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Pilot Program Focuses on Retention and Advancement of Women in the Outdoor, Snow, Bike, and Run Industries

The Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC), the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to workplace equity, diversity, and inclusion in the Outdoor, Snow, Run, and Bike Industries, has announced the launch of a pilot mentorship program focused on the retention and advancement of women in those industries. The pilot phase, which will run through the end of 2013, invests in five high-potential future industry leaders by matching them with C- and VP level women who will share leadership expertise.

“We started with a small group of mentees and mentors to fully and adequately develop a signature cross-industry, cross-company mentorship program that focuses on the development of women at the middle management level. Research demonstrates that this is where most businesses lose the highest percentage of high-potential women, and therefore their return on the investment,” reports Amy Luther, OIWC Program Director. “This program demonstrates a commitment by OIWC to a diverse, inclusive, and sustainable industry by focusing on retention and advancement of women. This pilot program would not have been possible without the support of Arc’Teryx, REI, and The North Face, and their commitment to a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

Laura Swapp, REI’s Diversity and Inclusion Director, adds, “Nobody progresses in their career- or in life- without mentors. We all need people whose insight, experience, and encouragement elevate us. At REI, we recognize that the smaller percent of women in the industry can make it difficult for women to find mentors who share their unique set of challenges and ambitions. We are exited to participate with OIWC in exploring the power of mentoring through this industry-wide pilot and are optimistic that the relationships are going to benefit the women and the industry.”

OIWC will launch the full program in early 2014.

Logo courtesy Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition

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