We envision a more resilient and connected world where all humans sustain healthy relationships with ourselves, one another, and our planet. We manifest this vision by creating pathways, providing resources, and innovating strategies that support the outdoor and environmental sector in their evolution toward diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (collectively, DEIJ). Specifically, we provide this sector and its leaders with learning experiences, assessments, implementation planning, mentorship and coaching, intentional convenings, and resources.
CJ Goulding (he/him) is passionate about facilitating growth in three things: people, community, and leadership. In his work with the Children & Nature Network and Fresh Tracks, CJ trains, mentors and supports a national network of over 330 leaders who are changing systems and creating equitable access to nature in their communities. This work draws from experience leading outdoor trips, conservation crews, and youth internship programs for the National Park Service. He completed a MaED in Urban Environmental Education with IslandWood and Antioch University, where he studied the power of community and its connection to nature in urban settings. CJ has been featured in the Outdoor Industry’s inaugural “30 Under 30” list highlighting game changers in the outdoor industry, and his essay “Why I Wear Jordans in the Great Outdoors” has been published and featured in culturally relevant outdoor curriculum across the country. He is an eager writer, photographer, and lover of sharing and supporting stories.
Sophie Dipti Sarkar
(currently on sabbatical)
Sophie Dipti Sarkar (she/her) is a facilitator, coach, and artist based in Lenapehoking (Philadelphia, USA). Born under a full moon on the centennial of International Worker’s Day, her work is deeply informed by her love for justice and the night sky. She has spent nearly a decade organizing communities to heal from systemic oppression and reconnect with the natural world. She co-founded PGM ONE, one of the largest racial affinity spaces in the environmental movement, and Interwoven, a Black and Asian solidarity series and zine. She sees her art practice as a continuation of this work, supporting those around her to tell their stories, deepen their solidarity, and live in loving relationship with their land, water, and sky kin.
Sophie offers coaching support to folks at any level/rank within an organization who are interested in developing their leadership to create healthy, just, and creative workplace cultures. She has developed her coaching style through years of practicing mindfulness meditation, peer counseling, and experiential education. Using a heart-centered approach, she supports individuals to:
- Dream up and clarify their vision, purpose, and values
- Use an anti-oppression lens to address interpersonal power dynamics
- Name, address, and process conflict
- Understand and transform internalized oppression
- Develop practices to own their inner wisdom and power
- Organize and strategize culture change
- Deepen their listening + synthesizing skills
- Create practices for a healthier workplace culture
- Develop their facilitation and leadership styles
- Nurture their joy and creativity
José G. González
José G. González (he/him) is the Founder and Former Executive Director for Latino Outdoors. He is an experienced educator as a K-12 public education teacher, environmental education advisor, outdoor education instructor and coordinator, and university adjunct faculty. His commentary on diversity and environmental outreach has been featured by High Country News, Outside, Earth Island Journal, and Latino USA, and he has been engaged in collaborations with the White House Council on Environmental Quality, U.S. Department of Interior, and the National Park Service. He also represents Latino Outdoors in several coalitions including the Latino Conservation Alliance and the Next 100 Coalition. He has been recognized with several honors, including the National Wildlife Federation, Grist Magazine, and The Murie Center. He received his B.A at the University of California, Davis, and his M.S at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources & Environment.
Aparna Rajagopal, J.D.: Aparna (she/her) is an agitator, amplifier, and advisor who thrives at the confluence of equity and justice work and the outdoor, environmental, and conservation sectors. An Indian immigrant and mother, Aparna longs for an outdoor, environmental, and conservation movement that works for everyone. Aparna has made it her life's work to catalyze the radical reimagination of human relationships to land, water, and wildlife to center values of reciprocity, humility, compassion, and interdependence. She does this through writing, speaking, facilitating workshops, coaching, and facilitating affinity spaces within this sector. She has also spearheaded initiatives that amplify BIPOC voices, including Expedition Denali: Inspiring Diversity in the Outdoors and People of the Global Majority in the Outdoors, Nature, and the Environment. Aparna serves on the board of the Living Oak Center for Applied Decolonization, Brown Girls Climb, and Dirt Maidens. When not nerding out reading books on the topics such as the complex and intertwined histories of people and land, you can find her hiking, running, climbing, and biking in the homelands of the Kalapuya people, where she lives with her partner and son.
Listen to more from Aparna on Rebooting Capitalism Ep #8: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with Ava Holliday and Aparna Rajagopal, co-founders of The Avarna Group, The Caroline Gleich Show Episode 30: Disrupting Implicit Bias in the Outdoors with the Avarna Group, and She Explores Episode 13: Diversity, "Beyond the Buzzword".
Read more by Aparna in Flip the Script: Opportunities for the environmental movement to better engage Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color (Earth Island Journal), The Power of Affinity Spaces in Issue 7 of Sisu Magazine, and the Avarna blog.
Ava Holliday, M.A.: Ava (she/her) believes a sustainable future is dependent on simultaneously working towards social and environmental justice. She has devoted the last eight years to researching and working in this field. As a graduate student at the University of Washington in the department of Anthropology, Ava was able to deepen her understanding about justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts and challenges in environmentalism, conservation, and outdoor recreation. At UW, she taught courses covering topics such as power, identity, environmentalism, health, and wilderness. She left graduate school to put theory into practice at the Avarna Group. In addition to her work at the Avarna Group, she has supported the LGBTQ Outdoor Summit and serves on the Next 100 Coalition. Throughout her academic and professional career, Ava has supported thousands of people and hundreds of organizations in service of deepening understanding of and cultivating skills to address oppression in environmentalism, conservation and outdoor education.
Angelique Steadman was drawn to birthwork at an early age, and later learned of the disparities in healthcare for Black women and infants and the need for Black bodies to have representation in the birthing field. Angelique felt compelled to orchestrate change on a community level and is a birth companion, doula, and a midwife in training. We’re excited to have Angelique’s passion for social justice and expertise in accounting on our team.