National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) Names Laura Hansen as New Director of Custom Education

May 9, 2024

Former Interim Director ready to lead customized programs with renewed vision and drive

LANDER, Wyo. – May 9, 2024 /OUTDOOR SPORTSWIRE/ – The National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Laura Hansen as its Director of Custom Education. Previously, she was the NOLS Interim Director of Custom Education from January to March this year and moved into the permanent position earlier this month. She has shown exceptional leadership and vision to elevate Custom Education for current partners and future clients.

“I am thrilled to have Laura leading our efforts in Custom Education,” said Sandy Colhoun, President of NOLS. Laura showed exceptional leadership and initiative in her interim role, and we are excited to see where her plans and vision will be in this essential program of the school.”

Hansen started her journey with NOLS as a Wind River Range backpacking student in 2015. She then took her instructor course in May 2023. She was the NOLS Associate Director of Custom Education from June to December 2023 before assuming the Interim Director of Custom Education role in January 2024.

“Laura’s strategy consulting background is obvious in her support of NOLS custom education,” stated Liz Tuohy, NOLS Interim VP of Expeditions. “I’m impressed by her ability to consider business decisions in new ways while leveraging NOLS’ historical strengths. She is always grounded in excitement for what we do in the field!”

Before joining NOLS as an instructor in May 2023, she worked as Head of Growth at Bluebird Backcountry, a backcountry ski startup focused on education and accessibility, in Steamboat Springs, Colo., from 2020 to 2021.

She also spent time at Bain & Company, a strategy consulting firm, advising clients on growth strategy and customer experience. Most recently at Bain, she worked for Bain Academy, a group that designs and delivers experiential leadership education to their clients.

Based in Northern California, Hansen received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and earned her Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

“As a student and instructor, I have witnessed NOLS experiential education in action,” said Hansen. “The best classroom is the NOLS classroom, from the caribou trails of the Talkeetnas in Alaska to the granite cirques of the Wind River range in Wyoming. I look forward to building upon our legacy of excellence in NOLS Custom Education and providing an innovative approach to elevating today’s leaders and teaching tomorrow’s leaders.”

For more information about NOLS, please visit www.nols.edu or call 800.710.6657


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About NOLS

Established in 1965, the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) is the leader in wilderness education. What began in a small cabin in Wyoming’s Wind River Mountain range has evolved into a global, multifaceted nonprofit school offering a proven leadership curriculum through expedition courses, wilderness medicine certifications, risk management training, and custom education solutions for organizations. Today, NOLS operates 14 campuses worldwide and provides classroom instruction in over 40 countries. The NOLS community includes over 930 active instructors who teach various outdoor skills, from mountaineering and sailing to wilderness medicine that empower students to step forward in their lives. www.nols.edu | 800.710.6657


NOLS Communications Director

Kelli Lusk

208.309.3793 | kelli_lusk@nols.edu / pr@nols.edu