MEET THE TEAM

Our team is comprised of both local and foreign national staff dedicated to creating the highest quality program for our students.

BOARD OF DIRECTORS & ADVISORY BOARD

As all fundaciones in Costa Rica, we are led by a five-person governing board. These persons are supported by a larger Advisory Board. Together, they help effectively recruit qualified staff, expand program impact, assist with outreach to Costa Rican youth, and ensure a robust safety and risk management program. These board members generously contribute their time and talent to ensure the ongoing success of Outward Bound Costa Rica and guide us in furthering our mission.


LEADERSHIP TEAM

2.1.1 JimJim Rowe, PhD: Executive Director & Founder
First Year at OBCR: 1991
Hometown: Sun Valley, Idaho, USA

Education: B.A. in International Business Management, Brigham Young University Hawaii; Masters & PhD in Cultural Anthropology, Greenwich University

In 1991, after having traveled to over 25 countries searching for the ideal place to establish a nature-centered adventure program, Jim Rowe settled in Costa Rica. With one monolithic raft and some scuba diving equipment, Jim began what would become an international adventure school employing over 30 staffers who are equally passionate about using adventure to help develop life skills.

A leader in experiential cross-cultural learning, Jim has facilitated seminars and lectures in areas of sustainable development, ecotourism and adventure programming worldwide. He serves as our lead Scuba instructor in addition to his many other duties and loves the opportunity to introduce students to one of his favorite pastimes.


Guillermo “Memo” Monge Ramos: Director of Programs & Operations
First Year at OBCR: 2014
Hometown: San José, Costa Rica

Memo’s biggest passions are getting to know and enjoying the outdoors through recreation and photography. An avid mountain biker, he has completed the coast-to-coast race La Ruta de los Conquistadores in Costa Rica, one of the most challenging mountain bike courses in the world. Memo loves taking photographs of landscapes, animals, insects, and especially fungi. He enjoys living and working in nature at OBCR with the opportunity to hike, raft, or surf in his free time. Memo highly values the lessons learned on course, especially the survival tactics and safety certifications. As the Director of Programs & Operations, Memo ensures our courses run safely and smoothly out in the field.


Debra Woolley: Director of Communications & Marketing
First Year at OBCR: 2015
Hometown: Long Branch, New Jersey, USA

Education: University of Colorado and Roosevelt University

As the Director of Marketing & Communications, Deb brings 20 years of experience to OBCR.  Her passion for intercultural education coupled with her love of sports drove her interest in working for OBCR.  Deb fell in love with Costa Rica when she participated in a 10 day bike ride from San Jose to Arenal to Samara. She is happy to be back in country and part of a dynamic team that brings the OBCR experience to life for more than 600 students each year.


2.1.4 EstherEsther Garcia: Accountant & Human Resources
First Year at OBCR: 2008
Hometown: Tres Ríos, Costa Rica

Education: Accounting & Business Administration, Universidad San Marcos

Esther, our fashionable accountant, loves nature and animals. When not working, she is volunteering with different social groups. She has traveled throughout Europe and speaks Portuguese thanks to a long stint working in Brazil with a rural community. Esther has a big job taking care of all the finances of the organization and is always there to lend a hand to both instructors and office staff. She is a wonderful caretaker of our base pups Bandido and King, as well as any and all other pets we have here on base!


INSTRUCTORS

2.1.5 PhilPhil Perez: Lead Instructor & Safety Chair
First Year at OBCR: 1997
Hometown: Sacramento, California, USA

Phil’s extensive training as both a river guide and emergency care professional began in the 1970s when he worked for the rafting company American River Recreation and Life Assist in the Sierra Mountain Range. Phil came to Costa Rica in 1995. With his company Aventura Seguridad y Rescate, he serves as Rescue 3 International’s authorized agent for whitewater safety training and education for Central America. Currently, Phil instructs many of the outdoor certification phases for our Outdoor Leader Semester. He also trains our instructors in these same technical skills as well as leads our Instructor Judgment Training. In addition to being a member of Outward Bound Costa Rica’s governing board, Phil is the head of Outward Bound Costa Rica’s Safety Board and is in charge of our routine, organization-wide safety reviews.


