Camber Outdoors Thought Leader Keynote Recap

Camber Outdoors Thought Leader Keynote Recap

The Camber Outdoors Thought Leader Keynote took place on July 25, 2018 during Outdoor Retailer Summer Market and welcomed more than 550 constituents of the active-outdoor industries. 

“We are on a journey,” Steve Rendle, Chairman and CEO of VF Corporation began his address at Camber Outdoors’ Thought Leader Keynote last week. Orienting toward the north star of “Purpose-led” at the individual, team, company, and enterprise-level – inclusion and diversity are foundational to Rendle’s vision for VF Corporation and its many iconic brands, including The North Face, Vans, Reef, and Wrangler.

Rendle challenged fellow leaders in the room to rethink the role of public companies in society as forces of change. He committed his leadership to the intersection of purpose-led with performance-driven to positively influence the lives of employees, stakeholders, consumers, and shareholders, while taking care of the planet.

“Spend some time, think about what your personal purpose is,” he said. “Ask yourself: ‘What is my personal purpose that defines me and allows me to bring my best self into my work life, and to bring that influence to make and drive change?’”

Let’s Go Together

Outdoor Afro founder and CEO, Rue Mapp, kicked off the Keynote by celebrating the work, efforts, and successes that have been made over the last decade while acknowledging there’s opportunity to accelerate toward our common vision through the strong foundation of trust and relationships. “The only way forward happens at the speed of relationships, and good relationships take time.”

Mapp shared the journey of Outdoor Afro with milestones marked by people, relationships, and mentors. From a humble beginning of a blog, Outdoor Afro has grown in participation to more  than 80 leaders in 30 states, and reaches more than 50,000 social users.

As Outdoor Afro evolved, Mapp attributed personal and professional growth to the mentorship of Ann Krcik who encouraged the Outdoor Afro vision, and who also provided friendship and understanding that equity means sharing power and privilege. “[Ann] believed in our mission and gave us space to be great.” The tribute was particularly powerful as Mapp introduced three Outdoor Afro women in the audience who had just returned from the first all-Black expedition and ascension of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Mapp closed with a poignant African proverb indicative of the importance of the current industry community, and that of the future. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” she challenged the audience to consider, “What is your real commitment? What are you willing to give up, to share, or to step aside and give space? Who are you willing to mentor?”

Purpose-led to Drive Change

We power movements of sustainable and active lifestyles for the betterment of people and our planet.

Rendle shared that VF Corporation, a 119-year-old company, unveiled a new strategy in 2018 stemming from a desire to create value through powerful experiences both internally and externally, and to also be the industry’s best employer. The efforts behind the strategy resulted in a purpose that considers consumers, employees, constituents, and the environment.

“Being purpose-led means we have to think differently about commitments to stakeholders and shareholders,” Rendle said. He stated that the ‘why’ of VF Corporation is the betterment of people and the planet; to have a positive impact and be a leader in creating value for both. “We are committed to apply our scale to make a difference.”

He noted that VF Corporation has made a conscious decision to put inclusion first as part of its guiding principles and position the company as a movement maker to drive change within the industry. This has been initiated by creating an executive global and inclusion council, made up of diverse leaders across VF Corporation, as well as enabling grassroots employee resource groups to mobilize and bring to light issues and work toward solutions. The opportunity to listen and engage ultimately aligns a common vision. As a leader in these efforts, he highlighted The North Face and its She Moves Mountains campaign as celebrating courageous women who are changing the face of exploration and having a profound impact on giving girls and women a path to the outdoors, as well as its new grant program in the honor of Ann Krcik which enables women outdoor exploration.

“These stories are many, and as these stories become much more obvious within our organization, these are the catalyst for movements of equity within our VF organization,” said Rendle.

Rendle also recognized that there is more work to be done in VF Corporation and the industry as a whole when it comes to inclusivity. He challenged the process to begin with each individual.

“What can each one of us do to truly create a more inclusive outdoor industry? What can each one of us do to invite and enable people who do not look like us, people who do not come from the backgrounds we come from, people who do not act or think like us? How can we invite them to be part of our passion for the outdoor industry?”

For the outdoor industry to be a leader in inclusivity, it starts from within.

“Our ability to influence and change and be movement makers will allow us to certainly change the face and the energy and dynamic this outdoor industry has – as we go an shape that, our influence will go beyond our industry to touch much larger groups. We can be leaders.”

As VF Corporation and many others in the active-outdoor industries are elevating Inclusion and Diversity as key strategic business imperatives and differentiators, Rendle reminded all that this is journey of discovery, action, and purpose.

About the Camber Outdoors Thought Leader Keynote

The Thought Leader Keynote provided a platform to discuss community, legacy, and the future of the industry with a call to action of creating an inclusive and welcoming industry, as demonstrated by Camber Outdoors’ newly evolved mission of Equity in the outdoors, from boardroom to backcountry.

Camber Outdoors July 2018 Thought Leader Keynote welcomed more than 550 active-outdoor industries CEOs, executives, and leaders. The morning opened with acknowledgment of the late Ann Krcik, co-founder of Camber Outdoors, and her legacy as an inspiration and mentor, and her ability to bring people together and create community welcoming of all.

Watch the Camber Outdoors Thought Leader Keynote

Formerly the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC)


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