Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) welcomed the newest participants and mentors of the Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy (SYFLA). Following a successful pilot year, the new class of 33 individuals will be joined by 24 industry veterans who will offer mentorship and direction while they guide this next generation of outdoor industry game-changers.

The new class, chosen through a rigorous selection process, will receive development opportunities including education about important outdoor industry issues, leadership training and mentoring from industry leaders.

The 2017 Future Leadership Academy students (including two individuals from non-profits who will be participating in the program with full scholarships paid by REI):

  • Aaron McCready – Camelbak
  • Adam Sanders – Trango
  • Alia Salim – Trust for Public Lands
  • Alli Rowe – Patagonia
  • Amanda Schreier – Sea to Summit
  • Brian Fisher – Grand Trunk
  • Bruce Dotterrer – NPD
  • Christopher Fidler – Burton
  • Colin Moynihan – Uncle Dan’s
  • Conor McElyea – Cairn
  • Courtney Hans – REI
  • Dana Howe – Grassroots Outdoor Alliance
  • David Duron – Toad&Co
  • Devin Hewlett – Simms Fishing
  • Erin Weimer – Sterling Rope
  • Jake Wheeler – Roots Rated
  • Jill Sanford – Freelance Journalist
  • Johanna Andrews – Eddie Bauer
  • John McCauley – Outdoor Alliance
  • Josh Weichhand – Chaco
  • Justus Hyatt – Cascade Designs
  • Kat Dierickx – Outdoor Project
  • Katie Hawkins – Marmot
  • Katie Wade – Timbuk2
  • Lance Johnson – Ultimate Direction
  • Lauren Beaudoin – Osprey
  • Lisa Janssen – Goal Zero
  • Mary Bean – Columbia
  • Michael Genauer – Sportiva
  • Robert Thomas – Smartwool
  • Sarah Fansler – Scarpa
  • Sarah Langston – Outdoor Retailer
  • Vanessa Fors – Helly Hansen

The 2016 Future Leadership Academy Graduates (FLAGs) credit the Academy with providing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn with and from the industry’s most influential leaders.

“The Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy reassured me that the outdoor industry is my home and I am here to stay,” said Joe Bustos, retail relations manager at Outdoor Retailer. “The education and mentorship I received from the Academy also gave me more confidence in my current position and a new outlook on what the future of the outdoor industry can look like.”

“Our industry and world are rapidly changing; in fact, change may be the only constant. I believe the future state of our industry is highly unlikely to look anything like the present, and I feel an obligation to the industry I love to help prepare our future leaders,” said Ted Manning, CEO of Ibex. “The Future Leadership Academy provided exactly this opportunity, creating a chance to engage the future leaders and to be inspired by them.”

The 2017 guides who will serve as mentors and leaders are:

  • Amy Beck – Lucy
  • Amy Roberts – OIA
  • Beaver Theodosakis – Prana founder
  • Chris King – Arc’teryx
  • Georgina Miranda – Altitude Seven
  • Hilary Dessouky – Patagonia
  • Jen McLaren – Smartwool
  • Jen Mull – Backwoods
  • John Sterling – Conservation Alliance
  • Kelly Kraus – Stanley PMI
  • Kelly Neel – REI
  • Kevin Hogan – The North Face
  • Larry Harrison – Outdoor Retailer
  • Lori Nuss – Gramicci
  • Luis Vargas – The Clymb
  • Matt Kaplan – OIA
  • Pam Theodosakis – Prana
  • Scott Whipps – Toad&Co
  • Steve Barker – Eagle Creek founder
  • Steve Workman – Merrell
  • Ted Manning – Ibex

“Last year’s Future Leadership Academy class was amazing and helped us create an incredible and useful program for the next generation of outdoor industry leaders. As a measure of success, seven out of 22 participants last year received a promotion or favorable job change during or directly after the program,” said Stasia Raines, OIA director of the Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy. “This year, we’ve streamlined the education, invested in technology to enhance the experience and grown the program by 50 percent. I cannot wait to see the output as a result of these changes. Our Skip Yowell Future Leaders are the ones who will grow our outdoor industry, shaping it for the better in the years to come. In fact, they already are.”

For more information about the Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy or to get involved in future years, contact Stasia Walker, the program’s director, at swalker@outdoorindustry.org.

Based in Boulder, CO and with offices in Washington, D.C., OIA is the leading trade association for the outdoor industry and the title sponsor of Outdoor Retailer. OIA unites and serves over 1,300 manufacturer, supplier, sales representative and retailer members through its focus on trade and recreation policy, sustainable business innovation and outdoor participation.