Jenna Topper (She/They)
California Program Manager
Jenna Topper joined the BCM team in 2020 and holds the role of cultivating partner relationships, trip planning, and managing the CA regional program. She was drawn to BCM because of their efforts to make programming accessible to youth development partner agencies and the students they serve. Jenna grew up in Sacramento, and always had a love for nature but it wasn’t till college that she started participating in outdoor activities the way she does today. After earning an Environmental Studies degree from Sonoma State University, she was drawn to pursuing opportunities in the outdoor-based youth development field. She has instructed and coordinated outdoor trips for several organizations including; Earth Team, Bay Area Wilderness Training, YES Nature to Neighborhoods, Eastside College Prep, YMCA, Bridges Rock Gym, and more.
Jenna is guided by values of equity, authenticity, and continued learning which informs the way she leads, manages, and builds relationships with partners and students. She holds deep admiration and respect for the partners she works with and looks forward to working closely with them to ensure everyone has the opportunity to experience joy, healing, and feelings of belonging in outdoor spaces. Jenna’s self-care practices include; having her rescued fur baby Zodi by her side at all times, chasing down sunsets with music blasting, taking deep breaths, and fleeing for nearly any spontaneous adventure.
Scott Myers (He/Him)
New England Program Manager
Scott came to Big City Mountaineers after working with the Chill Foundation, teaching core values and life skills to underrepresented youth through snowboarding and other board sports. He is a native New Englander and grew up on the north shore of Boston. Being centrally located close to the coast and within a short drive to the northern New England states, he was able to explore the region and many of its outdoor activities.
Growing up, Scott was involved with a Boy Scout program Packs ‘N’ Paddles that gave youth opportunities to progressively grow in the outdoors. He later continued his outdoor enthusiasm as a college student leader in Adventure Bound, and as a professional instructor for Outward Bound, Moxie Outdoor Adventures, ERBA and a YMCA Wilderness School. Scott has a background in student development, working with youth as a therapeutic mentor from ages of 4 to 22, and also worked with City Year/Americorps in various service learning and community service opportunities.
Scott will be expanding Big City Mountaineers programming to the East Coast and New England, starting with overnight camps and day hikes to expose more youth to the vast array of diverse natural resources that New England offers.
Through Scott’s work at BCM he is committed to make a difference in the lives of others and motivated by the powerful transformative experiences the outdoor experiences provide New England youth.
Scott is also planning to soon have a furry friend to take along on his outdoor adventures.
Anne Hayward (She/Her)
Pacific Northwest Program Manager
Anne was nine years old when she went on her first backpacking trip with her dad, sister, and cousin, and while she hated that first experience—think epic amounts of mosquitos—she never gave it up. Since then she has section-hiked portions of the PCT, walked the Camino de Santiago with her mom, and finds reasons to sleep under the stars as often as possible.
Anne came to Big City Mountaineers first as a trip agency leader and then as an expedition instructor. She had amazing experiences with BCM youth and fell in love with the expedition model and curriculum. Through her 10 years’ working with youth outdoors as a wilderness therapy instructor and conservation leader, she has seen youth persevere through tough mental and physical challenges and then bring those life lessons home. She is excited to get to provide those experiences to BCM youth in the PNW.
Lance Tsosie (He/Him)
Colorado Program Manager
Born and raised on the Navajo Nation, Lance grew up immersed in his ancestral tradition, culture, and with a deep connection to nature. He grew up herding his grandmother’s goats, riding horses, and exploring the canyonlands surrounding his home – it was here where his sense of wonder grew. Lance received a B.A. from the University of Denver in Political Science and a minor in International Studies, he is an active member of the Denver Native American community, and a strong advocate for social justice. He has professional experience with college access and success programs for underserved communities and is excited to bring those skills and apply them to BCM. He believes so passionately in the power of the outdoors and how it can widen the scope of possibilities for youth. On his personal time, Lance enjoys bouldering, trail running, summiting 14ers, backpacking, fitness challenges, camping, and everything Colorado.
Fred Sproat (He/Him)
National Program Director
Fred is passionate about connecting young people to wild places and has been working to ensure that teens everywhere can explore our public lands for over a decade. Growing up in northern Minnesota he has been exploring the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness his entire life. His early experiences there prepared him to guide and later organize month long canoeing and backpacking trips throughout North America.
When not supporting other’s wilderness experiences Fred has organized several bike supported backcountry ski trips in the Cascade Range, explored the Boundary Waters on ice skates, and is currently volunteering with the organization Superior Highland Backcountry working to establish a backcountry ski trail and hut system along the north shore of Lake Superior.
Fred’s musings and photos from both personal and professional outdoor experiences have graced a handful of publications and websites. He’s continually interested in exploring the lessons and revelations we can learn from time spent out of doors.
Megan Aranow (She/Her)
Director of Strategic Partnerships
Megan began her journey with Big City Mountaineers as a volunteer adult mentor on a weeklong backpacking expedition with Denver teens. An avid believer in the power and magic of experiencing challenges in the outdoors, she is fiercely dedicated to supporting people – and teenagers in particular – in getting outside and connecting with nature. Prior to coming to BCM, Megan directed a teen leadership development program for five years through a camp in California. In her role managing strategic partnerships, she is thrilled to work creatively with both individual and brand partners to connect people with the benefits of time spent outdoors.
