Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) announced Class 4 of the Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy (FLA). In 2016, the Future Leadership Academy was created and named after JanSport’s founder and industry luminary Skip Yowell to honor his enduring legacy as one of the great founders, mentors and leaders in the outdoor industry.

The Future Leadership Academy is a six-month program that prepares, unites and amplifies the voice of high potential outdoor industry leaders. The academy readies outstanding and committed individuals to assume industry leadership positions in the years ahead. Class 4, chosen through a rigorous selection process, will receive development opportunities through leadership training, mentoring and education about issues vital to the health of outdoor industry businesses, including sustainability, trade policy, public lands and youth outdoor participation.

“The Future Leadership Academy is one of the most innovative leadership development programs I have come across in my years creating and leading education programs, and I’m thrilled to steward the vision for the program forward with Class 4,” said Kristen Freaney, OIA emerging leader education manager. “We have some exciting curriculum changes in store and such a bright, promising group of participants. I’m excited to lead this year’s class and see the next chapter of this program unfold.”

Class 4 Participants

  • John Adams, SCARPA
  • Lucas Alberg, Hydro Flask
  • Alicia Applegate, Backcountry.com
  • Brittany Ashcraft, Chaco
  • Jessie Atherley, Clif Bar & Company
  • Erin Brucks, Boa Technology Inc.
  • Daniel Calabrese, Blackstone Investment Group
  • Stacy Chick, Icebreaker
  • Theresa Conn, NEMO Equipment
  • Rachel Davidson, Outdoor Research
  • Ian Dewar, The North Face
  • Andrew DuVall, Illinois Lock Company
  • Cameron Gadd, Mountain Khakis
  • Ronald Griswell, Townsend Bertram Company
  • Mae Harris, Optic Nerve
  • Genna Heath, REI
  • Roger Huang, Rab USA
  • Kim Johnston, Patagonia
  • YooRa Kang, Hillsound Equipment Inc.
  • Alex Lemley, Outdoor Industry Association
  • Kim Marek, Quality Bicycle Products
  • Nick Martinez, Burley Design
  • John Meadows, HOKA ONE ONE
  • Aubrey Miller, Redbudsuds
  • Elliott Nolan, Amer Sports
  • Ashlee Peterson, Mountain Hardwear
  • Stephanie Plunkett, Pacific Crest Trail Association
  • Sarah Riley, Fjallraven North America
  • Celia Santi, GU Energy Labs
  • Chris Sears, Outdoor Retailer
  • Susan Strible, Ruffwear
  • Sarah van der Hoop, Exxel Outdoors
  • Greer Van Dyck, Smartwool
  • Jonny Wood, Yakima
  • Henry Zimmerman, Arc’teryx

The program, launched in 2016, now has 90 total graduates. The new class of 35 individuals will be partnered with industry mentors who are poised to offer insight and guidance to the next generation of outdoor industry game changers.

“The next generation of leaders in the outdoor industry will take us places that today we can only imagine. I’m a Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy mentor and wholeheartedly support Arc’teryx employees experiencing the program because I want to aid in the development of leaders who are forward-thinking and challenge the way the outdoor industry has traditionally done business,” said CJ King, VP, global commercial at Arc’teryx. “The program enables current industry leadership and the next generation to learn from each other, be inspired and pass knowledge between both generations. FLA creates the platform to positively impact the participants, the outdoor industry and ultimately the public.”

The class participants will also collaborate together on capstone projects on which they’ll partner with outdoor industry nonprofits, helping them tackle some of the biggest issues and opportunities they are facing. Past capstone project nonprofits include the American Alpine Club, Climbing Alliance, Big City Mountaineers, The Futurist Project, Sierra Club, Outdoor Afro, National Wildlife Federation and SOS Outreach. Please reach out to Kristen Freaney (kfreaney@outdoorindustry.org) if you’re a nonprofit interested in participating.

The 2019 Future Leadership Academy includes two individuals from nonprofits who will be participating in the program with generous scholarships provided by REI. 2019 is also the first year that the program is open to internal OIA staff. The first OIA staff class member will be Alex Lemley, marketing manager, who has been with the association for three years.

OIA thanked its partners JanSport, Arc’teryx, REI, Upslope Brewery, Smartwool, Clif Bar & Company and Brew Dr. Kombucha.