Joey-Linn Ulrich

As Venture Outdoors prepares to host the Banff Mountain Film Festival, we catch up with Executive Director Joey-Linn Ulrich, who has spent 20 years in the nonprofit sector. Joey-Linn grew up in the Allentown section of Pittsburgh and fondly recalls childhood hikes through Grandview Park, family bike outings and fishing trips to Moraine State Park. Now a resident of Overbrook, she credits her passion for nonprofit work to her mom. When not working, Joey-Linn can be found spending time with her husband Ed and kids Emily, Grace and Edward, who are looking forward to spring and summer camping trips.

Monday, March 27

Monday mornings begin with the most important meal of the daycoffee. I’ll stop at Black Forge Coffee House for a cup of (strong) locally sourced coffee before making my way down the slopes to the office.

At Venture Outdoors, we often joke that we work inside to get you outside. The first few hours of my day are filled with internal meetings preparing for all our upcoming adventures.

After work, I’ll take the Three Rivers Heritage Trail over to the Gandy Dancer Saloon to meet my friend Jamie Beechey, deputy director for Citiparks. We’ll grab some beers and oysters and talk all things recreation happening on the national and local scenes.

Tuesday, March 28

I’m feeling grateful that public transportation has allowed me to exchange the hassle of driving/parking with a stress-free commute. With my headphones in, I’ll tune into NPR for the morning news, enjoying my ride Downtown on the T.

I’ll be at the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management for an all-day finance training.

Afterward, I’ll join the hustle and bustle of an after-work commute to arrive home just in time to say hello to the family before heading out once more. My daughter Grace and I will attend her Girl Scouts meeting at the Environmental Charter School where she’ll work on their Bronze Award and I’ll sneak in a run in Frick Parkwhen you’re an executive director and a mom of three, you have to take advantage of any quiet time you can get!

Joey-Linn Ulrich
Joey-Linn with her husband Ed Ulrich (left), and her dad Joe Hackel (right) after completing the Rachel Carson Challenge.

Wednesday, March 29

Today starts with a meeting on the South Side to discuss our beautiful waterfronts and how we can create more access and program opportunities to bring more people to them!

I’ll grab lunch with a friend at one of my favoritesNicky’s Thai Kitchen before making my way to the Byham Theater for the final preparations for the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, Venture Outdoors’ largest fundraiser of the year. I look forward to this event every year! In just 10 short days, this film festival will take its audience on a journey to exotic locations, paddle the wildest waters and climb the highest peaks.

I’ll head back to the office for a Venture Outdoors’ Board Meeting where we’ll go through our agenda and run through details for the film festival, and plans for the opening of Kayak Pittsburgh and our high programming season.

Thursday, March 30

I’ll head to the office early and get in a short run along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail that runs behind our office. We are located in the Terminal Buildings on the South Side and we’re fortunate to have convenient access to the trails and water.

I’ll meet with the team from McKnight Realty (owners of the Terminal Buildings) to get a sneak peek at the renderings for The Highline and new green spaces that will be part of the new renovations.

After work, I’m surprising the kids with a trip to Ascend, the new climbing gym. (Let’s be honest, I say it’s for the kids, but really I’ve been looking forward to this all day!).

The day ends with a late dinner and drinks with Ed at Mindful Brewing.

Friday, March 31

Friday begins by dropping off the kids at The Campus School of Carlow University.

After finishing up some projects and making decent headway on a few new ones, it’s time for a digital detox. I’ll close the laptop and rally the Venture Outdoors staff. We’ll head to North Park to fill the afternoon with an adventure in the treetops at Go Ape and finish the day at OTB at the North Park Boathouse with appetizers and drinks.

Finally, home and ending the week on a high note with an evening of pizza and games with the kids. It’s the perfect way to start a weekend!

Joey-Linn Ulrich
Joey-Linn’s three kids, plus her nieces and nephews, enjoying Sunday fun.
Joey-Linn’s three kids, plus her nieces and nephews, enjoying Sunday fun.

Saturday, April 1

Gone fishin’this morning I’m heading to Confluence for the Venture Outdoors Fly Fishing Reunion! The program turns 15 this year. I’ve been looking forward to catching up with long-time Venture Outdoors members and participants.

We’ll also talk about the launch of our long-standing Trianglers programa free fishing program open to anyone with a fishing license held along the North Shore every Wednesday beginning in May. All you need is your fishing license we supply the rest!

After a day of casting away worries and reeling in memories, I’m back in town joining friends for dinner at The Commoner to talk about plans for another try at the Rachel Carson Challenge.

Sunday, April 2

Sundays are routine: I end the weekend and start the week the same way. In the morning, I’ll run through Phillips Park, enjoying the crisp spring morning.

Like the typical Pittsburgher, my Sunday afternoons are spent with family. We’ll recap the week while enjoying an early dinner. My three kidsplus four nieces and nephews ranging in age from three months to 17 years oldalways make for a lively afternoon of fun and games!

I’ll come home and take a look at my calendar to prepare for another fun-filled week of adventures.

See who else is NEXT Up here.

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Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.