2.1.6 AntonioAntonio López Salazar
First Year at OBCR: 1998
Hometown: Piedras Blancas, Costa Rica

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Whitewater Rescue Technician, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, International Rafting Federation Instructor, International Rafting Federation Guide Class I-IV, Instructor Judgment Training, Land Instructor Training, Waterfront Lifeguard, Whitewater Kayak Training

Antonio is a hardcore kayaker who enjoys adventure and loves the outdoors in his great country of Costa Rica. He began raft captaining in 2002 and became a certified kayak instructor shortly thereafter. Antonio moves fast both by land and by sea; rumor has it that he can complete the trek between Domer’s Hill and Piedras Blancas (usually two days of hiking on course) in eight hours flat – carrying both of his kids and his kayak. Antonio is the son of one of Outward Bound’s homestay families in the countryside of Piedras Blancas.


2.1.7 OrlandoOrlando Zamora
First Year at OBCR: 2002
Hometown: Piedras Blancas, Costa Rica

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Whitewater Rescue Technician, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, International Rafting Federation Guide Class I-IV, Instructor Judgment Training, Land Instructor Training

This grandpapi of Outward Bound Costa Rica has been challenging students through the rugged outback of Costa Rica for over a decade. Orlando’s ability to stop every five feet in the rainforest and point out different medicinal plants used by Costa Rica’s indigenous groups is only outdone by the remarkable fact that he can do it without boring our students. He finds every course to be a cultural exchange – For Orlando, the learning never stops.


2.1.8 DiegoDiego Chinchilla
First Year at OBCR: 2009
Hometown: Santa Maria de Dota, Costa Rica

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, Instructor Judgment Training, Land Instructor Training, Emergency Responder

Diego was born and raised in Copey de Dota, Costa Rica. He studied Natural Resource Management at the Universidad Estatal. Before joining Outward Bound Costa Rica, Diego volunteered at the Pacuare Biological Reserve working to conserve and protect sea turtles. He enjoys spending time in nature, hiking, dancing and reading. When he’s not working with us, Diego works as a guide for local tourist companies and spends time on his small blackberry farm.


2.1.9 SantiagoSantiago López Salazar
First Year at OBCR: 1999
Hometown: Piedras Blancas, Costa Rica

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Whitewater Rescue Technician, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, International Rafting Federation Guide Class I-IV, International Rafting Federation Instructor, Instructor Judgment Training, Land Instructor Training, Waterfront Lifeguard, Sea Kayak Training, NAUI Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver

Santiago, known around base as “Chago,” joined his brothers back in 1999 to work with OBCR on the rivers and mountain passes that are at the heart of our courses. Although the countryside is his backyard, he spends most of his free time playing soccer, watching and cheering for soccer, or simply talking about soccer. If you are lucky enough to have Santiago as one of your instructors you will benefit from both his detailed knowledge of the backcountry and the river. Above all else, Santiago loves being able to motivate his students, teach life skills, and watch the transformations and development that each student undergoes from being on an Outward Bound Costa Rica course.


2.1.10 DonnaDonna White
First Year at OBCR: 2007
Hometown: New Bern, North Carolina, USA

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Whitewater Rescue Technician, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, International Rafting Federation Guide Class I-IV, Instructor Judgment Training, Land Instructor Training, Sea Kayak Training, Whitewater Kayak Training, NAUI Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver

Donna joined Outward Bound Costa Rica as a full-time instructor after training through our Outdoor Leader Semester. Also known as Mama Donna, she has a comforting way about her with her southern drawl and delicious home cooking. Before working with Outward Bound, Donna worked as a kayaking guide with Pirate Queen Paddling in Morehead City, North Carolina and also has years of catering experience. Donna is known to camp, hike, sail, kayak, and make beautiful jewelry in her free time. She is also renowned for her ability to connect with students of all levels, as she shares with them the activities she loves most and brings out the best in each of them.


