Soul river inc.

Staff Members

Field Educator

Marianna Nagy-Light

Marianna Nagy-Light joined Soul River Inc. at the beginning of 2020. Marianna is an educator: she has been working at various Portland universities and colleges for over a decade as an instructor, tutor, and advisor. She brought her love of the outdoors to Soul River, as well as her extensive experience working with youth. She enjoys traveling both domestically and internationally, doing pottery, learning languages, but most of all, she loves spending time with her three amazing children.

Operation Support

Josh Jones

Josh Jones has been with Soul River since 2019, working primarily to help to coordinate volunteer efforts. Josh also works with teenagers throughout southwest Washington to provide career exploration & professional development opportunities, running homeless Veteran housing programing, and serving on the Board of Directors for Lower Columbia Fish Enhancement Group, in addition to several Steering & Advisory Committees with various educational organizations. At Soul River, Josh spends his time between volunteer coordination, outreach efforts, administrative support, and providing general assistance to Chad & Marianna. In his free time, Josh loves exploring the Pacific Northwest’s wilderness, whether it’s hiking in the Cascades, or overlanding in Eastern Oregon.

Soul river inc.

Board Members

Founder & President, Soul River, Inc. & Love is King

Chad Brown

Chad Brown is an accomplished documentary-style portrait and adventure photographer, creative director, film director, and conservationist. He is also the founder and president of two non-profit organizations and a veteran of the US Navy.

Chad’s current work focuses on outdoor adventure travel and documenting threatened wild spaces. He connects the public to endangered areas by showing the true spirit of the indigenous people of these lands and telling stories focused on social justice and environmental justice tied to BIPOC communities connecting to outdoor spaces.

He is deeply interested in capturing moments of passion and the human spirit. Through his striking documentary portraits and photographic exhibitions, he advocates for social and environmental justice. His photos are intense, raw, stylized images with a bold approach, unique angles, and dramatic lighting.

Chad studied communication design and photography at American Intercontinental University. From there, he attended Pratt Institute in New York City where he earned his Masters of Science in Communication Design degree.

He has managed interdisciplinary teams as a creative director, art director and photographer both as a freelance artist and for agencies. He is a former editorial photographer for the New York Times. His work has crossed into underground hip hop, fashion and culture where he worked with hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons (founder of PhatFarm) and Rasheed Young (VP of Run Athletics) to photograph and develop creative ad campaigns for national hip-hop culture magazines.

Chad moved from New York to Portland, Oregon in 2007, where his life and career path expanded beyond the traditional creative world. His adventure photography assignments now lead him all over the world to countries like Japan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Bangladesh, as well as into the Alaskan Arctic several times a year.
Mother Nature played a significant role in his healing from the war trauma he experienced as a Navy service member. A failed suicide attempt eventually led him to launch a non-profit organization called Soul River Inc. in 2013.

This unique organization specializes in outdoor education and cultural expeditions that Chad calls deployments. It brings at-risk youth and Veteran mentors together and takes them into threatened wild spaces, providing mission-driven experiences where advocacy and outdoor education meet.

This work has led Chad to Capitol Hill, where he advocates for our public lands and wild places. He gives youth leaders of tomorrow the opportunity to interface with Congressional members.

In 2021, Chad founded Love is King, a non-profit organization that focuses on welcome access, safety, and healing in the outdoors for BIPOC communities and other under-served voices.

He is a board member of the National Wildlife Refuge Association and Alaska Wilderness League. He has been featured on BBC and CBS, including Good Morning America and NatGeo/Disney’s Called to the Wild reality TV show, and in national publications like Outside Magazine and The Drake. He has also been featured in regional publications across the Pacific Northwest.

Chad was the first recipient of the Breaking Barriers Award presented by Orvis, and the Bending Toward Justice Award from Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley.

Learn more about Chado Creative and Love is King.


Brian Chou

As a leader and mentor of the fly fishing world, Brian Chou brings unique facets of creativity, strategy, and ingenuity to the fly fishing industry. Combining creativity and tradition, he is always looking to further himself, while leading the way as a maverick of science and functionality. With years of experience as a product designer/industry consultant, professional fly ti-er/photographer, guide/certified casting instructor, full time family man and entrepreneur, he still carves out the time to help those who are willing to further their journey. “You’re only so smart as what you choose to share.” – Brian Chou


Joseph Bonner

Joe is the President & CEO of Solana Beach Capital LLC, a real estate advisory firm assisting clients in the development of investment strategies and the sourcing of capital both domestically and internationally. Joe is a seasoned investment professional with over 30 years of experience in real estate and project management. Joe has held senior positions with Prudential Financial and Exxon Mobil and has lived and worked internationally. In addition to Soul River, Joe serves on the Boards of The American Funds, Extra Space Storage and San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy. Joe has a MBA from Harvard Business School, a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from MIT and a Bachelor of Architecture from the Cooper Union. Joe is a Governance Fellow with the National Association of Corporate Directors.

Board member

Jacob Zachry

Jacob is a civil servant and a role model in his community that others can look to for leader-ship and support. As a veteran of the US Navy, he served as a Cryptologist aboard the USS Enterprise during the OEF/OIF campaigns in the Persian Gulf. He now makes Portland, OR his home and is employed with the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services. Jacob is an avid fly fisherman who spends his time helping others learn the rivers and make that lifelong connection with our public lands. In addition to Soul River, Jacob also serves on the board of Love is King with Chad Brown and Brian Chou. When he’s not wearing waders, you can find him on a road trip in eastern Oregon with this wife Sarah and their dog Nova.

