Vanessa Garrison

Beck Visiting Social Innovator

Vanessa Garrison is Co-Founder and COO of GirlTrek, the largest public health non-profit for Black women and girls in the U.S. that is building a movement of one million Black women walking daily. She is a passionate advocate of social justice issues and has focused her work on improving health outcomes and quality of life for Black women and girls.Prior to co-founding GirlTrek, Vanessa worked as a Program Coordinator for Our Place DC, a nonprofit organization that provides services to currently and formerly incarcerated women. Vanessa began her career working in digital media with Turner Broadcasting System. Inc. in Atlanta, GA. where she managed digital media projects for some the world’s most recognizable news and entertainment brands, including, CNN, TNT and Sports Illustrated.

With GirlTrek, Vanessa has been a featured on CNN, in The Washington Post, The New York Times and named a “Health Hero” by Essence Magazine. Vanessa has received social innovations fellowships from Teach For America (2012), Echoing Green (2013), and the Aspen Institute (2015). Vanessa earned a Bachelor of Arts in World Arts and Cultures from the University of California, Los Angeles.

While at SICI, Vanessa and Morgan will further their work by leading a two-day summit that will leverage the legacy of classic organizing efforts and examine where innovation is required to advance community leadership and health advocacy. On campus, they will invite local community groups, faculty, and students to participate in and help shape the summit.