2.1.11 ZachZach Mumford
First Year at OBCR: 2012
Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Whitewater Rescue Technician, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, International Rafting Federation Guide Class I-IV, International Rafting Federation – Instructor, Instructor Judgment Training, Land Instructor Training, Waterfront Lifeguard, Sea Kayak Training, Whitewater Kayak Training, NAUI Scuba Diver

Raised across the street from a state park containing a lake and thousands of acres of wooded game land, Zach grew up hiking, hunting and fishing in the backcountry of North Carolina. When he was 16, Zach’s family moved to Granada, Nicaragua for a summer, where he learned Spanish and fell in love with Latin American culture. After graduating high school, he alternated between working a job to save money and taking extended backpacking trips to Nicaragua and Peru, where he realized his childhood dream of seeing Machu Picchu and the Amazon Jungle. His travels only served to cement his addiction to exploring the outdoors; a passion he now gets to share with students on a daily basis. Zach is a lead instructor for Outdoor Leader Semester, which he completed back in 2012!


2.1.12 IreneIrene Corrales
First Year at OBCR: 2012
Hometown: Heredia, Costa Rica

Education: Bachelors of Science in Forest Engineering & Tourism

Certifications: First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Instructor Judgment Training, Land Instructor Training

Irene is a lead instructor for our Girl Scout destinations program, with a passion for sharing and teaching about Costa Rica and its culture and the environment. After completing her degree in Forest Engineering, Irene decided to pursue a career in sustainable tourism. After completing exams, Irene came to Outward Bound as an energetic and incredibly knowledgeable instructor. Irene enjoys surfing, backpacking and creating art. She often teaches students on course how to create intricate jewelry and is famous for her hair wraps.


2.1.13 JesusJesus Zamora López
First Year at OBCR: 2006
Hometown: Piedras Blancas, Costa Rica

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Whitewater Rescue Technician, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, International Rafting Federation Guide Class I-IV, Instructor Judgment Training, Land Instructor Training, Waterfront Lifeguard, Whitewater Kayak Training

Jesus enjoys the river above all other types of adventures in Costa Rica. As he teaches students to navigate the rapids on their rafts, he feels at home. Originally from the Piedras Blancas countryside, Jesus grew up on the Outward Bound Costa Rica trails. While others may struggle to hike the Piedras Blancas mountain rainforest passageway over three days, Jesus can run the length of it in half a day. Jesus also loves playing soccer with the students and spending time with his wife and son.


2.1.14 CarlosZamoraCarlos Zamora López
First Year at OBCR: 2010
Hometown: Piedras Blancas, Costa Rica

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Whitewater Rescue Technician, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, International Rafting Federation Guide Class I-IV, Instructor Judgment Training, Land Instructor Training, Waterfront Lifeguard

Carlos, affectionately known as “Carlitos”, is both a long-time instructor Orlando Zamora’s son and a Piedras Blancas native. Carlitos’s technical skills partnered with his fun loving attitude (and entertaining sense of humor!) makes him a favorite instructor at Outward Bound Costa Rica. He thrives on river rapids and enjoys being able to share his country with Outward Bound Costa Rica students from around the world.


2.1.15 EmmaEmma Zamora López
First Year at OBCR: 2008
Hometown: Piedras Blancas, Costa Rica

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Whitewater Rescue Technician, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, Land Instructor Training

As one of our lead Girl Scout destinations instructors, Emma is known for her high energy and excitement for sharing tico culture with Outward Bound Costa Rica students. She is an excellent Spanish teacher and enjoys being with her family, swimming, fishing and observing wildlife. She often leads students on hiking expeditions that arrive to her countryside home in the rainforest, where students learn about the local traditions during their homestay experience.


2.1.16 MichaelMichael Cordero Arguedas
First Year at OBCR: 2011
Hometown: Brujo, Costa Rica

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Whitewater Rescue Technician, International Rafting Federation Guide Class I-IV, Land Instructor Training, Waterfront Lifeguard, Whitewater Kayak Training

Michael has been described by his students as one of the most caring people around. While his students appreciate his dedication to making the course fun and safe, Michael enjoys most the river phase because he feels renewed and more knowledgeable every time he goes out on course. Michael loves hiking, fishing, and spending time with his family when he is not on course.


2.1.17 GiselleGiselle Jiménez Fallos
First Year at OBCR: 2007
Hometown: Piedras Blancas, Costa Rica

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, Technical Rope Rescue, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer

Giselle loves everything about nature and is passionate about interacting with her students and showing them the natural wonders that her country has to offer. One of her favorite course activities is hiking, but she enjoys surfing and spending time with her family as well. Wherever she is, Outward Bound Costa Rica and her students are always in her heart.


