Outdoor Women’s Alliance is a volunteer-run nonprofit media and adventure collective that engages, educates, and empowers females worldwide. Through the lens of human-powered adventure, we work to inspire confidence and leadership in women of all ages, believing that confident women have the power to build healthy communities and — quite literally — change the world.
Our individual-focused programs assist aspiring outdoor industry professionals through a variety of internships, organizational leadership roles, professional mentorship, and resumé-building experiences.
Our community-focused programs are served locally through our grassroots teams, and globally through collaborations with professional athletes, like-minded organizations, brands, and our online channels. These programs serve to build leadership and confidence in individuals, promote active outdoor lifestyles, and increase recognition for the athletic abilities of women in adventure sports.
Aided by these programs, we form a network that connects the outdoor community. We do this to help women find the resources, peers, and events that will help them gain the knowledge, skills, and motivation they need to achieve their potential.
Through our work, we aim to help advance the standing of women worldwide.
Meet the Team
Gina BéginFounder; Editor-in-Chief
The concept of using adventure sports as a tool to empower women came to Gina after returning west from her Florida home state. In Utah, she watched others’ confidence grow with their participation in individually-focused sports. Thinking of Florida and her experience in underserved communities, Gina realized an adventure program for girls would help reroute many young women from risky paths to positive avenues of self-value.
In 2007, while developing this idea, adult peers asked to join her in local, women-only outings. Due to demand, Outdoor Women’s Alliance grew to include females everywhere, regardless of age and environmental upbringing.
Gina majored in geographic information & environmental sciences so she could become an adventure photojournalist and digital marketing strategist. She loves mighty bear hugs; dancing to underground hip hop & 1940s swing; and eating all the southern food ever.
Emily DowningManaging Editor
Emily Downing is a trail runner, skier, guide and dedicated mountain-lover. She lives and plays in Northwestern Montana which makes up for its lack of decent Mexican food with amazing snow.
Maria PaspuelProgram Manager
Maria is a native Ecuadorian who grew up in Utah where her love for theoutdoors grew. In her words: “I climb. I cycle. I hike. I snowshoe. I dream about travel and love exploring. These things are the spice of life.”
Laurie TewksburyInterim Chief Operating Officer
Laurie has been an integral volunteer for Outdoor Women’s Alliance since 2013 when she met Gina on the ski slopes in Maine. She joined OWA as our digital marketing intern, transitioned into our Grassroots Program Director, and now serves as our interim Chief Operating Officer. In this role, Laurie manages our marketing efforts (including organization relationships), branding, and our Grassroots Program.
Laurie earned her bachelor’s of science in Marketing & Advertising Management and her master’s of science in Information Management from Syracuse University. Her experience includes account management for a Fortune 500 client, volunteer program development & volunteer management.
You can find her playing in the Colorado mountains on her mountain bike and splitboard or chugging iced coffee in a Boulder cafe while she’s sending the OWA team her weekly status doc.
Annie LawsonGrassroots Program Manager
Annie is a Rocky Mountain-raised adventure lover. From mountaineering to paddling, she has her hands in every outdoor activity she can find the time and gear for. Her outdoor goals can be summarized by “climb all the things!”
Rachael Rose DenisGrassroots Program Manager
Haley is a writer, skier instructor, and trail runner based out of Dillon, Colorado. She’s also an avid art-viewing, story-telling, mountain-climbing, and traveling fiend.
Sofia CortopassiMarketing Coordinator
Sofia is a marketing analytics nerd and avid climber on a mission to increase women’s-specific mentorship in outdoor sports. She can be found with her nose in a classic novel, strumming the guitar, or testing out her new tango shoes on the dance floor.
Alley RobisonSocial Media Intern
Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Alley enjoys hiking, kayaking, and finding the best swimming hole at the end of the trail. She firmly believes in the power of social media and hopes to harness that power for the preservation of public lands and inspiring young women to get outside.
Emily MarkholmSocial Media Intern
Emily was born and raised in the Kootenay region of British Columbia and enjoys skiing, hiking, and surfing. She hopes that through the power of social media, she can empower more women to get into the outdoors.
Lisa is a freelance artist and designer with a passion for the outdoors, adventure, and people. A midwesterner, she loves traveling, finding the best coffee shop in any given city and hanging out with friends and family.
Raphaela Hsu-FlandersSocial Media Intern
Raphaela is equal parts passionate about recreating in the outdoors and protecting the environment. She can be found climbing, mountain biking, skiing, or summiting Oregon’s volcanoes in her free time.
Grace has lived in the midwest, northeast, west coast, and abroad. She can be found petting every dog she sees on the trail, at the crag, or on the way to the water. She meditates, uses her turn signal, and focuses on environmental policy.
1. Serve the rising generation, with a special focus on underserved young women, through leadership-building adventure programs. The programs are designed to help young people gain confidence through positive avenues rather than seeking acceptance via pressures related to relationships, body image, drugs, alcohol, etc.
2. Build communities through strong, leadership-driven women via OWA’s grassroots teams which focus on education and experiential, skill-building activities for women in the outdoors.
What adventure means to OWA
OWA focuses on human-powered adventure sports in spaces away from city limits. These activities include skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, expeditions (scientific, recreational, or exploratory), kayaking, rock and ice climbing, surfing, mountaineering, mountain biking, multi-day road cycling, standup paddleboarding, wilderness adventure races, canyoneering, coasteering, cave exploration, trail running, and backpacking.
Where to find us
Outdoor Women’s Alliance got its start in Salt Lake City, Utah in December of 2007 and is now worldwide, with team members across the globe. Major points of contact are in Salt Lake City, Utah; British Columbia, Canada; and Boulder, Colorado.