Vanessa Garrison currently serves as the COO of GirlTrek, the largest public health nonprofit for African-American women and girls in the United States. Through grassroots organizing and award-winning social media campaigns, GirlTrek supports more than 1 million members, encouraging women to use walking as a practical first step to inspire healthy living, families, and communities. GirlTrek’s active members also support local and national policy to increase physical activity through walking, improve access to safe places to walk, protect and reclaim green spaces, and improve the walkability and built environments of 50 high-need communities across the US.
Vanessa has always been an 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, she 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. Vanessa was awarded Teach For America's 2012 Social Innovation Award and was named among the top 1% of global social innovators by Echoing Green. She has been featured on NPR, CNN and The New York Times.