The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) announced the newest participants and mentors of the Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy (SYFLA). In 2018, the academy is partnering with Jansport, whose sponsorship will help SYFLA grow. In 2016, the Future Leadership Academy was named after Jansport’s founder, Skip Yowell, because of his lasting legacy as a one of the great founders, mentors and leaders of the outdoor industry.

“Sometimes, when you least expect it, someone comes along who will have a complete and dramatic impact on one’s life. For me, one of those people was Skip Yowell,” said Tim McGuire, former senior VP of sales, marketing and RDD for Jansport and current director of sales for North America Eagle Creek. “Skip taught me three things: to be bold and entrepreneurial, have passion for life and adventure and most of all, generosity.  This program couldn’t be named for a better individual.”

SYFLA, now in its third year, with 55 total graduates, welcomes the newest class of 35 individuals, joined by industry mentors poised to offer insight and guidance to the next generation of outdoor industry game changers.

Class three, 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, climate change, public lands and youth outdoor participation.

The class participants will also collaborate together on capstone projects in which they’ll partner with outdoor industry nonprofits by helping tackle some of the biggest issues and opportunities each organization is 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.

“If this class is any indication of the future success of the outdoor industry, our future looks bright,” said Stasia Walker, director of the Future Leadership Academy. The third class of the Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy is made up of amazing individuals, each already leading our industry in their own right. Our goal is to continue to guide, connect and invest in the next generation of outdoor leaders, giving them the tools and relationships they need to lead with confidence and innovation into the future.”

The 2018 Future Leadership Academy students include two individuals from nonprofits who will be participating in the program with generous scholarships paid by REI.