Lisa Bourne appointed first operational executive director

The hardcore cyclist pedals into national not-for-profit Outdoor Afro as its operational executive director – a history-making role for the now 14-year organization. “I’m truly humbled and grateful for the opportunity to assume leadership of the Outdoor Afro organization during this exciting time,” said Lisa Bourne. “Outdoor Afro’s mission grounded in Black excellence, education, and leadership resonates with me on the deepest levels.” Bourne’s appointment started Feb. 13 with the Oakland organization after a four-month nationwide search with recruiter Cause Capacity. 

In this role, Bourne will support strategic growth efforts and oversee operational efficiency to meet Outdoor Afro’s moment of rapid growth and demands for its programs and staff. Bourne will work in partnership with Outdoor Afro’s Founder and CEO Rue Mapp, key board members, and current staff, serving as an internally facing leader to guide the strategic implementation of best-in-class, not-for-profit operations. With Mapp continuing as the organization’s CEO and spokeswoman, Bourne will construct and manage the necessary infrastructure to enable Outdoor Afro advancements in national programming and network participation across the United States.

“In this ‘Year of Elevation,’ Lisa joins us at the right time,” said Mapp. “We were searching for a passionate and talented executive leader who is also a savvy and proven organizational manager. I truly believe we’ve found the best person for the job.” With a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School, Bourne brings 20 years of progressive experience in corporate, nonprofit, retail, E-commerce, and consulting leadership roles. Prior to this post, Bourne served as senior director of diversity, inclusion, and social impact for Zwift – a virtual cycling and running training app; director of omnichannel marketing for luxury department store Bergdorf Goodman; and vice president of E-commerce, sales, and marketing for Akola Project, Inc. 

She also held management positions with brands such as Amazon, Fossil, and The Neiman Marcus Group. An avid cyclist, Bourne inspires and motivates others by riding 3,000-plus miles per year. She has volunteered as a cycling ambassador to drive diversity and inclusivity within the sport. “I’m thrilled to be able to continue to align my passion with my career,” Bourne said, “leveraging my strategic, operational expertise for such a beloved and highly regarded organization.” Bourne became the newest hire for the national organization and network.

Outdoor Afro started as a social enterprise for Mapp in 2009. She incorporated the organization in 2015 as a 501(c)(3) and has led the organization since as its CEO. The organization has grown from a one-woman blog and three founding board members to 12 full-time staff and a 13-member Board of Directors. Its operating budget has grown from a modest $110,000 in revenue in 2015 to now more than $2.5 million – largely from foundations, individuals, and corporate partner support. “This position is groundbreaking for Outdoor Afro,” Mapp said. “Lisa will have the ability to help the organization expand our growth and capacity. Her role is the model for how we plan to fulfill our operations for today’s Outdoor Afro experiences and programs.” 

ABOUT OUTDOOR AFRO: Outdoor Afro is a national not-for-profit organization that celebrates and inspires Black connections and leadership in nature. What started as a kitchen table blog by Founder and CEO Rue Mapp in 2009 has since grown into a cutting-edge nationwide network with 100-plus volunteer leaders in 60 cities with network participation reaching 60,000 people. Outdoor Afro reconnects Black people with the outdoors through outdoor education, recreation, and conservation. Follow Outdoor Afro @outdoorafro and Lead photo by Ottilie Quince. 

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