2.1.18 AmeliaAmelia Garita
First Year at OBCR: 2012
Hometown: Pérez Zeledón, San Gerardo de Rivas, Costa Rica

Education: Business Management in Sustainable Tourism, National University of Costa Rica

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, NAUI Scuba Diver, Instructor Judgment Training, Land Instructor Training, Waterfront Lifeguard, Sea Kayak Training

Amelia grew up near the highest mountains of Costa Rica, near the Chirripó National Park. Her passion for the mountains started when she was 11 years old and has since grown thanks to her proximity to this national park. The magic, peace and tranquility that Amelia received while in the mountains was what led her to become a tour guide- she has been working as a mountain guide for 5 years now. Amelia is a lover of diving, rafting and hiking. She is also a professional dancer to Costa Rican typical tropical music. Her studies focused on sustainable tourism.


2.1.19 CarlosDiablosCarlos Castro Montero
First Year at OBCR: 2005
Hometown: San Jose, Costa Rica

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer, Technical Rope Rescue: Operations, Instructor Judgment Training, NAUI Advanced Open Water Scuba Diver, Waterfront Lifeguard

Above all else, Carlos loves learning about his students – They make everyday of every course different. To Carlos, the diversity of his students’ backgrounds, interests and goals represent a metaphor for learning about life. Carlos is a well-known for his surfing ability and leads many of our surf programs here at Outward Bound Costa Rica.


2.1.20 MaurenMauren Granados
First Year at OBCR: 2009
Hometown: Piedras Blancas, Costa Rica

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, First Aid and CPR for the Professional Rescuer, Instructor Judgment Training, Land Instructor Training, Technical Ropes Rescue, Open Water Lifeguard

Mauren has been leading students through her backyard, the Costa Rican countryside, for twelve years. Through her no-nonsense approach to instructing, she pushes students physically and mentally beyond what they ever thought possible – and they love her for it. With an abundance of rainforest knowledge, Mauren specializes in backpacking and hiking. She happily opens up her home and her family to students at her homestay while hiking through Piedras Blancas. Her favorite thing about being a Outward Bound Costa Rica instructor is meeting and sharing her abundance of knowledge with all of the interesting students.


2.1.21 PedroPedro Montera
First Year at OBCR: 2010
Hometown: Sabanilla, Costa Rica

Certifications: Wilderness First Responder, Waterfront Lifeguard, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer

Surfing is one of Pedro’s main passions and he loves working with students and teaching them all the ins and outs. In his free time, Pedro participates in triathlons. He has completed the Ironman 70.3 Mile race and is actively training for his next. Pedro enjoys learning about new cultures and getting to know new people and always looks forward to the students’ arrivals.


2.1.22 GabiGaby Aspitia
First Year at OBCR: 2012
Hometown: Sabanilla, Costa Rica

Education: Degree in Psychology, Universidad Fidelitas

Certifications: NAUI Scuba Diver, First Aid, CPR, and AED for the Professional Rescuer

Gaby has lived in Costa Rica her whole life with her two brothers. She has always enjoyed working with people and previously worked with the Association of Guides and Scouts of Costa Rica as a leader in camps based on teamwork and experiential learning. She enjoys working with her students at Outward Bound Costa Rica, challenging them, and watching them grow throughout the course. On her downtime, Gaby likes to read, write, and spend time in nature hiking and exploring different places.


COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE & MAINTENANCE STAFF

Lauren Salisbury: Marketing Manager
Hometown: San Jose, California, USA
Education: B.A. Broadcast Journalism, University of Maryland

At 34 countries and counting, Lauren is a world traveler with a passion for learning about new cultures,writing and the San Francisco Giants. While earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland, she wrote for NBC News and spent six months living in Melbourne, Australia. After graduating, she moved to Florida to work in Public Affairs at Walt Disney World Resort. In 2013 she took a leap of faith and left her settled existence in the United States behind to teach English in Madrid. During this year she fulfilled her goal of visiting 25 countries in her 25th year of life. She documents all her travel adventures on her blog, Something In Her Ramblings.