Hailing from Colorado, Megan grew up immersed in the Rocky Mountains and continues to seek adventure and reflection here. A graduate of the University of Colorado in Boulder with degrees in Environmental Studies and Peace & Conflict Studies, she’s chosen to pursue work that is geared toward physical and mental wellness since then. She is an avid hiker, practices yoga, and is an amateur aerialist and ukulele player.
Doug Sandok (He/Him)
Chief Operations Officer
Born and raised in Minnesota Doug’s first outdoor experiences were canoeing and camping in the Boundary Waters. He has a B.A. in Sociology from Colorado College and a minor in Urban Studies. Doug has built his life around being in the outdoors, traveling the world, and creating opportunities for others to learn and grow from challenge and adventure.
Since early, pre Gore-tex, backpacking trips in the Rockies, to guiding and instructing in the Himalayas and South America, Doug has been shaped by the wild places and the people he shares those experiences with. “There is no substitute for a wilderness experience – the growth that comes from a hard day moving through challenging terrain, and working with a team to reach a goal. Sometimes, it can be as simple as exploring your own ‘backyard’. and sleeping on the ground under the stars. Those are the elements that foster personal growth and deep friendship.”
Doug’s professional background includes work with Outward Bound, Where There Be Dragons, the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, Doctors Without Borders, and Paradox Sports. Doug takes his skills learned in these experiences and puts them to work empowering organizations to have greater impact through improving systems and program delivery, and through meaningful partnerships with supporters.
Otisa Eads (She/Her)
HR & Systems Strategy
Otisa Eads is an HR & Systems Strategist Consultant to help organizations create systems that are streamline and prepare them for continued growth and expansion. In addition, Otisa loves creating strategies with start-ups, entrepreneurs, or business owners who want to expand their choices with new aligned and effective solutions to the problems in their business. In her HR expertise, she specializes in creating recruitment strategies, on-boarding systems, and management training. She enjoys planning and executing employee engagement activities for her clients. Otisa is passionate about organizational culture and DEIJ when she is working with clients and speaking at events.
Otisa holds a Bachelors of Science and Business and a Bachelors of Arts from Murray State University. She is originally from Westport, KY. Now, she has lived in Colorado for the past 5 years.
Brian Cook (He/Him)
Principal Consultant, Groundswell Change
Brian holds an AB in English and Sociology from Georgetown University and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.
Brian began his career with Teach For America as a 7th and 8th grade teacher in an under-served community. Rising through a variety of functional roles across finance, operations and recruitment strategy, he was charged with guiding strategic efforts to bring awareness to the disparities that exist within America’s education system. After receiving his graduate degree, he pivoted to the private sector to join a global marketing development program. As head of product innovation for a leading natural products brand, he synthesized consumer insights data to build new propositions, managed large multi-functional teams from inception to factory production, and led presentations with some of the nation’s largest retailers. Brian has worked with a number of social entrepreneurs and business owners to both drive sustainable growth through sound business strategies and build thriving cultures with DEI principles that unlock creativity, productivity and collaboration. In addition to his consulting work, he has served on a number of nonprofit boards, and most recently led the board of directors for JAG Productions, Northern New England’s leading black theatre company. Having recently relocated, Brian was selected to join the Denver region’s premier leadership fellowship, Leadership Denver, through the Denver Metro Chamber’s Leadership Foundation.
Hailing from a small mountain town in Colorado, Loki fosters an avid interest in snow and weather that is sub-50 degrees. He enjoys fetch, but is honestly more interested in having you chase him while he runs away with unreasonably large sticks in his mouth. A peacekeeper among the office dogs, he is always willing to share his bones. Loki responds most readily to the sound of a squeak toy.
Ember was bred to be a sled dog in northern Minnesota but an insatiable appetite for belly rubs and an imperfect gait forced her into early retirement. Now day she spends her free time tearing up the Duluth single track and bounding through open forests in pursuit of squirrels and deer.
Juniper has a hard time choosing which she likes better; running through the waves on the beach with a frisbee, catching snowballs and making snow angels, or chasing sticks into mountain lakes and rivers, as each makes her tail wag and puts a smile on her face. She truly loves every adventure the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
Most days you can find Juniper lounging. She has no qualms about rearranging pillows on the couch to fit her high maintenance needs. You will likely hear her try to give her opinion during phone meetings, as she usually has something to say or an announcement to make.
Bella, the 4 year old pit/lab mix, is a goofy girl. While Bella loves outdoor adventures, her canine natural instincts are mediocre at best. Known to swim too far out into the ocean, fall off cliff sides, and crash into trees, she brings a whole lotta laughter to any adventure. Her motor skills may not be great, but that’s made up for by being a top notch cuddler. This little goofy hotdog is sure to win your heart.
Kira, the 10 yr german shepherd mix, is one of the most kind hearted pups you’ll ever meet. She loves her family more than anything, and is known to stay up all night until every single family member goes to bed. She is an adventure lover, and lights up outdoors. A well behaved pup, she will never stray too far away and always has an eye out for her loved ones. She is spoiled rotten with way too many stuffed animal toys that she has managed to take care of for years. She thinks she can talk and enjoys having conversations with obliging human friends.