Executive Director Steven Woodside

Steven Woodside
Executive Director

Steven has nearly 45 years of public law experience, representing counties, cities and special districts. Following his graduation in 1973 from Law School at UC Berkeley, he was an attorney in the Santa Clara County Counsel’s office from 1974-1998, the last ten years serving as the County Counsel. He subsequently served as County Counsel in Sonoma County from 1999-2011 and in Marin County from 2012-2016. He has successfully argued before the United States and California Supreme Courts and numerous appellate courts. Steven joined the board of Call of the Sea in 2015, having been impressed by the work this organization does to expose youth to the sea through experiential, environmental education under sail.

Steven’s advocacy for the maritime community and its history stems from a genealogical timeline dating back to his great grandfather, William John Woodside, who was a famous tall ship builder in Belfast, Ireland. During the 19th Century his grandfather brought his family around the horn to the San Francisco Bay Area in a 230 foot Barque. One of his ships, named for his wife, Polly Woodside, has been fully restored and is on display at the Polly Woodside Maritime Museum in Melbourne, Australia.

If you would like to share your thoughts about how we can better serve our communities, feel welcome to email stwoodside@gmail.com.

Alan Olson
Project Director

Alan brings over 50 years of maritime experience in boat construction, engineering, restoration and sailing, to his vision of building a historic educational tall ship for San Francisco Bay. With this passion, he founded the non-profit organization Call of the Sea in 1985 to provide hands-on, educational experiences for youth and adults aboard traditional sailing vessels. In 2005, Call of the Sea merged with another local group, led by Ken Neal, with a similar mission. The newly merged organization purchased Seaward, an 82 foot schooner to operate year round sailing programs in the Bay, and educational expeditions along the California and Mexican coasts. As of 2017, over 60,000 youth and adult students have sailed on day and overnight educational programs.

Alan’s maritime career began in 1962 when he built a 40ft catamaran in Minneapolis and sailed down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Along the way, he worked in boat yards and was lead carpenter on the construction of an 85ft catamaran. In 1971, he began construction of the 70ft brigantine, Stone Witch. After its completion in 1977, Alan sailed Stone Witch over 40,000 miles, operating educational sailing programs for youth and adults, along with public charters, on San Francisco Bay, Mexico and the Pacific Islands. Stone Witch was the flagship for Greenpeace and was involved in environmental missions along the California Coast. In the 1980’s, Alan restored the 54ft wooden staysail schooner Maramel which was used in youth educational programs for Call of the Sea and made several educational expeditions with adults including seven trips to Mexico, and a 15,000-mile, 12 month Pacific Rim voyage.

Alan took a five year sabbatical from sailing at a Northern California Buddhist monastery (Odiyan). His experience there, living and working with an all volunteer crew tasked with building complex monumental art and temples, helped prepare him for building Matthew Turner.

Matt Grigorieff
Development Director

Matt Grigorieff received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from UC Berkeley where he advocated, researched, and fundraised for educational health programs to serve at-risk populations. Most notably, he founded the Athletics-For-All project that inspired the Cal Goalball Team that was the first college team in the United States to include visually impaired student athletes.

Matt’s mission driven work focuses on advancing impact in the nonprofit sector through innovating new technologies and cross-organizational strategic planning. Currently, Matt implements initiatives to advance institutional competencies and philanthropic capacity to ensure that Bay Area youth experience meaningful on-the-water environmental education under sail. His expertise is synchronizing technological and database systems to support relationships with all stakeholders (executive management, donors, educational programs, etc.). His background includes nonprofit management, educational policy research and advocacy, and implementing proprietary operations that cultivate donors of all levels including major prospects, corporate partners, state agencies and community foundations.

If you would like to discuss further partnerships or support Call of the Sea, feel welcome to reach out to matt@callofthesea.org.

Dax Ovid, Ph.D.
Program Director

Dax studied Integrative Biology at U.C. Berkeley, focusing her research on seasonality in mammals and birds. For over 5 years, Dax has co-designed and taught an undergraduate course on the public engagement with science. As a part of the course, students have conducted experiments with social media, hosted conferences, and successfully applied for grants to self-publish a book. Dax is committed to inclusive science education.

Her mission-driven work focuses on creating programs and opportunities in STEM that are inclusive for students from diverse backgrounds and applying scientific research for social change. She develops programs for Bay Area youth to experience on-the-water environmental education under sail. Her approach includes working with key stakeholders and benefactors to co-create a culturally relevant curriculum and to foster ocean and environmental literacy. Her background includes nonprofit program management, grant writing, curriculum development, course instruction, workshop facilitation, and academic research in the biological sciences.

If you would like a sail on the Bay, or a conversation about the future of educational programming at Call of the Sea, feel welcome to reach out to dax@callofthesea.org.

Sylvia in the Wood Shop

Sylvia Stewart Stompe
Administrative Assistant to Project Director

Sylvia has been sailing since childhood, but took to sailing full time in her late 20’s with a position as cook and deckhand aboard an Ocean 71 ketch, for a year in the Caribbean and eastern Seaboard.

Since then her careers have ranged from chef, to jewelry designer and owner of a bridal salon, but her passion for sailing has remained constant. From 2014-2016 she took a two year sabbatical to cruise the eastern Pacific aboard the classic yawl she owns with her husband, visiting Mexico, French Polynesia, Hawaii and British Columbia. Upon her return to Marin County, she started working at Call of the Sea, assisting Alan Olson, coordinating special events and handling community relations. Racing and cruising her sailboat in the San Francisco Bay are her favorite pastimes.

If you are interested in volunteering with us, feel welcome to email sylvia@callofthesea.org.