A crowd of over 200 men and women attending the Outdoor Industries Women's Coalition (OIWC) Gathering at Abravanel Hall August 13 were present as Jennifer Wittman of Outside Magazine was honored with the inaugural OIWC First Ascent Award. The award recognizes an industry woman who demonstrates strong potential for leadership. As winner of the First Ascent Award, Wittman received a scholarship to a Strozzi Institute for Leadership workshop valued at $2,500. First Ascent Award finalists included Sharon Herbert of Burton Snowboards and Julie Liveris of Contourwear, LLC.

“I used to believe that leadership was just about decision making, managing and directing,” says Wittman. “But as I grow older and my understanding and experience continues to enhance my perspective, I realize that those are only potential traits and responsibilities of a leader, but not 'leadership' in the truest form. I believe that leadership is when one possesses the ability to awaken possibility in others

Wittman is marketing coordinator for Outside Magazine, and in her year plus there she has designed, managed and overseen national marketing programs and events. Prior to working with Outside Magazine, she was events manager, inside sales rep and ambassador for Outward Bound. She has also worked as a trip leader for Wilderness Ventures and as an Outdoor Educator for the Colorado Outdoor Center. Wittman graduated from the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism with a B.A. in Advertising in 1999.

Matt McKee, Outside's Director of Marketing, and Wittman's supervisor nominated her because of her exceptional ability to understand and work with people, her professionalism, ability to analyze, understand and think through the big picture and her infectious positive attitude.