What Happened When a Big-City Fashion Exec Made a Dramatic Career Change

Assuming the interim executive director role at Camber Outdoors has pushed Diana Seung both personally and professionally.

“Jumping into this role has tested my sense of confidence, level of risk-taking, bravery and vulnerability,” Seung told FN. “It was a tricky spot to step into and definitely tested my leadership skills. It put me in the spotlight, and I tend to like to fly under the radar.”

Since taking the helm, Seung, a seasoned retail executive, said she has exchanged ideas with Teresa Baker on several occasions and finds inspiration in her efforts. “Advocating for people of color is something Teresa does because she’s passionate about it and does it in her free time. [That] takes a lot of grit, confidence and vulnerability,” Seung said.

For her part, Seung is still relatively new to the outdoor world. Before her three-year stint at Backcountry.com, she worked in the fashion space (Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Anne Taylor) and in the children’s market (Gymboree, The Children’s Place).

“The thing that drove me to Backcountry was, I was looking for something different. After years in New York City and San Francisco, I was over city life and the churn and burn of what that environment does to you,” Seung said. “When the opportunity with Backcountry came about, it was perfect and a dramatic change moving to Park City, Utah.”

Although she relished the new opportunity, it came with unexpected challenges. “Backcountry is located in Park City, Utah — it’s not a diverse town. I’m one of four Asian women in Park City, and I can tell you who the other three people are,” Seung said.

Diversity and inclusion is top of mind as Seung evaluates her next career move. (She said she will not seek the permanent executive director role at Camber.)

“I want to join an organization that has a strategy or genuine focus to improve diversity and also truly believes they need women in leadership positions,” Seung said. “If the organization culturally doesn’t have that perspective or appreciation, then it’s not the right one for me.”

Below, watch our video with Keds president Gillian Meek on how to succeed as a woman in the shoe industry.

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