Originally published in Outdoor Retailer’s The Daily on November 11, 2018
The Elevator Pitch
Diversity and inclusion ideas abounded at Camber Outdoors’ Five Minutes, One Bold Idea event
Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2018 was all about innovation. During a Day 2 afternoon panel hosted by Camber Outdoors and moderated by Camber Outdoors Executive Director Deanne Buck, ﬁve leaders in the active-outdoor industries community brought forth ideas on how companies and individuals can include diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in their every day.
The panel, which attracted a standing-room only crowd at The Camp, was titled Five Minutes, One Bold Idea, and was structured so that each panelist had exactly ﬁve minutes to articulate an idea to the audience, followed by discussion and Q&A. Each panelist spoke on a different topic, rooted in personal experience and in alignment with their values and organization.
Jen Gurecki, CEO of Coalition Snow, spoke about “putting your money where your mouth is,” and how you can support organizations and companies that actively work to further equity in the outdoor industry by voting with your dollars.
Carlos Fernandez, state director at The Nature Conservancy in Colorado, highlighted the importance of conservation efforts, and the way in which topics can be discussed by using language that resonates with different audiences and creates a shared understanding. He challenged each person in the audience to talk with a friend, family member, or stranger over the weekend about what conservation means to them, and how it affects their day-to-day life and the natural areas around them.
CJ Goulding, lead organizer for the Natural Leaders Network, challenged the notion of “seats at the table,” and instead urged redeﬁning what the table means when it comes to inclusion, and asked why there’s one in the ﬁrst place.
Bethany Lebewitz, founder of Brown Girls Climb, talked about creating a pipeline to facilitate and mentor small businesses. She appealed to the audience through a case study of craft beer, and how the beer industry is intentionally creating products to serve a variety of individuals—there’s something out there for everyone. Investing in small outdoor industry businesses is not only good for the economy, but also surfaces new approaches, perspectives, and ideas that can serve different audiences that may currently be overlooked.
Elyse Rylander, executive director of OUT There Adventures, spoke to the approach companies take, speciﬁcally in the areas of marketing and apparel, when it comes to gender identity. One of the ideas she brought forth was for more companies to design gender-neutral clothing in an effort to eliminate putting consumers in boxes, and welcoming identity intersectionality.
The panelists discussed the importance of language with regard to moving conversations forward, and understanding the perspective of the individual or group with whom the dialogue is taking place. The consensus, however, was that these conversations must continue in order to drive change in the outdoor industry.