Promoting women through outdoor adventure

Serving more by staying core

The outdoors benefits all participants. That’s why we focus only on what matters, and leave aside everything else.

We believe the outdoors helps us find common ground with each other while building up the best in each of us, no matter our beliefs or backgrounds. We strive to bring that forward.

Our programs

Meet the Team

Gina Bégin - Founder
Gina Bégin - Founder
Executive Director
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 and her desire to create a foundational, female-focused space to assist with access to the outdoors, Outdoor Women’s Alliance grew to include women everywhere, regardless of age, location, or skill level.
Gina majored in geographic information + environmental sciences, and is a freelance adventure photographer, writer, and digital marketing strategy consultant. She is the Executive Director of Outdoor Women’s Alliance, editor-in-chief for OWA’s editorial mentorship program, and directs the organization’s social media program.
She loves mighty bear hugs; dancing to underground hip hop + 1940s swing; and eating all the southern food ever.

Editorial Program

Lynn Lieu
Lynn LieuManaging Editor
Lynn, managing editor for OWA’s site content and our Editorial Mentorship Program, grew up in Southern California and spent zero days camping as a child. It wasn’t until her later years in high school that she began exploring the outdoors. It started with snowboarding and, when the weather warmed, long hikes under the trees. Recently, her adventures have taken her to the mountains, where she is an avid climber (who actually enjoys slab).
She is a journalist turned brand and lifestyle marketer specializing in digital storytelling. She’s worked for community and international publications including The Enthusiast Network, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and their affiliate publications. She enjoys marketing and branding projects in the agency setting for various brands.
Anna Wendt
Anna WendtSEO Content Manager
Anna grew up in southeastern Wisconsin and always liked being outside, though it wasn’t until she moved to Utah in 2009 that she discovered just how much she loved outdoor adventure. She’s a camper, hiker (of anything but mountains), canyoneer, and climber. Her true love is bouldering, though she’s learning to enjoy climbing on a rope.
Thanks to her journalism background, Anna believes less is more in writing, editing, and design. When she’s not off the grid, she also loves participating in communities on YouTube and Twitch.
Emily Downing
Emily DowningManaging Editor
Emily is an editor with Outdoor Women’s Alliance’s and helped shape the Editorial Mentorship Program as the managing editor in its early days. She stumbled across OWA in the fall of 2014 while on a mission to find a way to increase the presence of female writers and photographers in outdoor media. After contributing a couple of stories to OWA, Emily started taking a hand in editorial tasks and developing the Editorial Mentorship Program.
Emily received a bachelor’s of the arts in Print Journalism from the University of Montana, with a minor in Wilderness Studies. After graduating in 2012, Emily settled in Whitefish and began working as a hiking and rafting guide in Glacier National Park, then spent winters working as a cat skiing guide.
She’s currently on hiatus from volunteering with OWA while back in her Colorado home state pursuing a graduate degree in Integrative and Public Lands Management at Western State University.

Grassroots Program

Justine Mulliez
Justine MulliezGrassroots Program Director
Justine, the director of our Grassroots Program, grew up between Atlanta, Georgia and Roubaix, France. She spent the last seven years chasing winters around the globe until finally settling down in Bend, Oregon — as least for now. An avid outdoor woman and self-proclaimed winter fanatic, her passion for snowboarding, split-boarding, mountaineering, backpacking, and climbing comes from her many years spent living and working in Val d’Isère, a small town in the French Alps. Once a perfectionist, she is now focused on dabbling in human-powered outdoor sports and various creative arts to relish in trial, failure, and growth.
After six years of working as the events coordinator on Europe’s biggest skiing and snowboarding events, Justine is currently making the transition out of the action sports marketing sector into wilderness therapy and outdoor education with the hopes of enabling more people to access and benefit from experiences had outdoors. Her passion for fostering a strong outdoor women’s community is what led her here to Outdoor Women’s Alliance and she can’t wait to continue empowering women through the outdoors.
Andrea Willingham
Andrea WillinghamGrassroots Program Manager
Andrea is a lifelong outdoor woman and all-around nature enthusiast. Originally hailing from Florida, she spent three years working in Alaska as an interpretive park ranger for the National Park Service. After moving to Oregon to get her master’s degree in environmental studies, she unexpectedly fell in love with the U.S. Pacific Northwest and decided to stay.
Andrea enjoys hiking in the Cascades, playing in the snow, visiting national parks, climbing, paddling, and camping. She is an avid outdoor photographer, writer, and amateur filmmaker, always looking for the next great adventure.
Andrea is the Program Manager for OWA’s California and Oregon Teams.
Elizabeth Paashaus
Elizabeth PaashausGrassroots Program Manager
Elizabeth first came to love adventure in the outdoors through backpacking as a way to prove her self-reliance. After earning her degree in graphic design, Elizabeth thru-hiked 1600 miles of the Appalachian Trail. She spent 15 years working in outdoor retail before leaving to travel North America full time in her school bus, pursuing outdoor adventure with her family.
Elizabeth enjoys backpacking, rock-climbing, trail running, and outdoor play with her husband and two daughters (6 and 8). For her girls, she prioritizes teaching them a love and respect for nature and to find the strength within to overcome adversity and obstacles. Together they take weeklong backpacking trips anywhere from the Appalachians to the canyons of southern Utah, climb classic multi-pitch routes, scramble on big boulders, and play in creeks. Elizabeth will be heading up program management for selected Regional Areas of our Grassroots Program once established.
Elizabeth is the Program Manager for the Southwest U.S. Regional Area and the Utah Team.
Elizabeth Walker
Elizabeth WalkerGrassroots Program Manager
Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Elizabeth now calls western North Carolina home. With two working parents, she grew up going to various summer camps which fostered her love for the outdoors. However, it wasn’t until she moved to Brevard, North Carolina for college that she really immersed herself in human-powered adventure. Elizabeth earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education and has been a professional in the active-outdoor industry ever since.
Her primary activities are mountain biking, trail running, and nordic skiing, although she has experience in many land-based and water-based pursuits. She’s always up to learn something new! She’s been mentoring, guiding, and coaching mountain biking since 2009. Elizabeth also enjoys traveling domestically and internationally, and always finds a way to experience human-powered outdoor adventure with new friends in new places. Elizabeth loves to share trail and travel beta, helping others feel empowered to go out and live adventurously!
Elizabeth is the Program Manager for the Southeast U.S. Regional Area.
Jillian Ardrey
Jillian ArdreyGrassroots Program Manager
Jillian, originally from Southern California and lover of warm weather and sunny days, couldn’t have foreseen as a child that she would come to love winter adventures. Four years ago — before taking up studies in pursuit of her MBA — she discovered her love for the outdoors during six months of travel. She was hooked; she has since loved everything to do with nature and the outdoors.
Jillian’s obsessive personality pushed her to dive right into the outdoors. It was here that she could be herself, be inspired, and push her limits. She now lead climbs, seeks out backcountry couloirs to ski, and has solo thru-hiked both the John Muir and Colorado Trails. She believes it’s not talent that made these things possible, but because of this obsession and love of human-powered adventure. 
Jillian now lives in Colorado, where she spends her weekends (and more) in the mountains. Her heart is fullest when she is helping other women fall in love with the mountains. She believes women can accomplish amazing things when they’re focused and confident in themselves. She is excited to help women realize these qualities and embrace their full potential as Program Manager for OWA.
Jillian is the Program Manager for the Colorado Team.

