About

OUR VISION

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 justice, equity, diversity, inclusion (collectively, JEDI). Specifically, we provide this sector and its leaders with learning experiences, assessments, implementation planning, mentorship and coaching, intentional convenings, and resources. Learn more about our approach and values here.


OUR
PEOPLE

CJ Goulding
Partner
Katie Koga
Director of Operations
Aparna Rajagopal
Founding Partner
Ava Holliday
Founding Partner

OUR
STORY

THE ORIGIN

On a rainy weekend in May 2015, Aparna and Ava were engaging in their usual banter about pressing topics such as race, gender, and equity in the outdoors when Aparna’s 7-year old son, Kieran, inquired, “Oh, you’re having wise talk again?” Amused, they began to rattle off other types of talk, such as “real talk,” “family talk,” and “coffee talk.” Jokes aside, Kieran’s quip inspired an animated discussion about their common vision and passion for this work. In September 2015, they could no longer contain their excitement and jumped into this new venture, heart first.

THE NEED

In recent years the environmental, conservation, outdoor recreation, outdoor & environmental education, camp and youth development sectors have ramped up their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Though each organization is committed, many feel stuck. The Avarna Group fills this gap by supporting organizations with resources and services as they navigate through culture change toward a more sustainable future.

THE NAME

The name Avarna, besides being portmanteau of its founders’ names, is a Sanskrit word describing one who transcends varna, an ancient Hindu system of classifying humankind. Similarly, The Avarna Group believes that each person and community should have the power to transcend classifications that are externally imposed upon them and determine their own relationship to the environment. We believe that this is an essential step in moving toward social and environmental justice.