Industry News 3/31/2015

EMP: OIWC Announces New Board Members

The Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC), the only national organization dedicated to workplace diversity and inclusion by expanding opportunities for women and companies in the outdoor, snow, run, and bike industries, recently elected three new members to serve on the national board. 

Incoming board members:
- Donna Carpenter, President of Burton Snowboards

- Jill Layfield, President & CEO of Backcountry
- Susan Viscon, Senior Vice President of Merchandising at REI

In addition to setting policies and priorities, the board also serves the critical role of guiding OIWC’s overall direction. “We conducted a lengthy search for professionals who would further strengthen our board’s breadth of talent and background, and we are pleased to have identified such outstanding individuals,” said Therese Thompson, OIWC’s Board President. “I’m confident they will make an important and positive impact on the organization during our next phase of growth.”

Donna Carpenter and her husband are the sole owners of Burton Snowboards, the world’s leading snowboard company. Since 1982, Donna has held a multitude of roles at Burton, which originally operated out of her Vermont barn and now has offices in Vermont, Japan, Austria, California and Australia. During the past three decades, she has built snowboards, answered phones, expanded Burton’s market to Europe and held the CFO position. Today, Donna is the President of Burton, driving all efforts around Burton’s women’s leadership programs as well as heading the company’s global human resources, legal departments and sustainability efforts.

When you make a company a better place to work for women, you’re just making it a better place to work, period,” said Donna Carpenter, President of Burton Snowboards. “The same should hold true in the outdoor industry. With more women in leadership roles, our industry will only get stronger. And that’s why I’m honored to join the OIWC Board of Directors because my hope is that together, we will inspire more women to reach their professional goals.”

Jill Layfield is President & CEO of Backcountry, an online specialty retailer with operations in three countries and 1,000k+ employees.  She has held various positions within Backcountry, transitioning to CEO in 2011. Since then, she has acquired and integrated three businesses and consistently out-paced industry revenue growth.  Prior to Backcountry, Jill held positions with Shutterfly, Cisco Systems, Infogear, and 8x8.  In her free time, Jill loves to climb, trail run, ski, and mountain bike with her family.

“Women’s diversity and leadership is vital to the growth and sustainability of our companies and industry. I believe that a successful OIWC is the key to effectively building our industry and winning the hearts of our diverse customer base,” explains Layfield. “I am honored at the opportunity to have a broader impact as a member of the OIWC Board of Directors.”

Susan Viscon oversees REI’s gear and apparel assortment of more than 1,400 vendors and the company’s private brands. Under her leadership, REI offers both leading and emerging brand products to outdoor enthusiasts through its digital and retail stores. Credited with leading REI’s initiative around expanding the co-op’s women-specific product offerings, Susan is also noted for championing REI’s increased emphasis on its fitness specialty shops, resulting in tremendous sales growth.  When not at the office, Susan enjoys traveling, camping and skiing with her family.

According to Viscon, “This is a very exciting time to be involved with OIWC, especially with the recent Mary Anderson Legacy Grant which will extend resources for women in industry leadership positions and offer funding matches to new companies joining OIWC. I look forward to joining Deanne and my fellow board members in moving this work forward.”

OIWC is thankful for the service of outgoing board members: Alice Gifford, Beth Gordon, and Sharon Scott.