Board of Directors

Hike it Baby started as a small grassroots movement and is now an organization with branches in more than 300 cities, towns, and rural areas all across North America. We are at an exciting stage of development as we grow to an established, dynamic nonprofit organization that provides resources, community support, and advocacy for families to get out into nature with their children from birth. We are always ready to talk with people who are interested in serving on our Board of Directors or on a working group! We seek individuals who are passionate about our mission and bring a range of lived experience, professional background, and perspective. With their help, we aim to serve our community and build a strong, effective, stable organization both now and into the future. 

We are a Working Board, and each member participates in board committees or topical work groups according to their interests, skills, and talents. There are opportunities to support programs and communication, technology, strategic development, and many other areas as we work to equitably serve all families who want to get on the trail. Every single member of our Board and working groups makes a real difference in our ability to serve tens of thousands of families in the Hike it Baby community. 

Hike it Baby values equity and diversity as key elements of a strong and vibrant community. We welcome people of diverse backgrounds, abilities, and lived experiences, especially those who identify with groups historically underrepresented in the outdoors. The perspective such individuals bring will strengthen our Board and our whole organization, and will make us better able to serve our mission and our member community.

If you would like to join us, or know someone who might, please reach out! Send us a note at and let us know what kind of involvement is interesting to you.


Board of Directors

Mauricio Valadrian
Board Chair
Originally from Bogota, Colombia, Mauricio has been working as a bilingual media creative and cultural consultant for nearly two decades, eight of them managing the creative services department at Univision Portland, and most recently, as an independent media consultant and diversity communications expert. He has worked with companies ranging from small local startups and Non-Profits, to national ad agencies and firms, both in the private and governmental sectors, helping them develop compelling and engaging content that effectively reaches the full spectrum of their intended demographic footprint. Prior to joining Hike it Baby’s Board of Directors, Mauricio served in the board of the Domestic Violence Safe Dialogue Program.
A'Nova Ettien
A’Nova joined the board of Hike it Baby in July, 2018, in a seat that supports operations development and strengthening the organization’s standing commitment to equitably serving all families who want to get outside with small children. Due to an unusual upbringing, A’Nova spent a huge amount of time outside as a child— running in the woods, sleeping in tents, walking long distances often with a pack on, living in a variety of rustic settings, and sometimes foraging and gardening. Later on she didn’t see herself as an “outdoorsy person” because most people with that self description seemed to have a whole lot of gear and equipment and guidebooks. Since then, she’s done a lot of learning and thinking about what it means to be engaged in the outdoors and connected to nature, who claims identities related to the natural environment and why, and the ways our country and society have included, excluded, or limited people in terms of activities done outside—from exploring and adventuring to farming and other kinds of work. She continues to learn every day, and loves doing it in the company of others. Currently settled in the Pacific Northwest, A’Nova has a young son and a teenaged stepson, and works to bring into her young people’s lives the kinds of outside experiences she loved growing up. From her son’s earliest days of life, she has tried to get outdoors with him every day, whether it be a neighborhood walk or an ambitious adventure.
Sharon Houghton
Strategic Partnerships
Sharon is Group Publisher of the Outdoor Group at Active Interest Media which includes Backpacker Magazine among others. Moving around most of her life as a military brat, Sharon got to experience the outdoors all over the world from a very young age. After exploring many sports as a child, a passion for endurance racing lead to many years of racing triathlon at an elite level before having kids. Her family includes her husband Kevin (married 7 years), Gunnar (5), Amelia (2). Instilling a love for the outdoors and fitness has been a priority for this family and we spend much of our time hiking, camping, running, fishing, and simply exploring Colorado. Sharon hopes that to help Hike it Baby reach the masses through strategic relationships and partnerships within the Outdoor Industry along with telling the stories that have impacted families in the outdoors.
Colin Giblin
Colin is a native New Englander Colin grew up adventuring outside on the slopes of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, the waters of Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island, and the peaks of the Green Mountains in Vermont. Living in Rhode Island he enjoys exploring his most recent hobbies of alpine touring, mountain biking, and bouldering.Currently serving as the head of eCommerce for Turtle Fur, an outdoor and snow sports accessory company based in Vermont, he leads digital marketing, online presence, and operational initiatives for the company. Colin came to Hike it Baby through a capstone project as part of the Outdoor Industry Association’s Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy. Through that project he worked with a team of other members of the outdoor industry to offer action items for the future of Hike it Baby. Colin believes that access to nature is a right of all people and hopes to leverage his experience in technology and marketing in helping strengthen and expand the Hike it Baby community.
Haley Barber
Haley Barber admires and respects all aspects of Nature and the outdoors. She marvels at the largest Redwood tree and at the eco-system that exists between sidewalk cracks. Her love of the natural world started at a very young age when her Mother (a self trained Naturalist) would bring her outside at every opportunity to show her that everything has a name and a purpose. The influence of her childhood has made it her mission to teach and expose people to the outdoors. Haley is currently the Program Director for Conanicut Island Sailing Foundation, which is an organization that promotes all people (specifically the youth) to feel safe on and near the water. Haley hopes her skills of connecting to and creating community through outdoor programming helps Hike it Baby continue to connect all people to the magic of Nature.
Lindsey Baker
Lindsey grew up going to "the creek" behind her house, a small area of green space in suburban Delaware and enjoys the outdoors in all forms. She had laid her roots in Laurel, Maryland, a city in Prince George's County halfway between Baltimore and DC. With her family she can be found going on walks to local playgrounds, gardening, hiking, bbqing, and canoeing. She is happiest outdoors, taking a long walk, either pushing a stroller or holding a leash. Lindsey and her husband Danny are the proud parents to Adriana and Axel as well as a Great Dane mix named Stella. In addition to her work as a non-profit Executive Director, Lindsey owns a small business with her husband. Baker Cruz Services specializes in translation and interpretation services for small businesses and nonprofits with a focus on expanding access to Spanish speaking audiences. Lindsey hopes that her work for the last 12 years as an action-oriented, nonprofit leader firmly grounded in community engagement, racial equity, transparency, and inclusivity will help her contribute positively to the on-going work of Hike it Baby.

