Mark A. Smylie is Professor of Education, Emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Visiting Professor at Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University.  Mark studies and teaches in the areas of educational leadership and organizational improvement.  A former high school teacher, he works with schools, school districts, and regional and national educational organizations concerned with leadership development and school improvement. He enjoys kayaking and hiking with the family Labrador. Mark and his wife live in Oak Park, IL and have three daughters each of whom traveled and studied abroad as high school and college students.  Their daughter, Rachel, is a Road Less Travelled alum, a participant in the Hujambo trip to Tanzania. The Geography of Hope’s Rachel G. Smylie Memorial Scholarship was established in her memory and provides opportunities for high school students to experience the greatness of the people and natural environment of Africa.

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Chris Bremner is a native of St. Louis, MO, a lover of mountains, who now calls the Hollywood Hills home. He was both a participant and trip leader for RLT, with more than 13 trips under his belt across 3 continents, and went on to run The Road Less Traveled's Staff Training Program. After studying History at Brown University, Chris became a screenwriter. Working in genres from action to comedy, drama to history, in television and film, he still tries to escape LA once a year, and get back to the wilderness. Expecting his first child this fall, Chris is dedicated to helping other young people experience the wilderness travel and education that has been so formative in his own sense of self and the world.


Tom Huntoon is a high school teacher as well as a past participant and longtime leader with The Road Less Traveled. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Teachers College at Columbia University, Tom is passionate about education equality and access to life-changing experiences for all students. During his time teaching at two charter high schools in Brooklyn and Harlem, Tom did private fundraising to provide scholarships to students for summer travel and adventure. He now lives in San Francisco and enjoys all of the outdoor experiences that Northern California has to offer. In addition to his role in training staff for The Road Less Traveled, he has led numerous trips for students in the western U.S. as well as in Ecuador, India, Tanzania, and Belize. Tom is excited to bring his long experience with The Road Less Traveled to his work on the Geography of Hope board as he continues to provide life-changing experiences to deserving young people. 


Donna Stein has been seeking adventure, perfecting travel, and teaching youth over 30 years. In 2013 she brought new life to Geography of Hope: reestablished the organization in Chicago and refueled it’s purpose with her passion. Donna’s love of the outdoors began while growing up in Detroit, Michigan. At an early age, during the turbulent ‘60’s, Donna escaped the hot summers of Detroit and found respite in the north woods of Michigan, where she discovered independence and solace in the outdoors. Donna gained extensive business experience in corporations and non-profit organizations before leaving the corporate world to found The Road Less Traveled, with her husband Jim Stein. She manages all development, operations, marketing, and upholds the rigorous standards that support the mission, training, and policies of RLT. Donna is most happy during RLT’s intensive and in depth 10 day staff training in MI and anytime she can play with her three children: Ben, Callie and Emma.



Amy Christodoulo's background is in retail and technology consulting. She began her career at Accenture where her focus was the communications industry. Following this role, she pivoted to the retail sector and pursued a career in merchandising planning at The TJX Companies and Gymboree. After almost seven years in retail, Amy decided to take a break and focus on her family.  She and her husband Peter live in San Francisco with their children, Daphne and George.  As a family they love to escape city life by getting outdoors to enjoy the many trails in the surrounding Bay Area. When not with her family, Amy is active in many community organizations, including the San Francisco Symphony, and fundraising events at her children’s school St. Luke’s (SLS).


Director Emeritus

Christopher B. Mann, PhD, Yale University, alumni staff of The Road Less Traveled founder of Geography of Hope and native Chicagoan, Chris shares a deep passion and commitment to providing life changing outdoor experiences for ALL children. Chris founded Geography of Hope in 1997 to share the value and enjoyment of the wilderness with young people who were not blessed with the opportunities he had to explore the wilderness as a child. Chris began backpacking in Colorado at the age of four with his grandfather and other family members. In addition to countless (but never enough) personal trips, he was a participant on Outward Bound, a leader for the Road Less Traveled, head ski guide, and is still working on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. Chris now lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with his wife and two children and is a professor of political science at Skidmore College.