Our Staff


Nikki Mcgee - President & CEO

Hello!  I’m Nikki McGee, founder and CEO of EMG!  I teach rock climbing, yoga, snowboarding, fishing, backpacking, experiential outdoor education, and environmental stewardship.  I grew up in Minnesota without a lot of resources or exposure to the outdoors until my college years when I was blessed to be introduced to rock climbing.  Nothing I had done before connected me more with myself and the land around me.  Nothing else had ever given me such purpose and focus!  Little did I know that this would start me on path where I would end up calling Utah my home and climbing and guiding my career!  None of this would’ve ever come about, nor would I have ever gotten this far, without the generosity of my friends and colleagues in the outdoor industry.  For this I am eternally grateful and wish to pay it forward!


co-founder & director of communications

Hi! Since early on in my childhood, the outdoors have been a big and important part of my life. As a teen growing up at the foot of the Wasatch mountains in Utah valley, the times spent both alone and with friends out in the wilderness were extremely important for me and my growth as a person. One key thing I got out of those times spent outdoors was a broader perspective on myself, society, and the planet we’re all on. Through the years, the jobs I’ve chosen were all either directly engaged with the outdoors, like patrolling on the ski slopes, or councilor with a wilderness therapy outfit, or were in locations that gave me access to the outdoors, like the hostel I worked at in Hawaii or where I currently work, High West Distillery in Park City, Utah. I’ve been involved with EMG since our first gear donations delivery trip back in 2015, and it’s been an incredibly rewarding part of my life. It’s been a lot of work, and the journey to where we are today has been a long one, but every time I get the opportunity to interact with the people EMG serves, it’s completely apparent that it’s all been very much worth it. I’m very excited to continue this work, and be a part of the growth EMG is experiencing, so we can reach more and more people


emily mahaffey - lead instructor

I am a Firefighter/EMT for Unified Fire Authority in Salt Lake City. I also coach climbing and teach Wilderness Medicine classes. I was born and raised in Salt Lake City. I have lived in four states and two countries. I love climbing, being outside, my dog, and drinking coffee.  I love wilderness medicine because not only are you saving someone’s life, you have to do it with limited resources. It requires creativity and resourcefulness and thinking outside the box. I think it allows people to open their mind a little more and realize that a lot of things are multi use, you just have to adjust your thinking. 

I got started with Elevated Mountain Guides after coaching climbing with NIkki. She mentioned she needed some help and was going down in the fall to teach some courses. I immediately jumped at the chance, I love teaching, especially wilderness medicine, and to teach a group like the one in Peru is incredible.


Kylir Christensen - volunteer

Buenas, I’m Kylie Christensen!

I’m lucky to work at the United Way of Salt Lake, a nonprofit dedicated to changing the odds so every child has a chance to succeed in school and life. Previously, I worked with the Waterford Research Institute’s UPSTART program, a nonprofit that focuses on kindergarten readiness for Utah children. I love people, connection, climbing, being outside, learning and teaching. I especially love the connection forged between people when they’re doing things they love in awe inspiring environments! I studied anthropology and the Spanish language at Utah State University. I lived in Logroño, Spain where I fell even more head over heels for the Spanish language, and experiencing other cultures. I’ve been climbing and canyoneering for 14 years, and I’ve worked as a coach and belay instructor in Utah climbing gyms for 5 years. I spent a summer as a zipline and mountain bike tour guide in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. I adore being involved in the outdoor community and sharing my love of outdoor activities with others.


Dylan gates - social media intern

I LOVE social media and I am here to put my passion and understanding to work! I hope this opportunity increases my ability to create content that builds strong connections between the organization and anyone who may cross its path. I also want to grow my understanding of the inner workings of a nonprofit, especially one that works internationally. All in all, I hope to influence positive change in Elevated Mountain Guides as an organization as well as in their work.

Furthermore, volunteering and serving undeserved communities has been at the root of who I am. That is how I met Nikki, on a service trip (over Thanksgiving break) through Mizzou Alternative Breaks; our plans did not include working with EMG. However, our team came to help Nikki and her husband pack and prepare for their upcoming trip to Peru. Now about why I wanted to do this internship! The day we served, I only saw glimpse of Elevated Mountain Guides, but I knew they were on to something. I saw a passion for rock climbing, serving others, and making a difference in the world. This hit home, my personal slogan, “influencing positive change” is what I saw as the underlying goal of the organization. I have always had a passion to make a positive change in the world no matter how small it maybe. That includes running the social media of Elevated Mountain Guides. For my schooling background,  I am a Senior at the University of Missouri – Columbia (aka Mizzou). I am studying Textile and Apparel Management with an emphasis in Apparel Marketing and Merchandising. This is my last semester and I hope to go into social responsibility work after graduation!


christina haddix - executive assistant

In 2014 I made the huge decision to quit my career as a Pastry Chef to go back to school. I had been working in the culinary industry for almost 10 years and while I loved it, I couldn’t quite shake the feeling that something was missing from my life. I knew I wanted make a difference in world and wanted to work in the nonprofit sector through PR and marketing. This need drove me to enroll at Salt Lake Community College to pursue a degree in Communications.

I had known Nikki McGee for a couple of years when I ran into her at a mutual friend’s birthday dinner in 2016. Over dinner she passionately spoke of her nonprofit, Elevated Mountain Guides. I was inspired by her story of how EMG began and the work they were doing. I asked her that night how I can be involved and have been with the team ever since.

Working with a team so dedicated and passionate has helped me stay inspired to work towards my Communications Degree. I will be graduating from Salt Lake Community College spring of 2017 and will be continuing my education at University of Utah in the fall.

I love wilderness medicine because not only are you saving someone’s life, you have to do it with limited resources. It requires creativity and resourcefulness and thinking outside the box. I think it allows people to open their mind a little more and realize that a lot of things are multi use, you just have to adjust your thinking. 


Franz - Photo 1.jpg

Kris Franz - Relations Manager

Growing up outside Chicago, I always loved exploring the woods and waters of Northern Wisconsin and throughout my years at Purdue I would spend my free time skiing and exploring the mountain west. I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to move to Salt Lake City in 2007 for work and took full advantage of all Utah had to offer--from the slopes to the trails and everything in between. My work as a Sales Engineer took me all over the mountain west before being relocated to Denver in 2014. Colorado has become my new home and also provided me an opportunity to grow in my career with a transition to a global consulting firm back in 2016. I have always found great pleasure in sharing my favorites mountain places with friends and family and this drive has extended into volunteering in the adaptive sports community first in Utah and now in Colorado. The way nature and the mountains can inspire people who otherwise may not have an opportunity to climb, ski, hike or bike is incredibly rewarding. In my free time I can be found enjoying the great outdoors skiing, running, camping, and connecting with my local Alumni association as a board member.