Camber Outdoors broadens focus

The new Workplace Equity Working Group will help create an index of diversity, equity, and inclusion practices in the industry to achieve equity for all, not just women.
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In 2016, Outdoor Industries Women's Coalition changed its name to Camber Outdoors.

In 2016, Outdoor Industries Women's Coalition changed its name to Camber Outdoors.

Known for empowering women, Camber Outdoors is broadening its mission to welcome everyone to the leadership table and achieve equity for all—not just females.

Today, the organization announced a shift in its mission from, “Equality for all women in the outdoors, from the backcountry to boardroom,” to “Equity in the outdoors, from boardroom to backcountry.”

Along with that, the organization is launching a Workplace Equity Working Group (WEWG) on July 25. The group made up of peers, key stakeholders, and competitors will collaborate to create an index of agreed upon diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) practices in the industry and to consider new pathways.

“Camber Outdoors’ board and leadership will continue to embrace our responsibility to make women’s leadership a strategic priority,” said Susan Viscon, Camber board president. “That work is far from done, and with this evolution the organization’s programming will incorporate more broadly and deliberately all dimensions of diversity, equity and inclusion. To do that work well will take time, and we look forward to the learning that will take place with a broader set of stakeholders.”

Equity for all

The shift of the mission is in response to conversations with partners and stakeholders, plus current research that proves leading companies incorporate equity in their workplaces as a business strategy and a preferred way of organizational life.

The new working group was modeled after Outdoor Industry Association’s Sustainability Working Group. Its goal is to explore elements of diversity that intersect with gender identity and expression, such as ethnicity and race, culture, sexual orientation, and physical ability.

Camber Outdoors hopes to serve as a convener of participating companies, organizations and individuals who engage and share with each other to identify, test and adopt the index’s metrics and measures.

Executive Director Deanne Buck said that in 2011, the board voted to add the word "advocacy" to its mission. She said, "There was discussion back then that focus of the organization would include accelerating change at the systems-level of the workplace. That decision put the organization on a trajectory that became broader than a 'woman-focused' organization."

Natural evolution

To ensure new mission alignment and impact, Camber Outdoors will begin to audit current and future programs, such as the Professional Mentoring Program. It will continue to focus on women, recognizing the ongoing need for gender-based efforts to address workplace barriers specific to women. 

But other programs, such as the Camber Outdoors webinar series or Pitchfest program, may evolve toward broader DEI.

“Camber Outdoors regularly evaluates our programs to ensure highest impact and return on investment for both participants and the partner companies that support them,” Buck said. “The CEO Pledge, a first-of-its kind, industry-focused gender initiative was co-created by CEOs three years ago under Camber Outdoors’ mission of equality for all women. Its success is rooted in engaging deliberately with partner companies that are committed to accelerating transformation and we plan to continue that approach under our broader mission.”

Legacy lives on

Earlier this year, Ann Krcik, co-founder of the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition, now Camber Outdoors, passed away from cancer. But her desire to represent everyone in the outdoors still rings in Buck's ears. Krcik would be asking, “Who is missing from the leadership table?” and “Whose voice would help us make better decisions?”

“She believed that broad inclusion of individuals and leaders in the industry to be at the forefront of smart business decisions,” Buck said. “We think this evolution would make her proud.”

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