Valerie McKeon: Group Programs & Partnerships Manager
Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Education: B.A. Environmental Studies & Anthropology, Tulane University

Valerie grew up biking, skating, running, and scrambling around the Southeast of the United States. She participated in an experiential education program as a teenager, which launched her passion for the environment and everything outdoors. A stint working on a dude ranch in Wyoming solidified her love of mountains and wildlife, and a semester abroad in Buenos Aires fueled her enthusiasm for all things related to the Spanish-speaking world. Valerie has traveled to many places in Latin America and counts ceviche, samba, and salsa music among some of her favorite things in life. She got her start in marketing with an education technology company — helping move education in Latin America outside of classrooms and into student’s homes and work-lives. Now she is excited to focus on bringing the education experience out of the classroom and into the beautiful wilderness and communities of Costa Rica!


Gabriella Subia Smith: Enrollment Manager & Girl Scout Coordinator
Hometown: Sacramento, California, USA
Education: B.A. Development Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Gabriella grew up between two rivers in Sacramento, California. As a child she competed nationally as a synchronized swimmer and attended weekly Girl Scout meetings year-round while waiting for cookie season. During the summer her favorite pastimes included exploring the wilderness around her grandparents’ cabin in the Sierras and swimming at her local pool where she later became a lifeguard. At UC Berkeley, Gabriella studied International Development and lived at the International House where she made many friends from around the world. After graduating, Gabriella moved to Colombia where she taught English as a Foreign Language at SENA, a free public vocational school for Colombian youth. Now in Costa Rica, Gabriella hopes to improve her Spanish, get involved in community development projects, learn about Costa Rican culture, and find lots of cool places to go swimming.


Wade AngeliWade Angeli: Communications & Marketing Intern
Hometown: Centreville, Virginia, USA
Education: B.F.A. Communication Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University

Since Wade was a child, he has had a creative mind and a love for the outdoors. Frequent camping trips and travel with his family developed his respect for nature and inspired him visually. Wade is passionate for all things artistic: drawing, painting, photography, film, music, and dance. At Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, Wade pursued an art degree while studying abroad in Italy, Spain, and New Zealand. Wade also spent two summers as a camp counselor at Interlochen Arts Camp in Northern Michigan, where he began his pursuit of working with youth in art education and outdoor recreation. Upon graduation, Wade worked at his university’s Global Education Office as well as the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Now in Costa Rica, Wade hopes to improve his Spanish, make loads of Tico friends, keep up his art studio practice, learn to surf and scuba dive, and try all sorts of new tropical fruit.


 

CindyCindy Dzib: Communications & Marketing Intern
Hometown: San Francisco, California, USA
Education: B.A. Communication, University of Southern California

Cindy grew up in the busy city of San Francisco and discovered her admiration for the outdoors when she started running the hills of San Francisco on Saturday mornings. On the weekends she would escape the noisy city by running to various parks located in the city like Golden Gate Park, Lands End and Hillside park. Cindy’s curiosity and passion for cultures has led her wanting to explore Latin America. While studying at USC, Cindy studied communication and studied abroad in Salvador, Brazil to learn Portuguese and immerse herself in the Afro-Brazilian culture. When possible, Cindy heads down to the Yucatán Peninsula to visit the Mayan Ruins and her family. During her free time she likes to listen to music and play soccer. In Costa Rica, Cindy hopes to learn about the Pura Vida lifestyle, discover new Tico music and try as much Costa Rican food as possible.


Ramón “Cuba” Cáceres Garcia: Maintenance Staff
First Year at OBCR: 2015
Hometown: Havana, Cuba

Ramón, known to us as “Cuba,” oversees the maintenance of our base and keeps our bodega in order. A native of Havana, Cuba, Ramon has four children and has lived in Costa Rica for the last 20 years. He played baseball for Cuba’s national team as well as water polo. Ramón loves the beach and enjoys all kinds of movies. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to work at OBCR for the interaction with a diverse staff and really thrives on the camaraderie of the team.


Sinai “China” Vargas: Maintenance Staff
First Year at OBCR: 2013
Hometown: Tres Ríos, Costa Rica

China loves working at OBCR because of the beautiful location, the good energy among staff, and the pets. A lover of all animals, she has three dogs of her own at home. China likes to go on walks and hikes, and to go out with her friends. She loves social networks, listening to all kinds of music, and going to the movies. Her favorite place in Costa Rica is the beach, especially Manuel Antonio.