Industry News 7/1/2015

B$Z: OIWC Launches Department to Focus on Workplace Diversity and Inclusion

The Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC) announces the creation of a People and Culture Department, designed to drive creativity and business sustainability in member companies through happier, more diverse, and inclusive workplaces.

The launch of this department builds upon OIWC’s CEO Pledge initiative, convening influential CEO’s around the common goal of accelerating women’s leadership within their companies. “I’m proud of the steps we’ve taken and the progress OIWC has made for the industry, and I know that the addition of the People and Culture Department will serve to strengthen and grow the foundation we’ve built,” says Deanne Buck, Executive Director of OIWC.

As 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, OIWC has invested in women working in the industries for nearly 20 years.  This has built a solid foundation for OIWC to move more fully into programming that addresses systemic industry barriers toward a more inclusive culture.

“When we draw on the skillset of a workforce that reflects the diversity of our participant base, we are better able to understand and meet the needs of the consumer,” explains Buck. “Our goal is to help companies recruit and retain top-tier talent which will ultimately create healthy, sustainable companies and inclusive working environments for all.”

To head these efforts, OIWC has hired Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin, J.D., CDP, as Director of People and Culture; and Dr. Jennifer Boldry, of Breakaway Research Group, as OIWC’s research provider of record.

Immediate goals of the new department are to:

  • Develop a suite of benchmarking assessment tools to allow partners to identify successes and opportunities for growth in their women’s leadership and inclusion initiatives.
  • Provide tools and tips to implement the OIWC CEO Pledge.
  • Work with member companies to collaboratively develop best practices around the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in the workplace.
  • Embark on a longitudinal study to examine the impact of the implementation of diversity & inclusion best practices on member companies’ bottom line.

OIWC’s People and Culture Department is funded, in part, by the REI Foundation’s Mary Anderson Legacy Grant.