: Executive Director
Phone: 412-255-0564 x228
1. Briefly tell us about your background: where did you grow up, where did you go to school, and what brought you to Venture Outdoors?
I grew up right here in Pittsburgh, PA. In a neighborhood called Allentown which is located in the Hilltop communities of the South Pittsburgh area. It’s nestled in between South Side and Mount Washington. Attended Pittsburgh Public Schools and then went off to college at Slippery Rock University where I got my bachelor’s degree in Public Administration. Once I graduated I spent two years participating in the AmeriCorps program. The program had just launched and I was fortunate to have been selected and a graduate of the very first class. After completing the program, I moved back to Pittsburgh, landed a job with the City of Pittsburgh’s Parks and Recreation Department and eventually went back to school for my Master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from Carlow University. After I got my degree, I spent several years working in various nonprofit organizations – two of which had partnered with Venture Outdoors – which at the time had just started to grow in the region. In 2009, I moved out west and landed a job with the Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada, then after three years, boomeranged back to Pittsburgh to work for the local Girl Scout Council. I heard about the position opening at Venture Outdoors and decided to go for it! The rest as they say, is history. I’ve been here since May of 2014 and am enjoying every minute of it. It’s a great place to work with dedicated staff and volunteers passionate about introducing everyone to the outdoors.
2. Describe your role at Venture Outdoors in 10 words or less.
Connector of many inside to get people outside.
3. What does “getting outside” mean to you?
Getting quiet and experiencing all that nature has to offer in whatever way works for you to bring calmness, peace and serenity. Whether it’s casting a line in a new found stream deep in the woods or taking a hike in a beautiful park in the middle of an urban core. Getting outside is just about making that connection with nature and taking full advantage of it, no matter where you are.
4. If you had to pick only one recreational activity to practice for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Running. It’s my Happy Place always.
5. What is the craziest thing you have done?
I took my first snowboarding and climbing lessons in my 40s! My kids thought I was completely insane! I say it keeps me young. 🙂
6. What are your top five favorite outdoors/travel destinations?
1) Our family’s cottage along French Creek
2) Rehoboth Beach
3) Lake Tahoe
4) Cook Forest, PA
7. What is your favorite forest/camping snack?
Dutch Oven Chili on a cold fall night.
8. Name three people in history (dead or alive) with whom you would want to take on a Venture Outdoors program of your choice.
My grandma, Rose McDine
9. What is your favorite Venture Outdoors memory?
My first time meeting all of the volunteers at the spring Trip Leader Social at Kayak Pittsburgh North Shore.
10. What is the earliest memory you have of being outside?
Fishing with my mom and dad.
11. What would the title of your autobiography be?
Journeys and Happy Coincidences
12. Any hidden talents?
Picnic Games (corn hole, horseshoes, wheel barrel races). You name it, I’m in!
13. What is your favorite song (or album) right now?
Most of my listening is in the car with my 16-year-old and her aux cord.
14. What is your biggest challenge nowadays?
Teaching myself how to knit (again)