StaffDeanne Buck, Executive DirectorAmy Luther, Program DirectorHillary Harding, Development Director
Board of Directors
Bliss currently works for Advanced Sports International, parent
of Fuji, SE, Breezer, Kestrel and Oval Concepts brands, where she is
the Vice President of Marketing. Prior to that she was a professional
bike racer earning the title "Winningest Female Racer in North America”
after more than 15 years of international competition. She continues her
involvement in the sport as an active member of the UCI Women’s
Commission and the USAC Board’s Road and Women’s Committees. She
completed her undergraduate degree from Penn State University (B.A.
Social Work/Women’s Studies) and her graduate studies at the University
of Florida (M.A. Mass Communication/Sports Marketing). Karen lives in
rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania with her husband, Rob, and their
beloved dog, Bella.
Deanne Buck brings to the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition Executive Director position over 12 years work experience in all facets of the climbing industry. Deanne grew up on the flatlands Nebraska. Her first climbing experience was on a 20-foot high woody at the YMCA in Omaha in the mid-1990s. She quickly fell in love with rock climbing and it wasn’t long before she was making personal and professional decisions with proximity to climbing areas and access to the outdoors as the determining factor.
Since her first climbing experience in Omaha twenty years ago, Deanne quickly situated her career in the outdoor industry: she has worked at a climbing gym, as a river raft guide, a Marketing Director for an outdoor specialty gear shop, an attorney for companies in the outdoor industry, and an advocate for conservation of and access to our treasured climbing resources.
The Executive Director position is a culmination of her passion for the outdoors, human-powered recreation, and working with businesses to better their bottom-line through a diverse workforce.
Julia Clark Day is Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Leisure Trends, an NPD Group Company and has over 18 years of sales and marketing experience. Julia began her career in sales, marketing, research and management in her family’s Florida Keys based radio business, Key Chain Broadcasting. She later moved from radio broadcasting to the magazines, where she was Advertising Manager for Salt Water Fly Fishing Magazine and then founder and Director of Advertising for Fly Fishing in Salt Waters Magazine, based in Seattle and Miami.
Following seven years in the magazine business, Julia was lured by Leisure Trends to the mountains of Colorado. After eleven years, she is a key member of the company’s management team and has been responsible for tremendous sales growth and product development within each of the company’s three divisions: consumer research, retail sales tracking and CRM.
Julia graduated from both Wheaton College in Massachusetts and Kansai Gaidai University in Japan and has an advanced degree in Japanese Language and Garden Design. Julia’s hobbies include a variety of outdoor pursuits including: fresh and saltwater fly fishing, skiing, hiking, gardening and painting.
Betsy Curtin is currently
a Recruiting Manager with JBCStyle where she finds top talent for sport, outdoor and lifestyle brands.
learned the basics of customer service from her first retail job. She
later worked as an assistant buyer position
with visual merchandising responsibilities for a small store in
northeast Pennsylvania. It was here that her love for all things
footwear and apparel blossomed. After finishing college at Penn State
University, she moved West and was introduced to recruiting.
Her intuition helps her find the right candidates for her clients year after year.
Currently, Betsy is living in Pennsylvania, not too far from The Poconos. She strives to sweat each day and enjoys
being outside as much as possible, even if it’s just a quick trip to the local coffee shop for a "pick me up."
Alice Gifford is the Adventure Travel Trade Association’s sole Member Advocate. She works full-time to personally assist the business members of the ATTA in making the most of their membership resources and benefits. The ATTA members range from tour operators to tourism boards, marketing professionals, manufacturers, retailers, media and other associations worldwide. She is on the team of organizers for the annual Adventure Travel World Summit and monthly casual networking events called AdventureDrinks.
Coming to the industry with a whitewater and sea kayak guide’s background, as well as an education in the liberal arts from Sarah Lawrence College, she brings a creative perspective, a sense of humor, and a passion for women’s empowerment through experiences in the outdoors.
Having lived in Georgia, North Carolina, Maine, New York, Wyoming, and Australia, Alice found her wanderlustful self right at home in Seattle, WA where she can play in a wide range of landscapes year round.
Beth Gordon is a lifetime athlete, and lover of all that encompasses the outdoor industry. Beth is an avid runner and cyclist, and loves an occasional kayak or outdoor adventure.
Beth’s career began in Chicago 1983 as an Account Executive with the National Sporting Goods Association, and her passion for the industry took her next to a position as National Sales Manager for Outdoor Retailer in 1996. Now, as part of the team at Formula 4 Media (F4M), Beth is VP Business Development focusing on trade shows such as The Running Event. F4M produces 7 trade magazines all in the active life categories; Outdoor Insight, Footwear Insight, Running Insight, Sports Insight, to name a few.
Beth lives in Portland, OR where she runs, cycles and hangs with her pugs!
Hillary Harding joined OIWC in 2011 as its first Development Director, a position aimed at enabling the organization to expand its reach and mission. Hillary is responsible for developing corporate partnerships, building a fund development program, executing special events and collaborating with the Board of Directors on developing relationships with individual supporters.