Grassroots Team Leaders + Regional Volunteers

Amy Ewing
Amy EwingSouthwest U.S. Regional Area
Beth Greer
Beth GreerMid-Atlantic U.S. Regional Area
Cassandra Powers
Cassandra PowersSouthwest U.S. Regional Area
Hannah Schneider
Hannah SchneiderColorado Team
Kat Green
Kat GreenWashington Team
Kenzie Wade
Kenzie WadeBC Team
Lisa Wilder
Lisa WilderColorado Team
Maria Paspuel
Maria PaspuelUtah Team

OWA Partnerships + Projects

Brenna George
Brenna GeorgePartnerships Manager
Brenna is originally from Chicago, Illinois, spending summers in the neighboring state of Wisconsin at Camp Manito-wish. It was at this camp — which focused on building leadership skills through all-girls wilderness trips — that Brenna’s appreciation for women-only adventures began.  She joined OWA as a Partnerships Manager to help more women share the same experience she did.
She studied Operations Management and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She loves to chat about all things environmental and social sustainability. She recently moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where you can find her in the mountains on skis, in a harness, or in a pair of hiking boots.
Dorothy Phan
Dorothy PhanPartnerships Manager
A California native, Dorothy’s childhood summers were spent camping in Yosemite with friends and family. She found a true appreciation for human-powered adventure when she discovered trail running with her cross-country team. Believing in empowering others through adventure, she led camping trips for youth groups while earning her bachelor’s degree in fine arts at UC Irvine.
She is passionate about the outdoors, enjoying hiking, road-tripping to national parks, and climbing. Most recently, she channeled that passion into teaching climbing (and yoga-for-climbers) to some awesome, turbo-charged kiddos at a summer camp in Colorado.
Dorothy loves to sculpt and woodwork and finds inspiration in foraging fallen trees and wild plants in nature. Most days you can find her on SoCal trails seizing the day with early-morning runs.
Helen Thompson
Helen ThompsonGraphic Design + Illustration
Helen is an Oakland, California native but currently lives near Burlington, Vermont. She graduated from Elon University in North Carolina with a degree in communication design and a minor in adventure-based learning. She is a graphic designer with a love for magazines, clean composition, and sans serif font. Helen is currently working toward building a career in graphic design with a focus on editorial and publication design.
Helen has loved the outdoors since her childhood, with summers spent camping and hiking at ranch camp in Northern California. She has since worked for that camp, leading hiking and backpacking trips for kids, and is a strong believer in outdoor education. Helen loves hiking, backpacking and swimming in alpine lakes. Her ideal outdoor day would include a hike with a riverside spot to hang her hammock and read a good book.
Rachel Sotak
Rachel SotakGraphic Design + Illustration
Rachel is a New Englander at heart — she grew up in rural Vermont, studied at Skidmore College in upstate New York, and is now settled in New Hampshire with the White Mountains at her fingertips. Having studied health and exercise science while at Skidmore, she is a lover of all things health and wellness and loves what exercise can do for the mind and soul. An artist at her core, Rachel is a self taught graphic designer and illustrator who takes inspiration from the mountains and her earthy-crunchy upbringing. She is lover of watercolors, collage and bold colors.
Rachel’s earliest memories are of living with her family in a house without electricity or running water, so she is no stranger to the wild. Her first overnight hiking experience involved summiting Mt. Moosilauke in the winter as part of a high school elective class. These days she’s hiking her way through New Hampshire’s 4000-footers and climbing at the local gym.

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