Outdoor Industry Association

In 2017, I was a part of the Skip Yowell Future Leadership Program. The Future Leadership Academy is a six-month program to prepare, unite and amplify the voice of future outdoor industry leaders. The academy helped prepared 32 outstanding and myself, whom are committed individuals to assume industry leadership positions in the years ahead. For our capstone project, my team worked with the Sierra Club on a project that aimed to tackle barriers faced by veterans seeking employment in the outdoor industry.

 Day 2 on the River with the Outdoor Industry Association, the Sierra Club, and millitary veterans.

Day 2 on the River with the Outdoor Industry Association, the Sierra Club, and millitary veterans.

About the Project:

Our capstone project resulted in a collaboration with the Sierra Club’s Military Outdoors, a program that offers outdoor trips for veterans to foster physical and mental health and ease the transition back to civilian life. Arc’teryx, Farm to Feet, Gear to Go, Therm-a-Rest, Petzl, Smartwool, Black Diamond, Osprey, Marmot, and Sterling Rope were among the sponsors of the 2017 River Leaders trip that we onboarded as a team and their contributions will support this initiative going forward.

 Paddling between canyon walls in Big Bend National Park.

Paddling between canyon walls in Big Bend National Park.

About the Trip: 

The SYFLA project culminated in the creation of the River Leaders program, which the organizers hope grows into an annual event. This rafting trip in Big Bend National Park brought together 10 qualified military veterans seeking careers in the outdoor industry and 10 leaders from the outdoor industry, many of whom were veterans themselves.  

 Group photo, featuring outdoor brand reps and military veterans. 

Group photo, featuring outdoor brand reps and military veterans. 

The Goal: 

The objective was to connect veterans with outdoor industry professionals and create a network that can support each other. While floating between the 1,500-foot walls of the Santa Elena Canyon and sitting around a fire under the light of an early December super moon, the military veterans and seasoned outdoor industry professionals talked about how to better convey their skillsets to civilian employers and land their dream jobs. The group also tackled how the industry can better relate to veterans interested in joining its workforce.