Advisory Board

Shanti Hodges
Shanti Hodges is the founder and visionary of Hike it Baby. With the help of Jessica Carrillo Alatorre, she brought the organization from being a small hike group she founded in 2013, to a national non-profit supporting thousands of families to get on trails together. She founded the group after looking for a way to get outside with other parents in her area. She quickly realized that her experience in media and marketing could help spread the idea around the country and create a way for families to help each other get outside, even if Shanti wasn’t in their neighborhood. She gains inspiration to charge on with the organization through hiking and adventuring with her adventure buddies, her son Mason and husband Mark. They reside in La Verkin, UT but can be found hiking all over the map throughout the year. Shanti is also the author of “Hike it Baby: 100 Awesome Outdoor Adventures With Babies and Toddlers”>. You can follow her adventures on Facebook and Instagram.
James Edward Mills
James is a freelance journalist and an independent media producer. In a career that spans more than 20 years, he specializes in telling stories about outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving, and practices of sustainable living. Working in the outdoor industry since 1989 as a guide, outfitter, independent sales representative, writer, and photographer his experience includes a broad range of expeditions that include mountaineering, rock climbing, backcountry skiing and kayaking. James has written extensively for a range of publications, including news media, outdoor industry and adventure, academic, and public interest. He is the author of the book “The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors”, and the co-writer/co-producer of the documentary film An American Ascent. He is also an accomplished audio storyteller, with radio production credits including Wisconsin Public Radio, the Public Radio Exchange, American Public Media and Public Radio International. He is the producer of a blog and podcast series that focuses on adventure culture called The Joy Trip Project. Currently as a faculty assistant at the University of Wisconsin Nelson Institute For Environmental Studies James teaches a summer course for undergraduate students on diversity, equity and inclusion in outdoor recreation and public land management called Outdoors For All. He also sits on the boards of directors at the Aldo Leopold Nature Center and The Ice Age Trail Alliance. James lives in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two lovable dogs, Mekela and Sasha.
Rebecca N. Thompson, MD, MSc, IBCLC
Becca is a family medicine and public health physician who specializes in women's and children's health. She grew up in New England, adventuring in the outdoors with her family since before she could walk, and considers the White Mountains of New Hampshire her original wilderness home. Her decision to become a doctor was a direct result of her love of outdoor travel. After taking a wilderness first responder course as president of her college outing club, she was surprised to discover how much she loved it--and she immediately switched her career path from archaeology to medicine. She now lives in Portland, Oregon, where she spends her free time wandering through green spaces, writing a community memoir about motherhood and medicine, playing unreasonably complicated board games, repurposing found objects, and accompanying her husband and children on all-weather adventures with too much gear and too little sleep. Please visit to learn more about her professional background and current projects.


Do I need previous board experience?

No! Some of our board members have previously served on nonprofit boards, and some have not. Having a range of experience is actually really helpful. The most important thing is that you have a commitment to Hike it Baby’s mission, and the time to be involved and bring your knowledge and talents to the organization.

How many people are on your board?

The Hike it Baby bylaws include a Board of Directors with 10 seats. This includes a Founder Seat, which is a permanent position for Shanti Hodges, our founder, and 4 officer positions that are elected by the board from among currently-serving members.

How often do you meet?

The full Board of Directors meets 4 times each year, on a quarterly basis. One annual meeting is in-person, and the others are held via teleconference. Standing committees and working groups meet more frequently, on a schedule set by the specific group. Most Board Members commit about 10 hours per month to their Hike it Baby Board service (including meetings, regular Board communication, individual projects in their areas of expertise, and work groups).  

How long is a board term? 

Each board term is 2 years. Board members in good standing can request to be reappointed at the conclusion of their term. 

What exactly does the board do?

Like all non-profit boards, Hike it Baby’s Board of Directors is the highest governing body of the organization. Our main role is to advance Hike it Baby’s mission through a range of activities from strategic planning and program development, to advocating for Hike it Baby’s work, to fundraising and public communication. The Board has governance responsibilities that include legal and financial oversight, and also is responsible for hiring and providing support to the Executive Director of Hike it Baby. The Executive Director (ED) oversees the daily implementation of strategy and operations at Hike it Baby, in alignment with the organization’s mission, vision, and values. The ED directs all activities of staff teams, program administration, and financial management. The ED also serves as the primary liaison between Board and Staff, and as such participates in many working meetings along with the Board of Directors. The ED is not a member of the Board, and does not cast a vote in any voting actions by the Board. 

I don’t know if I have time to be a Board member right now. Can I just be on a committee of working group?

Absolutely. Standing Committees, including the Finance Committee and Board Development Committee, generally hold brief meetings on a monthly basis. Working groups involve Board members, staff members, and other volunteers in specific shorter-term projects or areas of development. We have a variety of working groups at any given time, depending on the current needs of the organization and focused in areas such as partnership development, equity topics brand and marketing, community outreach, and more. 

How do I get involved?

Send us an email at, telling us a little bit about yourself and your interests. We will connect you to a current Board member who can talk with you about next steps.


Any issues, thoughts, suggestions, support, concerns or grievances can be submitted to