OIWC Seeks 50 CEO Pledges To Accelerate Women’s Leadership This Year

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Jill Layfield, president and CEO of online retailer Backcountry.com, at the OIWC CEO Pledge Celebration in Salt Lake City.
Courtesy of Andy Wickstrom/DesignEgg

The Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition set out to receive pledges from CEOs to accelerate putting more women in leadership roles in their companies back in January. Since then, the organization has received 29 pledges and has its sights set on 50 before year’s end.

“When top leaders come together, like they have with this CEO pledge, it challenges the status quo and calls for action,” said Deanne Buck, executive director of the OIWC, in a statement. “The more companies who sign on to support the pledge, the greater the success for the industry as a whole in inspiring innovation to drive business growth, and cultivating happy, healthy workplaces.”

Jill Layfield, president and CEO of online retailer Backcountry.com, said the lack of women in prominent roles in the outdoor industry is an issue that cannot be overlooked while at the OIWC CEO Pledge Celebration in Salt Lake City during the Outdoor Retailer trade show.

“This is, in my opinion, one of the most relevant, pertinent, important topics of our industry today. I’m a woman in a leadership role in the outdoor industry, and it’s a thin crowd,” she said. “I’m an impatient person that wants to see investment in ideas come into action quickly. That is what I’m seeing with the CEO pledge.”

Brands whose CEOs have signed the pledge include Keen, the North Face, REI, Wolverine Worldwide and Zappos.

According to the OIWC, the CEOs who sign the organization’s pledge will commit to improving the company’s recruiting efforts toward women and implement practices geared toward to increasing retention. For the companies that signed the pledge, the OIWC will provide programming and tools designed to help them achieve their commitment.