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13 CEOs Sign Pledge to Accelerate Women's Leadership in Their Companies

13 CEOs Sign Pledge to Accelerate Women's Leadership in Their Companies

by Danica Lo

There's one industry that's throwing considerable weight behind empowering women and accelerating women in leadership roles—and more than a dozen of its top leaders are committing to a serious plan of action.

13 outdoor-industry CEOs signed a pledge developed by the Outdoor Industries Women's Coalition (OIWC) to "accelerate women's leadership in their companies." These companies include:

· REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.)
· Active Interest Media
· Advanced Sports - Fuji Bikes

· American Alpine Club

· Backcountry
· Burton Snowboards
· CamelBak
· The North Face
· NPD Group
· Outdoor Research
· Patagonia
· SmartWool
· W.L. Gore & Associates
· Wolverine Worldwide

"We're thrilled that these companies are making this a visible priority," says OIWC executive director Deanne Buck. "We'll be stronger and more innovative as an industry if we build an environment where great ideas born from a diversity of experiences thrive."

To fund the effort, REI has given OIWC a grant of $1.5 million, which will be used in three ways:

(1) Building programs and services for the industry—OIWC will provide the industry with valuable research, tools, best practices, and resources to better serve women leaders.

(2) Offering match funding—REI will match up to $500,000 for new companies that join OIWC's powerful member network or elevate their level of membership.

(3) Creating new opportunities for entrepreneurial women—Leaders of the outdoor industry are launching a new initiative to jump-start creativity and entrepreneurism among women. Participants will have an opportunity to pitch ideas in live advisory sessions with senior industry executives twice annually. Ideas put forward can be for new products or services—or even how to change the industry. This initiative goes hand in hand with a robust mentoring program that will be run in parallel.

Are you as excited as I am to support the companies that have signed this pledge?