It should be clear from my blog that I am passionate about outdoor adventure and sport. And yesterday was a very good day for the outdoor industry—and women.
Speaking at the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow yesterday in Salt Lake City, REI’s CEO, Jerry Stritzke, announced that the Seattle-based retailer has awarded a $1.5 million grant to the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC) to advance women’s leadership and spur innovation in the outdoor industry.
In addition, REI was joined by 13 industry CEOs who signed a Pledge developed by OIWC to accelerate women’s leadership in their companies. Many of the Industry’s most well-respected companies have signed on including Patagonia, SmartWool, North Face, and CamelBac, and I applaud their support.
Why is this so important? Those of us who are active can testify to what a good run, hike, or other sport-related activity can do for the soul. I am better, happier, and more confident because I run. I can have a bad day that triggers doubt, but after lacing up my running shoes and getting a few miles behind me, I know that I can take on the world—or at least face my challenges head on.
Supporting women in an industry that can do so much to build self-esteem and leadership is critical to our future and much needed. I’m on the board of Betties360, a nonprofit organization with a mission to inspire confidence, well-being and community in girls through action sports, outdoor adventure, and life skills education. I have seen first-hand what the power of sport and active play can do for young girls, and I am proud to be part of this organization.
Thank you to REI, OIWC, and the other companies who are part of this great initiative and are taking women to new heights in the outdoor industry.