Board member

India Wynne

I identify as a Taino/Irish, Queer, Two-Spirit Marine Corps Veteran. I served in the Marine Corps from 2000-2005, I am an OEF veteran who served 2 terms in Afghanistan. After coming home, I struggled for years with undiagnosed PTSD and houselessness. It was through the guidance and support of a social worker that I was able to get the diagnosis and support that I needed. I take pride in being a Marine Corps veteran and feel called to serve my fellow veterans and service members.

In my youth, growing up in the projects of NYC, I was no stranger to fear and violence. I joined the Latin King street gang at the age of 12. Since receiving my diagnosis, I’ve earned both my BSW and MSW from Portland State University. 

I now use my knowledge and experience to advocate for Veterans, youth and the houseless community. 

Upon meeting Chad Brown, I knew that Soul River would be the perfect next step in fulfilling my call to give back to both the Veteran and Youth communities. The deployments that I have already been part of have only validated what I first knew in my heart. 

Im honored to join the board of Soul River and look forward to many exciting and healing adventures as we bring youth, Veterans and Tribal Communities together in the wild. 

Board member

Yanett Garcia Chavez

I am a Current College student attending Portland State University where I am working towards a Bachelors in Social Work with a minor in Criminal Justice/Criminology.

l work with children at the Helen Gordon Child Development Center. I also have volunteered my time around the community ! 

Those around me describe me as talkative,, courageous, optimistic and more as the list goes on! 

What brought me to Soul River Inc, was the interest I had in learning more about leadership, advocacy and overall being more exposed to our precious Mother Nature.

    I came into Soul River as a youth and with time I began to cultivate skills that would not only help me be successful as a youth participant, but also as a leader! 

Through Soul River I expanded my knowledge on Climate Change, Environmental Policy, Leadership, Advocacy, Public Speaking and more. 

This work is important to me because I was given the opportunity to Lobby in Washington DC in 2019 for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This experience gave me the opportunity to express my concern for an environmental issue and make my voice heard to share the voices of those that couldn’t go to DC and lobby. Seeing myself and others do this together gives me the courage to continue to fight as an advocate for what’s right. 

Today I can be found being a huge advocate through my small business Not Afraid Sm, through community work, my social media and more. I aspire to initiate change in topics that need more conversation and continue to pour positivity in these unprecedented times. 

For anyone interested in having their youth in Soul River or supporting the organization, don’t hesitate to reach out! 

Board member

Kiran Weasel

My name is Kiran Weasel. I am currently a junior at the University of Oregon, majoring in Environmental and Ethnic Studies with minors in Native American and Legal studies. 

I have been a part of Soul River since the beginning of high school, and have participated in multiple different deployments since then. It was Soul River that taught me the importance of building a community of passionate and adventurous people who want to fight for what they believe in.

Through Soul River,
I discovered my passion for political activism and went to Washington D.C. to fight for H.R. Bill 1146: The Arctic Coastal Plains Protection Act. I used that moment to propel me forward in my political interests, and have now interned with both the NAACP and Oregon’s Senator Ron Wyden. 

As of right now, I have many paths I may take. Whether it be going to law school for environmental or criminal justice, or heading to D.C to be a legislative correspondent, I am unsure of what career I will end up doing. However, for now, I am continuing my schooling, volunteering with Guide Dogs for the Blind (hoping to be a puppy raiser), and in my free time, exploring all of Oregon’s small towns! 

Board member

Tavon Kyle

I was born in Baltimore Maryland I went into the Marine Corp in 2008 where I started down my new path as a Marine. I serve two tours in Afghanistan in 2014 medical Retired shortly after. Since that time, I went on to receive multiple accredited certifications in Board Development, First Aid, CPR, Blood Borne Pathogen Exposure Control Training and also an ordained youth minister at St Paul Missionary Baptist Church. On a day to-day basis I personally provide secure transport for high-risk youth in multiple school districts for the City of Portland.

Board member

Pastor Craig L. Brown

Pastor Craig L. Brown is an experienced leader, pastor, and retired U.S. Army Infantry Soldier Driven by a spirit of excellence he takes pride in providing the best leadership possible. As a Pastor his goals include creating a safe space for young men to develop professional, spiritual, and social skills. In addition to his primary job functions, Pastor Brown has been recognized by his peers and superiors for his extraordinary commitment as a thought-provoking Change Agent.

Pastor Brown’s passion for leadership can be traced back to his duty in the U.S. Army where he spent significant time working on his leadership skills and education. As a leader, he specializes in empowerment and self enhancement.

Pastor Brown served 20 plus years in the U.S. Army, serving two tours in Iraq and training soldier in various countries across the globe. Pastor Brown has degrees from the following Universities: Faith International University with BA in Religion, Grand Canyon University with a MS in Leadership and Seattle University with a graduate certificate in Pastoral Leadership.

Besides Pastoring the St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Portland Oregon, Pastor Brown also works for the Department of Veterans Affairs as a Contract Specialist and sets on the following Boards and Committees: Soul River, Inc; Union Gospel Mission Board of Directors – Membership Charmain; Next G PDX – Treasurer; Kaiser Permanente Black Health Community Advisory Council; Coalition of African and African American Pastors (CAAAP);American Baptist Churches of the Central Pacific Coast on the Church Planting & Revitalization Task Force.

Pastor Craig Brown is married to Angela Brown and is the proud father to Ajai Brown-Hale and Grandfather to his legacy Ashton Lamar Tyson, Trinity Marie Hale, Ronald Hale & Ryleigh Hale.

He Motto is “Live Right and Live Long and let God handle the rest.”

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