Hillary brings with her a wealth of nonprofit and outdoor industry experience, having worked in the outdoor industry for 10 years, with the last five in nonprofit management at Big City Mountaineers. She also served on the OIWC Board of Directors from 2006-2009.
Hillary lives in Denver, Colorado, and although she dreams of returning to the sharp end of the rope, she is happy spending her free time building forts and making mud pies with her two young children.
Julie Harris has spent the last 15 years leading and motivating teams and is currently the Retail Sales Director for REI in the San Francisco Bay Area. Overseeing 11 REI stores, Julie’s favorite part of the job is creating great work environments where employees can grow and develop. Julie has an undergraduate degree from Miami University and a Master’s in Education Administration from Indiana University. Prior to joining REI, Julie worked in both private consulting and the collegiate environment as a Career Counselor.
Never one to waste a day, Julie loves adventure, traveling and the learning that comes from immersing oneself in a new activity or a new culture. She also loves volunteering with groups that focus on getting young people outdoors. Julie lives in beautiful San Francisco and can usually be found running, riding, skiing, playing in Golden Gate Park or enjoying a beer and live music.
Audrey Hicks has served Outdoor Research for 8 years, currently as
CFO. She climbed to this executive role after serving first as the Director of
Finance for one year and then Vice President of Finance and Administration for
six. Audrey oversees all of the corporate support teams, which include
finance, human resource and information systems departments. Through this
multi-faceted role, she leads the management team through organizational
development, strategic planning and budgeting, as well as managing all
treasury, legal and risk management issues. Audrey recently servee on an
Advisory Counsel for the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition (OIWC).
Outdoor Research, Audrey was the Director of Finance at HaloSource (HALO). Audrey
began her career as a "Big 4” public accountant at KPMG where she left as a
Manager in 1996 to work at variety of businesses in different industries in
both the public and private sectors. This included Getty Images (GETY),
Seattle’s Best Coffee and Aspen Technology (AZPN). Audrey also ran her own
consulting service from 2000 to 2003, offering strategic financial advice to
venture backed startups and other high-growth clients. She received her
Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Texas at Arlington.
When not working, Audrey is with her family, sporting OR’s legendary Seattle
Sombrero with her husband as they sail their 30’ Newport or watch their two
daughters play Ultimate Frisbee in the wet Northwest weather.
As the OIWC Program Director, Amy Luther works closely with the Regional Outreach, Membership and Professional Development committee chairs, along with the OIWC Executive Director, to help the organization reach goals and execute strategic plans. She feels grateful to be employed by an organization that allows her to help other women excel in their careers.
Amy found her ‘place’ working in the outdoor industry. Prior to joining OIWC, she was known for her position with leading online retailer, Backcountry.com. With the organization for six years, Amy worked her way up to become their Softgoods Division Manager overseeing the product mix within Accessories, Footwear, Men’s Clothing, Women’s Clothing and Youth Clothing. Prior to joining Backcountry.com, Amy worked in the GIS Industry. Her professional career also includes significant involvement with the OIWC as a volunteer, events committee chairperson and board member. She graduated from the University of Utah with degree in Geography with an emphasis in GIS.
Amy lives in Heber City, Utah with her husband and little girls. She loves to live the mountain lifestyle as it allows her to hike, camp, ski and run out her back door. Amy also enjoys yoga, gardening and spending time with her family. Amy strives to live by her favorite quote: Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. As you simplify your life, the universe will be simpler. ~Henry David Thoreau.
Parisi comes to the OIWC Board with more than 25 years of brand
leadership experience. She is currently the Global VP of Brand for
Products, Inc., where she is responsible for the global brand strategy,
product category management and consumer marketing. Her past experience
includes VP of Marketing at KEEN, Director of Marketing at Doc Martens,
Nike and Jose Cuervo. She is passionate
about getting youth into the outdoors, mentoring women and loves to
Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin is the Diversity & Inclusion
(D&I) Manager and a wilderness educator at the National Outdoor Leadership
School (NOLS) in Lander, Wyo. Featured in California
Lawyer and Outside magazine in
2011 for her unique "courtroom to backcountry” life story, Rajagopal-Durbin
joined NOLS in 2010 after a ten-year career in law. In her current position,
she has broadened NOLS’ D&I initiatives, training hundreds in the outdoor
industry on inclusion and cultural competency and spearheading the historic
project Expedition Denali: Inspiring
Diversity in the Outdoors.
Ali Sacash-Johnson has made a life-long commitment to a career in the outdoors. She is principal at True North Marketing, a boutique market research and ethnography firm specializing in outdoor sports with some the industry’s top brands on her client roster. Prior to launching her own firm, Ali served as brand manager at Salomon, where she directed both its women’s campaign and its research program in the U.S. Earlier roles in the industry include stints at REI, Moving Comfort and SIA. She has a M.B.A. in Sports Business from the University of Oregon’s Warsaw School of Sports Marketing and a B.A. in Journalism from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Ali currently serves as OIWC’s Membership Chair. She became involved in OIWC when asked to lead a ground-breaking study examining women’s career satisfaction levels in the outdoor, snow and bike industries. She is resolute in the committee’s mission to grow and maintain its membership roll in an effort to assist more women in achieving their career goals. Plus, she finds it gratifying to give back to the industry that has given so much to her.
