Outdoor Retailer: Day 3 - Women Who Dare

In a quiet meeting room at the Marriott across the street from the high paced energy of the trade show floor, I found myself in the presence of 5 climbing legends. This was not your ordinary gathering of climbing greats, it was better. The 5 athletes sitting in the front of the room represented decades of experience, record breaking ascents, pioneers in the sport, successful examples of leadership, and they were all women.

Kitty Calhoun, Lynn Hill, Kate Rutherford, Brittany Griffith, Angie Payne and Deanne Buck. (L-R)

Kitty Calhoun, Lynn Hill, Kate Rutherford, Brittany Griffith, Angie Payne and Deanne Buck. (L-R)

When planning my schedule for Outdoor Retailer (OR), this event had come on my radar from the Outdoor industries Women's Coalition (OIWC). The event was described as follows:

Join OIWC and a panel of elite female climbers to discuss the qualities of great leaders- both in climbing and in business. You will also have the opportunity to meet Chris Noble, author of 'Women Who Dare.' 

OIWC executive director, Deanne Buck, will moderate with panelists Kate Rutherford, Angie Payne, Brittany Griffith and Kitty Calhoun. [Lynn Hill was on the panel as well]. The panel will discuss Centered Leadership - a theme OIWC has been focused on this year and that is tied in to a McKinsey Report on successful women leaders and the qualities they embody. Their model ties in very well to traits climbers naturally embrace and cultivate. A couple of the themes that might be included in this panel include how successful leaders find meaning in their work or how they manage energy to build to success.

Inspiring athletes, legends in their fields of expertise offering leadership and business advice... aren't opportunities like this one of the main reasons to attend a trade show like OR?

The answer is, yes!

The conversation easily flowed covering leadership, communication, success, failure, fear and courage and how these relate to life, athletics, careers and goals. Each woman drew upon her personal experiences as a climber to provide valuable insights into leadership, pursuing a non-traditional path, the roles of fear and failure in finding success, and the importance of supporting and being supported by those around you. 

Over the past couple of weeks since returning home from OR I often find myself thinking about this conversation, finding inspiration in things they said, remembering lessons from stories told, and sharing these bits of wisdom with women I know.

I am finding the courage to go after the things I really want. Trusting what feels right. Breaking things down into pieces to get to my goal. Remembering to keep trying and working on the project when it doesn't go as I planned... both at the crag and at my desk.

A big thanks to Kitty Calhoun, Lynn Hill, Kate Rutherford, Brittany Griffith, Angie Payne for being Women Who Dare and OIWC for putting the event together.

Book signing of  'Women Who Dare'

Book signing of 'Women Who Dare'

The women of  'Women Who Dare'

The women of 'Women Who Dare'

Outdoor Retailer: Day 1 - Inspired

Amidst all the cool new products and overwhelming amount of outdoor gear, clothes, and business being done, what really stood out today was how much "good" is happening at this trade show. Some of my favorite non-profits American Hiking Society, Outdoor Industry Women's Coalition (OIWC), the Sierra Club, and many others are at the show working on partnerships and bringing awareness to the amazing work that they do.

There are also a lot of companies out there already supporting these types of groups and issues that are so important to the outdoors. Starting at 4 pm each night different companies host Happy Hours as benefits to various groups. Among these, Black Diamond hosted a Happy Hour and book signing of Women Who Dare by Chris Noble to support OIWC. After the show was over we were invited to an event hosted by Klean Kanteen celebrating their 10 yr anniversary. This company was founded on the premise that they wanted to make a change and in the past 10 years have given back 1 million dollars to support great groups and causes such as 1% For the Planet,  5 Gyres, American Hiking Society, and Outdoor Afro to name a few. Think about that a company so committed to the environment and the outdoors that they are willing to donate 1 million of their profits to support what they believe in.

Serious inspiration everywhere. And to close out the show I was able to meet another person who is really trying to make a difference and bring awareness to global issues through his photography, Corey Richards.

Sometimes it is not about the coolest new gadgets.