Outdoor Insider Fall 2017 - Page 5

So we thought: What name could en-capsulate that current and future state and allow the organization to evolve? We chose the name Camber because it’s an engineering term that’s used in a lot of human-powered recreation gear. It’s a bend in an otherwise straight line that drives forward, and upward, momentum. We are about women, but we’re also about forward momentum. It’s getting outside of the status quo. The new name is also more inclusive. Every person—not just women—can see themselves as part of the solution and feel like they can contribute.

Why was it important for your organization to disrupt the status quo?

Because the status quo is that women tend to enter the workforce at about 50-60 percent, but leadership teams are only 5 percent to 20 percent women. We work within a new paradigm—one where women are equal contributors to decisions that companies make and to the companies’ direction, through equal representation on leadership teams.

Why is this more equal representation something that everyone should value, regardless of gender?

Everyone should care about the companies they work for being successful, growing, innovating, and evolving, because it’s part of their own livelihood. All the research shows that diversity drives greater innovation, which helps companies keep ideas fresh and develop products that reflect the needs of the consumer. People bring different experiences into the workforce, and diversity creates healthier dynamics among employees, at a very basic level. So, every person has some skin in the game, because ultimately it’s about their own company and its success. And that’s tied to ensuring that the companies are inclusive and welcoming to a diversity of people, experiences, and ideas.

How do some of these companies work together?

The opportunity in front of us is that we work with member companies that are open and willing to work together to solve problems. Sustainability is one example. The Sustainable Working Group and the Higg Index—a standard for environmental and social sustainability throughout the supply chain in the apparel and footwear industry—came out of the outdoor industry. Companies came together and said, let’s not each create our own index for what sustainability looks like--let’s co-create it.

Companies that make gear to get us outside have a strong need for engineers, product developers, and people with technology experience. Most of them are trying to solve for innovation advancements that evolve their products, because they’re looking at: How do I build better bikes, snowboards, technical jackets, etc.? The competition for that talent is steep. But our companies realize they have the opportunity to learn best practices from some pretty amazing companies, like REI and Patagonia and Burton-—to embrace women’s leadership as a strategic priority, not only for our companies but also as an identifier for what makes the active-outdoor industries a great place to work. Inherent in that are challenges of communicating why something as personal to a company as employee recruiting and development can also be part of a broader industry imperative and identity. Solving for that is probably our biggest opportunity.


Photos by Nicole Friend