Workplace Stories and Corporate Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity

Workplace Stories and Corporate Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity

A recap of our Workplace Panel and Keynote Breakfast from Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show 2020.

“This industry can move the flywheel on inclusion, equity, and diversity, but not if it lives on the back burner and isn’t incorporated into values, budgets and how we measure our success. This is not charity. It’s the future of business.” 
—Emily Newman, Executive Director of Camber Outdoors

At Camber Outdoors, our focus is on making the workplaces of the active outdoors industry more inclusive, infusing equity into them and securing a seat at the table for diverse voices. A big part of that work comes from engaging with others involved in this space, whether they’re already working in the outdoor industry, such as the guests on our Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show 2020 Day 1 “Workplace Stories” panel, or are leaders from outside the industry, such as our Day 3 Keynote Breakfast speaker, Blair Taylor.

For those that couldn’t attend either event, we’re recapping our major takeaways here, as well as including full videos of each presentation. Take in these learnings at your leisure, and help us positively impact the industry as a whole by forwarding this article to a friend.

“Workplace StoriesInclusive Practices and Career Acceleration”

Stories from the field focused on how inclusive workplace practices accelerated the career growth of our outstanding active-outdoors industry panelists.

Panelists:

Cindy Feinauer, GM of Purist and Custom Business Leader at Specialized Bicycle Components
Kennedy Reddick Jr., Programs and Development Manager at Greening Youth Foundation
Natalie M. Oshin, Regional Merchandise Manager, Americas at The North Face
Moderator: Sasha McGhee, Programs Manager at Camber Outdoors

Key Learnings:

  • There are many ways to look at diversity—gender, race, LGBTQ+, differently-abled, age, etc. When creating an inclusive environment, it’s important to create a space where everyone is welcome. 
  • You may experience discomfort when talking about things you wouldn’t usually communicate about. Working through discomfort can be key to progress.
  • It’s a myth that black and brown people don’t get outdoors. Consider your own bias and network if this is a myth you previously believed to be true. When your workplace demographic meets or matches your consumer demographic, you’re twice as likely to innovate. 
  • We have to examine biases at the executive level. Change happens when people in power get involved.

Action Items:

  • If you see something that’s not going right, or if you have an opportunity to make a change, then step up. Even if you’re not personally being impacted by a system or behavior, it’s your duty as an ally to be a force of change.
  • When you have privilege and power as a manager or leader, it’s your responsibility to provide your team with psychological safety, ensure their voices are valued and heard, and create pathways for them to be noticed at work.
  • If you want your employees to support your brand, then you need to support them equally with healthcare, career advancement, and mentorship opportunities. 
  • Don’t expect diverse candidates to just come to you—you need to approach them with intention, authenticity, and empathy. The onus is on the company to go out and engage a breadth of communities. If you’re not getting a diverse candidate pool, you’re not creating meaningful connections to those communities where talent exists.
  • You need to understand your own biases. Self-work is always the place to start.


“Corporate Inclusion, Equity, and DiversityA Global Perspective”

This year’s keynote speaker was Blair Taylor, Partner, PwC. Formerly, Taylor served as CEO of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance and as Chief Community Officer for Starbucks. In his address, Blair takes us through a global journey, leveraging his experience in various industries to showcase how building an inclusive, equitable, and diverse workforce drives innovation.

Key Learnings:

  • It’s time for business and community leaders to challenge ourselves, leave our comfort zones, and take some risks.
  • The era we live in today is critical—it will define our future—and companies must rethink the way we do business.
  • Why is it a business imperative for corporations to focus on inclusion, equity, and diversity? 
    1. Population/demographic shifts
    2. Unemployment rates and competition for talent
    3. The need to build future customers
    4. Demands from the millennial workforce
    5. Global opportunities
    6. Enhanced productivity and effectiveness
  • To that last point: Diverse teams deliver better results.
  • Don’t be a bystander. This is our moment in history.

Action Items:

  • Some best practices for companies to employ:
    • Secure senior leadership support, don’t just put this work on employee resource groups
    • Build both the business case and authenticity
    • Link internal and external DEI efforts
    • Assess global policies/approaches and low hanging fruit  
    • Don’t go it alone, tap the expertise that’s out there 
    • Build relationships while the sun is still shining (don’t wait for a crisis to begin this work)
  • Empathy is key—if you’ve never been in a situation where you’re the only one in the room that looks like you or has a background like yours, then you can’t understand what it’s like to be an underrepresented person in the workplace. Empathy yields authenticity and we have to be intentional in cultivating it.
  • Understanding your corporate culture is crucial to effectively implement DEI practices, as is collecting data on where you begin and how you progress. If you want to make progress, assessing your company culture and putting measurements in place is not optional.

Thank you to our generous sponsor Perkins Coie for making this keynote possible.

Perkins Coie logo

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Formerly the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC)

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