Ali’s passionate mountain family spends as much time as possible playing in the Cascades – skiing, climbing, hiking and camping. Her husband is a member of the Mt. Hood Ski Patrol and their young daughter took her first run on skis before turning two. They are expecting a second daughter this fall and look forward to raising the next generation of mountain girls. When not in the mountains, she practices Ashtanga yoga, enjoys the Pacific Northwest’s local food movement and folds diapers.
Laura Schaffer is a diehard skier, newbie snowboarder, aspiring climber,
daily bike commuter, voracious reader and the Brand Manager for
Mountain Hardwear and Montrail in Richmond, CA.
Prior to joining Mountain Hardwear and Montrail as Communications &
Corporate Relations Manager in 2011, Laura filled nine years in Utah
with time on the sales floor at REI, as a Field Marketing Representative
for Clif Bar, in the publications department of the Salt Lake
Organizing Committee for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games and as the Public
Relations Director at Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort. Laura has a
B.A. in Economics from Wesleyan University and an MBA with a
concentration in Sustainable Global Enterprise from Cornell University.
Laura loves exploring new places, having lived in France, New York,
Washington, DC, Iowa, Utah, Colorado, Washington, Connecticut, Boston
and now California, where she’s trying to figure out the Bay Area
microclimates via gardening and farmers markets.
Lu Setnicka is currently owner of her own human resources consulting firm, Setnicka Consulting. She is formerly Director of Human Resources (HR) for Patagonia, Inc., a premiere outdoor industry brand. In this role she managed all HR-related responsibilities, including recruitment/staffing, employee relations, benefits, employee development and training, payroll and internal corporate communications. Lu began her career at Patagonia in the Wholesale Division, and then worked for four years as an HR specialist in Recruitment and Employee Relations. She also worked as assistant to Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, served as the company’s Public Affairs Director for ten years, and prior to leading the Human Resources team, was Patagonia’s Director of Training and Employee Development.
Before working at Patagonia, Lu spent fifteen years working for the National Park Service in national parks throughout North America, including Yosemite, Everglades, Grand Teton and Hawaii Volcanoes. She has a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management from Antioch University, a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California at Berkeley, and is a certified Career, Executive and Life Coach with the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara.
Lu enjoys anything outdoors. A runner for 35 years before her knees started complaining, she now focuses on hiking and long walks. In addition, she swims with a Master’s Team in Ojai (CA), enjoys spinning classes several times a week, and is a beginning fly fisherperson. When not working with clients or playing outdoors, you’ll find Lu singing with the Santa Barbara Choral Society and several small vocal groups in Ojai.
Therese Thompson is the Resource Development Specialist for the City of Lakewood. Prior to that role she worked as Development Director for the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA), and Executive Director of Summit Cancer Solutions, an organization that eventually merged into CPRA. With her years of experience in nonprofit management, Therese brings organizational management and fundraising experience to OIWC, including grant writing, event planning and execution, planned giving, and donor development.
Nonprofit management is Therese's second career, one that evolved after graduating with a masters in wildlife biology and working for Fish & Wildlife departments for many years, often as the only female employee.
Based in Denver, Therese spends her free time with her husband and teenage sons backpacking, camping, cross-country skiing, and striving to visit every National Park before her sons leave for college.
Elysa Walk joined the bicycle industry in 2004 with Giant Bicycle, Inc. Prior to that, she worked in the software industry as an Operations Manager, running the operations of a fast growing telecommunications management software company for 10 years.
Elysa took full responsibility for Giant USA as General Manager in 2007. Since that time, she has grown the company by forty percent, and has launched many ground-breaking initiatives, such as a women’s specific bicycle brand called Liv, and the "Link” annual Giant dealer convention. She is known for making Giant a great place to work and fostering a coveted employee culture.
Elysa serves on the boards of Bikes Belong and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association, which includes now serving on the Executive Board of Bikes Belong as Treasurer. She is also on the Advisory Board for the newly launched Women Bike program. Together with the League of American Bicyclists, this program works to empower more women to bicycle and become engaged in the diverse leadership opportunities of the bicycle movement.
While a graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Southern California and an MBA from Pepperdine University, Elysa is first and foremost a cyclist of all kinds. She can often be found riding roads, cross-country mountain trails, gravity parks, or just her local commute. She completed the Tour de Taiwan, a 600-mile ride around the island of Taiwan with the Giant executive team in 2011, and regularly participates in Giant-sponsored triathlons or charity rides. Elysa has a bicycle family, and is regularly riding with her husband and two teenage children.