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.

Brenda S. Cook
Director of Advancement

Brenda received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Maine where she promoted and raised funds for the Darling Marine Center (DMC), among other campus research centers and institutes. The unique location and facilities of DMC allows scientists and students to engage in field and laboratory studies of coastal and marine ecosystems. DMC also actively engages with fishermen, aquaculture entrepreneurs, and marine industry professionals.

Brenda’s work experience has involved development in healthcare and higher education in Maine, FL, and CA.  In addition to the University of Maine her career has included the University of Central FL, Stanford Medicine,  Dominican University of CA, and Cal State University, Monterey Bay.  With a focus on academic excellence, Brenda has been strongly committed to those students who have been socioeconomically deprived, but have risen to greater heights through self determination and belief in education.  Brenda has implemented many new programs based on her focus on resource development and stewardship as the path to the future and her work with volunteer leadership. Over time, her expertise in working with different constituencies on many levels has allowed her to bring about significant change at each organization she has committed to.  Most of her work has focused on building programs for and reinforcing health and well-being for all people and the environment.

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

Sylvia in the Wood Shop

Sylvia Stewart Stompe
Sales and Operations Manager

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 on the Matthew Turner project, coordinating volunteers and special events and is now handling sales and bookings for both vessels. 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 volunteer@callofthesea.org.