MEET OUR TEAM

The founders built this company – literally built the walls and have the scars to show it – and many of the HQ staff have been with us since almost the very beginning in our non-profit days. We are proud to be employee-owned and led, and we’re deeply passionate about being the very best we can. 

This listing only includes HQ level staff and directors, but we need to acknowledge the coordinators and experience providers that aren’t here, too. Each gym maintains a staff of about 30-35 full time and part time people that make the experience go.

The people here set the policies and vision as members of our collaborative leadership, but they’re not the ones on the ground. And it’s those ones that make all the difference.

Girl in zip up hoodie smiles while sitting with a lamb

Kristin Horowitz - CEO + Founder

Started out wanting to be a vet, then got a theatre degree and English masters degree, lived in Yosemite for a number of summers, worked for small women-owned businesses, taught at community colleges, and ended up in charge of the whole shebang. She’s most motivated by being the change she wishes to see in the world.

Also, she still surrounds herself with furry animals, like this bottle lamb here, Fluffy. Our social feeds tend to be full of her pets.

Yishai Horowitz - Business Development Director + Founder

He has no idea how to take “no” for an answer when it comes to making cool things happen, so here’s where we are at. 

Want to learn to build a gym in Sketch Up? Learned it. Need to learn to weld to build the gym in real life? Done. Needs to find someone to make something happen? No problem.

Still manages to be a pretty strong climber despite working more on the above than his forearm strength.

 

Girl looks up smiling while climbing rocks

Jessica Mitchell - Director of Operations

Though she be tiny, she is mighty. She never leaves well enough alone and is always pushing herself, her projects, and those around her to better accountability and efficiency – and she does it with incredible confidence.

Hey, Jessie, I have an idea. “Already thought of it, it’s on the portal.” 

Her home library is mostly superheroes and graphic novels and she went on her honeymoon to ComicCon. 

Jon-Erik Storm - In House Counsel

Left full time employment and business law practice to make a real difference in the Calguard and teach multiple subjects at the high school level. 

Quietly practicing law for those he deems worthy and laying the smack down on people who want to take advantage of the system.

Prefers to communicate in obscure memes. 

Jacob Rivera - Human Resources Director

Got involved with us while he was still in high school and helped physically build a gym. Stuck around long enough to be in charge of it, and then demonstrated excellence in following protocols, staying out of personal business, and protecting the company and its employees.

He’s a couple steps ahead of you.

Jaz Ferguson - Relations Director

Became a SLO Oper (what we called Paddies back when it was a nonprofit) when she was in high school. Interned for the founders’ event business, and then did fancy things before coming home to fill in the gaps between employees and customers and HQ.

Her dogs may not be legally certified – but we are pretty sure they’re officially Pad Therapy Pets.

Josef Maier - Setting Director

Rumor has it Joe went to Cal Poly because he liked SLO OP. We liked him, too, and as soon as he graduated we snapped him up for head setter. As we’ve grown he’s been an amazing director, and always eager to support however he can.

He lived in a van for most of his college career with his wife. Could you do that? Exactly. That’s the kind of person he is.

man with beard wears a hat and holds a whiteboard while smiling

Clint Sanderson - Director of Climbing

When asked what his story is, you’ll get a good answer. So good an answer that when we heard it, we knew we needed to have a Director of Climbing. He was brought on to produce summer camps during COVID and he just brings so many ideas to the table, we let him run free with them.

His nickname is “Peach.” We’ll let you ask him yourself.

Photo of woman at climbing wall

Amy Gillham - Community Director

Amy came on board after spending weeks working on her homework in the lounge at the same time the CEO was there. Kristin suggested she apply for a job, and she hit the ground running – while still a college student, her professionalism, work ethic, and enthusiasm is beyond her years of experience.

She’s basically the embodiment of “Climbing. Community. Love. Fitness” which is our tagline, so . . . pretty obvious where she’d be ending up.

 

Sandee Hunt-Burns

Sandee Hunt-Burns - Marketing Coordinator

We honestly can’t believe she picked us – Sandee organizes, communicates, and ensures the right people know exactly what they need to, when they need to.

When she’s not working, she’s using that brilliant mind of her to let people know what’s what. Strong opinions definitely welcome.

Briana Neider - Operations and systems manager

It started out as a part time executive assistant role, but Bree quickly became a piece of our HQ that we’re completely dependent on. She learns everything lickety split and then makes it better. 

She exudes this general care for others in her actions and words. 

Kristina Albrecht - Brand Manager

Even before she was on our payroll, Kristina influenced not only the visuals for the operation, but the culture as well.

While she makes amazing art and videos – she also brings a lot of experience to the table that informs us on all aspects of operations. Plus, when she’s at the gym, she’s usually tidying something up or adding delight because that is just who she is.

Marie Lyons - Controller/Bookkeeper

Technically, she’s a contractor – and you can hire her too – but she is so integral to our operations, she deserves a spot here.

She’s the only other person in the whole world that “gets” our system and she’s constantly iterating and making things more efficient. And as we get more complicated, she ensures we’re always doing it right and making it look easy.