Donna Carpenter, Burton Snowboard CEO, on 13 Lessons Learned

“We are not going to spend our time today talking about the why. You guys know the why… so let’s talk about the how.”

Donna Carpenter delivered an entertaining and engaging keynote which highlighted specific steps companies can take to follow Burton’s trailblazing success in women’s leadership. Donna pointed out that advancing women is not a “feel good initiative, it is a bottom line initiative” and companies need to have a clear strategic vision around women’s leadership.

She attributes a large part of their success to the initiatives they have launched through their Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) program such as improved maternity and paternity leave, flex time, mentorship programs, engineering internships, and educational programs. Many of these have been rolled out to both men and women which she said has made Burton a better company for everyone. Donna also stressed the importance of taking a grassroots approach and asking a lot of questions to figure out why women are not present on leadership teams.

Here is a full list of the 13 lessons Burton learned about how to attract and retain more women:

Lesson #1 – You don’t turn a frat house into a sorority overnight
Lesson #2 – Ask a lot of (confidential) questions.
Lesson #3 – Set a vision.
Lesson #4 – This is not some Lifetime movie.
Lesson #5 – Your job is not her only job.
Lesson #6 – There is a tipping point.
Lesson #7 – Women make better leaders.
Lesson #8 – Some men make the best women.
Lesson #9 – Don’t just throw us into the deep end.
Lesson #10 – What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Lesson #11 – There’s nothing wrong with special treatment.
Lesson #12 – Don’t just lean in… lean on.
Lesson #13 – Take ownership.

Dig into these lessons and learn more by checking out Donna’s talk here!

Formerly the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC)


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