NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) announced the appointments of five new members to its Board of Trustees: John Babcock, Jimmy Chin, José González, Annie Morita and George Phipps. Through a rigorous selection process, the new NOLS trustees were chosen for their professional achievements, leadership roles around the world, and individual contributions to the school. They are serving three-year terms effective as of June 2019.
“Welcoming new trustees is such an exciting process for NOLS. This incoming class brings a range of perspectives, leadership and deep expertise in their respective fields,” says Marc Randolph, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “All of our board members are committed to the school’s mission and its work to empower our students to become leaders in the outdoors, their everyday lives and careers.”
Since the school’s establishment in 1965, NOLS has impacted the lives of more than 300,000 students—a milestone the school is proud to celebrate as it approaches its 55th anniversary next year. The school offers over 350 courses annually specializing in extended wilderness expeditions, classroom-based wilderness medicine and risk management courses and custom expeditions for organizations. Using a proven leadership model, NOLS instructors provide a hands-on learning environment leveraging 16 core outdoor skills and wilderness classrooms around the world to create transformative student experiences.
The five new trustees join an established board of 14 current members comprised of leaders across diverse fields and industries who share a commitment to serving students and developing leadership through wilderness education. The Board provides guidance for carrying out the school’s mission: To be the leading source and teacher of wilderness skills and leadership that serve people and the environment.
John Babcock has been a partner at Rustic Canyon since the firm’s formation in 1999. During that time, he has backed successful entrepreneurs in the software, hardware, internet and cleantech areas. Before Rustic Canyon, Babcock was an executive at the Los Angeles Times, working in both print and online businesses. Previously, he founded The Delta Group. He serves as a trustee of the Polytechnic School and is a member of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Foundation board of directors. Babcock is a multi-course NOLS graduate including the 1991 Fall Semester in the Southwest, 1992 Mexico Sailing Course and Wilderness First Aid course.
Jimmy Chin joined NOLS as an instructor in 1998 where he taught expedition and climbing courses. Today, Chin is a photographer, filmmaker and professional mountain sports athlete known for his ability to capture extraordinary imagery while climbing and skiing in extremely high-risk environments. A longtime member of The North Face Athlete Team, he has joined dozens of exploratory expeditions and completed first ascents around the globe, working with the best adventure athletes in the world. His years of experience in the adventure sports world enable him to bring an authentic and unique perspective to his storytelling. Chin’s latest documentary Free Solo won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2019.
José González is the founder of Latino Outdoors. The nonprofit connects families and youth with nature, engages and inspires Latino leadership and empowers communities to explore and share stories of their cultural connections to the outdoors. González is an experienced educator with broad experience as a K-12 public education teacher, environmental education advisor, outdoor education instructor and coordinator and university adjunct faculty. In his capacity developing Latino Outdoors, González aims to collaborate with organizations seeking to diversify their outdoor and conservation programs. González is a NOLS Wilderness Medicine graduate.
Annie Morita is an executive with Apple, Inc., and most recently led Internet Software & Services in Greater China, focusing on the App Store and Apple Media Products. Prior to joining Apple, Annie served as the head of global interactive for DreamWorks Animation. She led the company’s efforts for gaming across all platforms, as well as new business development and production for virtual reality and augmented reality. A marketing and new media veteran, Annie has held top leadership positions at Warner Bros. Studios, Sony Pictures Entertainment and at Electronic Arts, where she was a founding member of EA Mobile. Annie is a 2016 Baja Women’s Sea Kayaking graduate and previously served on the NOLS board of trustees from 2015-2017.
George Phipps is a managing partner of Jasper Ridge Partners and co-leads the private equity team where he focuses on the firm’s direct and co-investment activities. Prior to joining Jasper Ridge Partners, Phipps was a general partner at Apax Partners, an investment officer with the Czech and Slovak American Enterprise Fund and, before that, at Salomon Brothers Inc. Phipps serves on the board of directors of The Bessemer Group Incorporated and the board of managers of Bessemer Securities LLC and its principal subsidiary. He is also a member of the National Council of the Environmental Defense Fund and serves on the advisory board of the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. He is a 1982 Wind River Wilderness graduate, a NOLS parent and previously served as a NOLS trustee from 1994-2000.