Hundreds gathered Saturday morning to see outdoor industry icon Ann Krcik honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from Camber Outdoors.
Krcik, who has attended Outdoor Retailer for half of her life, is at home recovering from chemotherapy, was not able to attend the event to accept, but she had a message to the industry. It was quintessentially Ann, delivered via video, in the humble, gracious, and sincere style for which she has become known and loved.
Watch her acceptance speech now:
“I am touched and appreciate this award to my core,” she began. She went on to share her appreciation for a long list of people who helped her both practically and inspirationally throughout her long, accomplished career.
“Having spent the last two months of my life in the hospital has given me a lot of time to think about my professional and personal choices. And when I reflect back, I realize I made a super good choice choosing the outdoor industry as my career path,” she said.
Krcik shared a welcoming message for newcomers to the industry. “If you’re just starting your career, welcome, we need you! So glad you’re here. Hope you make the most of it,” she said.
“Remember you’re not just representing your company, your representing yourself, and you’re part of a larger industry,” she said.
She also encouraged everyone in the industry, both newbies and veterans, to take time off and go on their own adventures. “People in this industry love their jobs and what they do so much, it’s really easy to forget that you need to take care of yourself, too and go off on your own adventures and recharge and remember why you’re here and why you’ve picked this track.”
Krcik is a board member of the Conservation Alliance and the co-founder of Camber Outdoors (formerly Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition), with more than 25 years in the outdoor industry.
Long-time colleague Sally McCoy, former CEO of CamelBak, says co-founding Camber Outdoors is Krcik’s most important and boldest moves she made in her extensive experience. “Ann has had a lasting impact on the entire industry through her ability to turn her awesome ideas into reality,” McCoy said.
Executive director of Camber Outdoors, Deanne Buck, says Krcik has been a long-standing mentor in the industry. “Over twenty years ago, when she and Carolyn Cooke hosted a space for women to convene at trade shows, she sparked an organization that has spring-boarded from her core vision,” Buck says.
Hosting that event at Outdoor Retailer in 1993 was simply inspired by a desire to meet other women in the industry and network. With a little bit of catering, a bar, nametags, and just enough money collected to cover expenses, the event kicked off. “There was no programming – Carolyn and I just welcomed everyone and encouraged them to mingle,” Krcik told SNEWS in 2016. “Much to our surprise, it was a full house. The place was buzzing with conversations and laughter – it was super fun. That night, people were already asking if we could do it again the next year – and we did,” she said.
Krcik is currently the Senior Director of Brand Communications and Outdoor Exploration at The North Face, where she oversees corporate communications across all products categories, athletes, and corporate issues.
She also leads The North Face advocacy programs including the Explore Fund which provides grants to organizations that connect young people to the outdoors in meaningful ways.
Krcik started at The North Face at 26 years old working in the customer relations department. She left TNF in 1992 to start her own endeavor – Extreme Connection, an athlete agency, but returned in 2011 to her current role.
This isn’t the first award for the fervent leader. Pioneering Women Award, OIA Advocacy Award, and American Himalayan Foundation AHF Star Award are a few more.
“My passion to this day, is and always will be the outdoors,” Krcik said during her acceptance speech. She ended the speech saying thank you again, and that she’ll be here next year.