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About Us

Our Mission

Is to equip, educate and support women in the outdoor industries to recognize their professional goals.

Our Vision

To seek equality for, and provide power, influence, and opportunity to women in the outdoor industries, to increase their influence and recognition, and to generate champions to inspire other women.

Who we are

The OIWC is a 501 (c) (6) non-profit association of women organized for the purpose of equipping women to reach their professional success in the outdoor industries via educational programming, networking and mentoring. OIWC acts as a vehicle to promote the views and interests of women engaged in or impassioned by the outdoor, snow sports, action sports, and bicycling industries. OIWC invites all women to become members and to lead our industries to positive solutions in business, social and environmental issues.

What we do

  • Education: The OIWC conducts forums, panels and seminars, provides members-only access to online learning via our website, distributes a members-only electronic newsletter six times annually, and pilots experiential events that provide working knowledge about the practice and skills of business.
  • Networking: The OIWC provides events, discussions, web access, parties, retreats, and experiences for the exchange of ideas and contacts.
  • Mentoring: The OIWC provides excellent opportunities for women looking for professional mentors in the outdoor industries. Through our many events and online networking, members are able to share advice and expertise with women on similar career paths and are able to provide perspective on success and the people who excel in the outdoor industries.
  • Recognition: OIWC has established several awards to recognize and honor emerging and experienced women in the outdoor industries.
    • Pioneering Women Award – Created to honor women in the outdoor industries who have advanced the mission of the OIWC by demonstrating an outstanding commitment in mentoring colleagues.
    • First Ascent Award – Recognizes a woman who demonstrates strong potential for leadership.
Our History
The Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition (OIWC), originally called Outdoor Industry Women’s Council, was born of a casual gathering of outdoor industry women, originally organized by Carolyn Cooke and Ann Krcik and facilitated by attendee donations and a tiny bit of sponsorship money from a few outdoor companies. That was back in 1994 and 1995, when the Outdoor Retailer tradeshows were still in Reno.

At the time, many women expressed a desire to have a more formal organization, to provide more opportunities for networking, mentoring and promoting opportunities for women in the outdoor industry. In the early summer of 1996, Frannie Huff, president of Wyoming Wear, invited a group of industry women interested in forming such an organization to Jackson, Wyoming. Huff provided a professional facilitator who helped the nine women who showed up put together the building blocks that became the foundation of the OIWC.

The original founding board members were Carolyn Cooke (Isis), Betsy Centa (Wyoming Wear), Melissa McKenzie (YubaShoes), Joan Alvarez (Outdoor Retailer), Kelly Stone (Cascade Designs), Beth Kelly (Taum Sauk Wilderness), Andrea Gabbard (Outdoor Retailer), Dawson Winch (Backpacker) and Ariadne Scott (Specialized), giving the board a good mix of retail, manufacturing, marketing and media backgrounds. Bylaws were formed and adopted, officers elected, a mission statement formulated and a newsletter designed.

The organization and its sponsors held two Gatherings a year, in a relaxed atmosphere during Outdoor Retailer tradeshows to provide a place for women to meet their peers and mentors, exchange information and network. In addition, during the two days following the tradeshow, the annual ChillFest invited OIWC members to unwind and recharge in a mountain campout.

In the Winter of 2001, the OIWC took a major step and merged with the Outdoor Industry Association. The decision to make this change was difficult. The OIWC Board has always perceived the organization as a very independent group both in thought and reality. This relationship lasted only a year; OIA determined that the OIWC mission and membership was based upon individuals rather than business organizations. Together, the OIA and OIWC decided that it would be best if OIWC separated from the OIA, and it did so in January 2003 after receiving a generous financial grant and a promise of continued support.

April 2003 brought most of the current members of the OIWC Board to Breckenridge, Colorado to evaluate and examine the mission and vision of the organization. A revised mission statement and strategic plan were developed. A year later, in April 2004, the OIWC finally became a legal non-profit entity, with a new name denoting the expanded influence of the organization: Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition.

Since then, the OIWC has expanded into the bike and snowsport industries with events for women at all levels of their profession, annually at Interbike and the Snowsports Industry Association. The organization has tremendous financial and moral support within the outdoor industries.

A key focus for OIWC is to develop ways women in all the outdoor industries to connect – through a dynamic, member-focused website, regular e-newsletters, and networking and professional development events at tradeshows and in key regions.

In 2010, there will be 18 regional events located across the country, providing panel discussions at our Regional Events and offering exposure to local outdoor companies with our Network Nights.

The OIWC continues to expand its influence within the Outdoor Industries and invites you – the passionate, active, career oriented woman – to join us in fulfilling our mission. It’s through our connection with YOU that we offer amazing opportunities for other women in the outdoor industries. Join today!

Thanks to our generous Platinum and Gold Corporate Members